Admin Spotlight – Olivia Yeates
Name: Olivia (Liv) Yeates
Job Title: Executive Assistant and Employee Experience Program Manager
Admin Avenues: How long have you worked in the admin industry?
Liv Yeates: I’ve worked in the industry for 12 years. My first admin role was as a Receptionist at Dell Australia.
AA: What has been your career highlight thus far?
LY: Early in my career, I found a passion and purpose in volunteer work and believe that nothing teaches hope, kindness, or courage like helping others. In 2017 whilst working at Optus, I was selected to travel to Thailand and volunteer at ‘AIS Good Kids Great Hearts English Camp’ for the annual ‘Better Together’ Corporate Social Responsibility program. It was the most amazing week and one of my greatest accomplishments.
AA: What is the most exciting opportunity you have had as an admin?
LY: So many come to mind, but reflecting on the last year at Adobe, attending the Australian Open and Formula 1 events with some of Adobe’s C-suite customers was particularly memorable. I’ve always enjoyed client hospitality and getting to know customers and colleagues outside of a typical meeting setting.
AA: You’re incredibly active in the admin community. You’re always liking, commenting and congratulating people in the industry. It’s so lovely to see. Have you always been so involved in the community?
LY: Firstly, thank-you! For as long as I can remember I have always taken pleasure in joining different industry groups, attending events and have found value in subscribing to newsletters and blogs. LinkedIn is great for tapping into industry news and updates. I also like to Pay it Forward; whether that be sharing a job advert with someone in need, finding a volunteer opportunity, cheering on other admin professionals, or making mutually beneficial introductions.
AA: Adobe looks like a fun place to work and that it has an amazing admin network. Can you tell us a bit about it?
LY: #AdobeLife is truly awesome and I’m so grateful to work alongside the BEST group of Assistants, there are 12 of us in the Sydney office and we collaborate extremely well. We have a Teams channel for daily chit chat and general work questions, a formalised monthly EA meeting where we rotate the meeting host and most recently we introduced a twice yearly EA offsite. Outside of our meeting cadence, we make time for venue site inspections, volunteer days, training and Happy Hours after work. This supportive environment has been instrumental in helping me grow my skills and confidence, knowing we are always there for one another and trusting each other is really empowering.
One of the other things that sets Adobe apart is our Site Councils; a volunteer-led global program consisting of five main committees; Community Impact, Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Social, Wellbeing and Sustainability. Site Council funding is set by Adobe HQ and members create in-person, virtual and hybrid engagement opportunities for employees. I’m currently caretaking as ANZ Site Council Program Manager which means I oversee the events calendar and ensure commitments are delivered upon. Being involved in Site Council is a lot of fun and offers amazing opportunities for professional development through strategising, project management, budgeting, collaboration and networking.
Feel free to contact me if you would like to hear more about #AdobeLife!
AA: What is the one thing you can not do without in your job?
LY: OneNote – it has been a real game changer in the way I work and collaborate with members of the team. I love the fact that I can go back and find all my notes in one place and I can add to it on the go.
AA: What are 3 items you can’t work without?
- AirPods – I love listening to music throughout my work day, I find it increases my productivity and can minimise disruptions;
- Blue Light Glasses – my screen time is way too high so I recently invested in two pairs of glasses with blue light filters, to try reduce eye fatigue and things that come with it, like headaches and blurred vision;
- Frank Green Water Bottle – keeping me hydrated throughout the day and as the bottles are insulated, the water stays cool for hours!
AA: What do you consider to be the most rewarding aspect of your position as an admin?
LY: The list could go on and on however, I feel the most rewarding part is continuously learning and getting to do a bit of everything. Whether I’m learning from my executive, learning from collaborating with other assistants, or simply learning by solving problems or taking on projects.
AA: What’s one of your superpowers?
LY: Probably my intellectual curiosity – I am a lifelong-learner and someone that always asks a lot of questions. I have a strong desire to expand my knowledge, upskill and take on new challenges. This skill often opens the door to new opportunities that I wouldn’t find otherwise.
AA: What skills do you possess that you believe are crucial to your role as an Executive Assistant?
- Resourcefulness: I love to come up with and put forward new ideas. I also look for and consume a lot of content that will benefit others and I make time for sharing the latest news and trends. I am typically the go-to person at work and within my friends and family that has the answers and was recently categorised a ‘walking directory’ – whether it’s a gift suggestion, a venue recommendation, a team volunteer opportunity, what’s on sale on The Iconic, or what is trending on Twitter, I typically have the answers!
- Connections: I build strong relationships very quickly from the Cleaner, newest recruits through to the Managing Director. I know who is who and this proves to be highly valuable in getting things done quickly and efficiently. Connections are crucial for building trust and enhancing my reputation.
- Adaptability: When expectations, processes, responsibilities, executives and strategies change at work, I am flexible and can easily adjust according to the situation.
AA: Can you recommend any helpful books, programs, or podcasts that you love?
LY: I love podcasts and actually whilst responding to this Q&A I’m tuning in to Liz Van Vliet’s ‘Assist With Impact’ series. Liz shares practical tips, strategies and insights that help you move beyond being simply an order-taker.
I would also recommend the ‘Ladies Finance Club’ podcast with Molly Benjamin – a series that empowers women to take control of their financial future.
One of my New Year Resolutions every year is to read more books, I’m not a big reader but I have recently started Ann Hiatt’s ‘Bet On Yourself’ – Ann shares daily habits and long-game strategies she learned working side-by-side for decades with the giants of technology at Amazon and Google.
When it comes to programs, Adobe Express is saved to my Bookmarks. If you aren’t familiar with Express, it’s a cloud-based media creation application that is geared for non-designers. You can create impressive social media graphics, videos, single-page websites, logos, posters, invitations (great for jazzing up calendar invites) and so much more. It is lots of fun to play around with and best of all, it’s simple and fast and can be accessed from any device.
AA: What’s one of the best pieces of advice you’ve heard?
LY: One piece of advice that has always stuck with me is a Steve Jobs’ quote – “ Your work is going to fill a large part of your life. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
If I’m not feeling fulfilled in my job, I will take on projects that I am passionate about or keep searching until I find something that is more aligned to my interests and goals. No job or boss is worth sacrificing your health and sanity over.
AA: What advice would you give other admins thinking about changing careers / companies / employers?
- Network: Networking is a great way to learn about job opportunities and make connections with others in the admin industry. I would highly recommend attending events or joining online communities to meet other admins who can offer guidance and support.
- Research potential companies and leaders: Do plenty of research on potential companies and industries that align with your goals and interests. Learn about different companies’ cultures, values, and missions to see if they match your own. I read Glassdoor reviews and spend time learning about the executive team’s style by looking at any of their thought leadership articles online, their LinkedIn posts and any recommendations. When it comes to the Interview process, I encourage meeting with a member of the admin team from the company you are interested in. Ideally request a coffee meet-up if you can.
- Be patient: Changing careers or companies can take time, so most importantly be patient and persistent in your search. Don’t be discouraged or think it’s easier to just settle if you receive rejection or setbacks, instead continue to learn, grow, and improve your skills along the way.
AA: How can our community members connect with you?
LY: Connect with me on LinkedIn here
AA: That’s it from us? Is there anything else you would like to add?
LY: Yes…don’t forget ‘Administrative Professionals Day’ is right around the corner! Be sure to schedule the date in your diary and send your admin team/ EA a special acknowledgement, or if you’re in an admin role and reading this, plan to do something special for yourself that day – it’s celebrated on Friday 5th May (in Australia).
Thanks for reading and a huge thank-you to Candice for creating this Admin Spotlight series and for the opportunity to feature – I really enjoyed the opportunity to reflect and answer the questions!
Want to be featured on The Admin Spotlight?
We’re always looking for admins to share their experiences, advice and tips with our admin community. If you would like to be featured, send us an email at [email protected].