Everybody should go to ‘Executive Secretary Live’ at least once in their lives

Mark Bailey – Head of Content & Partnerships at meetingsclub attends ‘Executive Secretary LIVE’ which he says was “Out of this World!” 

I was trying to count up the other day how many conferences, meeting and events I have either organised or attended over the past 30 years.  It’s a lot.  Into the hundreds. 

Many of them I’ve forgotten.  Just three stand out and will always be rememberedThe first was when I attended a small dining presentation evening with Apollo 16 Astronaut Charlie Duke and heard first-hand how he found a wedding ring in space!  The second, an unforgettable experience for all the wrong reasons a conference on a North Sea Ferry in a Force 9 Gale.  And last but certainly NOT least  ‘Executive Secretary LIVE’ London 2019.  

So why does ‘Executive Secretary LIVE’ make my all–time Top 3? And why do I firmly believe that all aspiring Administrative Professionals and Executive Assistants should attend this amazing event at least once in their career? 

Well here’s 5 good reasons: 



Glancing though the Executive Secretary LIVE conference programme is like reading a who’s who of top-class speakers.  All are relevant, at the top of their game and can motivate, inspire and provide really powerful take-away top tips. It might be a strange thing to say, but every person who took to the stage spoke to me ‘personally’ during each of their dynamic presentations – a rare and valuable gift.

So where to start?  Well it’s impossible to cover every single nugget from each session and besides, you need to hear the messages for yourself.  But here’s a little more information about each speaker, plus my personal Top Tip Takeaway:

Diana Brandl

The Future of Work: How to Become a Smart, Agile and Digital Leader

Diana Brandl describes herself as Digital Native and has recently worked in the start-up world, where she rediscovered her role as a management assistant with 17 years of professional experience within the New Work generation. She teaches first-hand what it means to work with Millennial Managers and how important Storytelling is in sharpening a profile. Diana continuously supports the role of the management assistant by speaking at international events and publishing various articles on Digital Transformation, Personal Branding and Social Media. Diana writes her own blog The Socialista Projects and is influencing the industry with her creative initiatives such as launching the hashtag #WeAreInThisTogether. 

Check out:  https://youtu.be/vCNQSdA1Avo

TOP TIP: Don’t fear Siri or Alexa! See them as the Assistant’s Assistant

Sarah Richson

Boost your Career Through Emotional Intelligence (EI)

Sarah Richson started her career as an Executive Personal Assistant but transformed her career path through her passion for people, to become one of the world’s top human development thought leaders. Developing grass root talent and unleashing hidden potential in others is the driving force in Sarah’s life. She is an award-winning speaker and trainer who advocates for empowering lives of local communities with inspirational mentorship programmes. Sarah works with Assistants on topics such as emotional intelligence and personal branding, that inspire and build the Assistant to become a professional and as a holistic individual.


Check out:  https://youtu.be/NtdCmU1r0CE

TOP TIP: Unpack your emotional intelligence – Self Awareness – Self Management – Social Awareness – Social Management.  

Melissa Esquibel

Getting Ahead by Getting in Front of the Room

Melissa specializes in transforming those confused by technology into empowered users of their software tools. She’s also an amazing communicator and public speaker.  As a Microsoft Certified Trainer and Microsoft Office Specialist Master with more than 25 years in business application technology, Melissa has a unique ability to make learning programme enjoyable.   Through her great sense of humour and passion she empowers the “non-geek” with technology tools. Her passion also extends into helping EAs and PAs become proficient in public speaking through practice, practice, practice:


Check Out:   https://youtu.be/qJmnjvzc1oI

TOP TIP: Get comfortable about being passionate in the work place because it is far easy to communicate when you’re passionate.  Passion + Purpose = Performance

Helen Monument

A Leader, Who Me?

Helen Monument inspires and encourages Assistants to be the best they can be, thanks to 30 years of experience as a management support professional. Her career has taken her through many stages, from Secretary to Office Manager and Business Support Team Leader, so she understands the profession inside out.  Helen has recently launched her new venture Monumental Assistance offering coaching, counselling, mentoring and training to assistants at all levels and is a really entertaining conference speaker thanks to her open and honest style.

Check Out:  http://executivesecretary.com/a-leader-me/

TOP TIP: Authentic leaders are self- aware, care about people and don’t just think about the cash.  They’re not afraid to be vulnerable or show their emotions

Libby Moore

Tips from the Top

Libby Moore is a Certified Life Coach, speaker/storyteller, adventurer and creative connector, who loves inspiring people to reconnect to Possibility in their life and career. Earlier in her career, Libby served as Chief of Staff to Oprah Winfrey for 11 years, through to the end of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Libby was also the Personal Assistant to Maury Povich, who she credits for launching her Executive Assistant career and currently lives a creative and inspired life splitting her time between America, South Africa and Canada



Check Out: https://youtu.be/jyMw9Oato4U

TOP TIP: If they fire you for telling the truth and being authentic, at least you are leaving with your integrity in tact 

Carol Schulte

Communicate Your Confidence and Magnify Your Presence

As the creator of Spark your GENIUS, Carol Schulte is on a mission to empower people to think bigger in their work and personal lives. From volunteering in HIV+ orphanages, shaving her head (and raising $10,000 to boot!) and bungee jumping in her birthday suit, she walks her walk and talks her talk.  Committed to helping individuals get out of their comfort zones and achieve what they never thought possible, Carol has lived, worked, volunteered and travelled to over 30 countries bringing a unique global perspective. She holds a BFA in theatre performance, an MA in Communication and is a contributor of two published books, ‘One Red Lipstick’ and ‘Life Messages – Enterprising Hearts.’ 

Check Out: https://youtu.be/8BHJ9l3S9DI

TOP TIP: Just remember, Communication is7% words, 38% vocals and 55% body language 

Vickie Sokol Evans

Timesaving (and jaw-dropping) tips when working with IMAGES

Vickie Sokol Evans literally makes audiences’ jaws drop! Author of the bestselling “100 Tips” series for both PC & Mac, Vickie is one of the leading tech trainers in the world. Witty and sharp, Vickie shows how to get the most from Microsoft Office, teaching Assistants tricks to turn what usually takes hours into solutions that take minutes. Mind blowing – she even works with Bill Gates’s Admin helping to save time and deliver better results! 




Check out : https://youtu.be/46yvRObqoSk 

Top Tip: The Tech-Savy Assistant uses and embraces relevant technology, developing plans with their employer to determine how their skill will be developed and maintained each year. 


Many conferences are flat, lack atmosphere and frankly are not places to spend much time in. Executive Secretary LIVE smashes that idea. As soon as you walk through the doors you can absolutely feel the energy.  People are talking, smiling and full of eager anticipation.  Introductions are happening all around.  Ideas and help are readily shared in a spirit of openness and cooperation. Any newbie immediately feels part of the ‘family’. You’re certainly not alone in a community that understands and has exactly the same challenges you have – the same hopes and fears.   

Country borders are no boundary either to friendship and fellowship – in the London audience, 25 countries were represented, a true United Nation of Administrative Professionals and Executive Assistants.  Plus there were literally hundreds taking part around the World as Twitter went into meltdown and #execseclive trended worldwide for all to see.  As for the singing and dancing at 0900 on a Saturday morning at the start of conference – well that just has to be seen to be believed.  Check this out:  

Special mention must be made of two motivational guest speakers who had delegates in tears of joy and sadness in equal measure.  Florence Katono is a truly amazing storyteller.  The Conference programme said: when she speaks you can hear a pin drop.  You could!  Pitman ‘PA of the Year’ Florence overcame all of the odds and in an emotional and highly charged presentation spoke with such moving passion about refusing to be defined by what your today is 

Follow that.  Well Steven Robinson in his afternoon slot did and you could hear sharp intakes of breath as Yorkshireman Steve, took delegates on his remarkable life journey.  Losing his right arm at 18 in a motorbike accident was just the start for this inspirational man who subsequently designed his own prosthetic arm to be the World’s first one armed pilot.  But that was only part of Steve’s story for this entrepreneurial genius, who left school with no qualifications.  Steve went on to gain a degree in computing, ran a successful business and then got back on a motorbike with his own special arm made from a mannequins dummy.  Such an honour to meet this man. 


Don’t worry, I’m not quite losing the plot.  But yes, there was an ironing board that made an appearance – more of that in a minute.  Events like Executive Secretary LIVE can only work if delegates attend and suppliers support financially. The exhibition market place of suppliersstrategically located in the refreshment areais a great source of information, advice and help.  Organisations range from those offering event management booking systems to purveyors of fine chocolate gifts.  You might initially think about selectively missing out this part of the event programme but that really would be a mistake.   

The “Soap Box” session at the end of the day is a fun, “quick fire” one-minute opportunity for company representatives to address delegates and share some interesting facts and information about their organisations.  The winner, as judged by the audience “clapometer” was Emily Newstead from Bow Gifts who literally started her business on an ironing board in the kitchen!  Today Bow Gifts is a major supplier of specialist corporate gifts to businesses all over the World. 


It’s true that Executive Secretary LIVE is full on. But summon up the energy to attend the two social events and you’ll be glad you did.  Both were further opportunities to network and meet new people in a relaxed environment – the perfect way to wind down after busy plenary sessions.  London offered two great evenings.  Underground cellars, complete with large wooden benches was the setting for a Medieval Banquet.  Wine and beer flowed and the entertainment world-class.  I’m still trying to work out how the contortionists did what they did!  Saturday evening and the Executive Secretary LIVE Gala Dinner was held in Altitude 360 on the 29th floor of Westminster’s tallest building.  Great food, great company and just a little dancing along the way… 


The last thing I thought I’d be doing at Exec Sec Live was singing in a choir!  It was over 40 years ago when I lost my soprano voice, this coinciding with the last time I sang in publicBut thanks to the enthusiasm of Musical Director Helen Rees I joined 50 others and am so glad I did.  

In the UK, the idea of Workplace Choirs has really taken off. Businesses countrywide now have staff that meet once a week for a good old sing-song. Three years ago, Helen introduced the idea at a LIVE event and the rest they say is history.  Helen performed miracles with our group, many of whom thought they couldn’t sing.  But two one rehearsals later and pretty much from a standing start we were ready to perform THIS IS ME from the sound track of the Greatest Showman. 

Nervous?  Yes!  Excited?  Yes! And at the end of our performance we were receiving a standing ovation from our fellow delegates, colleagues and now friends!  Wow! 

The choir was a genius idea and a metaphor overall for this great event.  People joining together with a common vision, prepared to to give it a go and step outside of their comfort zones, striving to learn, make a difference and above all have fun. 


I couldn’t have put it better myself! 


I can’t finish without mentioning one or two people. Lucy Brazier for her vision, passion and enthusiasm. Matthew Want a consummate professional and someone who is always one step ahead of the game. Marion Lowrence for her excellent event management and organisational skills.  And last, but not least Jon Lowrence who amongst many other things took some great photos. 

Executive Secretary LIVE  is a must attend event at least once in your career. For details of forthcoming Exec Sec Live’s go to: http://executivesecretarylive.com/