Public Sector Executive Assistant Congress agenda

Hyatt Hotel, Canberra – 1-2 August 2018



Conference day one – Wednesday 1 August

08.30 Registration
09.00 Opening remarks from the chair

Keynote address: The valuable role executive assistants are playing to support the Australian government

  • What’s the role of executive assistants in the Australian public sector?
  • What should the ‘ideal’ EA bring to the Public Sector?
  • Celebrating the significant role EAs are playing

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

Penny Hughes, Executive Assistant to Deputy Chief of Army, Department of Defence

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

10.50 Morning Tea

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


Applying powerful communication strategies and skills

  • Effectively using language and behaviour patterns to influence
  • Building confidence and credibility in communication
  • Exerting authority without positional power
  • Enhancing professional presence when communicating
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 a/g Australian Government Chief Digital Officer, Digital Transformation Agency

Rachael Lister, Executive Assistant to Deputy Mayor & Chairman, Brisbane City Council


Leading without positional authority – building effective leadership skills

  • Building a positive and can-do attitude
  • Leading and managing the office during stressful situations
  • Exploring effective approaches to managing up
  • Supporting and inspiring others

Anneli Blundell, Language and Behaviour specialist, Motivation Matters


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


Making the most of networking opportunities

  • Understanding the business case for effective networking
  • What are the social networking opportunities I should go?
  • Meeting EAs within and out of your organisation
  • Tips and advice for networking
  • Using networking to your professional advantage
 17.00 Networking drinks reception – 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
  Georgina Whelan, AM, CSC and Bar, Chief Officer, ACT State Emergency Service

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 Prime Minister and Cabinet

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

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
 12.10 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

Amanda Maclarn, EA to General Manager, Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

Carissa Elliott, Executive Assistant to Chief Executive, Vicroads

12.55 Lunch

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


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 confernce