‘Control freak’ Executive Assistants ask for one point of contact

On the second day of the Asia Pacific Incentives and Meetings Event (AIME) a panel of EAs sat down to answer questions from the show’s exhibitors and industry delegates, in Executive PA Media’s session, Executive PA Corporate Event Organiser Survey Live!

The panel’s discussion was based on the findings of Executive PA Media’s 2019 Executive PA Corporate Event Organiser Survey, which gathers data from EA event organisers from various industries.

Meredith Williams from Bennelong Funds Management and Sarah Breheny from Pitney Bowes represented EAs on the show floor, sharing their insights as EA event managers. Meredith manages up to 100 events every year and Sarah also brings together at least 20 to 25 events for Pitney Bowes—in addition to their day jobs of supporting their executives.

Sarah said it’s critical the event industry understands the personality of EAs, so they can work together and establish strong relationships.

“We are control freaks,” Sarah said. “If they understand us they know that we need regular check-ins and consistent communication. Waiting four days for a response to an email makes me anxious.”

Meredith agreed, saying “I can’t wait days for a response. I need one point of contact that communicates. Accuracy is important.”

But once a strong relationship is established, EAs represent repeat and consistent business for the event industry suppliers, such as venues, hotels and event management companies. With so many events on the calendar, Meredith says a strong relationship with set rates and no surprises benefits everyone.

“Long term relationships are good for me and mean return business for the suppliers,” Meredith said.

According to the Survey’s results, EAs are continuing to bring their events into regional areas, which is a trend that both Sarah and Meredith’s experience reinforces.

“Regions have such a different look and feel. Regionally you can have a relaxed feel, do it outside—they offer flexibility and an experience that puts delegates in the right frame of mind for an event,” Sarah said.

The panel was facilitated by Executive PA Media’s Chairman, Russell Peacock, who brought together the audience of event professionals and the panel of EAs.

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