Impressions of The Executive Assistant Masterclass workshop

December 22, 2015 by Ivana Gašparac

I must confess that I was expecting just another Powerpoint workshop with lots of slides and all that jazz. But this was a horse of another color. No printed materials, a minimum number of slides, the presenter Ms. Laura Belgrado actually told us the story about her work: how she started as an assistant and developed through years; her lifetime experience and professional growth.

Being an assistant is one of the least important jobs, isn’t it? Nobody sees or respects you, and you get noticed only when something goes wrong or something is missing. Everybody working in this position, from IT support staff to secretaries and (invisible) assistants, knows the feeling. Nobody notices what I do until I don’t do it.

What does it take to change that? Laura with vivid stories and various techniques from her rich career told us, step by step, how to do this. First of all, you have to earn trust and respect from the whole team, especially the management. To this end, you have to know your team well and create a relationship with the management.

It is important to learn how to handle aggressive behavior and people, big workloads and manage your time well. In other words, you need a new “WOW”:


I will not go into details but one important step is to know well your organization and organizational culture because:

Shared values have a strong influence on the people in the organization, dictating how to dress, act, and do the job. Every organization develops and maintains a unique culture, which provides guidelines and boundaries for the behavior of its members.

shared vision

It is important to develop positive assertive behavior, which means that we have the courage to show ourselves – who we are and what we want – and also the courage to say no in certain situations. In other words, assertive people state their opinions while being respectful of others.

It takes a lot of emotional intelligence and efforts to organize oneself in this manner but by the end of the day this is a win-win situation.

Yout needs and others needs

Why is this a win-win situation?

In the so-called P-A-C (parent-adult-child) relations progress is pretty much blocked, while only in the A-A (adult-adult) relations progress is possible.

Learn to prepare for professional/personal development.

With the assertive type of behavior you have to build a good relationship with the management who will trust and respect you. At the same time, you should take an active role (ask questions and be always prepared whenever you want to have a meeting with your boss) and provide support when needed, while also demonstrating passion about work. In other words, you should be motivated to work and be enthusiastic about it.

So, what does this imply?


A) HEART Listening System:

1)    Hear everything that is said. (Active listening)

2)    Extract relevant information.

3)    Arrange that information efficiently.

4)    Remember the information and its organization.

5)    Take action on the information gleaned.

B) Empathy

C) Active point of view (not just another “YES” person)

D) Asking smart questions and giving good ideas

E) Last but not least: don’t miss a commitment


It is important HOW you do things, from office work to salsa or whatever you like to do. Create good balance between work and other things that are important in your life.


Group photo on October 2015, Hotel Slon, Ljubljana.