3rd annual Public Sector Executive Assistant Congress agenda

Conference Day One – Wednesday 1 August 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 currently co-hosts 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.

9.55 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

Gabrielle Ide, Executive Assistant to the Hon. Alan Tudge MP, Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs 

Joanne Sciberras, Executive Assistant to First Assistant Secretary, Department of Health

Michelle Kerr, Executive Assistant, Northern NSW Health District

Julie Sharpe, Executive Assistant to General Manager, Bland Shire Council

10.40 Morning Coffee

Improving self-confidence to shine at work

  • Maintaining a positive attitude to own your space at work
  • Dealing with situations when you step out of your comfort zone
  • Communicating confidently with other senior members on behalf of your executive
  • Recognising the fine line between assertive and aggressive

Pat Kriel, Executive Assistant to Director Services, City of Adelaide


Panel discussion: Building 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

Tracy Caine, Executive Assistant to Associate Secretary, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Pat Kriel, Executive Assistant to Director Services, City of Adelaide

Alicia Smith, Executive Assistant to Director-General, National Archives of Australia

Leanne Cotton, Executive Assistant to Executive Director, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

12.30 Lunch

Panel discussion: 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

Annie Sutton, Executive Officer to Air Chief Marshal Sir Angus Houston AK, AFC, Department of Veterans’ Affairs

Casey-Marie De Veau, Executive Assistant to Assistant Secretary, Transnational Crime, Department of Home Affairs

Alyssa Broomby, Executive Assistant to CEO, Digital Transformation Agency


The leadership lens:Leading without positional authority

  • Why working with diverse, difficult or different people fast tracks careers and results
  • How we unconsciously bring out the worst in people and why
  • How to boost your influence by changing your mind
  • Why the power of perspective is the best tool for building strong relationships

Anneli Blundell, Language and Behaviour specialist, Motivation Matters

15.10 Afternoon tea

Career Progression – Developing a roadmap to success

  • Moving and shaking – Skill sets to success in the public sector
  • Time to move on – Stepping out of an EA Role
  • Professional EA – Here for the long haul – creating a career path
  Helen Ollerenshaw, Certified Life Coach, LifEthereal Coaching; Author, HeartConnection

Networking – the essential career skill

  • Finding and connecting with the right people to help build your personal and professional success
  • Facing and overcoming the fear of networking – how to network your way
  • Recognise networking opportunities
  • Techniques and tips to develop networking skills
  • Networking using social media
  • Creating your core network

Laura Price, Executive Assistant to CEO, Peoplecare Health Insurance

Danica Vujic, Executive Assistant to CEO, Peoplecare Health Insurance

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 2 August

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

Georgeina Whelan, AM, CSC and Bar, Chief Officer, ACT State Emergency Service

Andrew Tongue, Associate Secretary Indigenous Affairs, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

David Fricker, Director-General, National Archives of Australia

Lucy Poole, Head of APS Digital Capability, Digital Transformation Agency


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

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 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
  • Using change as an opportunity to learn new professional skills

Sonia Irwin, Founder and Strategist, Redgrass Communications; ACT Chapter Lead, Change Management Institute

12.50 Lunch

Panel discussion: Creating and supporting EA networks and mentoring programs

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

Esther Hunter, Executive Assistant to Secretary, Attorney-General’s Department

Sue Miller, Executive Assistant to CEO & Mayor, Mount Barker District Council

Carissa Elliott, Executive Assistant to Chief Executive, Vicroads


Exploring the latest technology to improve performance

  • Keeping up with the rapid changes in office technology
  • Discovering shortcuts and tricks for outlook and diary management
  • Incorporating the latest technology in your office
  • Exploring cloud computing, social media, data management and cyber security

Peter Alexander, Chief Digital Officer, Digital Transformation Agency


Managing stress for better work-life balance

  • Understanding the causes and triggers of stress
  • Making plans organising ahead to cope with daily pressure effectively
  • Striking a balance between work, life, relationship and relaxation
  Jodie Gien, Founder, Mindful Future Project

Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference


Get information on our exciting post conference workshop on

Unleashing the power of Outlook to be more productive

Building effective interpersonal skill for working with diverse personalities and thinking styles

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