Celebrating excellence

IAAP luncheon honors bosses, administrative assistants

Betsy Cunningham and Lisa White were recognized as the IAAP Executive of the Year and the IAAP Administrative Professional of the Year during the International Association of Administrative Professionals, Maryville Chapter, annual luncheon at the Airport Hilton.

The 2008 executive of the year, Greg McClain, introduced Cunningham, reading for her nomination, which was entered by Jodie King, who works for Cunningham. Cunningham works in the Human Resources Department of Blount County government.

Cunningham said she started working with the county government six years ago and was new to the political arena. “Jodie has shown me the ropes,” she said. “I feel it is an honor to serve.”

Sandy Gruber, the 2008 administrative professional of the year, introduced Lisa White of the Alcoa Police Department as the winner. White was surprised by the honor. “I’m totally shocked,” she said. “I can only say Chief (Ken) Burge is an excellent administrator and the City of Alcoa is an excellent place to work. I love what I do.”

The administrative professionals were then entertained and challenged by guest speaker Lisa Olsen, who told the audience that as administrative professionals they have the opportunity each day to join the “Secret Service” by doing anonymous good deed.”

“A co-worker of mine would randomly do anonymous acts of service,” she said. “When we do things for others, it helps us feel better about who we are.”

Olsen reminded the administrative assistants that the people they work for carry heavy burdens. “As an assistant, you can help carry that load,” she said.

Olsen encouraged the listeners to value everyone they encounter each day by envisioning a score of “10” on the head of those they meet. “Treat them in a way that earns respect,” she said.

The speaker also told the administrative assistants to always be a relationship engineer. She shared with listeners about a trip she took recently when her family drove over the Hoover Dam where a bridge is being built. Deep holes were being dug into the dam’s concrete to hold the pillars for the bridge. Having a strong, deep relationship with an employer is just as important. “Even when you don’t agreed, you can build off the strong pillars you have built,” Olsen said.

Olsen also encouraged the administrative professionals to get more organized in their lives. “Untangle the knots,” she said. “Sometimes life can get confusing. Focus on simplifying your life.”

The speaker also told listeners to know when life and their hectic schedule is going too fast. She told the story of a hummingbird trapped in a garage even though the garage door was open enough for the bird to escape, but the bird was flying too fast to find the opening. “Sometimes in order to move forward with life, you have to slow down a bit,” she said.

Olsen said that when administrative professionals get discouraged, they should recall a better day. “I think that’s so important. Everyone needs a piece of your time, but you wouldn’t be where you are if you hadn’t accomplished a lot,” she said.

Olsen closed by encouraging listeners to find reasons each to laugh more. “We can be a creative force in our lives to make others feel good about themselves,” she said.

Pastor Jackie Midkiff led prayer for the event. His son, American Idol contestant Jackie Lee Midkiff performed for the group.

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