Executive Leadership Support Forum: Boston: Speaker Interview

Kerry Horlbogen
Executive Assistant to SVP North America Sales
CA Technologies

Kerry will be one of the distinguished presenters at the Executive Leadership Support Forum: Boston.

Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum important for executive assistants?
The Executive Leadership Support Forum is so important because it provides attendees with a network of like-minded individuals that you can turn to for advice and support. Sometimes brainstorming a solution to a challenge with someone outside of your organization can make a world of difference. A fresh perspective as well as hearing how other companies and people handle situations can spark a great idea on how to implement change within your own organization.

Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?
In the past, through the support of my company, I have organized luncheons and cocktail hours for executive assistants as a way to network with peers. I have had some events with topics and others very relaxed.

What is one thing you hope to learn or discuss with your peers at the ELS Forum?
I don’t have any specific topics that I would like to address. I enjoy spending time with peers and talking about how everyone handles their day to day tasks differently.

Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
I was organizing and planning a meeting that was to take place in another part of the country with over 75 attendees for a new executive. Two days prior to the meeting date, the executive decided to make some significant changes and also desired to have gift bags for each attendee. I was able to suggest items, get them procured and shipped in time for them to be packaged and handed out. Honestly, I think whenever you are planning a remote meeting, and it goes according to plan, that is always something to celebrate.

In your mind, what is one tool you can’t live without or find especially helpful in your position?
The task function in outlook is a must use tool. You can manage all of your tasks and don’t have to worry about losing any scraps of paper or flipping through pages in a notebook.

Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were first starting your career?
I would tell myself to not get worked up over things that are out of your control.  Some days might be spent re-doing the same work over and over (i.e.: travel) because your executive continues to change their mind. When I was younger this would frustrate me because I felt like I had more important work to complete. Now, I may shake my head but don’t get upset.

How do you define success within your role as an executive assistant?
Success for me is when my executive and I are functioning as a well-oiled machine.