From Microsoft to the White House: Hear The Gatekeepers Behind the Business LIVE in

The conference will also see the launch of the Isipho Admin Bursary … The Isipho Admin bursary is a dream which is finally coming online in 2016 but …

white house

South Africa is to play home to an international debate, led by former Director of Events at the White House and Special Assistant to Bill Clinton, Laura Schwartz, alongside specialist EA Microsoft trainer Vickie Sokol Evans, trainer to Bill Gates’ team. Johannesburg will provide a global forum where 250 Executive Assistants will congregate at the Maslow Hotel, 19th-20th February to discuss the changing face of global businesses, in particular highlighting the pivotal role PAs now play at a middle management level and the skills needed to perform as an Assistant at the highest level.

Executive Secretary LIVE is not just opening up a platform for debate, but also offering an insight into the normally unseen world of Assistants who support some of the world’s biggest corporations and high net worth individuals. This event follows a series of events, previously held in Dubai and London, which have proved pivotal in highlighting the unseen revolution led by Assistants across the globe, and acts as a revolutionary tools for the industry.

A far cry from the stereotypical Mad Men style typing pools, todays EAs, PAs and Administrative Professionals are career driven, business savvy executives with a thirst for success and recognition.

Laura, who will deliver a keynote ‘Eat, Drink & Succeed – Behind the Scenes at the White House’’ joins other speakers including Vickie Sokol Evans – Microsoft certified trainer to Bill Gates’ team, Former Celebrity Assistant to Oscar-winning actress Olympia Dukakis & Global PA trainer Bonnie Low-Kramen, Victoria Darragh – Former EA for Hays Global and CEO of Executive and Personal Assistants Association (EPAA), South African’s own internationally renowned PA trainer Anel Martin, Global PA authority voice Eth Lloyd, and Lucy Brazier – Chair for the Global Administrative Assistants Forum, publisher, and event founder.

The conference will also see the launch of the Isipho Admin Bursary – a registered not for profit organisation, who has launched a bursary initiative to empower South African Assistants in their career development, and as a result, build the foundations for growth across businesses in South Africa.

The Isipho Admin bursary is a dream which is finally coming online in 2016 but has been in the pipeline for the last three years. The initiative aims to improve the lives of students in South Africa who aspire to become assistants.

Anel commented:

“We already have very generous sponsors who have come on board with us to fund the studies of two students for the 2016 academic year. This initiative gives established PAs a channel to give back to the profession by uplifting others who are just starting out and come from a disadvantaged background. This initiative aims to grow the next generation of exceptional assistants and we want to change lives one person at a time.

“The name of the bursary is very significant “Isipho” means gift, we as a team literally want to give the gift of admin and a fulfilling career to others. We need to mention our friend Richard Arnott and BMTG who have very generously come on board with us and will co-sponsor one of our students through the first academic year. The recipient will receive the ACEPA/Isipho Bursary. It’s early days and we hope to introduce our students formally to the world at this year’s ES LIVE in Johannesburg.”

Laura Schwartz, former Director of Events at the White House throughout the Clinton Administration commented:

“I began my journey as a volunteer. Through volunteering I learned the ins and outs of the office, it’s people and its purpose and needs. I showed a willingness to work and a work ethic not compensated by a salary but rather a work ethic guided by giving back and being responsible to an office and its people – much like as I had learned when growing up in family business.  My goals have always been centered around whether I was learning, giving back and making a difference in the lives of those I served.  As a volunteer my goal was not to see what I could “get from the experience/others” it was based on what I could “give to the experience, to the people in the office at hand.” I was able to exercise and grow the best of me without obsessing on what it was to lead to – but rather it was that attitude, the lessons learned and work ethic that lead to a staff position down the road. We can all move forward when we do our best in the present.

“I am honored to be a part of Executive Secretary LIVE because of the conference hosts’ desire and determination to empower Executive Secretaries around the world and in this case South Africa. The opportunity for PA’s will be in creating partnerships as they learn new and innovative resources, tools and ideas to further their objectives in their current positions, career and in life.

“This will be the fourth Executive Secretary LIVE that I participate in and it is because of the caliber of the conference, the care in which it is planned and executed and the professional level and manner of which the Executive Secretary LIVE performs at for each of the attendees to ensure they learn, explore and partner with others at this conference unlike any other.”

Executive Secretary LIVE is the leading international event for senior and aspiring Administrative Professionals and Executive Assistants, with events in Dubai and London, launches in Johannesburg, 19-20th February 2016 at The Maslow Hotel. For more details, and to book your place, please visit:

Insight from Laura Schwartz:

– Can you give advice for someone wanting to start out as an assistant to a high profile individual?

Put yourself forward as a member of their team.  That you are willing to step outside of the boundaries of your job at any level to ensure the work of your high profile individual can be executed successfully and with most ease as possible.  That you represent them not only in the office but outside of the workplace as well with a positive attitude, diligence, confidence, privacy and at all times the utmost professionalism.

– What advice can you give to assistants who lack confidence?

We do not all have to be a “Type A” outgoing personality to succeed.  Rather, we need to be true to ourselves and build our confidence both in practice and in study.  When we are prepared in life and work, we can be confident.  When we believe in what we are doing and how we are doing it …we can grow our confidence.  Take the time to evaluate yourself and how you can be more confident through the experience at Executive Secretary LIVE where you will be able to enhance your professional skills and personally empower yourself and your confidence through those you meet and experience LIVE with at the Maslow in Sandton.

– Why is networking key?

I could go on and on and on why networking is key to our lives both professionally and personally; at Executive Secretary LIVE and back in our offices, communities and our homes and I will when I keynote on February 20.  For now, let me say this.  Networking is the foundation of the partnerships that carry us through our lives and we carry others through theirs. Our safety nets in life are not mechanical, they are personal and it is your fellow attendees that you meet, learn and experience with at Executive Secretary LIVE that will be you biggest cheering section, safety net when you falter and full of ideas when you need to be inspired as you will indeed inspire others.

When we positively network together, we partner.  When we partner, we have endless potential.