Tiara Hines is a self-proclaimed “Chief” Executive Assistant currently supporting the Chief Financial Officer of Olo.

Tiara Hines Leader Assistant Podcast Olo CFO

In this episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast, Tiara talks about what it means to be a “Chief” executive assistant, and how habits and routines + health and wellness make you a better assistant.


Leadership is an action, not a position.

Tiara Hines Olo Leader Assistant Podcast

Tiara Hines is a self-proclaimed “Chief” Executive Assistant currently supporting the Chief Financial Officer of Olo. She is also the founder of Three-Fifths Collective (35C for short) which in its first iteration provided bespoke executive support services to C-level executives ranging across finance, technology and creative industries. C-level executives come to her when they need to clear the overwhelm and focus on what matters in their life and business and in her decade-long career as a CEA she’s supported the CEO of Cube Software, CEO of Laird & Partners and CEO of ModelFIT to name a few. In its current iteration, 35C provides growth-minded digital tools and solutions for the modern CEA, drawing upon her passion for health, wellness and sustainability as the core tenets.

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Tiara Hines 0:00
Hi everyone. This is Tiara Hines and the leadership quote of the day is leadership as an action, not a position.

Podcast Intro 0:10
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants.

Tiara Hines 0:22
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Thank you, Jeremy, for for having me very excited about today’s conversation. And yes, I’m glad that you opened with my sort of self proclaimed label of Chief executive assistant very excited to get into why I refer to myself as that. And why I consult other EAS to do the same.

Great. Well, before we jump into that, why don’t you tell us what city you’re in and how long you’ve been in the system?

Oh, of course, I am currently residing in Washington Heights, which is in North Manhattan. Very close to the Bronx. I have been an executive assistant or chief executive assistant for the last decade. So going up on year 11 Very soon, which seems crazy. But I guess time flies when you’re having fun, doesn’t it?

Exactly. And what industry is oh, what companies? Oh, what did they do?

Absolutely. Oh actually stands for online ordering. We thought we were being very creative with that sort of abbreviation there. But we are a food technology company. We create digital solutions for restaurants across the country. And I, as you said earlier in the podcast and the executive assistant to Peter benefi dice who’s the Chief Financial Officer over at Alo.

Great, and how long have you been there?

I have been there for about a year and a half. So I joined shortly after COVID and 2020 have been working mostly remote. And luckily the office is opened back up. So now we’re sort of getting into the new way of work and doing a little hybrid thing.

How’s that transition been going from fully remote to hybrid? It’s

been it’s been interesting. I you know, as an executive assistant, most of my roles have been in person and I’ve sort of gotten used to having my desk right alongside my sort of executives office and being able to, you know, be with them right next to them as they’re in meetings, having calls making decisions and working remotely really sort of took me out of my element. And it really challenged me to rethink how I can advocate for and support my executives remotely when I don’t sort of have that sort of in person element. So it really did, you know, inspire me to challenge but I’m very excited to get back into the office and have that element back in my workflow. I

love it. That’s great. So do you prefer in office or do you prefer working from home?

Oh, that’s a good question. If I have to choose remote or in office I would have to go to an office I don’t think anything deeds, although I love having the sort of flexibility that I have working remotely as an EA, I need that sort of in person element. So I’m gonna go with an office, which might be controversial.

No, I mean, I think it’s, it’s dependent on your personality and your style and your preferences. And I am definitely on team work from home. But I know a lot who simply say, I can’t sit around at home all day, I need to be around people.

Yeah, I think it also depends, because again, I’m in New York. So I’m in a small one bedroom, and I don’t necessarily have a dedicated space to work to. Yeah, so I think I am just a lot more productive when you know, I’m at my desk, and I have, you know, my multiple screens up and sort of everything set. But yeah, I’m sure you, you know, having a family and sort of multiple businesses working at home is probably a little bit easier. Yeah.

Yeah, definitely. All right, well, let’s jump into the chief executive assistant title is that your official title? Or is that kind of

unofficial title, my official title is executive assistant, the CFO. But I Yeah, started referring to myself as a chief executive assistant. Initially, it was something that I used to self motivate and self Inspire. So it was never something that I intended to call myself out in the open or in public. It was just something that I used internally to just, you know, motivate myself to really own my role as an EA. Very early on in my career, actually, I was, you know, the only administrative professional in the organizations that I worked for, and I’m sure most of us listening in today have that sort of experience where you’re the only EA, so you don’t really have models around you, of what it means to really grow and excel in your role. But what I did have around me was a team of executives that I was supporting, that I could really lead into. And that’s why I decided to, you know, start referring to myself as a chief executive assistant, really dissecting what I saw from the executives around me, and really pulling different qualities that not only made them successful as executives, but also made me more successful in my role as an executive at Cisco.

So when you say, You sent me some notes ahead of time, and I love how you communicated this concept of a chief executive assistant, but one thing you say, is having an executive first mindset and so kind of talk through what you mean by executive first mindset.

Absolutely, and I think it’s, it’s so important. I came into the role of an executive assistant, I was actually scouted by the first CEO that I supported the CEO of a health wellness and fitness startup called model fit. I would take his you know, weekly fitness class that he had in the back of this really grungy in a studio and, you know, me and maybe 10 Other women would go into this class, you know, ready to, to work out amongst all of these, you know, great MMA fighters. The the fitness model itself that he taught was not you know, MMA, it was taught in an MMA studio, but the foundation was, you know, Pilates and functional training. So not as intense as MMA, but I would take this class every week and after the class ended, I would end up talking to his clients and his customers and talking to him about his business and where he wanted to take things and potentially he said, you know, what, I didn’t executive assistant. And I would like for that executive assistant to be you. And that’s how I got my first job as an EA. And I’m sure many of us have this experience of sort of being scouted for this role, and not really knowing that, you know, something like an EA existed. I know that I you know, watched movies and different films where you would see a woman at the desk and she was, you know, answering telephones or handling light administrative work and she was a secretary or a front desk associate and that was sort of the extent to of what I thought an Administrative Professional could be. I never really thought that it could be anything else. Lo and behold, I’ve since learned that you know, the scope of administrative professional can really cover so much and can really help I have so much impact and drive so much value. For example, actually, I went off tangent A bit. Good question.

No, that’s right. I just say I would just say what’s, what’s the executive first mindset? And what’s something that maybe give us an example of a mindset? That’s not executive first? What not to do?

That’s a good question. I think having an executive first mindset, it has nothing to do with, you know, having any sort of formal business training or holding a role as an executive or having a degree in business. It’s really about having a genuine investment in executives and their teams, and understanding how they think and how they work and what inspires them, what motivates them, and how to best advocate for that, really how to support them through transition and change. It’s really about having a heart and a stomach for executives, and really living by that lifestyle. That’s what it means to me to be to have an executive first mindset. And those are the sort of pillars that I always come back to, when I feel like I need that sort of reset. And having that, and I think it’s also important to sort of recognize that having an executive first mindset isn’t just something that benefits your executives, obviously, understanding them, knowing how they think knowing how to advocate for them, is helpful as an executive assistant, because you are, you know, at the right hand of the executive that you’re supporting. But I think it’s also important to think about the implications of that for ourselves, and how having an executive first mindset, and thinking of ourselves as chief executive assistants, and really owning our growth in our career journey as an AE, how impactful that is how that’s simple perspective shift, can really help us to own and excel in our roles at a new way. And, again, this is something that I developed for myself, because as you know, CEA I was very often the only administrative assistant with within my organization, so I did not have those role models around me. But what I did have was a very strong and powerful executive team that I really leaned on. And I saw that there were three sort of key pillars that really made an executive impactful in what they do. And it’s the ability to influence impact and inspire others. And that’s what I always come back to, to really make sure that I’m, you know, thinking and leading, like an executive, not just for my expertise, but for myself.

So what were those again, influence, impact,

and Inspire, Inspire the three eyes love it.

So okay, so tell us a little bit about health and wellness? And how habits and routines make you a better assistant?


Your first assistant role was with a health fitness.

That was right, it was and that actually sort of started my second interest and passion in health and wellness and fitness and sustainability and all those fun things. Very early on in my career journey, I made a couple mistakes. And those mistakes were one couple. I made mistakes now too. Don’t tell anyone though, I thought that the only way to excel in my role was to work more than anyone in the office. So I was very often the first one in the office and the last one out, I would miss you know, family gatherings and I would miss friends birthdays, because I would be you know, at the office working from dusk until dawn because I thought that that was the only way to have success in my role. And from that sort of moment, I just fell into a lot of unhealthy habits that ended up sabotaging my role instead of you know, going in the opposite direction. That overwork you know, that really started to affect me physically. I would skip lunch to to work that also affected me physically. And those physical changes really affected the quality of work when I would be in the office and I started to see that hey, I need to start taking care of myself. Have if I want to bring my best to this role and bring my best to the executive that I’m supporting. And so through that sort of experience, and you know, of course, having that sort of health and wellness background, working for the CEO of that health and wellness startup, it really inspired my own health and fitness journey, I got my certification in sports, nutrition, and a couple certifications in fitness as well. I started to, you know, really prioritize my physical health as well as my mental health, getting into meditation, hydrating, eating clean, healthy foods, making sure that I’m moving my body at the beginning of the day, but also, you know, scheduling little 1015 minute work breaks throughout the day to make sure that I’m not staring at a computer all day, because that’s not conducive to good work. And it’s really something that I hope to inspire in EAS that are very early on in their career, I totally understand that. You know, this is your first EHR, maybe your second year, your job, you feel like that’s the only way to succeed, right? Working through lunch, and in the office early, and outlast, and doing all these things that don’t necessarily help you physically. But it’s really important, you can only bring your best to the role, if you are taking care of yourself. That’s what I like to think so. Yeah,

well fit. So what’s maybe your top habit that you would recommend assistants listening, begin or attempt to add to their routine?

Oh, gosh, I think the first thing I would recommend is to make sure you don’t skip watches. But also maybe schedule in, you know, a 10 minute break outside of lunch, where you can just maybe step outside on your balcony or in your backyard or go outside. If you don’t have you know, an outdoor space within your home to, you know, retreat to, to just take a couple breaths, to just enjoy the day have really stepped away from your work in a way that is restful, don’t sort of wait until the end of the workday to finally three than in rest really try to incorporate that same sort of level of peace within your workday, I find that having you know those 10 or 15 minutes outside of lunch, to just step out on my balcony with maybe my second cup of coffee for the day. And just to take a couple deep breaths, maybe open up my headspace app and do a quick meditation really helped to center me before I get into my sort of afternoon work or afternoon call. So that’s the first thing I think the second thing is probably going to annoy people because everyone’s telling you to hydrate and drink more water. But really making sure that you you know, have a glass of water at your desk or you know, maybe have a hydro chair or something cool like that. But just getting in more water. So good for our physical health. And that just shows in sort of our work and what we do. And it’s a very simple thing that you can implement, right, we hopefully all have access to water. You don’t have to go out and get a special supplement or anything like that just drink more water and see benefits and that physically and that will manifest in how you show up at work. And I’d say maybe the third is that yourself at a workout routine, whether you’re you know, taking long walks or whether you’re going to the gym or maybe doing an at home Pilates session, there’s plenty of those for free on on needle YouTube. Definitely getting in movement at the beginning of the day, I felt really puts me in a good mind space to to work and I find that I’m so much more energetic and so much more productive when I incorporate these three things into my day.

Love it. I really, really like the water one. I always was shocked at how little people around me actually drank especially water and I was always going to refill my water. I drink more water than most people around me. I just remember. You know, I’ve been I’ve been working from home for a couple years now. guess since COVID hit. But when I was in the open office, I remember thinking, Why is nobody else going to refill their water? Like, how do they go this long? They look at their water bottle and say, Oh, it’s like three quarters of the way full. They haven’t refilled it at all. And are they alive?

Exactly, exactly. I always get, you know, funny looks in the office, because I’m constantly going over to our filtered water machine. Like, did you just fill that up? Like, yeah, I gotta fill it up again. And I’m going back and forth to the bathroom. So I also look kind of crazy to colleagues. But there are so many scientific studies out there that show how detrimental it is to our physical health to just not drink water. And I think it’s one of the simplest things that we can implement for the biggest, you know, return on investments, so to speak. So it’s something that I always try to inspire others to do. You know, it might be difficult for you to go plant based or eat, you know, organic and grass fed meats, if that’s the thing or to eat more vegetables, but we should all be able to just drink a couple extra more cups of water in our day. Yeah.

I agree. Well, tell us a little bit about the 35 C, or the three fifths collective what what inspired you to start that? What is it? You know, what’s your mission?

Absolutely. In its current iteration, I’m creating digital resources and tools to support executive assistants on your career journey. This is really me trying to give to others what I wish I had as a young PA. And it’s something that I’ve always sort of wanted to do in its earlier iteration. This is a consulting business that I created to be able to work one on one and partner with different executives in different industries. So instead of supporting one executive in a full time role, having this consulting business and partnering with executives through this business allowed me to support upwards of seven executives at one time, in varying amounts, of course, which I enjoyed. I enjoy working with different types of executives, executives, and you know, through technology or finance and marketing and branding and health, wellness and fitness and different personalities, as well. But yes, in its current iteration, I have sort of retooled that since I am working with Olo full time into a resource for other executive assistants, I, again did not have any of these resources. I was a young ba so it’s really my way to to give back.

Awesome. So what are maybe your top two resources you mentioned? I’m assuming like headspace, for example, would be one of them. You mentioned? Yeah, use that. So what are your top two recommended resources?

Yes, headspace is one of my favorite sort of meditation apps, because they do offer you a lot of flexibility. So you can, you know, pull up a two minute meditation or you can download a 30 minute meditation, I’m generally I stick with the shorter ones, I find that it’s very difficult to quiet my mind. So I really need those short bursts meditations. I can’t really sit still for 30 minutes. I’m sure I’m sure other EAS can relate as well. We’re always thinking. But I would say my other sort of resource. Definitely this podcast, but as an extension. As an extension, I think it’s so important to take, you know, opportunities to network in person and learn with other EAS, especially if you’re executive assistant that’s working, you know, one on one here, maybe the only EA at the organization that you work for. I think it’s important to sort of find your tribe and find your community. So whether it’s you know, signing up for one of your in person or virtual courses, shameless plug for for your journey, or, or whether you’re, you know, connecting on LinkedIn with some EAS that live in your city and just hopping on Zoom one day and talking to everyone. I think it’s very important to have a community of EAs around you to really help you grow. I’m lucky enough that I work With two fabulous yeas at the company that I work for, oh Lo, and we’re slowly building out our administrative function, and it has just made me see how impactful it is to work with other Administrative Professionals and how exponential our value is when we’re working as a team and together. So whether you have that at the company you work for whether again, you go on LinkedIn and see, you know, whatever EAS sort of live around you, and maybe you reach out to them through through DMS and say, Hey, I’m also an executive assistant, would you like to hop on a zoom, I’m sure many EAS would love an opportunity to connect and to build that community or whether you’re, you know, buying one of your in person or virtual courses and taking that up, really taking ownership of opportunities like that, I think is very important.

Yeah, I think the power of networking, and networking specifically with people who get you and who go through the same struggles that you go through is a big, big part of our growth and development in our health and wellness too. So

absolutely, absolutely.

Awesome. Tiara. Well, thanks for being on the show. What is one thing that you wish you could tell your younger self, the day or the night before your very first day as an assistant, so if their assistants listening, they’re about to start a new role or work for a new company, or maybe it’s their first day on the job ever? What’s one thing you wish you could tell your younger? Rookie assistant?

That’s such a great question. I think I would tell myself to excuse my French, take the darn lunch break. Work will always be there, go to lunch with your colleagues. The work will always be there, you know, go to your friend’s birthday party and instead of you know, sitting in an empty office, trying to squeeze in a couple more minutes of work. That’s about yourself. And other years.

Yeah, love it. Take your lunch breaks. Exactly. Awesome. Well, what’s the best place for people to reach out and say hi, and connect and get to know more about you?

Absolutely. I am a huge fan of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is always open on a tab on my computer, so feel free to reach me there. You can also sign up for my weekly loose newsletter, excuse me at threetips.co co and I’ll make sure to send me those links so we can include it in the show notes as well but happy to connect one on one with any executive assistants on their career attorney happy to help pas that are maybe transitioning into the role and just in general happy to connect so LinkedIn or my website,

love it. Definitely put those in the show notes at leaderassistant.com/165 Leaderassistant.com/165 Tiara thanks again. Best of luck to you. Appreciate you sharing a little bit of your story. And we will talk to you soon.

Thank you Jeremy.

Speaker 4 28:58
Please loom you are an apple podcast goburrows.com


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