Liz explains how she supports two MDs – and why she’s been with us since 1999
It probably goes without saying that, in a company like Accenture, Managing Directors have demanding roles. Lots of meetings, lots of travel. I like to think that it’s people like me who help them to keep their heads above water!
I provide an Executive Assistant (EA) service to one MD in Financial Services and one MD in Products which gives me a cross Industry view on Accenture. A lot of my job involves diary management, so the MDs know where they’re supposed to be at a given time, setting up meetings, making travel arrangements and so on. They rely on me and I have to stay calm, that’s probably the most important quality.
My job doesn’t mean I’m permanently chained to a desk. I’ve recently been to Milan to support my MDs’ meeting, which allowed me to meet my peer EAs who I normally only know over email. Interesting fact - very often meetings in Milan are held on their outside wooden decked area – very civilised! In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to travel to a few places, meeting new people and seeing the different ways in which they work; I’ve definitely learned how to network!
I also get involved in the wider EA community, which is just as important. Over the years, with my peers I’ve helped develop Informal Mentoring for the EAs community, a training event called Pick ‘n’ Mix and most recently Meet & Mingle – giving the opportunity for EAs to meet up and introduce themselves to someone new.
I’ve been with Accenture since 1999, before the company name even existed. Sure, I’ve seen a lot of change over the years, particularly in technology, and you can’t be afraid of that. One of the reasons I’ve stayed so long has been the opportunities that have become available to me. I’ve had different roles and bosses, one relationship lasted 13 years before he retired. You have to adapt to their different personalities and ways of working. But in each role I’ve learned something new and developed as a person.
The other reason is I have really good work-life balance and I’m able to work from home some of the week. This suits everyone: I can be just as efficient at home as I can be in the office and the MDs know where and when they can contact me. It does mean, however, that you need to work harder at connecting with your EA team – as teamwork is one of the most important factors.
Working from home has also given me the flexibility to have my own horse! My working arrangement means I can tend to him in the mornings and evenings. Although I enjoy meeting friends and keeping fit and healthy, my horse does dominate my life. I like to do a bit of dressage, but only local stuff – I don’t think I’m ready to compete in the Olympics just yet!