The local chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals honored two “stars” who insisted they didn’t deserve the limelight but drew loud applause from their peers.
The annual Administrative Professional Luncheon at the Hilton on April 19 honored Lisa Baxter and Mark Johnson at the luncheon. Baxter was named the 2010 Administrative Professional of the Year, and Johnson was awarded the 2010 Executive of the Year.
Baxter said she was surprised by the recognition. “I’m in shock,” she said. “This is such an honor. This is the most wonderful group of ladies. This job is my passion, I love what I do, and this makes it all worthwhile.”
Baxter is the executive secretary to David Proffitt, president and CEO of Alcoa Tenn Federal Credit Union. She is working toward an associates degree, and she currently serves as the treasurer of the Maryville Chapter IAAP.
Baxter was described by her co-workers and employers as completely dependable, compassionate, hardworking and a true administrative professional who is committed to professional growth.
Johnson said he almost didn’t come to the lunch because he thought he had another appointment. Fortunately, according to his wife Michelle, when he called and told her his plans, she reminded him he was supposed to go the IAAP luncheon.
“I want to thank two people who inspire me. Michelle inspires me to come to work everyday; a Barbara Stinnett, who is obviously the person who gets me where I’m supposed to be,” he said. Michelle is Johnson’s wife and Stinnett is his administrative assistant.
Johnson is a certified public accountant and has been Alcoa city manager since October 1999. He oversees responsibilities for eight departments and approximately 270 employees. He has had about 36 years experience in local government.
Johnson was described by his co-workers as even-tempered and patient; a quiet leader who sets the standard for his employees, compassionate, generous, trustworthy and one who is completely supportive of continuing-education opportunities for his staff.
The keynote speaker, Michael Burt, encouraged professionals to find their passion. A former basketball coach, Burt shared how he grew up in Woodbury, Tenn., and how, at age 15, his little league baseball coach asked him to coach boys basketball. The teen coached 9- to 12-year-olds in a suit. “I looked like a little Pat Riley. I had found my passion. I was so passionate about coaching basketball,” he said.
He then coached 15-, 16-, and 17-year-olds. “Many times in life, we get what we want by asking for it,” he said. “I began to understand a key principle. Everyday of your current role is an interview for your next role. I knew if I did good enough someone else would notice.”
It was at this point that Riverdale High School asked him to be a basketball assistant coach. Burt said he found his calling in being a coach and realized more of his potential with each job change. He also realized the importance of a coach. “I feel it’s my calling to help people reach their deepest human potential. It maybe a coach, a spouse, a parent who says you are good enough,” he said. “I began to cultivate a dominant focus. My dominant aspiration was to become a head coach.”
Burt said he learned that to be a great head coach, he had to learn how to be a great No. 2 coach. He got the head coaching job at 22. “Three years later I was on the beach on vacation with friends, and I said, ‘I’m going inside to write a book,’” he said.
That book was “Changing Lives through Coaching.” It was after this book was published, companies started asking him to be a motivational speaker for employees. “I started to understand the difference between motivation and inspiration, The inspirational leader has to be a leader who people choose to follow,” he said.
Burt said individuals must inspire themselves to be responsible for how they react and the attitude they take when faced with adversity. “No other person can stop you unless you let them. You are the creative force of your life,” he said. “You are the person who can make you successful.”
Burt told those gathered that the largest percentage of the time in their life is spent working. “If you do not believe in a purpose, you won’t give your all to that purpose,” he said.
The coach said people should first find their voice - their passion. “Find out what you’re good at - that’s God-given. You have to marry passion with what you are good at. Next ask, where is there a need you can fill,” he said. “Once you find your voice, you help others find their voice and passion. If you want to be a success, you have to lose yourself in serving others.”