Teamwork is the operative word for the administrative team in the Coastal corporate office as they juggle their roles and responsibilities to ensure all their directors, managers and the Coastal COO are well supported. The team consists of: (l to r) Agnes Icher, Anna Abramovic, Diana Bruce, Ram Sommer, Jaime Walker, Karine Buffat and Lori King.

Celebrating Coastal’s administrative assistants and all that they do

Like all key relationships, the one that develops between a good administrative assistant and the person (or people) they support is always unique.

For some pairs, this relationship can require the admin. assistant to be part advanced life organizer, part calendar cop and even part “parent” some days, making sure that the person they support is taking a much-needed break or grabbing a proper bite to eat during the day.

But while the nature of each partnership is different and requires different skills, understanding the value of an effective admin. assistant is well understood across Coastal.

“My air traffic controller,” is how Sunshine Coast Director Lauren Tindall describes the support she gets from Susan Hendricks.

“She’s the keeper of my calendar and defender of my time and the team member who I cannot envision going through a day or week without,” says Lauren.

Lauren appreciates not only Susan’s help with scheduling but also her “focus on finding and providing solutions; whenever, however and without hesitation.”

Luckily for Lauren, she also has Tracey Newcombe on hand in her office as well, working with the medical directors on physician-related issues.

“Tracey’s all things to all people,” continues Lauren. “She knows what she’s doing and just does it which is great. And she does it with a genuine passion and commitment toward the team which makes her so loved by us around here.”

Add in some distance to make it more challenging

Problem-solving has also become second nature for Squamish’s Angela Day but, in her case, it often involves helping people many kilometres from where she actually is.

When she first started supporting the medical directors for Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton nine years ago she was, “Juggling working full time with having babies at home so I had a full plate every day.” So what was it about the job that interested her (and still does today)?

Helping medical directors up and down the 90+ kilometres of the Sea-to-Sky corridor add another layer of complexity to administrative assistant Angela Day’s job, one that she embraces because of the challenges of “figuring stuff out, working on the fly.”

“I’m helping people at different sites up and down the (Sea-to-Sky) Corridor,” she says, “so you have to learn on the spot.

“That’s the role of the Admin. Assistant,” she says smiling. “It’s always figuring stuff out, working on the fly.

“Every day is different and there’s no room for boredom. People are constantly coming at me with new things.”

Something old, something new

Thankfully, not everything in the life of a VCH admin. assistant is new. Things like teamwork may seem old-fashioned but are still a very welcome part of life. That’s true in particular for the folks working in the Coastal corporate office at Lions Gate Hospital.

“We work really well as a team,” says Lori King, who supports Coastal COO Karin Olsen but also chips in and spends parts of her day helping her colleagues in the corporate office with their challenges as well.

“It’s always busy but when we work together it all gets done,” she says, with obvious appreciation for how solid teamwork can make everyone’s life so much easier.

For people like Jaime Walker, who supports directors Corrie Irwin and Shannon Chutskoff, she agrees that the team is a huge plus to her work. But she also describes one of her favourite parts of the job as,Knowing that I make a difference in my directors’ lives and that they trust me and know that I have everything under control,” she says.

As International Administrative Assistant’s Day (April 25) comes and goes, let’s take a moment to recognize and appreciate the support and challenges that admin. assistants deal with on a regular basis, often putting aside their own needs to focus on the needs of their director or manager.

After all, who doesn’t appreciate someone else looking out for them as we all try to make a difference in the lives of our staff, patients, clients or residents?