Executive Assistant Congress agenda

Sir Stamford Circular Quay, Sydney, 15-16 November 2017



Conference day one – Wednesday 15 November


08.30 Registration
09.00 Opening remarks from the chair

Celebrating the imperative role of executive assistants and understanding how it is evolving in organisations

  • Assessing the pivotal roles of EAs and the impact they have in an organisation
  • The changing and demanding role of today’s executive assistant
  • Addressing the expectations of an ideal EA and going beyond your job description
  • Differentiating your core responsibilities and the responsibilities of other colleagues

Gayle Edwards, EA to CEO, Zurich Financial Services


Partnering with your executive in business operations

  • Enabling your Executive to function at their highest levels of productivity
  • Fulfilling your role as the Executive’s most trusted strategic business partner
  • Facilitating and protecting your Executive by directing the flow of information to their office
  • Teaming up with your Executive and training them to achieve higher performance levels together

Cathryn Chawla, Service Operations Administrator, Dimension Data

10.30 Morning Tea

Applying powerful negotiation skills and strategies as an executive assistant

  • Understanding key strategies utilised by effective negotiators
  • Improving your negotiation skills and applying them to your work as an EA
  • Building your credibility and confidence by asking for what you want

Liz Van Vliet, Coach and Trainer, Being Indispensable


Panel discussion: Creating a dynamic work culture that promotes team work and minimising complications

  • Cultivating an interactive workplace that encourages support and eliminates competition
  • Increasing productivity through lifting people up and making a better workplace culture
  • Creating a strong foundation with a sense of belonging, contribution and value

Michelle Buckmaster, EA to CEO, APAC, Middle East & Africa, Aon Hewitt

Jen Sharrock, EA to the Managing Director, Alcohol & Coffee, Coca- Cola Amatil

Michelle Galjaardt, EA to Assistant Secretary Enterprise Governance, Department of Defence

Sarah Gonzales, Program Coordinator, Business Change and Solution Delivery, Transport for NSW

12.30 Lunch

Developing your emotional intelligence as an executive assistant

  • Understanding how emotional intelligence works in assisting you to build positive relationships
  • Managing energy and emotion to influence more broadly
  • Increasing positivity through strengthening emotional intelligence

Anthony Bonnici, Speaker, Trainer & Coach


Applying effective diary and email management techniques in a paperless environment

  • Efficiently dealing with a world of distractions, competing priorities and interests
  • Directing activities and handling pressing issues
  • Keeping up with what’s happening in the office with minimal disturbance

Yasmin Noakes, EA to CEO, ANSTO


Afternoon Tea


Panel discussion: Discovering new challenges in your career path and furthering your professional and personal development

  • Enhancing your professional career through crafting your professional identity
  • Finding the next advancement in your career through setting up career aspirations and performance goals
  • Leveraging your strengths and progressing from your current role with exciting new challenges

Sarah Gonzales, Program Coordinator, Business Change and Solution Delivery, Transport for NSW

Michelle Buckmaster, EA to CEO, APAC, Middle East & Africa, Aon Hewitt

Gayle Edwards, EA to CEO, Zurich Financial Services

Tania Rizoski, Manager, Business & Membership Services, The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia


Networking: how to make genuine and useful connections without feeling intimidated or overwhelmed

  • Recognise networking opportunities
  • Stop networking dread and start enjoying it (Really!)
  • Techniques and tips to develop networking skills
  • How to avoid the three traps of trying to influence without authority
  • Meet other EAs in and out of your department

Zoë Routh, Leadership Speaker, Trainer and Adventurist, Author of COMPOSURE and MOMENTS

 17.00 Networking drinks reception – take advantage of this exciting opportunity to put your newly learned networking skills to practice


Conference day two – Thursday 16 November 2017

9.00 Opening remarks from the chair

Navigating diverse personalities and thinking styles in the workplace

  • Building your interpersonal skills to enhance your self-awareness
  • Recognising and adapting to personality types and working styles in others
  • Responding to difficult personalities and uncomfortable situations

Abby Rees, Executive Coach and Director, PUNK PD

  • The 100 hats of a successful Executive Assistant
  • Being your authentic self
  • Maximising your influence and making an impact
  • Stepping up – creating opportunities and responsibilities without exerting positional authority
  • Engaging in a meaningful way with your Executive team
  • Painting your way as a great EA

Anthony Carthew, EA to CEO, Sydney Opera House

10.40 Morning Tea

Panel discussion: Realising the role of a mentor and the benefits of mentorship

  • Understanding what a mentor can provide and the significant personal and professional benefits
  • What’s better than learning from your own mistakes? Leaning from other people’s mistakes
  • Seizing career mentoring opportunities for senior EAs and assessing the mutual benefits of the relationship

Anthony Carthew, EA to CEO, Sydney Opera House

Tessa Curtain, EA to Chief Customer Officer, NAB

Sam Leckie, EA to CEO, The Australian

Linda Viskovic, EA to Deputy Secretary, Growth, Design and Programs, NSW Department of Planning and Environment


Panel Discussion: Tips from the top – what are your executives expecting?

  • Building mutual respect between EAs and their executives
  • What do executives require from their EAs?
  • Supporting EAs in their role to support you as an executive
  • Assisting the boss with key performance indicators

 Gilly Neeley, National Manager, People and Integrity, Austrac

Fatima Abas, Director People and Culture, Sydney Opera House

David Coyne, Regional Manager, NSW Sydney Region, National Disability Insurance Agency

12.50 Lunch

Interactive roundtables for personal growth and development


These inspiring roundtable discussions will enable you to discuss and exchange ideas with other fellow EAs from different government departments. Make a difference from today on:

  • Crafting Your Professional Identity: How to create a professional identity that enhances your career, reputation and wellbeing – Abby Rees, Director, PUNK PD
  • Effective Minute taking in Meetings: Explore topics and techniques to capture effective minutes for all the different types of meetings you attend – Mario Halouvas, National Learning & Development Manager, Priority Management Australia
  • Influencing: taking ownership and exerting influence in your workplace – Anthony Bonnici, Speaker, Trainer & Coach
  • Managing Up: managing your manager – Liz Van Vliet, Coach and Trainer, Being Indispensable

Your Time Matters: Creating the freedom to focus on what matters most


At a point in Australia’s history when productivity is becoming so critical and new technology is rapidly emerging, we invite you to this presentation to hear the latest research on how information overload affects your productivity and you can use technology to simplify your duties as an Assistant.

  • Increase your productivity through 5 core Time Management principles
  • Achieve your goals through greater focus and energy
  • Focus on the important whilst better managing distractions
  • Discover new technology and program applications that can support you as an EA
  • Don’t live your life in the default mode
  • Mater the technical skills and overcome the challenges of new technology with your senior executive

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


Closing remarks from the chair and end of conference