Executive Leadership Support Forum: Chicago: Speaker Interview

Jamia Jowersjj
Executive Assistant, Office of the Provost
University of Chicago

Jamia Jowers is an Executive Assistant for the Office of Academic Leadership Advancement, and Diversity. She was formerly a Special Assistant for the National Security Council (NSC -African Affairs) in the Executive Office of the President in Washington D.C., and prior to that post, a Special Assistant in the Multilateral Affairs office. While in the Multilateral Affairs office she contributed to the Atrocity Prevention Board, the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, and  the Presidential Memorandum on International Initiatives to Advance the Human Rights of LGBT Persons. She received her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois and her M.A. while working at the White House in International Relations from Salve Regina University. As a National Security Scholar, Jamia’s research interests include global development in the periphery and peace & security issues within Africa.

Jamia will be one of the distinguished presenters at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Chicago.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Chicago important for executive assistants?
Leadership comes at all levels. Every Professional constantly needs to improve and learn from masters of their craft.

Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?
I have sought out leaders in my portfolio within and outside my company, increased my knowledge base through development classes to include leadership seminars.

What is one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum?
Stigma. Executive Assistants play a vital role in the management of companies and organizations. The duties vary from location and supervisor. Often times we don’t feel valued or treated as such. I hope to learn how to break that stenotype and propel the EA reputation to its rightful place.

Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
In DC I was able to break out of the scheduler and adm role to be a valued team member and partake in a portfolio. I was seen as an equal and a proxy for my bosses. The development for which my boss required of me (and expected not to see me working for her in a year) allowed me to appreciate my position and provided a reputation of respect and prominence that I treasure.

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?
The ability to multitask and be available. You must be handle multiple projects at once and not think of your position as small and minuscule. When you are available you are seen as someone who values responsibility and will receive more substantial work. This elevates you much more quickly when you show yourself apart from others in your field.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?
Don’t under estimate your ability when reading he job description. You often are more qualified than you think. Get a professional to work your resume and cover letter.

Are there any blogs, books, articles or online forums you recommend reading?
Lean In

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?
Am I doing the same tasks that I was doing a years ago? Have I progressed in the skill set and in my company? Have I met my 2 year goals?