BMTG (UK) Ltd are delighted to continue our series of ACEA Alumni interviews with the wonderful Vicki Faint. Vicki is the Executive Assistant to the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Vicki is also AAPNZ Wellington Group President and the AAPNZ National First Vice-President.
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
Thank you for asking me to do this interview.
I hold a NZ Diploma in Business Administration. Throughout the last 20 years of my career I have been working for Chief Executives and / or Partners. I am currently working for the Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive Officer of Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand and have held this position since 2009.
In my role, I am the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Assistant where I provide high-level strategic management support, clerical and business assistance, plus direction and guidance to the VC to support the VC in the achievement of his strategic priorities and business goals and objectives.
I joined the Association of Administrative Professionals of New Zealand (AAPNZ) Inc in 2007 after winning the 2017 AAPNZ Administrative Professional of the Year Award.
I continue to be an active certified member of AAPNZ where I am currently the AAPNZ Wellington Group President and the AAPNZ National First Vice-President.
I am working with the World Administrators Summit (WAS) Advisory Council on the Skills Set Taskforce.
I live in the suburbs of Upper Hutt, Wellington with my husband and our two dogs. I enjoy meeting new people and cultures. I like to do handcrafts and exercise in my downtime.
Where and when did you attend your ACEA® training and who delivered it?
I attended ACEA® when it came to Sydney for the first time in 2018.
There are many training courses available for Executive Assistants. Why did you choose ACEA® in particular?
I have been following ACEA for a while as I am an active follower of Lucy Brazier’s Executive Secretary Live and Magazine. ACEA was not yet in New Zealand, however, I was attending Executive Secretary Live in Sydney and discovered that the ACEA was in Sydney the week following ESLive. I was extremely fortunate enough that my employer was happy for me to attend both training sessions. Such high-level training is not available in New Zealand for Executive / Management Assistants.
I believe think ACEA combines all the content that executive and management assistants need to have in their skillset especially as we talk more and more about operational and strategic skills. ACEA is an outstanding course that left me exhausted from learning every day. ACEA offers a safe learning platform that allows you to explore, learn and develop new networks with international peers.
What were your favourite subjects covered and why?
People Management & Leadership and Project Management and Strategy were my favourite topics.
People Management and Leadership – because I manage one / two administrators and manage the Vice-Chancellor’s (albiet – unwritten) office.
Project Management and Strategy – because at the time of attending, I wanted to understand and to learn more strategically to work stronger and more effectively with the Vice-Chancellor in his strategic directions for the University.
In both these areas I wanted to be able to come away from the ACEA knowing how to implement my learnings to my fullest potential.
I am now helping with the Victoria University of Wellington Strategic Plan Refresh and managing another staff member, which without the training I would have felt overwhelmed and / or not confident to take on these extra tasks.
Has achieving ACEA® helped you personally or in your career?
ACEA is an internationally recognised certification, which helps with international professional recognition for the work we do.
As mentioned above, without this certification, I would not have had the confidence and knowledge to take on the extra strategic opportunity that has been offered to me.
there anything in particular that you remember returning to the office with and implementing?
I came back to the office putting not so much “new processes” into place, but more new thinking and realigning my go to thought patterns; ie; understanding that multi-tasking for a modern EA is more about delivery on multiple tasks, being organised and being able to prioritise.
Recognising that when people say multi-tasking they really mean task switching.
Learning to say No as a sentence.
And really getting to grips with leadership vs management. Leaders do the right things, managers do things right.
Right now, as I write this, New Zealand has had its first ever terrorist attack which has put our country into great sadness and shock. Our Prime Minister has shown not only NZ but the world what leadership truly is by simply “doing the right things”.
If a friend or colleague asked you to convince them to attend ACEA® what would you say to them?
I have already convinced quite a few people from my network to join ACEA when it is here in New Zealand later this year.
Thank you Vicki for your time. We look forward to seeing you at Executive Secretary Live and when ACEA comes to Welling in July 2019