Liza Roman is a seasoned executive assistant with over 25 years in the field. She has extensive experience with all administrative aspects in various industries. She’s held EA positions in the Legal field, music industry, accounting with one of the Big 6, the fashion industry, and more.

Liza Roman Leader Assistant Podcast

In this episode, Liza shares stories from her long career, is honest about the sexual harassment and other challenges she’s faced over the years, and much more. I was truly inspired by Liza’s confidence and joy in spite of the hard times. Thank you, Liza for being on the show!


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A leader sees greatness in other people. He nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself!

– Maya Angelou


Liza Roman Leader Assistant Podcast

Liza Roman is a seasoned EA with over 25 years in the field. She has extensive experience with all administrative aspects in various industries. She’s held EA positions in the Legal field, music industry, accounting with one of the Big 6, Fashion industry, Union, and non-profit. She has an extensive background in strategic calendar management, planning international and domestic travel, event planning, onboarding of high-level executives among many other skills. Liza has been very effective at cultivating lasting relationships with fellow EA’s, co-workers, and her C-Suite executives over the years. The secret to her success is how she has created a work environment that is professional, approachable, friendly, and inclusive. Liza holds a Magnum Cum Laude, Bachelor’s degree from CUNY Lehman College in Sociology.


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Liza Roman 0:00
Hi, I’m Liza Roman. And my call for today is Maya Angelou. And it is a leader sees greatness and other people, he nor she can be much of a leader if all she sees is herself.

Podcast Intro 0:16
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become competent game changing leader assistants.

Jeremy Burrows 0:27
Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s episode 143, you can check out the show notes at Before we jump in to today’s interview, I wanted to let you know a little bit about this episode’s sponsor, are you stressed about holiday gifting? Don’t be with loop and tie. Giving great gifts is simple. Here’s how it works. You choose a curated collection of stylish artists and made gifts at prices from $10 to $500 per gift. Then your recipients get to choose their own gift from the collection that you send. Go to and use promo code LEADER ASSISTANT that’s all caps to words LEADER ASSISTANT to get 20% off. And yes, they do ship internationally. So visit and use the code LEADER ASSISTANT for 20% off. All right. One more quick note before we jump into the interview, we had a little bit of sound technical issues. Microphones weren’t exactly sounding right. And I had my wrong microphone on at first and I switched to a different one. So thanks for your patients. It’s a great conversation with Liza and you’ll love what she has to say. Thanks again for your patience with the technical difficulties. Hey, friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader, Assistant Podcast and your host, Jeremy Burrows. And today I’m very excited to be speaking with Liza Roman. Liza is the executive assistant to the executive director slash CEO at sanctuary for families in I believe that’s in New York. Is that right, Liza?

Liza Roman 2:17
Yes, it is. It’s a New York, it’s on Wall Street.

Jeremy Burrows 2:20
Awesome. So why don’t you tell us a little bit about your career? How you ended up in the executive assistant profession? And then yeah, how long have you been in this world?

Liza Roman 2:32
I have been in the world of the EAS for about 30 years, give or take. I will say that from when I started as an executive assistant 30 years ago till now, a lot of things have changed. You know, the cultures, the different cultures throughout time throughout the last 30 years have changed so much what I’ve experienced over the years, you know, as I look back now, in retrospect, I have learned so much, and I’ve experienced so much and on many different levels. My current position is working for a nonprofit, which is new to me, because I’ve never worked for a nonprofit before. So normally I’ve been I’ve worked in the private sector for the last, you know, 25 years or so. Challenges, there have been many challenges. I have experienced sexual harassment, I have experienced executives who have been unfaithful to their wives. I have worked with an executive who got very sick on me in Barcelona, and I got a call at two o’clock in the morning. And literally my whole world was kind of turned upside down at two in the morning with a three year olds sleeping next to me. So it was like it was like running around like a chicken with no head. And I think that’s usually the hat that we wear. As executive assistants. There’s always something to do you never have enough time in the day. You know, and we always have to be ready for the surprises. So, you know,

Jeremy Burrows 4:15
so we just need to hat that is a headless chicken is what you’re saying?

Liza Roman 4:20
Yeah, pretty much.

Jeremy Burrows 4:22
So okay, so what’s been your favorite part over these last 20-30 years? What’s been your favorite part about the role?

Liza Roman 4:31
You know what, when I’ve when I’ve coordinated events, and I get my teams together. And we do either off site team buildings, or I’ve coordinated events where I’ve had like when I worked in the music industry that I would coordinate venues, production venues with artists and writers composers. And, you know, just to see like the fruits of my labor, you know, Because up until the point when the event happens, like it takes you months to build, you know, and to put these events together. And then when you see them onstage, or you see your team, you know, enjoying the time and really being productive and getting along. That makes me feel happy. And I love it when my teams come back to me, and they’re like, Liza, this is so great. You did such a great job. And I’m like, No, thank you, you know, this was, you know, it was really wonderful. You know, it’s really fun putting it together. For some people, it can be a very daunting task. For me over the years, I’ve really, really enjoy, you know, doing things like that doing events and things of that nature.

Jeremy Burrows 5:41
Nice. Yeah, it’s very rewarding when it finally you know,

Liza Roman 5:45
it’s like, you know, what, when I worked, when I worked at Warner, I will tell you that one of my artists, which is his in his name is Juan is, you know, after I left Warner, when I came back to New York, from Miami, he may award winning artist, so but when I was working at Warner, he was just part of one of our composers, and he was part of a band, and he was up and coming. So it was nice to see him from when he was starting to when I moved to New York, and then I saw him win a Grammy. And so that was really cool. So it’s nice to see how people grow. And, you know, the success that they have, and, you know, and how they’re tapped in the industry, you know, because he was already an a musician. Once he started composing, and his music is very folkloric, it’s also political. He really, really blew up. So that was really fun to see. And having worked with him.

Jeremy Burrows 6:42
Yeah, I love seeing my executives succeed, like, and just knowing that I played a little part in that. It’s very rewarding.

Liza Roman 6:53
Yeah, yep.

Jeremy Burrows 6:54
So okay, well, let’s flip to the other side, what was your or what has been, and maybe even continues to be your least favorite part about being an assistant?

Liza Roman 7:06
I will say that, and it’s an it’s sad to even say it, but the sexual harassment, that till this day that even after 30 years of working in the industry, as an EA, I still come across it. I want to a position, I was laid off from my job. At nine West, I was there for nine years. And I went and I took a position. The following year, I got laid off in August, and in January of the following year, I started a position with a chairman. Now this Chairman wanted me to work till like eight o’clock at night. Mind you, when I was on the interview, I told him I said I’m a single mother. So you know, I would like to be able to leave at least at a at a decent time where I can get home because I have a trial that oh, well, by the end of the week, I ended up you know, I made the decision that this wasn’t going to work because he wanted to keep me there not only to like eight o’clock, nine o’clock at night. And I was like, You know what, after all these years of working as an EA, as an executive has to work that to that many hours so that late at night, then you don’t have it together. And for me, it was like, I have a family I can’t I need a lifework balance in some sort of way, even as an EA. And I’ve worked for many executives, where I’ve worked till seven o’clock and still been able to get home and still been able to do you know, my work and my home life. And at the end of the week, when I told him that, you know, for as much as I really liked working with him that unfortunately, I could not stay because I could not stay so late. He proceeded to tell me about how very very sexy I was. Wow. And that just nearly like it just blew me out of the water. And I was like this, then it was the right thing for me to do to just, you know, I guess my my spidey senses, you know, most of most of my hairs were standing on end where I was like, I knew something wasn’t right. So yeah, you know, just the fact that I’ve had to deal with the sexual harassment even now that I’m older and that it’s been 30 years and that this culture now then God, you know, the hashtag we have the hashtag me TOS where, you know, people are speaking up and this is not something that like back in the 80s. You know, when I first started as an assistant, these things were swept under the rug. And I had two incidents when in the 90s, where I had two people who committed sexual harassment against me and who were also let go, because, you know, I spoke up but it wasn’t without, you know, fear on my part to say what I needed to say But the fact of the backlash that I was gonna get? So that’s been a real big learning experience. You have to you have to look, you know, at how you work together with an executive and what is not. Okay, and what crosses the line. So it can that’s that’s been that’s been one of my least favorite things that has happened to me. And because as a VA,

Jeremy Burrows 10:30
well, I’m so sorry that you’ve had to experience that throughout your career. I’m sure there are others listening who have also had experience with sexual harassment, unfortunately, in the workplace, what what would you say to those who are maybe in the middle of a situation where they’re just, they’re maybe afraid to speak up? Or don’t know how to speak up? Where can they go? Where should they turn? What do you recommend for,

Liza Roman 11:00
like, the two other people who sexually harassed me back back in the 90s, they weren’t my bosses, but I had a good enough relationship with my boss, that I was able to speak to them until this happened. And this needs to stop right now. And I feel that you know what, no matter how hard you think it is, no matter what the backlash is gonna be, don’t let anybody ever, ever, like, make you feel like you’re some object, like you’re some, you know, like, you don’t matter it does, you know, that they can do whatever they want with you don’t ever allow that. You have to speak up for as hard as it is. And I and when I was when I was in my 20s, it was really, it was really hard. But I still did it. And I not only spoke out, but I yelled, You know, I went into my boss’s office, and I yelled at him. And I said, with all due respect, but you got to hear this, and this is not going to happen again. And if I have to call the police, I will call the police. And so I found that between the tooth, the two times that had happened, you know, you kind of have after the first time it happened, I became more brave. When the second time it happened, I became more vocal. And it was like, No, this is not okay. And you cannot do this. And it’s funny, because we’re not living in the world of the Mad Men. You know, I don’t know if you’ve seen the show madmen. But yeah, so we’re not living in that world anymore of the 1950s and 60s, where people are smoking and drinking in the office and everything. And they’re, they’re tweeting the the executive assistant with the secretaries, you know, like, they’re just objects, you know. So you have to speak up, no matter how hard it is, find somebody that you can trust, you know, and hopefully, it’s your boss, that you have a good relationship with your boss. And you can you can tell them what’s going on. And if it is the boss that is doing it, you go above their head, and you you know, and now what’s funny is, is that now, like people will go into an office and start recording with their iPhones, people will record things people will, you know, they find ways to to, you know, to get proof. So, don’t ever stay shot, open up your mouth and say what you got to say, Don’t ever let anybody treat you. Like you’re not worthy of the respect that you deserve. Especially because we are EAS and we’re constantly being put in the front or in the front lines.

Jeremy Burrows 13:37
Well said, well said thank you for sharing your, from your own experience and encouraging others who are going with going through the same things. What about you had mentioned to me when we when you reached out on LinkedIn about a couple of other things like ageism discrimination? You know, you’ve been in the industry for a long time. How do you combat with like, do people treat you differently? Because you’re

Liza Roman 14:13
I find that

Jeremy Burrows 14:15
you know, yeah, I

Liza Roman 14:16
find that now, when I was younger, as an EA, people kind of they would speak down to me and because they saw that I was young and they thought that it was an experience and I didn’t know what I was doing. Mind you I was setting up all kinds of venues dealing with all kinds of you know high level executives Chairman’s of huge companies. And you know, you have to you just, you learn over the years you stand your ground where now I feel like with all these years of experience I can I have a voice to say, You know what, I’ve learned this, I know this, I know that and don’t don’t be mistaken that because of my age, I don’t know something. Now that I’m older, it’s like, over, you’re too old, and you just don’t understand the culture of today. So it’s now it’s kind of switch switched around. And it’s always something like you’ve never when exactly, you know, and I’ll be honest, like, I don’t do social media, I don’t care for social media. However I did, because I’m a sociology major. I did do this, this thing on Instagram called Tell me your shoe, because I love shoes. And I worked. I worked in the shoe industry for nine years, where people can express their experiences through their shoes, you don’t know, you don’t know anybody else’s life until you walk a few miles in their shoes, so to speak. But yeah, I the ageism has always been a factor that when I was younger, they treat you like you don’t know anything. And now that I’m older, they still treat me like I don’t know anything, because I’m not 20 years old anymore. So I don’t know. And I’m gonna feel like I’m damned if I do, and I’m damned if I don’t, but you kind of roll with the punches. And you just always, you always put your best foot forward and you you act professional, and you treat people with respect, regardless of how they come across to you. Because when you’re representing an executive, you are representing, you’re representing them, you’re representing the company. So you always have to keep that professional demeanor, regardless of how people come at you.

Jeremy Burrows 16:34
So how do you maintain confidence? When people say things like that? Or you face these challenges? From how do you how do you keep your confidence up?

Liza Roman 16:46
I you know, what I think of all the years of, of the support that I’ve given to my executives, the things that I’ve learned, and you know, what, I don’t let anything bring me down, I walk with my head held high, I shake people’s hands, and I look them in the eye. And when people want to start with the whole thing of will Oh, you don’t understand, you know what, I just let them talk. And I don’t sit there and engage. Because I find that, you know, when I come across it, they don’t get it, they don’t understand. Because they’re only thinking about their culture and, and, you know, for their age. For me, I just, you’ll always be professional, no matter what, even when you don’t like what they’re saying.

Jeremy Burrows 17:39
So I love how speaking of confidence, you reached out to me and initially on LinkedIn. And you said, you know, I’ve been doing this for a long time. And I have a lot of stories and experiences. And you just kind of put yourself out there and said, you know, we essentially will you have me on the podcast? What? What drove you to do that? Like what? Why did you? Why did you reach out?

Liza Roman 18:09
You know what? Again, I guess it was nice to see your, your posts on LinkedIn. And I found them interesting. And you know, just reading other people’s other executive assistant thoughts and posts and, and I was like, You know what, I really have something to say, I have been doing what I do for so many years, I have so many stories. And I don’t know, it was just like a moment of like, you know what, I’m gonna reach out and, you know, let’s throw caution to the wind. And I did and and when you when I saw your your your reply, it was like, Oh, wow. He actually wrote back. So thank you, thank you for writing back and for letting me participate.

Jeremy Burrows 18:57
Well, and thank you for throwing caution to the wind and reaching out. I am a strong believer that everyone has a story to tell and story worth sharing. And yeah, any anybody listening, if you’re listening to this episode right now, and you’re thinking, Well, you know, I guess I do have some thoughts and tips and stories to share as well with the EAA community. You know, reach out to me and I’d love to have you on the show as well.

Liza Roman 19:28
Well, I have another story. Yeah. I

Jeremy Burrows 19:30
was just going to ask you, I want to hear some more stories.

Liza Roman 19:35
So it’s two o’clock in the morning, and I’m sleeping with my son. And I get a call from my boss. He was in Barcelona. He was on a on a trip through Europe that I had sent him with his designers and his his merchandising people like he he was like with four other four or five other people. So he calls me two in the morning He’s like, I’m sick, and I can’t breathe. And I’m like, Oh my God, what’s going on? Are you okay? And he’s like, I can’t breathe. I feel like I’m having an asthma attack. And I’m sending everybody ahead, they’re going to London. And I need to go home, I need you to change the entire trip for me. So I says, okay, he goes, I need you to call Ed his partner, and let him know what’s going on. He goes, I’m kind of crazed right now just trying to figure out what to do. If I’m going to the hospital or what, I’m in a wheelchair right now. Like, okay, calm down to worry about it. I said, I got you. So we hang up, I call his partner, I let him know what’s going on. We discussed you know, calling the doctor making appointments for when he comes home, the flights. So I call my American Express, travel team. And they have after our numbers that you can call, so I call them and let them know what was going on. And that I needed a flight out the next morning. I mean, not the next morning, because he was it was already it was too, it was two o’clock in the morning here. So it was like eight o’clock in the morning over there. So he was going to spend the night and then the following morning, he was going to leave. So I had to rearrange the whole flights, then I had to, you know, get the cars get his partner get a car to get to his partner to take them to, to go to the airport to pick them up to them, take them to the doctor, make appointments with the doctor. And also get him a hotel that was close to the airport and Barcelona. So like that he didn’t have to like travel far once he got back from the house. So I learned in this whole process. And I take this, I took this experience with me to my other positions afterwards, where I sit down with my executive, when I first start with my executive, like, I need the name of your wife, the name of your partner, the name of your children, I need cell phone numbers, God forbid in case of an emergency, you never know what can happen, I need to make sure that I have and I keep it in a file that’s, that’s protected with a password that only I know with all their information via flights, personal credit cards, you know, family names, family, telephone numbers, things of that nature. Because I, you know, he really scared me because he got really, really sick. And so when he came home, you know, he had it ended up that he had like an upper respiratory infection, that kind of like triggered his asthma. And so he just wasn’t he just was unwell. So, you know, with every, like I said, with every executive from then forward, you know, I sat down and said, Okay, let’s let’s do the rundown on you know, I explained to them, I actually even explained this story to them of what happened and why it’s important for me to have all this information in case of an emergency. So this is these are the little things that you do with your executives.

Jeremy Burrows 22:59
Wow. Yeah, that’s doesn’t help. Yeah, that’s definitely not so good. You want to get in the middle tonight?

Liza Roman 23:08
Well, the thing is also because thank God, like I speak fluent Spanish, it was my first language. So in Barcelona, they normally speak Catalan. But they can understand this Spanish so I was able to speak to people over there, who had them like people at the airport, and it was very able to talk to them and tell them listen, this is what we need to do. This is where you need to take them this is you know, and it was great because I was able to communicate with them and get him from Point A to point B to point C. If I didn’t speak the language, it would have been, it would have been a little more difficult.

Jeremy Burrows 23:42
Wow. So how do you in Spanish? How would you say executive assistants are leaders in the workplace?

Liza Roman 23:54
Okay, so as he said, this idea called Deva, so hidden, the hidden this Engel NLC to build trabaho

Jeremy Burrows 24:05
very nice awesome, I love it. I just you know, I can barely speak English. So anytime I’m talking to speaks another language and like, I want to hear it. Here’s something

Liza Roman 24:18
I gotta tell you. It’s really it’s really worked. I mean, it’s been great. And you know, that I’ve that I can speak the language and that I can read it and write it. But I will also say that I feel like I’ve been discriminated against in the workplace because Hispanic, and I am a woman of color. I am Puerto Rican and Puerto Rican Italian. And I’ve, you know, I’ve noticed that in over the years like, when I could have been paid more when other assistants were paid more. I wasn’t. I was told by an HR person. You can’t. You can’t you can’t work there because you have a child. So, when I tell you like I’ve experienced a plethora of things I’ve experienced a lot. Well, it’s really, because when you’re a parent, you’re a parent, you shouldn’t be you shouldn’t, you know, ousted, just because you have a child or a family at all. There are people who just don’t care. And there are companies that just want what they want. And it’s very unfortunate, because they’ll miss out on really good talent and people who are good at what they do. Just because, you know, oh, well, we want this person to work till 10 o’clock at night, so they can’t have any kids. Yeah, you know. Yeah.

Jeremy Burrows 25:39
Well, Liza, I know. You kind of put yourself out there reached out to me, and I’m so glad you did. It’s been fun chatting with you and hearing some of your stories. And I really just encouraged by the energy and confidence that you exude. And I know you’ve been through a lot of challenges throughout your career, and life. And I appreciate you just kind of pushing through and staying positive and confident. Just yeah, just comes out even even on this audio podcast interview just really comes through. And so, thanks for being on the show.

Liza Roman 26:19
Thank you so much for having me. Cheer me. Yeah, sharing the stories.

Jeremy Burrows 26:24
Yeah, is there any way or if you want, any way people can reach out and connect with you and say hi,

Liza Roman 26:31
sure. Um, they can they can find me on either LinkedIn or you can share my, my email address with them if you like. Okay.

Jeremy Burrows 26:41
Sounds good. I’ll definitely link to your LinkedIn in the show notes. And then yeah, if people want to reach out they can reach out to me and I can pass them on to you and yeah, thanks again. Hope you have to

Liza Roman 26:52
reach out to me I have I have more stories.

Jeremy Burrows 26:57
Yeah, definitely. Maybe we’ll have to do a part two Sunday.

Liza Roman 27:02
Thank you. Thank you for having me.

Jeremy Burrows 27:05
Thanks again to Liza for being on the show has a great conversation check out the show notes at And don’t forget to check out our sponsor for this episode use the code LEADER ASSISTANT all caps to words LEADER ASSISTANT at for 20% off their holiday gifting and we will talk to you soon.

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