Full name: Chloë Smedy
Location: Cape Town
Executive Assistant to: Currently Jacqui Travaglia, Andrew Gardiner and Zahid Torres-Rahman. I had Graham Jenkins too, and still check in with him
An Executive Assistant role is often overlooked by entrepreneurs, as many do not realise the nitty-gritty takes a lot of time – time that could be executed elsewhere. Executive Assistants complement many of the weaknesses you may face, thus being an integral part of the team. Our skilled EA’s will help to expand your productivity. This week we would like to introduce you to Chloë Smedy, one of our highly skilled EA’s.
How long have you been an EA and how long have you worked at Outsourcery?
I have been an Executive Assistant at Outsourcery since October 2016. I have worked in a variety of roles, most of which were not PA roles, but may have encompassed duties a PA would carry out.
What do you enjoy most about being an EA at Outsourcery?
Working with varying clients was, and remains enjoyable. There isn’t any time to feel bored – even process driven tasks are different from client-to-client.
What are your key strengths that you pride yourself most in?
I take pride in my work in general. I’m a little OCD about things. I’m happy to take on challenges. I think outside the box and have a knack for picking up on things that do not seem correct – this helps me to immediately pick-up discrepancies when assisting my clients.
Are there any weaknesses within your skill-set as an executive assistant that you have identified?
I don’t know when to say no and often end up taking on more than I can manage.
What are you doing to combat these?
Learning to manage time, set boundaries and admit defeat when I cannot do something, (or asking for assistance when it’s needed).
What have you learned from your career as an executive assistant thus far?
At Outsourcery particularly, I’ve learned exactly what I should do to combat my weaknesses.
How has your work ethic developed over the years to suit the requirements of different clients?
I have always been a bit strict about my work ethic and most people who know me would say I haven’t developed a work ethic – I arrived with one. Even when I am in a difficult position, I will find a way to assist and to hold up my end of the bargain work wise.
What are your favourite components of your work as a Virtual PA?
I enjoy the opportunity to work with different people in different fields. I have the most amazing clients and I feel I’ve established great working relationships with all of them. I really love how, despite having no personal work for my clients, I still have the opportunity to share personal stories and shenanigans with them. Thus far, I think all my clients are convinced I’m possibly a little bit crazy, but they don’t seem to mind! They’ve been with me since October 2016 and we’re going strong. I also love that we have diverse options and sufficient opportunity for growth with our clients and within the company at Outsourcery.
What are some of the challenges you have faced as an EA?
Time management. A model is an easy to have on paper and in theory, however, making it work is not that easy. Learning to delegate work, particularly where delegating work or requesting assistance meant trying to find time to train someone for them to be able to assist, was also quite challenging. It does, however, get easier, and it can be done.
When delegating, what do you think is the most important thing to remember?
Set time aside to ensure the person taking on the workload completely understands what needs to be done. You need to really think about what work you can delegate out. Process driven work is great to delegate – if you’re able to check-in to make sure things are still done correctly.
What does a typical day/week look like working as a Virtual EA?
Busy! Your day starts and ends with client work. Time needs to be allocated to plan your day. You need to be ready to manage any tasks that may arise throughout the day that may not have been ‘planned for’. Managing your and your client’s expectations will help you to not become overwhelmed by the workload.
What would you describe success as an EA?
This is a tricky question. I am sure it’s different for everyone. For me, it is the ability to manage more than 5 clients and still get the work done. I have maintained relationships with former clients that changed hands as my role has evolved at Outsourcery. Despite the role evolution, I have retained my clients and managed to find ways to ensure that their work is still done. Everyone has different expectations of themselves and different goals set, thus I think each to their own on this one. For one, to be able to delegate well might be considered a success, as well as managing to turn someone’s business around with a small adjustment to processes might be considered a successor.