Jennifer Lopez is an author, executive assistant and executive office liaison, and mom to 4 kids.
In this episode, Jennifer talks about work/life balance, writing a book, growing a personal brand, what it means to be an executive office liaison, and much more!
Connect to a compelling cause with your heart, not your head. Then fasten your seatbelt because your life will soar.
– Robin Sharma
CONNECT WITH JENNIFER
- Jennifer’s LinkedIn
- Jennifer’s book – Chief Executive Mom: Run Your Home Like You Mean Business
Jennifer Lopez, Author of Chief Executive Mom: Run Your Home Like You Mean Business, which debuted #1 on Amazon in Parenting School-aged Children. She is the executive assistant to Robert Hessel, CEO/Chairman of Source 1 Solutions. Source 1 is an IT solutions and managed services provider that provides services in 118 countries and was named one of the Best Workplaces in America by INC 5000 in 2021. In addition to supporting her CEO, Jennifer provides support to 6 other senior leaders in the organization, her 4 kids, and her husband.
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Hi, I’m Jennifer Lopez executive assistant at source one solutions. Today’s leadership quote comes from Robin Sharma. Connect to a compelling cause with your heart, not your head. Then fasten your seat belt because your life will soar.
Podcast Intro 0:16
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident, Game Changing leader assistant.
Jeremy Burrows 0:24
The Leader Assistant Podcast is brought to you by goody if you send business gifts to employees, clients or sales prospects, goodie is a game changer. You can send one gift or hundreds at a time without ever worrying about shipping details. With goody your gift recipients provide all their shipping info. And they can even swap out your gift for another option if they prefer. It’s free to start gifting and you can get a $20 credit when you sign up. Oh, and if you mentioned you heard about goody from The Leader, Assistant Podcast, goody, we’ll add an extra $10 credit to your account. So go to leaderassistant.com/goody. That’s g o o d y to start gifting today. Again, that’s leaderassistant.com/goody. Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host, Jeremy Burrows and welcome to episode 160. You can check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/160 Leaderassistant.com/160. Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Jennifer Lopez. She’s an executive assistant, also an author. Lots of other things that we’re going to talk about. So Jennifer, how’s it going?
Jennifer Lopez 1:57
Hi, Jeremy. How are you?
Jeremy Burrows 1:59
I’m doing well. What part of the world are you in?
Jennifer Lopez 2:02
I am currently in the bright and sunny area of Clearwater, Florida.
Jeremy Burrows 2:07
Awesome. I wish I was there because it was snowing this morning here in Kansas City, Missouri. So I
Jennifer Lopez 2:12
won’t tell you anything about our 86 degrees in sunny weather. It was awful.
Jeremy Burrows 2:18
Well, let’s let’s jump in. Tell us about a little bit about you and your career and maybe how you ended up in the assistant role.
Jennifer Lopez 2:28
Yeah, absolutely. So, first, thanks so much for having me on the show, you have a really fantastic podcast. So it’s so honored, so honored to be here. But I actually just started being I did things a little backwards, I started being an executive assistant about two years ago, I say backwards, because prior to being an executive assistant, I owned an executive assistant staffing company for a couple of years. So I was a little a little upside down there. But I have been here with source one for about two years. And I absolutely love the roll. I think that anyone in the executive assistant support role, we probably are all cut from the same cloth that we can’t just be sitting in front of a screen all day, we have to have about 50 things thrown at us in order to keep us happy. So that’s really what what my role mostly entails here. And and I have four kids that I have at home. So I owe my training, to raising them for you know, the 10 years that I stayed home with them.
Jeremy Burrows 3:33
Awesome. So what made you want to launch a staffing firm?
Jennifer Lopez 3:41
Yeah, so it’s, it’s funny, I actually wanted to get out and do more in the community. And so I got involved with Chase local Chamber of Commerce, and I met some solopreneurs and entrepreneurs and really, they just needed an extra hand but they’re at a stage in their business where they couldn’t afford someone full time. And so I had launched a fractional executive assistant staffing agency, which was a solid hit, unfortunately, I mean, I say unfortunately, but it was really a blessing that you know, things took a turn when the pandemic hit, because one of my clients which happened to be the CEO of source one solutions, wanted to expand his services and and invited me aboard his team, which was really just a perfect fit.
Jeremy Burrows 4:28
So what did you learn when it comes to high hiring and finding a good assistant?
Jennifer Lopez 4:36
Oh, in the organization when I when I owned my own. So, you know, I think that it’s important to go into the EA role, not just focused on the many tasks that we can execute and how we can, you know, switch hats at a moment’s notice. But it’s really all about, you know, the compatibility Be of the executive and the support member. Right. So, I mean, I can’t tell you how many times it happened where I had told a client coming on, I’ve got a rockstar assistant coming at you, they can get XYZ done in no time and be so efficient. And then you get the two in the room together, and the, the, you know, their personalities just aren’t really compatible. So one of the exercises that I would do with customers at the time, and it actually helped me make my decision. And in, you know, joining forces with source one was, you know, really exploring what their vision mission and values were. And then matching the vision, mission and values, primarily the core values, to the core values of, you know, of an assistant, I can say, like coming on here, like community service is very, very important to me, relationship building is very, very important to me. So, even though we’re an IT company, you know, our core values have to do with relationship building, community service clarity for the future rise by lifting others, and I said, Are you sure you’re an IT company, because we have like the exact same values, organization organization. So, I mean, I think that getting into the role, it’s really important to understand yourself at the core, prior to seeking out an employer and same for the executive employer, really have a good understanding of what your core values are, and look for that in the person that you’re looking to support you because the tasks are going to change every day. So, you know, skill set only matters to a certain extent.
Jeremy Burrows 6:43
Yeah, yeah. So I’m looking at a little bit of your bio, and your company that you work for, was named one of the best places to work, or best workplaces in America by Inc 5000 in 2021. So you were the CEO? What was why? Why was it on that list? Or what makes it one of the best places to work? Yeah, so
Jennifer Lopez 7:08
actually, that’s one of the national ones locally, for tampa bay business journal, we’ve just, we just heard for the fifth consecutive year, we’re one of the best places to work here, too. And that really is like, it’s so it’s probably the, you know, most favorite award that our executive team acknowledges, but to be on the Inc 5000. So you have to be on Inc 5000 list for I believe it’s three consecutive years, which means you’re one of the fastest growing companies in the country, right? So that is an accolade all on its own, but then Inc, sends out a survey to your team. And it’s based off of the team’s feedback that determines if you make the Inc 5000 Best workplaces in America. There were last year 429 In the US, and seven in Florida. And we were so proud to be one of those seven. And you know, if you ask my CEO, Robert, you know, that’s, again, the most important award, because it’s not just about what we’re doing. It’s about the perception of the team and how the team feels when they come into work every day. And so that that one is very, very meaningful.
Jeremy Burrows 8:25
So what’s one thing that you do as a to the CEO? Or you actually, when you when I ask for your title, you said executive office liaison slash EA to the CEO? What’s one thing that you do that it’s as a culture, creator or culture champion?
Jennifer Lopez 8:46
Yeah. So first and foremost, I try to be the most smiley person that walks in and out of these, these halls. Because I mean, it’s important, right?
Jeremy Burrows 8:58
Yeah, you got to show those teeth.
Jennifer Lopez 8:59
You have to you have to yep, I think it’s our role, you know, part of our role to try to exude a sense of calm through, you know, some some happiness because once people go into work, like, it’s really easy to forget, that work can be fun as well. So that I think is just like kind of a no brainer, but sometimes it does have to be said, but for So culture is actually one of my primary functions and will do so we celebrate team anniversaries, during certain milestones, and they are really incredible packages that we do for team members that are, you know, with us for 135 10 years. So I facilitate that along with quarterly barbecues, we keep grills on site, and we barbecue out in our parking lot, at least every three months. And then we have community service projects. We have actually eight to eight official charity partners. that we facilitate with on a quarterly basis and our team will come out, you know, 20 to 20 to 50. People and, and get involved in the community, you know, one Saturday every quarter, which brings everyone together.
Jeremy Burrows 10:15
Nice love the love the company barbecues.
Jennifer Lopez 10:19
Oh, they’re they’re so good. They’re so good too. You can come to one, if you’re brand down.
Jeremy Burrows 10:24
Nice. I’ll be there. I’ll be there. So you have four kids, I was one of four, myself, I’m the oldest of four. So I know how fun and crazy that can be. And you actually wrote a book. So you know, you didn’t have enough to do with four kids. So you decided to write a book called? Chief Executive mom, run your home? Like you mean business? Yeah. What? Tell us why you decided to write a book and a little bit of what it’s about.
Jennifer Lopez 10:53
Yeah. So chief executive, mom, run your home, like you mean business. It was a fun project. And I didn’t start out thinking that I was going to write a book. But once we started, you know, started getting some information out, I felt I found myself kind of saying the same thing over and over again, from the core. And it didn’t matter if it was two people that I was training in the business, you know, prior to source one, or if it were other moms that, you know, were coming in and asking, well, how are your kids doing this? How are kids doing that? So it became a really fun project. And it’s about team buy in, you know, on on both sides, right? Like, it’s very similar in the business world to what it is at home. So there are a lot of tasks, there are a lot of people and personalities to manage. And it’s all about, like making sure that you’re all on the same page communication wise. And then, like after you get the buy in, how far can you go, right like, because let’s be real, as moms, especially a mom of, you know, multiple children, it’s really easy to get lost in the day to day and then one day you wake up and you don’t recognize that it’s been 10 years since maybe you’ve looked in the mirror. Right. So that is a very common theme, especially as you’re just kicking off your family. And same in a support role, right as as an as an administrator or support role. We’re so busy doing the tasks, doing the tasks that sometimes we really forget to take care of ourselves. So the underlying theme and Chief Executive mom is get the team buy in, you know, get everyone on the same page and bought into the same objectives. Because the more hands on deck you have executing those tasks. Now, you’re freeing up your own time, and you’re able to kind of rediscover your own happiness and achieve a little bit of a better balance. So it’s important to, you know, fulfill all our passions by taking care of other people. But it’s really important to make sure that you have a lifeline on your own as well.
Jeremy Burrows 13:01
Yeah, so talk a little bit more about work life balance, like what are some of the maybe what’s your top two tips, when it comes to, you know, avoiding burnout, resisting burnout, and really working hard and, you know, leading well, but also taking care of yourself?
Jennifer Lopez 13:19
Yeah. So I think the first piece that, you know, is kind of forgotten in identifying balance is actually identifying what balance looks like, right? Because balance is really just living the life you envision. And that’s going to look a little different for everyone, even though, you know, it might be felt like, I don’t know, you need to go to the gym, you need to eat zero calories and only have, you know, organic grass fed, whatever. Right? So that looks different for everyone and at different stages of life. So identifying that first is key. And then the second piece of it, it really ties back into, you know, the leadership quote from Robin Sharma, connects to a compelling cause with your heart, not your head. And I think that when you connect to a cause with your heart, people can sense your authenticity. And when they sense authenticity, it it makes you a more, more viable influencer, right? Because it’s not just about doing oftentimes in our roles, we have to engage other people. And that’s the tough part of the job, right? Like it’s being a mom or being a support role or having a support role. The toughest part is getting other people to buy in. So you can you know, ultimately sway them and to get you the materials that you might need or help with the tasks or engage in the way that you need to do to make it productive. And to do that you have to be able to connect with them. And, and prove to them that you know, you’re you’re doing this together. This is for the best. You know, this is best for everyone. If We traveled down this road together. So I think to be a good influencer, you have to be authentic. And in connecting with the cause with your heart is certainly the best and fastest way to get there.
Jeremy Burrows 15:12
So let’s talk a little bit about your title executive office liaison. What does that mean? And why is that part of your official title?
Jennifer Lopez 15:21
Right? So fun fact, my CEO, Robert hassle, he actually lives in Europe. So yep, yep. And I support him here from Florida and our global corporate headquarters here in Florida, but we have offices in the UK and in Dublin. So he’s, he works out of our Dublin office right now. And so the role is really not just being an executive assistant. But it’s bridging a gap. And that’s, that’s what the term liaison is there for. So it’s supporting the additional executives, but it’s bridging the gap between, you know, our community relationships, and keeping that in the organization. And bridging the gap when we can hear with culture here, and not people here in the office and clear water, you know, and across the ocean to him out in Europe. So it’s I like to say an executive, obviously is on is really the EA to the globe trotting CEO, because it does come with a bit more responsibility and relationship maintenance than a typical EA role it.
Jeremy Burrows 16:28
So have you had issues where people are like, Well, you’re not Robert, why should I listen to you?
Jennifer Lopez 16:33
Oh, um, well, I mean, I guess very early on. I have to like, my name is Jennifer Lopez. So that immediately opens
Jeremy Burrows 16:46
the credibility pillar right there for you.
Jennifer Lopez 16:48
Yeah, I feel like if it were anyone else, and in this scenario, that might be more of an issue than it has been for me. But, you know, I’m really grateful because I married into the Lopes names. So it’s a bit of an icebreaker and tends to help with that.
Jeremy Burrows 17:05
Do you have any funny stories related to your name being Jennifer Lopez, oh, when
Jennifer Lopez 17:11
I, when I first got married, so funny. In addition to that, it’s not just that I’m Jennifer Lopez. But my husband’s name is Mark Anthony Lopez. And we. And we got married, you know, 13 years ago when they were still married. And we went to go open up our bank accounts. And you know, the lady left the front desk, and she asked for multiple IDs. And we were like, you know, we would do better, if we’re going to have fake, we would have done better than this. So I probably, you know, get get that remark every day in it since the last 13 years. But it’s, it’s funny, it’s always a good icebreaker. And any way to start connecting with people is, is a good first step. So
Jeremy Burrows 17:57
what what about so you’ve got a lot going on, and, you know, a lot of assistants listening, you know, I get emails or LinkedIn notes and saying, hey, you know, I actually think I would like to get into speaking or doing, you know, being podcast guests, or, you know, being an author or whatever. Do you have any tips for, you know, just kind of personal brand, if you will?
Jennifer Lopez 18:21
Oh, yes, absolutely. Get past the imposter syndrome. I think that that is probably the one thing that stops people from getting out and publishing. And, you know, even posting sometimes or, or referencing their own notes. Even if you have, you know, tips that might mirror someone else’s tips, because let’s be real, it’s 2022. And Google has been around for quite some time. No one has your perspective, except you. And that perspective matters. Because chances are someone that perspective will resonate with someone else, and it’ll help them connect to you. So if you’re thinking about it, just do it.
Jeremy Burrows 19:09
Nice. Nice. Do you have plans for any, an additional book or anything?
Jennifer Lopez 19:15
Um, you know, I, I don’t know. I’m sure there will be something down the road. You know, I wrote chief executive mom when I was sitting in the CEO founder seat and my kids were all still under, they were 12 and under. And now I am a support role for this great executive squad. And I have to out of my for our teenagers. And I say it’s, it’s a good thing that I shifted into this support role because parenting teenagers is not, you know, being a decision maker anymore. It’s supporting them in the way that you might support an executive. So there’s a lot of similarities there. Air, if something comes from it, Jeremy, you will likely be the first to know outside of me.
Jeremy Burrows 20:09
Nice. So Alright, so first thanks again for being on the show and sharing a little bit about your story. It’s been fun chatting with you, I hope we get to meet in person someday, especially if it’s in the middle of winter for me, and you know, come out to Florida. I do not like the cold weather. But what what’s one thing you would share to assistants listening, who are maybe starting either their very first assistant role, or even jumping from one executive to another one company to another. So what’s kind of a onboarding tip for jumping into a new new role?
Jennifer Lopez 20:53
I would say, if you’re most, in my experience, of course, most leaders in the C suite leaders, they read a lot they’ll consume. And I would say, find out what they’re consuming. And try to mirror that because, you know, a lot of tasks will come your way. And if you can understand from the route where those tasks are coming from the execution will be more effective and more like literally on the same page. I mean, I think when I first joined forces with Robert, I said, Okay, what books do you like? And what books can I dive into right away. And actually, he’s an author, too. He wrote a great book called Safe City. It’s about, you know, keeping city safe, so that people in it can thrive. And I picked up his book, and that saved us about, you know, two to three hours of me learning about him and his core values. And it helped me jump in there. So I would say mirror consumption to the person that you’re going to support. For sure.
Jeremy Burrows 21:58
Love it. I always say read what your executive reads and listen to what they listened to and get them to pay for it. It’s my abs Absolutely. Awesome. Well, Jennifer Lopez, I had to say your full name, you know, yes. Marc Anthony, for me. And thank you so much for being on the show. And how can people reach out and connect or find out more about you or say hi, if they want to?
Speaker 1 22:24
Oh, yeah, absolutely. So you can catch me at JLopez@sourceonesolutions.com. And, or you can catch me on LinkedIn. And Jeremy, I’m sure you should LinkedIn somewhere. We’ll get a link in there. Okay. So I would say then, go to Jeremy Burrows page and find out more
Jeremy Burrows 22:45
awesome yeah, I’ll put that in the show Notes leaderassistant.com/160 Thanks again. Jennifer. Take care and we’ll talk soon.
Jennifer Lopez 22:53
Thank you Jeremy. Have a great day.
Jeremy Burrows 23:06
Please, you on Apple podcasts. Goburrows.com