3rd annual Executive Assistant Congress agenda

Conference Day One – Wednesday 21 November 2018

8.30 Registration
9.00 Opening remarks from the chair

Keynote Address: Brand U – 10 steps to successfully building your personal brand

  • Connections – making sparks with networking
  • Communication – don’t just talk, listen
  • Change – an opportunity in disguise
  • Courtesy – never undervalue the importance of respect

 Ita Buttrose AO OBE is a legendary media trailblazer, businesswoman, best-selling author, committed community and welfare contributor and the former 2013 Australian of the Year. Ita is a former co-host of the very popular Studio 10 on Network TEN.

She has twice been voted Australia’s most admired woman and has a long and distinguished career in the Australian media with a number of notable achievements. She was the founding editor of Cleo, the youngest ever editor of The Australian Women’s Weekly, the first woman to ever edit a major metropolitan newspaper in Australia as Editor-in-Chief of the Daily & Sunday Telegraphs, and the first woman director of News Ltd Australia.

A founding member and former president of Chief Executive Women, Ita has written 11 very successful books including her best-selling autobiography A Passionate Life.


Panel discussion: Building a strategic partnership with your executive and collaborative relationships with other officers in your organisation

  • Understanding how your organisation works
  • Building trusted working relationships with other executives and officers
  • Managing changing demands and effectively prioritising meetings and tasks
  • Applying the art of saying “no” when necessary

Linda Janson, Personal Assistant to CIO, Virgin Australia

Rosie Shaw, Executive Assistant to Pro Vice-Chancellor of Education, UNSW

Rochelle Kramer, Executive Assistant to Managing Director/ CEO and Company Secretary/ Legal Counsel, Coal Services

Jodie Glennan, Personal Assistant to Global Head, Digital Products, Arup

10.40 Morning Coffee

Improving self-confidence to shine at work

  • Knowing your strengths, working with purpose
  • Communicating with confidence, strength and commitment 
  • Understanding leadership impact equals career success 
  • Applying the Career Intelligence™ process 

Therese Toohey, Director, TTCoaching


  Panel discussion: Managing multiple priorities and conflicting demands

  • Determining top priorities and balancing priorities
  • Responding to unexpected change in schedules
  • Planning ahead and giving enough notice
  • Negotiating on behalf of your executives          

Cecilia Falson, Private Secretary to the Attorney General and Office Manager, Office of NSW Attorney General

Anthony Carthew, Executive Assistant to CEO, Sydney Opera House

Nina Hoven, Executive Assistant to CEO & CFO, GWA Group

Natalie Sands, Executive Assistant to Managing Director Australia & NZ, Franklin Templeton Investments

12.40 Lunch


EA Leadership: Influencing broadly & deeply
  • Leading & influencing across lines of authority, up and down the hierarchy
  • A simple 4 step process to influence consistently & authentically
  • Producing true “win-win” outcomes in any given scenario

Anthony Bonnici, Director, Move Mountains


Panel discussion: Creating and supporting mentoring programs and EA networks

  • Building effective mentor and mentee programs
  • Identifying specific areas requiring development
  • Building a constructive mentor mentee relationship for mutual benefit
  • Establishing an EA networking group and a mentoring program in your organisation

Katherine Williams, Executive Assistant to the Secretary, NSW Treasury

Rita Murer, Executive Assistant, Westpac

Enisa Fazlic, EA to Group Executive, Public Affairs and Chief of Staff, AMP

Sarah Tabboush, Executive Assistant to Vice President, Managing Director, Asia Pacific,



15.10 Afternoon tea

Managing stress for better work-life balance

  • Understanding the causes and triggers of stress
  • Making plans and organising ahead to cope with daily pressure effectively
  • Striking a balance between work, life, relationship and relaxation
  Ruth Kilah, Executive Assistant to CFO and Project Manager, GE Australia & NZ

Networking – the essential career skill

  • Understanding the business case for effective networking
  • What are the social networking opportunities I should go to?
  • Engaging with EAs inside and outside your organisation
  • Tips and advice for networking
  Nina Hoven, Executive Assistant to CEO & CFO, GWA Group
17.10 Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference day one
 17.10-18.30 Networking drinks – Take advantage of this exciting opportunity to put your newly learned networking skills to practice

Conference Day Two – Thursday 22 November 2018

9.00 Opening remarks from the chair

Panel discussion: Advice from the top – what are your senior executives expecting?

  • Building a strategic partnership with your executive
  • Setting and managing expectations
  • Discovering skills that your boss values the most in the executive assistant profession
  • Using effective communication to give your EA feedback

Tony Braxton-Smith, Deputy Secretary, Customer Services, Transport for NSW

Simone Cook, Director of People and Performance, City of Canterbury Bankstown

Professor Guy Bentley, CEO, Australian Institute of Music

Elizabeth McIntyre, CEO, Think Brick Australia

Manisha Amin, CEO, Centre for Inclusive Design


Establishing the foundation for powerful and effective communication


Working with any measure of success involves a commitment to communicating in a manner that works effectively for ourselves, our clients and colleagues

  • Learn how to effectively implement the 5 key pillars of communication excellence
  • Building confidence and credibility in communication
  • Exerting authority through communication excellence
  • Enhancing professional presence when communicating

Ingrid Bayer, Australia’s Success Coach for EAs, VA Institute of Australia

10.40 Morning tea

Panel Discussion: Creating your roadmap for career progression and development

  • Looking for career options outside of EA role – where to from here?
  • Creating a development plan and building skill sets
  • Discussing the professional EA career path
  • Discovering skill sets needed to move within the public sector

Nadine Chilvers, Executive Assistant to the Dean, University of Sydney Business School

Derek Wiseman, Executive Assistant to General Manager Legal Services, Australian Communications & Media Authority

Hannah MacLennan, Associate – Sales & Account Management, ANZ

Lauren Dusmanovic, Workplace Project Analyst, AMP


Delegation and authority – Changing people’s perceptions of executive assistants

  • Dealing with the label of “you are just an EA”
  • Gaining support from your executive on delegation of authority
  • Improving confidence when working with other executives on behalf of your boss
  • Stretching your comfort zone to expand your role and take more responsibilities
  • Getting involved in organisational events  

Linda Janson, Personal Assistant to CIO, Virgin Australia

12.50 Lunch

Are you Efficient or Effective?


You often hear these terms being thrown around, but what do they really mean?

Are efficient people more productive because they get more work done? Or should you be more focused on being effective?

While efficiency refers to how well something is done, effectiveness refers to how useful something is. In the forever busy role of an assistant, Mario gives you some very practical tips on how to achieve a balance of both, to be more productive.

  • Learn the difference between efficient and effective
  • Identify strategies that will enable you to get your work done and be more productive
  • Plot your work on a matrix to allow you to better prioritise
  • Implement an effective decision making process
  • Define questions and strategies to allow for greater efficiency


Mario Halouvas, National Learning & Development Manager, Priority Management Australia


Embracing change in a positive and supportive way

  • Getting mentally prepared for constant change in the public and private sector
  • Discovering the benefits of change and supporting change in your organisation
  • Sharing the ownership of change with your colleagues
  • Supporting your executive during change and under conditions of uncertainty

Louise Geoghegan, Partner, Fold7


Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference


Get information on our exciting post conference workshop on

How to handle difficult, awkward and challenging conversations (and people)

Unleashing the power of Outlook to be more productive

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