Admin Spotlight – Doriette McIvor-Stone
Name: Doriette McIvor-Stone
Job Title: Executive Assistant to the CEO
Company: Australian Olympic Committee
Admin Avenues: How long have you been an Executive Assistant?
Doriette McIvor-Stone: I have been an EA to a CEO for over 20 years. Prior to that I was an Events Manager, a Store Manager and even purchased, managed and eventually successfully sold my own events company for singles!
AA: What did your first day as an Executive Assistant look like?
DMS: My first day almost did not happen as I was called up for jury duty, and court was due to start from my first day. Thankfully I didn’t have to go as I submitted an exception, and it was accepted. I remember thinking how fortunate I was to be the EA to the Sales Manager. It was definitely a natural fit. That said, I already had my eye on the EA to the CEO role, and hoped that the current EA at the time would resign. Six months later she did, and I got the job!
AA: From your first day to now, how has your definition of the Executive Assistant role changed?
DMS: For me, I don’t believe the role has changed that dramatically. Sure, the tasks have changed but it is and always will be a service role in my eyes. The more experienced you are, and the more you know your CEO, the more instinctively you will work – and that is where the magic happens.
AA: What has been your Executive Assistant career highlight thus far?
DMS: Personally, being showcased as one of 5 top EA’s in the Australian Women’s Weekly with a double page spread! This occurred whilst I was working for the CEO of FremantleMedia – Ian Hogg. To be recognised in that fashion and to have that experience was a milestone for me. Also to have my mother running to every newsagency she could find to purchase every copy she could get her hands on to give her neighbours was priceless. Secondly to hear the words after my resignation from another CEO which were “I did not know what I did not have until you got here” was truly amazing words to hear about yourself.
AA: How does your role at the Australian Olympic Committee differ from your previous career as an EA in media?
DMS: It was a very steep learning curve as Sport was not my natural go to, whilst television certainly was. TV is a landscape I felt far more comfortable in. My first day at the Australian Olympic Committee changed overnight when I received a call to say “don’t come in tomorrow – the office is shut. The pandemic has begun. Stay home, you will have a computer couriered to you tomorrow and you can join the Senior Management Team meeting by Zoom at 10.00am.” This changed my first day to the max. I did not see my CEO in the flesh for 4 months from that date. That was something I would not wish on anyone!
AA: What is the one thing you cannot do without in your job?
DMS: My networking capabilities and connections. My favourite words are “I know somebody”. That could be a fellow EA who can help or a hotel or restaurant contact as an example. Nothing makes me happier that giving someone something that they thought impossible or getting them into a money can’t buy experience.
AA: What are 4 things you can’t work without?
- Knowing that there is a yoga class for me at the end or the middle of the day. It’s so important to carve out the time.
- My walk to work over the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- Laughter! Honestly, we need more of it in the workplace.
- The phrase: “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
AA: What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your position as an Executive Assistant?
DMS: With my mindset of service, knowing that I contributed to my CEO having a stress-free day, that all the things I put into place came off, and he achieved what he needed for the day. The words “I could not have done this without you” are never tiresome! That always puts a smile on my face.
AA: What’s your admin superpower?
DMS: My instinctiveness and my emotional intelligence. Without doubt they have saved me from sticky situations every single time. These two things cannot be taught, but you can tap into them and by doing so, they will develop.
AA: What do you consider to be the most difficult part of your day?
DMS: Having faith in flights arriving on time.
AA: Can you recommend any helpful books, programs, or podcasts that you love?
DMS: I was recently at an event to hear a keynote from Professor Ben Hamer on the future of work. It was very clever and super interesting.
Kitty Flanagan’s 488 rules for life book. Honestly some aspects of that would make our roles so much easier.
AA: You have had such an exciting career, what motivated the industry changes you have made, and in particular, what brought you to the Australian Olympic Committee?
DMS: As an EA I have worked in Finance, Television. Events and Sport. In all honesty, in my opinion, it doesn’t matter which industry the role is in today. The role is the same, it’s the CEO style that changes, and you need to flow with that. It is the CEO that motivates me to change roles so I can grow and be the best that I can be. I landed at the AOC as I had an excellent recruiter who has placed me on three separate occasions into the right roles. When you find the one – you stay with them.
AA: Do you think that your particular history gives you any unique insights or abilities in your current Executive Assistant role?
DMS: I don’t think it did, but I believe my nature certainly contributed to it. I am an opportunist and that has put me in good stead for all my roles including working for HNWI’s. Always trust your gut, it won’t ever let you down.
AA: What role have you owned, or what experience have you had, that helped shape your Executive Assistant career?
DMS: I was married to a CEO long before I became an EA to a CEO. Although the marriage was relatively brief, it taught me to think about what is important, and how their minds work. It also taught me how to work with the wife of a CEO, and the things they need to deal with.
AA: What is the most exciting opportunity you have had as an Executive Assistant?
DMS: Being behind the scenes of a live television program. The energy is electric and the pace is frenetic.
AA: Do you have any tips that you would like to share?
DMS: Be who you are, go out of your way and speak to everyone the same whether they are the cleaner, the receptionist or a board member. Remember, it is rarely about you!
AA: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received?
DMS: “Doriette, stop saving people. They won’t learn until they feel the pain.” That was hard to hear but sometimes you have to let people fall over so they will learn.
AA: What advice would you give other admins thinking about changing companies/employers?
DMS: Don’t chase the money or status. Make sure the CEO is ethical and communicates effectively with everyone and that your personalities match. You will know in the interview.
AA: What are your top tips for keeping your resume up-to-date and job-ready?
DMS: Give to a resume writing specialist. Mine never looked so good!
AA: If our Admin Avenues community would like to contact/follow you, where can they reach you?
DMS: Clearly LinkedIn is the easy one (HERE) but call me or email me! It’s all about the human connection with me. I don’t like communicating via a screen, but I know it is unavoidable. When I can I pick up the phone, I will.
AA: Is there anything else you would like to add?
DMS: Thank you Candice for this opportunity to share my story. I appreciate that my career trajectory is not a standard one but most times, you do land in the right place.
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