Need assistance selling a vessel in the Mediterranean? No problems. Flight has been delayed? I will reschedule and re-organise the trip. Require a last-minute payment to be sent? Second nature to me.
My speciality is working with financial clients, particularly in small firms. It can be demanding, and is always rewarding. The requirements of the client form an array of responsibilities that I enjoy. I find that you never stop learning, adapting and evolving.
The day-to-day challenges of an Executive Assistant in a family office
There is no typical day. All the usual big expectations, large responsibilities, coordinating with managers and clients from around the world.
What is special is the requirement to bring people together, always working collaboratively to build success.
I relish meeting daily challenges, and am proud that I have been appreciated for applying these qualities in my work.
And moreover, you know what is special? Building a trusting relationship, reassuring clients, listening and showing excellent knowledge of their files. Yes, it requires diplomacy, problem solving skills and upmost confidentially. It is about giving clients the same attention or care that I offer to my own family!
At the heart of the organisation
An assistant is a the heart of a company. While the managers have a well-defined strategy for each client, the assistant needs specific skills to keep the client, and ensure the “wheels are turning” in the company. You get to learn, and do, a lot, including:
- contacting partners and preparing legal documents for the constitution of inshore and offshore companies or foundations or trusts, and also resolutions, contracts, and diligence forms
- overseeing wills for inheritance and succession planning
- opening bank accounts, and granting mandates for investments through banks or independent managers
- managing properties and copyright payments
- giving administrative assistance for billing or updating employee databases
- tax or juridical assistance including preparing tax declarations or legal actions
- organising international client travel, such as applying for visas, and booking flights, hotels or limousines
- planning trainee sessions for the staff to learn new procedures
- supervising the update of the company’s authorized signatories list of hundreds of accounts.
With all these tasks, it is, needless to say, hard to define a typical day, or even a typical moment!
Especially when on top of all else there are urgent and unexpected requests that require flexibility, and the skill – and experience- to prioritise work. My secret weapon has always been resilience and diplomacy, no matter the urgency of the task before me or who I had to deal with, whether it was a hotel concierge or a high-level banker.
It is an enjoyable, yet challenging, job. Your experience, knowledge and skills are being used to the upmost. And you cannot define yourself just as an assistant in your mind. Your job is much more than this. Especially when you must be proactive, organised, versatile, and strong enough to take responsibility when empowered by a trusting management.
Last but not the least and maybe the most important request of your day – attending to a frustrated client’s telephone call! Their flight was delayed. You need to sort out small things – but big for them – such as a means to reach a hotel, a dinner reservation when they arrive, and so on. My work will let them recover and relax for their onward journey.
Special skills for a special job
Executive assistants require the soft skills of being able to stay focused, providing genuine care and support for clients, and empathy. Things you learn are structure, respecting deadlines, how to communicate, and producing clarity whether it be in writing reports or dealing with clients.
Executive assistants do more than assist. They give support, and the non-monetary reward is the heartfelt recognition of hard work and loyalty from clients, managers and colleagues. This is why I am proud to call myself an Executive Assistant.
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