Linsey Hulley, ‘Heart of a Servant,’ no job is too BIG or too SMALL for her.
Danielle Smith of Personal Assistant Magazine/EPVA Blog Online recently caught up with Linsey Hulley to discuss her extraordinary 21 years career as an Executive Assistant.
For over 21 years Linsey Hulley has built an impressive career as an Executive Assistant. She has worked in various industries such as the banking, financial, and textile industries assisting managers, professionals and executives. Currently, Linsey is an Executive Assistant to a Managing Director of an Information Technology company based in Gauteng, South Africa.
For Linsey, no job or task is too big or too small for her because she has a “Heart of a Servant.” She doesn’t prefer one industry over another because every new industry sharpens her skills and broadens her general and professional knowledge. Linsey’s main goal as an executive assistant is to serve and produce quality work for the person she works for.
EPVA: Linsey, it is so nice to communicate with you from across the Atlantic Ocean. When I learned you were from Gauteng, South Africa, I must admit I had no clue where that was, but I was excited to be able to interview you so I may get a different perspective of how EPA’s, Executive and Personal Assistants, work around the world. I was also very interested in learning more about your ‘willing heart to serve’ after you have been working as an EPA for over 21 years.
Linsey Hulley: Danielle it is very nice to communicate with you and Personal Assistant Magazine.com. Thank you for giving me this wonderful opportunity to talk to you about my experiences working as an Executive Assistant and what it means to me to have a ‘heart of a servant’.
EPVA: Many people don’t realize that when you take on a position as an assistant to an executive, entertainer, politician or whomever you are assisting, that you are serving the needs, the goals, and the visions of the person/company that you work for. What has kept you in the executive assistant role for all these years?
Linsey Hulley: My passion for the career! Working as a successful executive assistant requires both professional and personal skills. This career complements my character and personal traits as I love making a positive difference in people’s lives and in this career, you even get to see the results! I believe a successful EPA needs to have the ‘heart of a willing servant’ where no tasks are too big or too small, and to do her tasks the best way she knows how, always giving 110 percent, its always that extra that nobody forgets!
EPVA: Linsey your willing heart to serve others is so beautiful. This is the very reason why I created this platform for EPA’s because I believe that when you assist others you have to be willing to serve them selflessly without any expectations or hidden agendas.
Linsey Hulley: Yes, that is very important and also rewarding to be able to assist your boss to achieve his/her objectives and at the same time achieving yours.
EPVA: How did you first get started as an executive assistant?
Linsey Hulley: When I left school, I knew that I wanted to be in a career that involved making a positive difference in people’s lives and where no two days were the same and I would have the flexibility and opportunities to grow professionally and personally. After obtaining my Secretarial, Typing and Shorthand diplomas after I matriculated, I started working as a receptionist and this offered me the chance to work as a relief PA for when the Director’s PA’s were out of the office. Once I had a taste of this, I decided that this was what I wanted to be! I started working as a Secretary and as my skills, qualifications and experience developed over the years, I have taken on more senior positions such as Personal Assistant which in turn led me to become an Executive Assistant to a Managing Director (who is also the owner) at the Information Technology firm I currently work at. Working for senior Directors affords me the opportunity of learning vital leadership and business skills. I am loving the journey I am on!
EPVA: In the United States it is very rare to meet an EPA such as yourself that has been assisting for over 20 years without moving up the executive ladder. Usually, an executive or personal assistant position is a ‘gateway’ into the executive/management role. What is the reason why you have stayed in this career and did you ever see yourself transitioning from an assistant into an executive?
EPVA: Well, one of the reasons why I have stayed in this career as an executive assistant is because I really do like being an assistant and I don’t want to transition into an Executive position. I enjoy assisting others and yes taking on more challenging tasks and responsibilities. I just want to continue to grow in this career. I find that there are many opportunities to grow through the many PA competitions and now these competitions have even become global, offering winning PA’s the springboard and recognition to go on and start their own training companies, and doing presentations all over the world. I have friends who have left their PA careers to start their own training and presenting companies. I find that there are many opportunities to grow in this career and a person must look for them and grab them. If I was not an executive assistant, my second career choice would have been an Air Hostess.
EPVA: Wow so the PA organizations offer Executive and Personal Assistants workshops to learn, compete and win grand prizes and award winning titles.
Linsey Hulley: Yes. The professional skills I have gained during my career have been through my professional qualifications, experience, training, courses, seminars, PA groups (social media), and networking. I have enjoyed challenging and stretching myself by continuously updating the skills I need for this career, or else I think frustration would settle in quickly.
EPVA: How do you balance your role as an executive assistant to a high-profile executive and their team without offending anyone?
Linsey Hulley: I am a very good team player, always willing to help where I can and, as an extension of my Executive’s office I believe in being the best ambassador for him and the company by remaining professional, flexible, courteous and approachable always. A PA/EA who forces her ‘authority’ by ‘pulling rank’ on the rest of the staff will quickly lose respect and be seen as arrogant and self-absorbed. Whatever the case may be a PA/EA needs to remain professional always and treat everybody with the same respect and common decency that they would like to be treated with. When I need information for my Executive from my colleagues I always make sure this is done timeously (where possible) and that my communication is crystal clear to avoid any misunderstandings or frustrations down the line.
EPVA: With all that EPA’s do, especially executive assistants, do you think executive assistants title should be executive managers since they are the ones managing/coordinating and executing the many tasks for their executives?
Linsey Hulley: What I think is that some Executive Assistants definitely do perform managerial tasks whilst assisting their Executive, but do not necessarily have the title of an Executive Manager. Personally, I have been called a Senior Secretary, PA, Assistant EA and EA and whilst the essence of the job description is the same it depends on the individual and their willingness and capability of performing managerial roles. In my personal opinion even where EA/PA’s are performing managerial roles – the title is not important to me, what is important are my outputs, my contributions and the level of responsibility that will grow as I take on more and more senior tasks – this is however just my opinion and I am sure will differ from PA/EA to PA/EA.
EPVA: Linsey, interviewing you has been such a blessing to me because it reminds me to stay humble, patient and to continue to ‘serve with a willing heart.’ What advice would you offer a “newly executive/personal assistant,” a “burned out assistant,” and the “I lost my way/I’ve got the blues assistant?”
Linsey Hulley: To always remember what an important role a successful PA/EA plays. We should never take for granted the impact that we make on the organization, in a nutshell allowing our Executives to focus on their strategic tasks while we manage the administrative functions to ensure the success of the company! Always make sure you understand what is expected of you to avoid disappointment and frustrations down the line. I have a professional bodyguard called PROTECT that looks after me 24 hours a day and he has 7 assistants and they are Persevere, Resourceful, Organised, Thorough, Enthusiastic, Confident and Trustworthy. Never take things personally when working as an EA/PA as you are often the first point of contact with many people who are having a bad day, including your boss, remember every human makes mistakes, the important part is that we learn from them, remember experience comes from doing! A bad day is not a bad life! Every new day is a brand new fresh start, take charge of your own life, do what you can with what you have while you can!
In 2015, Linsey Hulley was awarded the title of semi-finalist for the PAFSA PA of the year competition, (Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants) and in 2017 she was nominated as a Top Candidate. In November 2017 she was awarded the title of Finalist for the PA of the year Africa.
To connect with Linsey Hulley please follow her on Linkedin – https://www.linkedin.com/in/linsey-hulley-471247a2/