Emily Claver has been an assistant in some capacity for 33 years. She supported the c-suite at a $40m ad agency, the president of the Kansas City Chiefs NFL franchise (for 8 seasons), and now as executive and personal assistant to Brooke Castillo, the founder of The Life Coach School.

Emily Claver Leader Assistant Podcast

In this episode, Emily and I had a great time chatting about her career, especially the part where she worked for my favorite NFL team. 🙂

Emily currently makes $225,000 a year as an executive and personal assistant. She talks about assistant pay and what it’s like working for an organization and executive that empowers and entrusts assistants as key leaders and business partners.


May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

– Nelson Mandela


Emily Claver Life Coach School Leader Assistant Podcast


In 1988, Emily started her secretarial career answering phones for a few hours each night, part-time, for a real estate broker in San Diego… making $7.50 an hour. Back in those days, they used carbon paper in between pages for making duplicates when typing contracts with a typewriter.

Through the years and numerous admin support jobs, Emily taught herself how to support CEOs and high net worth individuals in a way that creates indispensable partnerships and proves her worth. Today, she has a flexible 40 hour work week and is paid $225k per year.

Her current role is Personal Assistant to Brooke Castillo, the Founder of The Life Coach School, a $50m revenue business this year. Before this, Emily was the right-hand to the c-suite of a $40M revenue ad agency, and she helped run the Kansas City Chiefs NFL franchise (a billion dollar brand) for eight football seasons.

Emily is from Kansas City and currently calls the Washington DC area home.


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Emily Claver 0:00
Hi, I’m Emily Claver. My leadership quote is from Nelson Mandela. It’s May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.

Podcast Intro 0:14
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident, Game Changing leader assistant.

Jeremy Burrows 0:27
Hey friends, thanks for tuning in, check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/121 as this is episode 121 of The Leader Assistant Podcast that your host Jeremy Burrows. And I just wanted to encourage you to check out our membership at leaderassistant.com/membership for ongoing training, support and community. Alright, I hope you enjoyed this interview. Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host Jeremy Burrows and today I’m speaking with Emily Claver. Emily is the personal and executive assistant to Brooke Castillo at The Life Coach School. Emily, how’s it going?

Emily Claver 1:08
I’m great, Jeremy, thanks for having me on.

Jeremy Burrows 1:11
What part of the world are you in?

Emily Claver 1:14
I’m in the DC area right now. outside Washington DC in Maryland.

Jeremy Burrows 1:20
Great. And you are from Kansas City, though. Is that correct?

Emily Claver 1:25
Yeah, I’m originally from Kansas City, and lived in 10. States. Most of my time in KC.

Jeremy Burrows 1:33
Awesome. Well, I’m very excited because I’m 99.9% sure you are my first podcast guest who is also from Kansas City, which is my hometown. So welcome.

Emily Claver 1:46
Thank you hometown boy.

Jeremy Burrows 1:48
Yes, KC represent. Alright, well, let’s jump in. And why don’t you tell us about the beginning of your career. And we’ll just kind of work our way back to the present day.

Emily Claver 2:01
Sure. Well, I’m 52 this year. And I’ve been doing executive assistant work since I was 18. So starting back in the late 80s 1980s, I started in commercial real estate, as a nighttime receptionist making 750 An hour working part time for vice president in real estate, and then it’s just kind of gone from there. Um, probably the first half of my career, I worked in real estate, all different kinds of real estate. Then I went into Telecom, I work for Sprint when it was a big giant telecom organization. And then it became sprint PCs. And I helped launch the first wireless network for sprint. And then I, let’s see, I went to the chiefs. For eight years, I worked, leading the football operations with the CEO and general manager, and then for eight years at the chiefs, which was phenomenal experience for me. And then I went into advertising for four years, working with two C level guys who run a mid level agency in Kansas City. And then most recently, I’m on my third year now, starting my third year with Brooke, helping her run her life and the Life Coach School.

Jeremy Burrows 3:44
Amazing. Thanks for sharing. So what is the Life Coach School?

Emily Claver 3:49
Sure. So Brooke is an entrepreneur, female entrepreneur, who was a life coach herself a weight loss coach when she started her business about 14 years ago. And she was very successful as a solopreneur. She got to about the $300,000 a year level but had a full schedule and didn’t know how to grow her business beyond that, to continue to serve more clients and make more money. And so she and her husband at the time formed The Life Coach School. And they use all of Brookes tools that she designed and practiced using so it’s basically now today it’s become a completely online live training. That’s a certification that classes the people go through to use all of Brookes tools and be trained at the highest level in you know, the skills that it takes to be a successful coach life coach. So At half of our business today is the certification program. The other half of our business is called self coaching scholars, which is like a program a self help, encyclopedia, University online, live courses live coaches. It’s a monthly subscription based program that we have, we have about almost 4000 people in that today. And we are revenue for this year were on target for 50 million. So it’s been quite a growth trajectory, which is amazing. So she has one of the highest rated self help podcasts in iTunes. It’s called The Life Coach School. And that is how I originally found her was on my commute to downtown Kansas City every day when I worked at the ad agency, I found that for my 45 minute drive each way, and I fell in love with her Frank, direct, no nonsense way and the simplicity with which she teaches like, real truths spirit, you know, real truths about how life works.

Jeremy Burrows 6:25
So how did you go from listening to her podcast, to now being her personal and executive assistant?

Emily Claver 6:36
That path? Yeah, that’s, it’s an amazing story. So I listened and decided that, you know, I went, then I started consuming like the back podcasts. And then I guess, at the time, I was in the middle of working on trying to convince my two bosses that I should be making more than $70,000 a year for what I did for them. And so much of my time was spent making case studies. And I was like obsessed with I was going to teach these people how I had contributed to their growth. And I didn’t understand why my position would be kept at a number that made no sense to me logically. So part of what you know, part of what Brooke teaches is about how you get to decide what you’re worth, and you go for what you’re, you know what you’re worth, and you don’t let other people outside of you decide what you’re worth. So that kind of thinking was very appealing to me at the time. Ultimately, I decided, whatever Brooke invited me to go do, I was going to go attend. So she did a live in person event. And California and Northern California. And I convinced my husband at the time that I should spend that money to go to that. Because I was also interested in maybe I would become a certified coach. Like, maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to her stuff, maybe that’s what I’m really supposed to go do. Instead of keep taking care of these, of the people I was working for. So I went to her live in person event, I introduced myself, I told her I was going to be a million dollar coach someday, you know, my confidence is really crazy. Um, so she didn’t remember me at all for many of that, but I did go study her operations at the event, it was fascinating to me that someone with her presence would have such a poorly run event. It kind of surprised me. And I felt compelled to you know, it was like, whatever she offered, I was gonna go do so I ended up cashing out my 401 K from Sprint to pay for certification, still believing at the time that I just was going to launch my own coaching practice, right, which I did. So at the time I became certified. My father in law passed away. And my husband at the time, offered graciously that his inheritance from the sale of that home could help support our life while I launched my business, so I became a you know, my own solopreneur thing I quit supporting the C level guys and I worked from home for 10 months, pre COVID trying to build a coaching practice supporting executives and executive assistants and So in the doing of that, so I became certified that it was way more rigorous than I expected, it was hard. And I was very proud to come out of that certified. But I did not really have my niche and my messaging figured out yet I didn’t know really, what I wanted to teach who I wanted to talk to. But I did put that I was an executive assistants coach on everything that I put out. And some point in time, Brooke saw that. And then about 10 months, and to me having my own business, she reached out to me and said, Hey, I need an amazing executive assistant. Do you know of any? Or do you know one? Or do you know of anyone? Okay, no, no. She said, Can you help me? I need an amazing executive assistant, can you help me? And I thought, What on earth does that mean? Right? She was like a rock star to be at that point, right? Like, I had had no interaction with her really. So I, I flipped on that. And I emailed her back and said, Of course, I can help you. Do you have a job description? Still not knowing if she meant me? Or do I know someone. So she sent the job description, and she sent the pay her base her budget for the position over and I about fell out of my chair, because it was close to three times what I was making. And so well, actually, at that point in time, I was making $10,000 a year as a coach. So it was 200 a lot more than what I was making. And, and I had become really disheartened with, like the realization that I didn’t know who I was for marketing, like I didn’t know how to market myself as a coach. So um, so I jumped at the opportunity. I sent her in, I slept on it through the weekend, prayed about it, which is important to me. And then I, cuz I knew going all in with her would be quite the experience. Like she’s a force, it was going to be an all consuming endeavor. And I had been enjoying living at home for 10 months, you know, pod saying? So anyway, so that’s how it happened. I emailed her back, and I said, I’m your girl. Yeah, yeah, no, yeah, I know who you need. It’s me, because the job description spoke exactly to what my strengths were. So it wasn’t like it was even a leak. It was like it was written for me. So that’s how it happened. She did a three month trial. So I was on trial for three months, not making what the physician budgeted. But ultimately, it paid off. At the end of my trial, she offered me more than what she had budgeted, which was a nice surprise. And she continues to reward my work financially, which is such a blessing blows my mind.

Jeremy Burrows 13:22
So let’s talk about that for a second. Let’s talk about pay for assistance. I know it comes up almost every day, someone asking about what the range is for an area where they’re interviewing for a role, or the age old debate of recruiters asking, what is your range for salary? What do you want to get paid? And the applicant asking the recruiter or the HR department? Well, what’s the range for the role? So what would you say? And how would you encourage people who are wrestling with this? Again, age old issue of salary for assistance, and how to navigate that world?

Emily Claver 14:08
Yeah, it’s unfortunately, or fortunately, right? Like, fortunately, it’s panned out fortunate for me that we have a profession that you could make, you know, 35 grand a year, or you can make 300 grand a year. So, what I did was, I did my own resume review. I did my own audit of myself and my career and what I made, and I kind of mapped it out. And I tried to look at it objectively. So, you know, I kind of went through a process of honestly trying to assess what my own value was that I believed that I brought, and I had to decide what is really my I’m, you know, so like most of us spend a lot of time thinking about what kind of boss we want to work for, who do we want to take care of, we want to choose who we take care of who we partner with their characteristics are very important. But we very rarely put in the time to look at who, what we are bringing them, like in in the partnerships, so I spent a lot of time getting clean about that for myself. What’s my bottom number? Right? What have I historically made, how much weight do I want to allow a potential employer to put on my historical pay. But then I think it’s important to like, as you’re talking about how you introduce that, it’s like, I don’t know why we think we need to argue with that certain positions are just going to pay a certain amount. So if you’re not happy with that number, it’s not your job. Like, you don’t have to take it keep looking. You know, if you’re desperate, and you make a choice out of desperation, that’s probably not going to pan out long for well, for you long run, right? Unfortunately, cuz you’ll come into it needy, and wanting and feeling like you’re not being validated by them right out of the gate. And that is, you’re not going to show up as the strongest leader and potential partner as you can be for that executive, when you come into it. In that, you know, with that energy, right? You know, I’m always opposed to giving a number. Of course, that’s like a rule of negotiation, you let the other party give a number first. But if I’m forced to, I’m going to go high, and I’m not going to give a specific number. And I’m going to tell them why I have to have it. And I’m going to be prepared, that if they come back and say, well, you’re way out of our range, I’m gonna say, okay, good luck. Bye.

Jeremy Burrows 17:11
Yeah. And I know, it’s hard to leave a role when you have bills to pay. And, you know, you can’t afford to be out of work for long. But you mentioned earlier that at the Life Coach School, you guys have a handful of assistants who make over $100,000 a year. And I think that it’s because it’s a growing industry. And they value the partnership and the business impact that assistants make. So if you’re in an organization or an industry that doesn’t value that it’s time to find an industry or an organization, and an executive who does see the contribution that you make, as an assistant as an executive business partner. And yeah, get get your role and pay there.

Emily Claver 17:58
Absolutely, yeah. You have to get creative. You know, if you’re, it’s okay. Like, if you’re not finding it, like, I had to decide to leave. I had to love leaving my ad agency, because I wasn’t going to convince those guys. It was just wasn’t gonna happen. Yeah. And I had to give up trying to convince them because I wasn’t, I wasn’t growing there by trying to force a situation. So I had to look outside where I was absolutely.

Jeremy Burrows 18:41
Okay, so I want to go back in time a little bit to your time with the Kansas City Chiefs, because I have a special place in my heart for Kansas City. And of course, the Kansas City Chiefs. Chiefs. Yes. So how did you end up working with the cheats?

Emily Claver 18:57
Well, that’s another story. You share. We have time for that.

Jeremy Burrows 19:04
Quick version.

Emily Claver 19:05
I’ll try. I’ll try. Okay, so I was working for sprint, corporate on executive row with Sprint corporate for about seven years. At the end of the sixth year, I thought I needed to be something more than an executive assistant to be successful in life. So I went for and got a corporate trainer job with Sprint. So like my seventh year of sprint, I moved to Detroit, Michigan all alone, and was a retail trainer for a year. And while there I met and married my husband, and he lived in Idaho. So I moved to Idaho, and quit sprint because they didn’t have a job. up, they didn’t have a footprint there, that I could make any money doing anything. And I started my job search up there, and it was not gonna work is teeny tiny town assistants still type them type type, right. And it’s like not the kind of assistant role I was gonna want there. So I was praying about it. And I was like, You know what, I’m going to have to move back to Kansas City to get a real job, I have to use my network, the fastest way for me to pay my bills was going to be the network with people that I knew. So I started reaching back out to Kansas City folks who I had worked with at Sprint. I supported the head of sponsorships and brand management, from Sprint, during my time there, and so he was friends with the guys at the chiefs. And I let him know I’m gonna move back to KC, I just want to put a feeler out. And then about a week later, I was moving back to Kansas City. Because I just knew I had to get back. It’s like, if I’m going to be if I’m a good job, I have to be in kcF to be ready to interview. I need to meet people and talk to people. On my drive from Idaho to Kansas City. I got a phone call from Sprint, my connection at Sprint saying, Carl Peterson’s looking for a news, new assistant, would you want to interview tomorrow? I said, Yeah, I’ll be there. So I came in and interviewed, I didn’t even have a suit. Because I’d been like, in a sprint uniform for a year. So it was crazy. But I went in and interviewed out. And then I found out later that he just gave the interview to me out of courtesy for the relationship with Sprint. I was really like a, like a late candidate who was thrown in the mix, and they already had it narrowed down. And it just, you know, Jeremy, by God’s grace, I got that job. It just happened. Like the timing was what the timing was. And yeah,

Jeremy Burrows 22:28
what do you think it was that you did or said, in the interview process that pushed you over those candidates that they had already narrowed it down to?

Emily Claver 22:39
I have nothing to lose. You know, like, for me, I didn’t, I didn’t have a lot. I wasn’t it wasn’t like, I had my eye on that job. And I went after that job. And I was really I went into it very much. Like, this is exciting. Let’s see what let’s see whether I like them. Let’s see what this is really like, what is this about? What’s the office of the chiefs look like? How can I help here? My energy was much more in that vein than scarcity or fear or obsession. Like I was very open. And the important part about me being that way, was that allows me to really shit show who I am, what type of what type of a genuine interaction I’m going to have with my executives, when I show up every day, I didn’t go in there and try to tell them what I thought they wanted to hear. I went in there and said, Here’s my resume. I appreciate I’ve been recommendation I’ve been recommended. You know what, tell me what you need in this role. I’ll tell you if I think I want to do it. And it was a great conversation. And then I left that interview. It felt pretty good about it. I liked the guy who interviewed me. And then I got called back and here’s the thing I did when I got called back. That blew them away. So that the deal was the guy I was going to be supporting Carl Peterson this was It was summertime. Carl was in France. Carl wasn’t going to be there in person to interview me Carl wasn’t going to be there in person to onboard me. There wasn’t anyone already in the role who could train me. Everything was a mess in that position. So what I did was I came to my second interview with my three week ramp up plan for how I was going to onboard myself. While before Carl got back in town, and before the season would start and I had it I mean, I, you know, had it all on paper. And I brought it to the second interview. And I said, I’d like to go over this with you to see what I’m missing.

Jeremy Burrows 25:08
And the rest is history.

Emily Claver 25:11
Yeah, yeah. And then Karl Karl hated me. Let’s just say it wasn’t a dream. It wasn’t a dream position by any means in the beginning.

Jeremy Burrows 25:24
That’s funny. So how did you work through that just,

Emily Claver 25:26
oh, I outlasted them as how I outlasted him.

Jeremy Burrows 25:33
That’s funny. Love it. So the two things I noticed is one, you detached your worth from your work in the sense of, if you didn’t get this job, you would not have been devastated. And you didn’t kind of put all your hopes and dreams into this one job. And the second thing is you really going into that second interview, you acted as though you had gotten the job, and you’re ready to start. And you came with a plan. And you didn’t wait around in, you know, hope that they would tell you what the job was going to take or require. But you came with a plan. And you said, hey, look, this is what I’m going to do. Did I miss anything? And so that initiative showed that you weren’t going to just sit around and wait for them to tell you what to do.

Emily Claver 26:26
Yeah, I recognize that the guy that I was meeting with, like, he had a problem, you know, he’s trying to hire for this guy who’s in France, and, like I, my all my thinking is about how to solve a problem, how to solve the current problems, like, what can I bring that solves problems for people. And then I just go do it, I’m not asking for permission, like I’m gonna bring them a solution. So it was a great way for me to demonstrate ballot for him. Thanks, and it worked. You know, it worked. And yeah, back to the worst thing. I think that that’s, like, over the course of my career, I wasted so many years, trying to let you know, using what my boss thought about my performance, what HR thought about my performance, what my co workers thought about my work, what my pay meant about my work, my work and my work. I had them very confused what my value was. And it just took time, I was slow to learn about that. And my mind wanted to tell me, like, my mind wants to be very confused still, at times about what my value is to my boss. I want to assign $1 per hour number still. But if that has nothing to do with that. So I’m still learning, it’s still I still do daily work on my own mindset. Now I use the tools I got certified in on myself, for my own leadership, mindset, my own value, my own work. And, you know, for me, my, my work my job, I have to keep reminding myself, it’s only one component of my whole life. I have to keep reprioritizing in my mind, because I’d like to make it number one. I like to make my boss number one. I forget about my Creator, I work obsessive hours. I you know, I don’t do self care. You all this stuff, right? So it’s an ongoing process for me, and that’s what I love. That’s what drew me to so much of what you put out Jeremy and the stuff you teach and talk about and create, you know, because you speak to those topics, so well.

Jeremy Burrows 29:45
Well, thank you for saying that. And thank you for sharing your story and putting it so well yourself. So a couple quick questions to wrap things up. First off, are you working being full time remotely in your current role?

Emily Claver 30:03
I am I have a I would always be I have always been… the organization was run remotely before the pandemic.

Jeremy Burrows 30:13
Great. So what’s your number one tip for working from home?

Emily Claver 30:17
Double monitors and electric standup desk. It’s totally a worthwhile investment.

Jeremy Burrows 30:24
100% agree. I have a manual stand desk. So it’s a little more work, but definitely a game changer. All right. My last question is what makes an assistant a leader?

Emily Claver 30:37
ownership? Ownership of every possible capacity that your boss is touching? Yeah, I could go on and on. But I know you want me to answer that one short.

Jeremy Burrows 30:55
Yes, I appreciate it. Thank you again, that’s very well said. We as assistants must take ownership if we really want to lead our executives. Well, so nice job. Emily, thank you so much for sharing your story. I will share the link to the life coach, school podcast. And then also your LinkedIn so people can reach out and say hi to you and connect. Absolutely. And then yeah, take care of Best of luck to you. And hopefully the next time you’re in Kansas City, we can connect. Sounds good. We’ll

Emily Claver 31:31
get some barbecue.

Jeremy Burrows 31:32
Sounds like a plan. Thanks so much.

Emily Claver 31:34
Thank you Jeremy.

Jeremy Burrows 31:36
Thanks so much for listening. Check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/121 See you next time.

Unknown Speaker 31:55
Please loom you on Apple podcast. Goburrows.com


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