Be inspired by our 2017 Admin Superstar

admin superstar 2017

We speak to Sam Sandford, Executive Assistant to Provost & Senior Vice President at the University of Technology Sydney on life as an EA and winning the Robert Walters Administrative Superstar Award in 2017.

How has your career progressed to where you are today?

I have worked in a variety of roles from Event Management, Motor Claims Manager, Project Officer, Executive Assistant, Receptionist and Administrative Assistant which has provided a number of opportunities and enabled me to expand my skill set.

The skills I learnt in my early days as a receptionist are still very relevant to the work I do today.  Being polite, helpful and courteous to everyone who I have contact with is essential.  It doesn’t matter what a person does or who they are, everyone is treated the same. 

I have also up-skilled through attending a management course which took me out of my comfort zone, provided me with a better understanding of how a business works and the challenges you face when managing people.

What does a typical day involve as an EA?

A typical day consists of reviewing and actioning my emails, followed by consistently reviewing my boss’s emails throughout the day.  A large part of my day also involves diary management, telephone enquiries, checking finance and travel requests, following up action items, typing up minutes and preparing agendas.  Other activities that can arise in a typical day are organising travel, expense management, catering and events.

What do you enjoy most about being an EA?

I enjoy working with other EA’s and learning about the different areas in our University which provide me with a good overall understanding of a complex organisation.

For the past two years, I have been an active member in an Executive Assistant and Administration Assistant Forum which is a working committee that organises various events and workshops for the 100+ Executive and Administration staff in the University.  This has been challenging, but fulfilling, as there are tasks associated with being an active member that I need to fit into an already busy day.  

What 3 skills are most important for an EA?

The ability to listen; respect confidentiality and attention to detail.

What advice do you have for others looking to become an EA? 

Don’t be afraid to put your hand up to try new opportunities such as project work, taking notes for a Committee or assisting someone in a different area.  If you are not sure how to do something don’t be afraid to ask for help or clarification.  

Describe what winning Administrative Superstar 2017 meant to you?

It was a complete surprise to me but at the same time, it was quite humbling to be recognised for the work I do each day in my role. 

How did you enjoy your prize?

The $2000 Flight Centre Voucher has gone towards my family travelling to New York/Washington and Hawaii.  We leave in June and have started to count down the days.