In this episode of The Leader Assistant Podcast, Frank Pulice – executive assistant to Dr. Deepak Chopra – talks about supporting Dr. Chopra, how to field requests in a firm but kind way, and more.
People may say I couldn’t sing, but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.
– Florence Foster Jenkins
CONNECT WITH FRANK
Frank Pulice is a veteran executive assistant with 20+ years of experience working with creative personalities.
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Frank Pulice 0:00
Hi, I’m Frank Pulice. Today’s leadership quote comes from Florence Foster Jenkins. People may say I couldn’t sing but no one can ever say I didn’t sing.
Podcast Intro 0:14
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistance to become confident game changing leader assistance.
Frank Pulice 0:25
The Leader Assistant Podcast is exclusively brought to you by goody which provides effortless gifting for all occasions. If you’re tired of sending tacky impersonal business gifts, then you should definitely check out goody my friends at goody offer a collection of hundreds of curated brands like Levain bakery, Thera body, milk bar, and Ember mugs. With goodie, if your recipient doesn’t like your gift, they can swap it out for one they do like you can find perfect gifts for any occasion. Whether it’s work anniversaries, birthdays, new hire onboarding or company swag. It’s free to start gifting and you get a $20 credit when you sign up. Also, be sure to mention The Leader Assistant Podcast when signing up and goody will add an extra $10 credit to your account. So go to leaderassistant.com/goody to disrupt the inefficiencies in your team’s gifting strategy. Again, that’s the leaderassistant.com/goody Hey friends, thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast is your host Jeremy Burrows and welcome to episode 174. You can check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/174. Today I’m very excited to be speaking with Frank Pulice. Frank is the executive assistant to Dr. Deepak Chopra. Frank, how’s it going?
Very well. Thank you, Jeremy. Thanks for inviting me on the show. I’ve been a big fan and been listening to your podcasts for a couple years now.
Awesome. What’s one of your favorite episodes?
The one that I always go back to remembering is the the EA to Jeff Bezos. Oh, yes. She almost killed him. And you know which one of us hasn’t almost killed our executives at one point in our lives? So that’s always been one that I remember very
vividly. Yeah, yeah. Well, what city are you in?
I am in New York City.
Okay, are you from that area? Or?
I am born and bred Brooklyn boy. Nice.
Nice. And what’s your favorite part about being in New York, New York City?
Oh, New York is just amazing. You know, it’s the people you get to meet here in New York. It’s just, you know, there’s no place like that. I think, even even places that have amazing people. You know, the way New York is set up, it’s just, you know, we brush shoulders with all sorts of people every day. And I really love that about New York.
Yeah. Nice. New York was I’ve been in New York, let’s see, once or twice. I’m trying to remember if I went a second time or not, but I was there for the 2015 World Series, Kansas City Royals in New York Mets. So I was there for game four and five and got to see the Royals win the World Series. So I definitely have some good memories of being in New York.
Not a good memory for the Mets. But you know, they’re used to it.
Awesome. Well, thanks for being on the show. How did you end up in the executive assistant career world.
I like to think that I chose it after a long career in public relations, I started as an assistant and then I did PR for a long time and decided after almost 20 years as a publicist that I didn’t really want to do publicity anymore. And more what what, what it was that I really wanted to do was go back to being an assistant and executive assistant really, sort of being behind the scenes and and so I really focused on on doing that. And you’re I am
awesome. So do you have any funny or crazy or interesting stories from your time in? In PR or system world?
Oh, my I have so many stories. When I was in PR I did. I did PR mostly for the fashion industry here in New York. So as you can imagine, that’s pretty wild. World and it was awesome. I mean, I really got to meet amazing people and do amazing things. But after 20 years, I was pretty, I was pretty tired of going out to parties all the time and living that life. But I mean, I can, I can chew your ear off all day with crazy stories. Trying to think one that really stands out would be, oh, just all the celebrities that you’ve gotten to meet over the years. And there was one particular celebrity from my youth. She was probably older at that point in her career. But she was somebody that I watched when I was a kid. And she had called and left me some voicemail messages on my cell phone. And I just held on to those voicemail messages for years, as long as for as long as I had that phone, I kept saving, like, every month, I would say, you know, this message, you have to press one to save or it’s gonna delete. And I kept saving it for years, because it was just such a phenomenal moment for me to have met her.
Nice. Do you have any starstruck moments? Or how have you learned to, you know, be professional in those interactions with all of these people that, like you said, you see them on TV or, or movies or whatnot?
Yeah, you know, I never really got that starstruck, though. I met Robert De Niro a few times. And literally, every time I met him, I just, I just might say, it was two left feet, I just couldn’t get words out of my mouth. And I made a fool of myself. But generally, you know, I just treated everybody as professionally as I could, and, and no one’s you’ve worked with as many celebrities, as I’ve had in the past, you know, everybody’s just a person, and they all have their needs. And you know, I was there to take care of something for them. And that’s just you know, how I sort of handled it. Never asked for an autograph.
Nice. Nice. So what assistant role, really, when you when you came back into the executive assistant world? Who did you support or what, you know, what was kind of the process that led you to now where you’re at now.
So after I left PR, I sort of I sort of wandered around aimlessly for about three years and did some freelance work, mostly PR stuff here and there, while I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, and a friend of mine, was starting her own company. And she asked me if I would go and assist her in helping her get her company off the ground. And I said, Sure. So that’s, that was my first opportunity to get back to sort of an assistant role. I had, you know, a big title for a small company before that was a Vice President of Communications. And it was really hard to get a job as an executive assistant. With with with that on my resume, because people always thought, you know, it wouldn’t be interesting to me, or, you know, the salary wasn’t where I used to be. So she gave me the opportunity to sort of start from scratch, and it was great. And I did that for a year. And it was, was a company that dealt mostly with Blockchain. And cryptocurrency companies, which I knew nothing about. So it was a great learning experience. But after about a year, I was like, you know, the company’s off to a good start. And I’m going to try to go back to something that’s more in keeping with my background. So then I went from there, I went on to become the executive assistant to the editor in chief of Glamour Magazine, which was, which was really perfect for me at that time, because I had a strong background in fashion and, and so I was got to be an executive system to you know, big fashion editor, which was really fun.
Was there anything like a Devil Wears Prada?
You know, everyone always asked that question, of course. And no, she was really too nice. I always I used to always tell her, I was like, can you just throw your coat on my desk just once just just for me to have that experience? You just never would.
That’s funny. So then how did you get connected with Dr. Chopra?
So the woman who I mentioned before, who gave me a start as an EA again after my 20 year career in PR, gave me a call one day I was still at, I wasn’t at glamour anymore, but it was at Conde Nast, the parent company. After two years of glamour, I’d moved into the role of executive assistant to the chief communications officer for Conde Nast, their global parent company, and I was in that role for about a year and I got the call from my friend, and she said she happens to know Dr. Chopra and she says Dr. Chopra’s longtime assistant is retiring. And I think you’d be perfect for the job, I’m going to recommend you and I’m like, okay, so she did give my name and number and and we, you know, it was a very, very fast situation I went, I met with him. In fact, my husband and I, it was like a sort of a dual interview, we both went in, we met him and his wife. And I told my husband, as we were going this is, you know, if I get this job, it’s because of you. And if I don’t get this job, it’s because of you. But it was really great. We had a really very informal meeting for about an hour. And afterwards, he’s like, Okay, I’ll see you tomorrow. I’m like, Oh, okay. Of course, I still had another job I had to, had to finish up with, but pretty much it worked out that way.
Wow, awesome. So what does your role look like? What kind of support do you do? That’s maybe standard, the assistants listening are probably like, okay, yeah, that’s normal. But then maybe, is there something that you do in your role that’s a little bit more unique?
Well, the standard things are, you know, of course, extreme calendar management, travel arrangements, Dr. Roper travels all over the world. So it’s always keeping on top of where he has to be next. Those are two, two things that keep me busy. But then, you know, I get to work on he works on his books, and I get to read the, you know, the drafts of the books, or his podcasts and get to deal with this, the people he’s asking to, you know, work with him on his podcasts, and he speaks to luminaries all over the world. And I’m being CC on emails, you know, yesterday was a world renowned architect who I’ve been a big fan of for many years, like, oh, okay, I was just CCD on an email with him. So that’s all very exciting and interesting.
So how do you feel, meeting and interview and media requests? I’m sure that there are a lot of them in in your position. So how do you filter them? sort through them? Do you? Does Dr. Joe precede them all? Do you kind of weigh them before putting them in front of him?
You know, you know, he has so many relationships, a lot of people do go directly to him for requests. And then he sort of loops me in CC. You know, he’ll say, let alphabet Frank take it from here, or Frank knows my schedule. media requests, we have a PR director and sort of outbound PR, and a PR requests for media outlets with him. You know, I’ll handle the scheduling and stuff. But I obviously want to make him aware of what’s what’s coming down the pipeline, or who’s asking to interview him. But you know, he doctor was very, he likes to speak to all sorts of people. So it’s really just a question of time, it is sometimes I do have to say no to somebody, just because he’s, he’s so inundated. And you know, do you need to give him time to write, you know, he writes every day and does his meditation and you know, have to respect that can’t have him, you know, back to back, you know, hours every day on phone calls and meetings. But usually, I try to get almost everybody in as much as I can.
Yeah, so when you do have to say no, what are what are some phrases you use? Or how do you say no, in a kind of firm way?
It’s usually you know, I’m so sorry. You know, he would really love to do this unfortunately, right now is it’s not possible with his schedule. You wishes he could do everything he’s asked to do. But unfortunately, it’s just you know, physically impossible for him to to take on every every opportunity that’s presented to him.
Nice. Have you had people be a little too persistent? In in basically not taking no for an answer? II? Well,
yeah, yeah, of course, you do always have those people. And ultimately, if they’re that persistent, we usually get them in somehow. And then there’s, you know, there’s occasionally that person there, they’re just they’ve just become a pain and no one wants to deal with them. And so, you know, I have to find a way to just, you know, put my foot down and say, you know, really, I’ll be in touch if I can make it work. Yeah.
Nice. Awesome. So, okay, so you are a male assistant. And as you know, and I know, we are the minority in the executive assistant world. You Yeah, that’s me. So I, that’s what I was gonna ask you about. What? How has that been for you in your career as an assistant? Like, do people walk? Do you walk into the room sometimes? And like, Oh, you’re This is that? Is there anything like that has happened? I mean, what’s your perception on on the whole, you know, female dominated industry and working in that.
I haven’t felt that at all. I mean, I’ve worked mostly with female yeas, I don’t really know why more men aren’t participating in these roles, I think they’re really great opportunities. I think one of my greatest times was when I was supporting the editor in chief of glamour, I love I love supporting a female executive. And being a male, I thought that was a great dynamic for both of us. And if you want to see the world change, you have to be the part you have to be the change, you want to see the world and you want to see more women in power roles, you have to support them. And I was really excited to be in a supporting role for an executive a female executive.
Yeah. Yeah, it’s I. Somebody asked me that question earlier today, actually, now basically, like, what’s the like? How do we get more men excited about the career? And, you know, it’s, it’s tough? I think, I basically said, Well, you know, you, you show that there’s a career opportunity. For one, you show that there’s a career path, you show that it’s, you know, the compensation is appealing and fair. In that role, and whether you’re recruiting, you know, a man or a woman for the job, like, it doesn’t really matter, you have to show a career path and show show some interesting, compelling, engaging opportunities for the role. And that’s where I finally started to see it as Oh, I can see, this is actually a career, I was fortunate to be in an organization that valued my work and my role. And I didn’t see it as a stepping stone because I saw it as you know, my gifts are needed. And the organization really struggles with the details and organization and punctuality and project management skills that I excel at. And so I don’t really see that a cap, if you will. And so I don’t know, I don’t know, if you if you feel the same way about you know, if people are trying to encourage more diversity in the assistant role, but that’s my two cents.
You know, I would like to see more nur… more diversity in the assistant role, I think it’s an extraordinary opportunity to learn so much from from an executive that you’re, you’re, you’re supporting. And really being in that inner circle with executives, you learn so much about how a company operates and how the world functions. If I was a, you know, a college recruiter or, or just an HR Recruiter in general, that’s how I would sell it. I think, no matter what you studied, I studied music for that my bachelor’s and master’s in music. So it has nothing to do with what I studied. I think if I was just starting out, it is a great… career… stepping ladder, but it’s also a great career path. I mean, I guess that I came back to this because I felt this was really where where I did my best work was supporting somebody and how I really enjoyed spending my time. And I think if more people gave themselves the opportunity to to do that, they might see what a great career path is.
Yeah, totally. So tell me about your music. Past Do you what instrument Did you focus on?
I was a vocal major. So that and that and as we say, in New York, $2.75 gets you on the bus. So I graduated with my master’s degree and it really wasn’t something I actually wanted to pursue as a career and I was really happy I did it as a student. But then I got into school and like I now what do I do? So I got a job as a music PR agency as an assistant and and so that’s where I sort of really learned job skills because you know, I didn’t really learn any in college.
Right, right. That’s nice. I was a music minor. So it’s curious. So I wanted to be a music major, but then I realized that music majors have to pretty much give their whole life to, to the music, the education. And I was like, I don’t know if I want to do that. So I switched to a minor.
Well, you’re a better man. And I was very idealistic when I was young.
Awesome. Well, Frank, thanks so much for being on the show. I want to ask you the question that I asked most of my guests to wrap up the conversation, what in your mind makes an assistant a leader?
I think it’s our ability to just you know, take the bull by the horns every day and run with it and just get stuff done. Regardless of what the weather is outside. We’re, we’re, we’re a hearty bunch.
Yeah, like that. Get things done, no matter how the weather is. Yeah, that’s a good way to put it.
Whatever lucky so much. I love your podcast. Thank you so much for being a supporter of the EA, the AI world, and I really, really appreciate what you’re doing out here.
Thanks, Frank. I appreciate your support. And thanks again for being on the show. Is there anywhere that people can reach out and say hi, connect with you?
Yeah, of course, there’s always LinkedIn although I very rarely get the chance to check my own email there. So the best way to reach me is that Frank@Deepakchopra.com.
Awesome. Cool. I’ll put that in the show notes leaderassistant.com/174. So people can reach out and say hi, and yeah, I appreciate your time again, and we’ll talk soon.
Sounds great. Thank you Jeremy.
Unknown Speaker 22:03
Please, live you on Apple podcast. Goburrows.com