Executive Leadership Support Forum: Atlanta: Speaker Interview

Deanna WilliamsDeanna Williams
Senior Executive Assistant to President of Television

Deanna Williams is the Senior Executive Assistant to David Clark, President of Television, for The Weather Channel Network. Deanna is a results-oriented, hands-on professional, with extensive experience executing confidential executive support, and communications that reflect the company’s vision, mission and strategic initiatives. While also being a trusted administrator to C-level executives and directors within The Weather Channel Network, Deanna coordinates and manages all aspects of David Clark’s professional world. This entails everything programming, strategy, and operations related for the television network, including live and long form programming. Her experience includes a successful company-rebranding launch for not only The Weather Channel, but also The United Parcel Service (UPS), where Deanna was a C-suite Executive Assistant, to the Chief Sales, Marketing and Strategy for 6 years.

Deanna will be one of the distinguished presenters at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Atlanta.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Atlanta important for executive assistants?
The ELS Forum is important for Executive Assistants because it gives us an opportunity to bring our peers together under one roof and learn from each other. Teach each other methods or systems that we may not be using that could potentially work for us in our workspace. The ELS Forum is an opportunity to help us all individually work towards bettering ourselves in our current roles by learning new technologies and seeing what else we can do to better support our executives.

Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?
Independently, I am always looking for new ways to sharpen my skill set. Whether it is taking development classes, online classes or attending seminars, I am constantly trying to find new ways to stay abreast of new and innovative ideas and technologies.

What is one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum?
At the ELS Forum, I hope to learn different ways to prioritize from my peers. Being around so many highly skilled executive assistants will be an advantage in learning new tricks of the trade.

Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
There are too many to name, however one accomplishment that I am particularly proud of is the relaunch of The Weather Channel. The network took a full makeover, with a new look, a new sound, new mobile app, and a new state of the art studio. Working tirelessly with my executive and his peers was more than exciting and a great add to my resume. This made relaunch #2 for me with a major brand (UPS was #1).

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?
One tool that I CAN NOT live without is my calendar. Scheduling my executives’ entire world would not be quite right without proper use of my calendar.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?
I’ve learned in this career to “Never take it personal”. Our executives and their peers have the world on their shoulders. They have a lot riding on the decisions that they make and sometimes it may make them antsy or moody. Just know that the high energy and attitudes are temporary. We have to deal with several personalities as an Executive Assistant. We also have to manage those attitudes, sometimes to protect our brand. That is our job…to be a miracle worker with a smile.

Are there any blogs, books, articles or online forums you recommend reading?
I would recommend everyone read Stephen Covey’s “7 Traits of highly effective people”. It is still one of my favorite reads. It teaches you how to be more productive. A few of the habits that it teaches you are to be “Proactive and to “Put first things first” by executing on your most important priorities. If you have not read it, you definitely should.

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?
Success for me in my role is assuring that my executive is successful. Assuring that he is able to put his best foot forth and maximize his time in his role. That he is able to work uninterrupted and seamlessly when he is inside or outside of the office, but especially while he is traveling, and is able to spend quality time with his family. That, to me shows that I am successful in this role.