Executive Leadership Support Forum: Toronto: Speaker Interview

Antonia Gonzalez
Executive Assistant to CEO

Antonia has been working for the past 8 years as the personal assistant to John Bianchini, Chief Executive Officer of Hatch, an international engineering company based in Mississauga, Canada. She arrived in Canada when she was only 14 years old and settled in Montreal, Quebec. In 1989, Antonia graduated from St. Lawrence College with a degree in Business Administration. She was immediately employed by Montreal’s second largest General Contractor, Magil Construction, and shortly after, became the assistant to the Vice Estimating and Contracts. After 15 years of assisting executives at various consulting engineering firms and providing translation work for Immigration Canada, Antonia went back to the University of Montreal to study Anthropology. She enjoys mostly interacting with people from various backgrounds and nationalities. The fact that she speaks five languages enables her to reach out to shy individuals and make them feel included in social and community activities.

Antonia will be one of the distinguished presenters at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Toronto.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Toronto important for executive assistants?
In today’s business world where practically every aspect of communication can be executed remotely it is important to recognize the importance of human-to-human connection which is both unpredictable and invaluable for sharing, learning and having fun with our peers.

Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?
Attended 2-3 day workshops offered by Canadian Management Centre in Toronto.

What is one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum?
I hope to learn different ways of coping with increasingly demanding task of keeping up with information over-flow.

Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
In the past 25 years I learned to value every business interaction and every opportunity to learn. I am particularly proud of achieving my current position which enables me to interact with colleagues located in various countries of the world.

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?
Keep on doing what you are doing, you are on the right path.

Are there any blogs, books, articles or online forums you recommend reading?
Rhonda Scharf’s blogs.

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?
Success is when I help my boss respond to our clients’ expectations.