6th NZ Public Sector Executive Assistant Congress – Agenda

Be inspired, enabled and empowered to excel in your career


Conference Day One – Wednesday 22 November

9.00       Welcome and opening remarks from the chair


9.10       Learning from Te Ao Māori to uplift your wellbeing and achieve work-life balance

  • Incorporating positive habits to enhance your mental and physical health
  • Recognising the signs of burnout and asserting your boundaries
  • Becoming a reliable listener and caring for your team’s wellbeing
  • Building resilience in challenging times to bounce back from adversity

    Jase Te Patu, TED Talk Speaker, Wellbeing Advocate, Founder, M3 Wellbeing


10.00    Cultivating relationships to grow your network

  • Communicating strategically to make and maintain connections
  • Assessing the purposes and types of professional communication
  • Overcoming fears around networking and raising your voice
  • Fostering a culture of connection and collaboration within your networks


Lisa Leilua, Executive Assistant to Deputy Secretary Regional Partnerships and Service Delivery, Ministry for Pacific Peoples


10.50    Morning coffee


11.15    Elevating your confidence by learning and practicing self-empowerment

  • Exploring the qualities which make you great and how these benefit your workplace
  • Conquering imposter syndrome by knowing your value
  • Communicating and sharing your needs and aspirations with your Executive
  • Raising your voice and exerting a positive influence in your workplace

    Joanne Gallop, Executive Assistant to Chief Executive and Team Leader Executive Support, Chair AdmiNZ Board, Christchurch City Council


12.00    Senior Executive panel discussion
Aligning your mindset with your Senior Executive to strengthen your strategic partnership

  • Unpacking what is required within your strategic partnership
  • Listing the skills, experiences, and values that Senior Executives seek
  • Communicating effectively to foster a great working relationship
  • Learning to be proactive in predicting and fulfilling your Senior Executive’s needs

Lil Anderson, Chief Executive, Te Arawhiti – Office for Māori Crown Relations

Rex Capil, Deputy Chief Executive and General Manager Community Services, Gore District Council

Anna Calver, General Manager Council Controlled Organisations and Economic Wellbeing, Wellington City Council

Kenneth Bailey, General Manager Community Services, Queenstown Lakes District Council


12.45    Lunch


13.45   Creating your unique professional brand and setting yourself apart

  • Incorporating your personality into all aspects of your professional practice
  • Articulating your value and asserting what makes you great in job applications
  • Utilising your uniqueness to remain relevant in competitive professional landscapes
  • Enhancing your confidence and self-worth by empowering your greatest assets


Karen Whittaker, Executive Assistant to General Manager Community Services, Queenstown Lakes District City Council

Topaz River, Executive Assistant to the Mayor, Queenstown Lakes District City Council


14.25    Leveraging your skills in project management to expand your developmental opportunities

  • Exploring the essential skills and knowledge that Executive Assistants need to know
  • The phases of project management that form the backbone of your operation’s livelihood
  • Transferring project management skills into new career opportunities
  • Keeping track of your projects with the best project management tools

Cece Yuhoi, Project Coordinator and Executive Assistant, Ministry for the Environment


15.10    Afternoon tea


15.30    Panel discussion:

Becoming a strategic leader to partner with your Senior Executives and propel your team         to success

  • Conceptualising methods of strategic leadership
  • Identifying opportunities to become a strategic leader
  • Visualising strategic plans to solve complex problems and achieve evidence-based results
  • Aligning your goals and actions with that of your executive and organisation

Carolyn Davies, Executive Assistant, Southland District Council

Tai Samaeli, ACE Sector Capability Manager, ACE Aotearoa
Joanne Gallop, Executive Assistant to Chief Executive and Team Leader Executive Support, Chair AdmiNZ Board, Christchurch City Council


14.15    Mastering time management to maximise your efficiency

  • Maximising productivity and mitigating procrastination
  • Eliminating roadblocks to effective time management
  • Reclaiming and reinvesting hours of your time by doing the ‘right’ work
  • Maintaining momentum when demands and workloads are high

    Tai Samaeli, ACE Sector Capability Manager, ACE Aotearoa


17.10 End of conference day one and Networking Drinks



Conference day 2 – Thursday 23 November


9.00       Opening remarks from the chair


9.10       Panel discussion:
Identifying opportunities to refine your expertise and blossom your career

  • Refining the core skills that are transferrable across multiple careers paths
  • Gaining the support of your Executive in reaching your goals
  • Exploring the development journeys available through your experience as an Executive Assistant
  • Seeking out learning and development opportunities to broaden your employability

Caitlin Yeoman,
Senior Executive Assistant to Chief Allied Health professions Officer, Ministry of Health

Joanne Graham, Board Secretary and Executive Assistant to Chief Executive Officer, Landcare Research
Fiona Campbell,
Senior Executive Assistant Office of the Deputy Director-General, Ministry of Health


9.55       Establishing the foundations for powerful and effective communication to enhance your

  • Understanding the reasoning and goals behind strategic communication
  • Communicating sensitively with empathy foregrounding your interactions
  • Achieving greater comprehension of your Senior Executive and organisation’s needs
  • Engaging and influencing your virtual audiences with ease and confidence


Vanessa Franks, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive, Hutt City Council


10.40    Morning coffee


11.10    Exploring how technological innovation impacts the role of the Executive Assistant

  • Identifying emergent technologies which best support your executive
  • Exploring how Executive Assistants might utilise AI technologies such as ChatGPT
  • Communicating and collaborating in virtual environments with influence and ease
  • Clarifying methods of safely and efficiently storing your organisations’ data


Stephen Clarke, Virtual Chief Data Officer, AI/ML, Data & Information Management Consultant


11.55     Panel Discussion:

Future-proofing your career by preparing for the workplaces of tomorrow

  • Mapping future expectations and responsibilities of Executive Assistants
  • Becoming the tech-savvy saviours of your workplace
  • Operating as an extension of your executive to deliver results
  • Empathy – your new secret weapon to understanding and achieving success


Rachel Phillips, Executive Assistant to the Hospital and Specialist Services Tairāwhiti, New Zealand Health

Tracey Hughes, Executive Assistant to General Manager Building Resources and Markets Group, Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
Ness Franks,
Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive, Hutt City Council



12.40    Lunch


13.40     Level up your use of Microsoft Suite to enhance your efficiency and teamwork

  • Learning the intricacies of the suite to best support your executive and organisation
  • Managing your dream team with Microsoft Teams
  • Keeping track of and organising tons of information with OneNote
  • Streamlining your organisation’s communication with Outlook


Tam Bagnall, Modern Work Specialist, Microsoft


14.25 Embracing change as an opportunity to improve your supportive skills

  • Remaining resilient when change demands high workloads
  • Learning new priorities and ideals when there are changes in Executive leadership
  • Fostering positive relationships and reaching productive outcomes when values conflict
  • Supporting your team and yourself in times of crisis and chaos

Debbie Gee, Project, Programme and Change Manager, Director, Flourish Consulting


15.10    End of conference day two and closing remarks



Post-conference Workshops – Friday November 24

Workshop 1: Preparing complex documents as an EA in the public sector

Debbie Gee, Project, Programme and Change Manager, Director, Flourish Consulting


Clear writing is an acquired skill, not an art, and some simple techniques make all the difference. In this workshop, you will sharpen skills and develop techniques that you can put to immediate use:

  • Define precisely the purpose of writing.
  • Express complex ideas clearly.
  • Increase the readability of text.
  • Control ideas in sentences and paragraphs.
  • Develop a list of words or phrases that shouldn’t appear in text.
  • Structure content to suit the needs of readers.
  • Follow New Zealand Government style.
  • Minimise errors in text.

Don’t miss this opportunity to learn the ‘language’ of senior executives, and transform your supportive work as a master EA.


Workshop 2: Working Smarter – managing your workload and priorities for you and your Executive using Outlook

Tam Bagnall, Modern Work Specialist, Microsoft


This workshop has been specifically customised to target the workload and challenges faced by an EA’s/PA’s daily. You will unlock the true power of Outlook as an organisational and communications tool as well as find more efficient ways to conduct your work and fine tune your processes that you use with your Executive. Tam will share some brilliant tips and shortcuts to make your life more efficient as well as share processes that you can use directly with your Executive to free up more of their time.

After completing this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Manage your workload more efficiently and effectively
  • Sharpen your Outlook skill set to gain increased productivity and enhance your on-the-job performance
  • Know exactly what to do next and deal with competing priorities
  • Become more Pro-Active less Re-Active
  • Focus on the important whilst managing distractions better
  • Manage your inbox and your Executive’s inbox more effectively
  • Streamline your communication process between you and your Executive