Public Sector Executive Assistant Congress 2022 – Draft Agenda

7th Public Sector Executive Assistant Congress – Draft Agenda

16-17 November 2022; Canberra


Panel Discussion:
Practicing leadership as an EA without positional authority

  • Knowing your responsibilities and entitlements as a core support for your executive
  • Establishing a strong rapport with your executive and colleagues as an equal
  • Standing your ground when others unfairly dismiss your input
  • Taking your vital role within the organisation seriously as a modern EA

Jess Zdanowicz, Senior APS Professional and Former Senior EA (tentative)
Mary-Elizabeth Denmark, Executive Assistant, Macquarie University
Tracy Coutts, Executive Assistant, Australian Climate Service

Kathleen Harvey, Executive Assistant, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
Jillian Gilmartin
, Executive Assistant to First Assistant Secretary, Service Delivery, Department of Defence


Communicating clearly and constructively with your executive, colleagues, and clients

  • Identifying the different personality types of each individual
  • Approaching every conversation with a productive and professional attitude
  • Preparing for communication challenges across new cultures and organisations
  • Sharing your thoughts and ideas in an efficient and clear way
  • Valuing your own expertise and value as an active participant in professional communications

Madeline Bonfini, Director, RD Consulting


Managing potential conflict and finding solutions in the modern workplace

  • Highlighting the role of EAs in the Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous world
  • Knowing what behavioural dynamics are operating and how to let go of frustrations
  • Building understanding before conflict becomes unacceptable
  • Building strong and respectful relationships to support constructive discussion 
  • Identifying the importance of constructive conflict in joint problem solving 

Kim Vella, Founder and Chief Coach, Kim Vella Coaching


Fireside Chat:
Building a formidable EA/Executive partnership

  • Uncovering the foundations of an exceptional EA/Executive team
  • Navigating the process of relationship-building within your duo
  • Understanding the spoken and unspoken needs of your business partner
  • Reflecting on past opportunities to build an even stronger EA/Executive team

Tracy Caine, Executive Assistant to the CEO, Australian Institute of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Studies
Craig Ritchie
, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Institute of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander Studies


Taking care of your wellbeing in a difficult era for administrative professionals

  • Reframing the challenges for EAs in recent years as legitimately challenging, or even traumatic
  • Communicating authentically about your personal challenges with your executive
  • Recognising the early warning signs of overwork and mental ill-health, in yourself and others
  • Developing practical skills and exercises to be resilient in challenging situations

Karina Dugard, Senior Coach and Facilitator, Exhale People


Panel Discussion:
Mapping your career trajectory as a high-achieving EA

  • Developing “senior EA” skills in procurement and budgeting areas
  • Communicating a unique and memorable personal brand in every interaction
  • Networking with purpose to make connections outside of your immediate circle
  • Building confidence and decisiveness as a career-focused Executive Assistant

Ruby Lambert, Executive Assistant, Bureau of Meteorology
Jenny Whitehouse
, Executive Assistant, Reserve Bank of Australia
Chantel Gleeson-Abdilla
, Executive Assistant to the Chief Information Officer, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications, and the Arts
Leanne Geach
, Executive Assistant to the First Assistant Secretary, Southeast Asia Regional Division, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Casey-Marie De Veau
, Executive Assistant to Chief Operating Officer, AUSTRAC


Becoming a change champion in your workplace

  • Utilising the EA position and skillset to motivate organisational change
  • Anticipating future shifts and emerging needs to prepare early
  • Managing stress and uncertainty in a changing world
  • Developing a flexible and resilient approach to change


Panel Discussion:
Identifying the responsibilities and opportunities of the modern EA

  • Dispelling out-dated assumptions about your place in the organisation
  • Articulating the scope of your work clearly to reduce misunderstandings
  • Enforcing healthy boundaries to work effectively with your colleagues
  • Challenging the gendered assumptions of EA work
  • Championing the irreplaceable EA—you!

Shannon Edwards, Executive Assistant to the COO, Attorney-General’s Department
Sharna Lawler
, Executive Assistant to Director Health Intelligence Unit, Western NSW Local Health District
Natalie Apostoloska
, Executive Assistant to the Chief Digital Officer, Australian Digital Health Agency


Collaborating strategically with multiple stakeholders

  • Communicating effectively with internal and external stakeholders
  • Diffusing tense situations in a professional manner
  • Utilising multiple communication methods to connect more efficiently
  • Connecting with stakeholder’s priorities and concerns to deliver swift results

Chris Huet, Director and Lead Coach, Understood Consulting Services


Utilising your EA skillset to become a project management expert

  • Understanding the operational overlap between project management and the EA role
  • Leading a high-performing team in a dynamic project environment
  • Leveraging your increasing responsibilities as an EA to develop new skills
  • Building rapport with co-workers and stakeholders
  • Achieving positive outcomes with a strong project management team

Brendon Le Lievre, Founder and Lead Coach, Hare Consulting


Overcoming the challenges of the “new normal” of hybrid work

  • Achieving executive buy-in for your ideal working arrangements
  • Developing a productive team workflow across a geographically dispersed workplace
  • Establishing and maintaining a productive relationship with your executive, no matter the location.
  • Troubleshooting common technical issues for EAs in hybrid work

Carly Hartas, Founder and Director, Country to Coast EA


Senior Exec Panel:
Understanding the skills and features of an exceptional EA

  • Identifying the most useful support that an EA can provide
  • Comparing the support provided by EAs in the past to EAs today
  • Addressing the key concerns around working with a senior executive
  • Creating a high-performance team between an EA and their executive

Carol Cote, Assistant Secretary Finance, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications, and the Arts

Tony Castley, Chief Information Officer/Chief Information Security Officer, Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications, and the Arts

Cameron Gifford, Chief Operating Officer, Attorney-General’s Department

Managing your time effectively to support your executive

  • Identifying the high priority tasks for your principal
  • Arranging your working day according to your needs and strengths
  • Communicating with your executive and colleagues to perfect your workflow
  • Identifying the value of rest and recovery now for better outcomes tomorrow


Working efficiently as an EA within the Public Sector framework

  • Evaluating the key similarities and differences between public sector organisations
  • Mapping the core policies and procedures of your government agency
  • Mastering the ‘voice’ and style of public sector communications
  • Connecting with other public organisations as an EA when necessary