Tessa Young is an executive assistant in Louisville, KY who enjoys learning new tips and tricks to better support her leaders and teams.

Tessa Young Leader Assistant Podcast

In this episode, Tessa shares a bit of her story working in a non-profit as an executive assistant. She talks about leading a development program for over 25 assistants in her organization, tips for leading a team of assistants, and how she takes care of herself when her job is to take care of others.


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People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care. 

– John Maxwell

Tessa Young Leader Assistant Podcast

Hey Yall! I’m Tessa from Looval, Kentucky. I’m married to my bestie Connor and together we are raising two kiddos to be confident, caring and Christlike. We love hosting friends in our home, watching sports games, beating each other at bowling and eating Mexican food. I serve the Kingdom at Southeast Christian Church as an Executive Assistant to the Operations Leader and the Executive Pastor of Ministries. I love learning new tips and tricks to better serve my leaders and teams, so queso anyone?


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Tessa Young 0:00
Hi I’m Tessa Young and today’s leadership quote comes from John C. Maxwell. People do not care how much you know until they know how much you care.

Podcast Intro 0:10
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident, Game Changing leader assistant.

Jeremy Burrows 0:22
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Tessa Young 2:18
Yes, Louisville, Kentucky,

Jeremy Burrows 2:20
Louisville, Kentucky Nice. So tell us a little bit about we’ll jump right in. And once you tell us about your first job.

Tessa Young 2:30
My very, very first job, I worked at an assisted living place. And I was a server in their dining area. So just basically serve Yep, served and dinner. It was great.

Jeremy Burrows 2:44
So is there anything in that role that you have applied to your current executive assistant role?

Tessa Young 2:52
I would say a little bit of organization project management, you know, having a few tables and taking in a lot of orders.

Jeremy Burrows 3:01
Nice, nice. Yeah, I’d say it’s very similar. And then how did you end up being an assistant?

Tessa Young 3:09
I actually, when I graduated college, I am applied to my home church of southeast. I grew up in southeast, and I applied to work in the shine ministry, which is our special needs ministry as our administrative assistant. And that’s kind of how it all got started. I’m still there a few jobs later.

Jeremy Burrows 3:30
Wow. So how long have you been there? It’ll be seven years

Tessa Young 3:33
in March and awesome. Seven years.

Jeremy Burrows 3:36
Awesome. And had you known other assistants? Or even did you even know what an executive assistant was when he kind of jumped into that?

Tessa Young 3:51
Well, my mom also works there. And she is an executive assistant. So I did have a little background. And now I do work on the same team as my mom, which is really fun. So that’s really my only my only pointers came from her.

Jeremy Burrows 4:07
So what’s it like working on the same team as your mom?

Tessa Young 4:11
I do call her by your first name. And so that kind of throws people off sometimes if they know us or don’t know us, but it’s great. It’s, I feel like I go to her more comfortably than anyone else for questions. And I feel like we’re pretty honest with each other when we’re dealing with a problem.

Jeremy Burrows 4:30
So speaking of problems, what’s one of the mistakes what are some mistakes that you might have made? And how did you handle them after the fact?

Tessa Young 4:41
My first, probably my within my first month of working with the shine, special needs ministry. I sent out this big email to all of the volunteers. I mean, hundreds of people were on this email, and I was like, Hey, we’re gonna have an event come served and I can Completely forgot to put the date of the event. It was I just got all this feedback email of like, well, I would serve if I knew when the date was. And it was, it was my first big thing where I’m like, Okay, I need to really proofread what I write. And it was a big learning thing right at the very, very beginning.

Jeremy Burrows 5:21
So have, how did that like? Did your executive say something about it did or was it just kind of like, oh, sorry about that, everybody? You know what I’m saying? Like, because sometimes assistants make mistakes, and then they have a back, you know, awkward conversation with their boss afterwards.

Tessa Young 5:40
I feel like I immediately told her, and then Mike, my face went red. And I was just like, wow, that was really embarrassing. That will literally never happen again. And I can’t really say that it hasn’t any of my emails. I’m like, Date, Time location data. So she had a lot of grace with me.

Jeremy Burrows 5:57
Nice. Yeah. All right. So I worked in a nonprofit church for shoot, like 12 years, I was an assistant for nine of those years, a lot of people that I talked with, that are looking for new roles, or career shifts are either currently working in nonprofit non for profit, and then they want to move to potentially a for profit, or a different industry. And then some people are like, Oh, hey, you know, I work for a for profit, but I’m tired of everything being about the money, and I want to work for something that has, you know, a mission or something that I can really get behind and believe in. Is there anything that you’d like to share with those listening who are considering making that jump from the the for profit world to the not for profit.

Tessa Young 6:51
Um, I just feel like you need to listen to your calling, if it’s the place for you to be, it is a big jump, I feel like when you’re, at least for me, in a church, people just get so passionate about their ministries and what they have going on. And, you know, it’s exciting and awesome. And then, you know, sometimes it’s super discouraging, you know, if your budget doesn’t get approved for something, or, you know, something just doesn’t work out. But it’s also mean, you get to see great fruit of it, you, you know, for us, you get to see people come to Christ, or you get to see people witness to their families and their friends. I definitely think to that, if you follow, you know, the Lord’s calling to work at a church or wherever, you know, it’s important to not let it change your family dynamic too much. You don’t want to start any, like resentment, that you’re always at work, you’re always at church. So I would definitely encourage those, you know, to keep serving and having the same family dynamic that you did before, and knock it you know, just work on the work life balance of it, because it can just especially with ministry, it never ends. It truly never ends.

Jeremy Burrows 8:03
Yeah, I was gonna say, like, when I was in it, you know, I’m a preacher’s kid. And I was working in, you know, a church as a pastor’s assistant. And it was busy, busy, busy. We had services all weekend. And so I really, to be honest, I never, I never really took days off and never was good about boundaries. And I work too much I burned out. My pastor executive burned out, he ended up getting fired. It was just a whole whole unhealthy situation. But I didn’t really acknowledge that or wasn’t aware of that, until I was outside of the situation. So how, so? How have you tried to balance that self care and you know, when your job and your organization has a mission to help others? You know, it’s, it can be very easy, I know, from firsthand experience, very easy to just disregard your own needs and disregard your self care. And so how have you tried to combat that and not, you know, let yourself miss out on you know, health and wellness.

Tessa Young 9:19
Well, one great benefit that our staff has are two desert days a year. So they’re basically days to get away and refresh your soul. You know, just for us just like Jesus did, he got away and really just got back with the Father and everything. And so there are staff, we have two days of that a year you can take any time. And those are really great just to put on the calendar. I mean, even for everyone else, just a personal day, put it on the calendar, block it off, and then when that comes up on your calendar, you’re like, Wow, this is really needed. Like I do need a day off. I do need to refresh and besides Is that just especially for assistance, I feel like we’re always like, we always just feel the responsibility of our, you know, our leaders. And so just to really turn off, you know, the stuff at night when you go home, and I have two young kids, like, it’s almost impossible for me to look at my stuff when I’m at home. But even you know, before you go to bed and everything, and just really having, you know, good family time, and trying to just be intentional about other parts of your life, having good hobbies is also really good. Whether it’s, you know, your podcast thing is great, or, you know, reading something like that.

Jeremy Burrows 10:39
Yeah, what’s, what’s one of your favorite hobbies?

Tessa Young 10:43
I like reading, um, I don’t do it as much as I want, because usually I fall asleep. But we definitely go on walks a lot, we try to hang outside. We watch a lot of Impractical Jokers.

Jeremy Burrows 10:59
All right. So you also lead a team or a development program for a team of about 25 to 30. Assistants. Is that right?

Tessa Young 11:09
Yes, I just started doing this recently. And it’s been a huge blessing.

Jeremy Burrows 11:13
So what what can you share about what you’ve done with the team or maybe tips for others who are leading a team or want to lead a team of assistants at their job?

Tessa Young 11:27
Well, it started out when one of my leaders just ask his team about just what our Slack is basically, you know, you don’t just have stuff that gets in the way of, you know, our work day. And so he was like, go ask your team, you know, your teams with this is come back with feedback. And then me, you know, like, my team has him basically. And so I’m like, you know, what, I’m just gonna go ask all the admins and just do different kinds of studies with them. And, you know, come to find out I have just that, se, we have, basically a huge group of admins that relate more to like Team admins, and then we have a smaller group that are more people, admins. And so from there, I just kind of was like, hey, what do we need to just eliminate all this stuff that you know, is holding us back from really just greater potential and greater, greater productivity? So we kind of just did a deep dive on our processes. And then, since part of my role is helping the ops team I talked to, you know them about, you know, the big questions they got just continuously, you know, how we were holding them back from different things. And we’ve got some, we had some great responses. And then from there, I was like, Okay, let’s get some development stuff together, let’s just figure out what we can study what we can do. So this last year, we had in January, we had a leadership training, basically, someone talked to us about just leading in all different directions, which was great for our roles. And then we had a more technology, we have like a database system, and we have teams and OneDrive, and all that. So our IT team came in, and they just helped us with a ton of stuff. And then we also just do other social gatherings, which is great for us just to get together and just chill. I feel like we need that, you know, I don’t want them to just have to think about deep diving every time we’re together on a subject. But one of the great things that’s come out of all that are our encouragement groups. So we have about 30 admins. And we have four main EAS. And we divided all of our admins into four different groups. And once you, you know, come on staff, we just add you into one of our groups, but these aren’t leader groups, and they’re not mentor groups. It’s purely a group for the admins to make the just the whole community feel smaller. It’s been a successful I mean, we have a huge teams group and then we have different channels of smaller groups. So we just check in on each other you know, say hey, you know what’s going on at your campus? You know, how can I pray for you or we one on one, try to meet with our, you know, each of our people, it’s just been a good kind of connector piece to just make you know, smaller, intentional and really like hit the big questions are our big teams group is great. We we spotlight our admins, we share like, you know, a legal information update or a database update, or people ask, you know, catering questions like who’s who’s used this person recently? That’s probably one of one of our most successful things in this last year, are encouraged groups.

Jeremy Burrows 15:01
Awesome. Yeah, I mean, it’s great to have other assistants that you can relate to, and they can help each other out and support each other. You know, I’m the only assistant at my company right now. And there’s a lot of assistants listening who are the only assistant at their organization. And that’s why I, you know, I encourage them to connect online on LinkedIn, reach out to other assistants join the leader, Assistant online community. But is there something that you would recommend to someone who is at an organization and they’re the only assistant? And like you were saying, you know, when you first started talking about all that was you were like, Oh, I don’t have a team? Yeah. So those are those that don’t have a team? And maybe they’re in a smaller org? Or there’s no, no assistants around? Yeah. Any, any tips for them?

Tessa Young 15:56
Well, through all this, I just searched for anything like that. And I mean, I’ve, I’ve been a part of now, you know, just different newsletters, getting those into my, my inbox to read. And then also just a lot of Facebook groups. I know you have one. And there’s, you know, a bunch online. But I think those have been great. I’ve learned a lot. If somebody says something, I’m like, Ooh, that was a good answer like that is super relatable to, you know, a situation I’ve had. So those kinds of things have been really helpful for me. And I mean, even maybe search on Facebook, if you have a local admin group in your area, we just started one in this area. It’s really small, but you know, it’s gonna start somewhere. Yeah, no.

Jeremy Burrows 16:40
Awesome. So okay, so I had somebody reach out to me the other day, who said, hey, you know, I’m shifting careers. I was in hospitality. And now I am jumping into an executive assistant role. Where do I start? Where do I start? Like, what what do you recommend? So what what would you recommend to a new assistant just starting out in their career,

Tessa Young 17:04
I would almost go through your, what you think your week and your day would look like and sit down with your executive, and just ask how they want everything. We have a good paper, as one of our staff development guys made it, it’s just like the best of me. It has a bunch of questions on like, how you want feedback, how they want feedback, how you want to communicate, all those kinds of things. I think that’s super important. Just start out well with your leader. Partnership with them is super important. You know, transparency comes with time, and trust comes with time, but just trying to figure those things out how they want things. I think that’s that’ll help you quickly. And I mean, you have to grow with them. And if they’re even maybe new in their spot, you know, they’re learning as well.

Jeremy Burrows 17:56
Yeah. Love it. Good. Good advice. Well, Tessa, thanks so much for sharing today a little bit about how you lead a team and a little bit of your story. To kind of wrap things up, what would you say makes an assistant a leader?

Tessa Young 18:14
I think that our main job is to move things forward. So if we are leading, you know, our I loved your email that you sent the other day of in our areas of influence, because it’s so true. Someone did ask me the day like, what do you do? And I was at a conference. I’m like, Well, if you have an assistant, you know, but like, I just help things go forward.

Jeremy Burrows 18:36
Well, Tessa, thanks so much for sharing your story and being on the show. Is there any way that people can reach out and connect with you if they want to reach out network?

Tessa Young 18:46
Yes, I’m on Instagram test to see young and I’m on LinkedIn, Tessa young 7916. I also did want to say to church admins, don’t ever forget you’re doing ministry. Even if it’s ordering a lunch scheduling a meeting. You’re always doing it for the greater good.

Jeremy Burrows 19:07
Awesome, thanks, Tessa. I really appreciate you being on the show. And we’ll put the links to your Instagram and LinkedIn in the show notes. And yeah, good luck, Tia, and we’ll talk soon. Thanks so much for having me. Thanks again. For listening. Check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/140 That’s leaderassistant.com/140. And don’t forget to check out our sponsor for this episode. Elk Horn peak sellers, Elkhornpeak.com/leaderassistant

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