Candice Burningham spent nearly two decades working in Australia and the UK as a C-Suite Executive Assistant to some of the biggest and brightest minds globally.
In this episode, Candice talks about her career journey from office junior to c-suite EA to launching an admin employment marketplace and specialist agency for high-net-worth individuals in Australia.
A genuine leader is not a searcher for consensus but a molder of consensus.
– Martin Luther King Jr.
CONNECT WITH CANDICE
Before launching Admin Avenues and The Executive Support, Candice Burningham spent nearly two decades working in Australia and the UK as a C-Suite Executive Assistant to some of the biggest and brightest minds globally. On returning to Australia, Candice saw two gaps in the market. One was for a niche job board and community support network dedicated to administrative staff. This led her to create Admin Avenues – Australia’s first premiere employment marketplace and community website for admin professionals. The second was for a white glove approach, ultra flexible virtual assistant service for those who don’t require support full-time but need assistance on a “tap in and out” basis. This led Candice to launch The Executive Support – a specialist agency for high-net-worth individuals, family offices, entrepreneurs and C-suite executives.
In her personal life, Candice is a long-time supporter of UNHCR Australia (The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) and Ronald McDonald House. She is a LGBTQIA+ straight ally and also supports the Pride Foundation Australia.
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Candice Burningham 0:00
Hi everyone, its Candice Burningham here from Admin Avenues. My leadership quote is by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And the quote is a genuine leader is not a search of consensus, but a molder of consensus.
Podcast Intro 0:20
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants.
Jeremy Burrows 0:34
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Candice Burningham 1:39
Jeremy Burrows 1:41
Awesome what part of Australia?
Candice Burningham 1:43
Sydney, though we’re missing out on the tennis, but we’re enjoying the beautiful weather.
Jeremy Burrows 1:48
Nice, nice. Yeah, I really that’s on my bucket list to make it over there. Someday. So hopefully, hopefully, in the next few years, I can make that happen. But thank you so much for joining us. Looking at your bio here, you’re the founder of admin avenues and the executive support. But you also have a pretty extensive career working in Australia and the UK as a C suite executive assistant. And we’d love to dive into your professional journey. But first, what are some of your maybe hobbies or if you have pets or kids or neither? What’s tell us a little bit about yourself personally.
Candice Burningham 2:36
Yes, I have a office assistant slash influencer. She’s a cross Maltese shitzu name’s Billy, you will see her on our Instagram. And my hobbies do include her going for little walks with her and taking her to the dolly beach. And while I’m in Australia, it’s I live in London, but I’ve been in Australia for the past well over a year now setting up the businesses. But while I’m here, it’s enjoy the outdoors as much as I can. Looking at I think it was four degrees in London today. So it can in my lucky stars that I can sit poolside and do my work here in Australia.
Jeremy Burrows 3:17
That’s great. And then what are you from Australia?
Candice Burningham 3:22
Yeah, okay, cool. Sydney born and bred.
Jeremy Burrows 3:25
Nice. Awesome. Well, how did you find out about the podcast? So I, you know, I typically connect with people on LinkedIn and such, but you know, every once in a while, I’ll send out a call and say, Hey, who wants to be on the show? And I believe you reached out on one of those calls. So how did you find out about this whole podcast? And maybe as a follow up? What’s the biggest reason you wanted to be on the show?
Candice Burningham 3:55
So I have been following you for a while. And how I came across your profile was LinkedIn, and then your book. So I bought your book first. And I read that, and I thought it was great. I thought it was really good. I thought it was a and followed up with the workbook as well. I just thought that was such a great idea to not only teach your teachings, but also to give a workbook that people can put it into practice and take notes and be able to utilize their thoughts and learnings from the book. So I’ve been following your journey and a big fan. So when the opportunity came up to actually chat with you and your podcast, I was like absolutely panda. I definitely want to connect with you and your followers because we’ve got we connect with the same industry. So I’ve worked in admin for over 20 years in Australia in the UK, as he said, and so my network is also very global. So you know, I do talking events in the UK I’m doing practically perfect PA and the executive Support. Summer, this is a global audiences as well. So it might let’s jump into America as well.
Jeremy Burrows 5:07
Yeah, nice. Awesome. Well, what kind of go back in time a little bit? And tell us about your journey as an assistant? How’d you end up being an assistant? How did you? What do you like about it? You know, how did you progress in your assistant career?
Candice Burningham 5:26
Yeah, so I fell into admin. I didn’t do very well at school, and everyone was going off to university, and I was not college for the Americans. So I decided that I would go travel and see what I wanted to do with my life and to travel, you need money. So I decided that I would apply for some reception roles because I can meet and greet and I can answer the phones and I can do that kind of job. So I got my first job as an office Junior and receptionist. And that was a tiny little architectural firm in Sydney. I mean, in Brisbane. And then I found that I really, really enjoyed it and really excelled in it. And it was just small things like I found, you know, my passion for organization and my passion for organizing others and things like that, that came out that I was like, actually, this is a really good job. I think I could make a career out of this. And so as I grew throughout my admin career was given opportunities. I grew from an office junior to an office manager to a PA to EA to a business partner. It’s funny, it wasn’t till I was an EA, that I realized it could be a career, because everyone kept asking, What are you going to do after this? And then eventually, one day, I was like, This is my career. This is a choice. This is my career really enjoying it. And I feel like I’m gonna go really far with it. And I did. I had the most incredible career. I think my last two EA roles were to an incredible entrepreneur in the UK named Kelly HOPPEN. And some of you you in the US will know her. She’s done a lot of celebrity homes, just sort of interior designer, but she’s also a mother she on. I can’t think of what it’s called, where they entrepreneurs by your idea product A, you pitch the idea of shark, shark. And she was just an incredible entrepreneur, author, TV star, you name it crazy. I had a finger in every pot. And then the one before that was with another woman named Deborah Turner’s who is the CEO of BBC News. And she used to be the president of NBC Universal news. So it’s been a, it’s been a wild ride. And I think those last two career EA roles were what made me realize like, Okay, I feel like I’ve hit my career Pinnacle now. And I’m ready to give back. And so yeah, that was kind of the journey. It just happened. It wasn’t planned. It wasn’t, I think I want to do this. So no one in my family did admin. So it was new as a career choice, but we’re definitely paving the way so that the next generation knows that it is a career choice. Right?
Jeremy Burrows 8:18
Yeah. Wow. So do you have any funny or crazy stories working for these people? I’m sure you do. And I’m sure you can’t say much about a lot of them. But I’m gonna ask you anyway, because that’s some pretty high profile executives, I’m supporting
Candice Burningham 8:37
the one the ones that aren’t covered by the NBA. I would say probably one of the funniest ones was when I worked for an executive in TV, we were they were at La screenings. And for anyone who doesn’t know LA screenings is when everyone’s pitching their TV shows, movies to TV companies, and they’re buying and whatnot. Anyway, it’s a massive party as well. So everyone’s off doing everything. And this is back in the days when we didn’t have iPhones with blackberries. And so I couldn’t find my boss and my boss couldn’t find their car. And as you can imagine that your cars everywhere, they’re all black limousines. And so basically, I had to text this granular photo of my boss on a Blackberry to the driver and say, go around and find him. And add value, which was incredible when he got a great tip for but that was probably one of the most stressful moments like how am I going to do this?
Jeremy Burrows 9:36
Wow. Yeah, it’s it’s amazing. The things that nowadays it’s like, oh, you can just find your Yeah. On an app or whatever. Yeah. Yep. Wow. Cool. Well, tell us a little bit about your, you’ve got a couple of organizations that you’ve launched, admin avenues and the executive support. Let’s Started with admin avenues. What was kind of the main reason you launched that and tell us a little bit about what what it is and what you do.
Candice Burningham 10:10
So I’ve been avenues is Australia’s first and only premier employment website. So it’s a job board for only job admin jobs. And it’s also a community for the admin community, as we didn’t have one in Australia. So we didn’t have like a one stop shop type website. Which was really strange, because when you think about it, like, with, what business aren’t we in, we’re probably one of the biggest industries in Australia, but we didn’t have our own hardware, our own place, we kind of just had, each state and territory had like, a community group. So we’ve created a national one, where everyone is welcome at every level. So the idea is that no matter when you come in, you can you can find people to connect with you can find opportunities to grow in your career, you can find mentors, coaches, books, like the leader, podcast, we’ve got everything. So it’s all in one stop shops, completely free for members. And the idea is that it’s like, it’s a place for the Advent community in Australia. So we launched just last year in May. So we were very new. But we’ve had a really great response to it. So that’s been amazing, huge growth. And the main thing is we’ve just got the industry feeling good about themselves again, and feeling like they matter. It’s important, it’s a career choice. And it’s put us back on the map. So yeah, it’s, it’s been a really great journey. And for me, it feels like I’ve been able to give back, which was something I really wanted to do. After I tapped out of being an EA, I was like, I really want to stay in the admin community. But yeah, so that was admin avenues. And then the other one is executive support, which kind of just came out of the air. Basically, some old bosses that were at CEO level moved into Chairman level, type roles, and they just needed an EA for board board meetings or travel or they just needed it really flexibly, like when they need you, they need you when they don’t need, that kind of service didn’t exist. So we had some years that was semi retired, that we’re looking for exactly that. And so we match them. And that’s kind of what the service is it’s very high level for board type executives. And we’ve kind of semi retired executive assistants that just want to work kind of part time, but with the higher roles. So yeah, it just came about. So yeah, 2022 was a hectic year to start one business and then have another one tapped off was a lot, but it’s great. I’m really, really proud of what we’ve achieved.
Jeremy Burrows 12:58
That’s great. So how does admin avenues when you talk about the job, board? How does that work? Do you have to go find these jobs to do the companies come to you and say, Hey, can you post this job on your board? Or is it integrated with a third party tool? How does that work?
Candice Burningham 13:16
Yeah, so all of the above. So with recruiters, you add, like companies like Deloitte and big companies that have like a big high engagement of admins, they usually use what’s called an applicant tracking system. So it’s like a job at RIT. And then either Bucha or broad being bullhorn type companies think they’re all global. But so basically, they use that as their CRM, as well as their tracking of their applicants. So they use that which is integrated with the board so they can track everything. And so basically, every job they come, they have, they can just click Admin avenues, and it imports it through to our website. So it’s just as easy as 123 for them for your mom and pop that might want to receptionist for the dental surgery or one off job, they can just go in and implement it type in all the details. And yeah, the idea is, is it feel free to have a firstname.lastname@example.org you can see we’ve got jobs from all different areas. You know, anything and everything in the admins get its scope is welcome there to advertise there. So yeah, it’s been great. It’s just been, it’s so much easier to be able to find employment but also our team actually goes in and matches people. So if we see people that want to, are looking for help, or they’re you know, new back new new moms or people that have been out of the industry for a while, we do like a little session with them and talk about roles that we have that are available or recruiters that we think they might connect well with and just kind of help them a little bit on the side and again, all free service all just have that helping things get back in into their dream careers.
Jeremy Burrows 15:02
Nice, nice. So what’s maybe your, your number one tip for those listening assistants listening who are looking for work, what’s the kind of top thing they should spend the most of their time on, if they’re looking for a new job.
Candice Burningham 15:19
I think always keep the CV up to date. Always have it ready, because you never know what kind of opportunities are gonna come. But opportunities that came in my life were quick, fast and serendipitous like they were, you have to meet this person, okay. And so I had to have it ready to keep your CV up to date, always ready, always handy to be able to do that. But also keep your LinkedIn up to date. We’re in a world of technology. If someone wants to Google you, that’s the first thing that’s going to come up is your LinkedIn. So make sure that your LinkedIn looks good, sounds good. Sounds professional, don’t have silly stuff there it it’s professional network, save you silly stuff for Facebook and things like that. But yeah, I just keep up to date, keep relevant. Keep up to date with your skills as well. So make sure you’re keeping up with technology. You haven’t done a course in a while, check out the providers that are offered. And there’s so many free resources, like, get amongst it, he just keep growing. And but yeah, as my top tip is always stay organized, be prepared for what opportunity might come your way.
Jeremy Burrows 16:23
And then what about just zooming out a little bit. And thinking about the Assistant Administrator professional roles as a whole, what’s maybe your best advice for a new assistant listening, who maybe they will have only been in the role for a few months, or maybe they’re just about to start their first role. Or maybe they’ve been an assistant for a couple years. But now they’re starting a brand new role at a different organization with a different title and all that what’s what’s some advice you could give to those listening?
Candice Burningham 16:59
My advice is shoot your shot, take your opportunities wherever you can. So I was a receptionist. And we had a new chief operating officer that started in the firm, and he needed an EA and I applied and he was like you don’t have any experience, you think you can just jump straight into C suite another year? And with that came absolutely. What’s the word ignorance? I just assume Yeah, I can do it. Like, I’ve been really good out here. Of course, I can be your assistant. And with that ignorance also was that when there was a meeting, I came, I sat at the table. I didn’t know that I was meant to be asked. And he took that as initiative. So he was like, great. Come on in, listen, take notes. And that’s how I grew in the role. And that’s how I became such an amazing asset to the team because I was across everything. Because I was actually in there listening and learning and being able to give live updates like No, actually, you’re embarrassed that we know we have an event that week, it was just so helpful. And they were like, wow, you know, this is actually really good to have the EAA in the room. So shoot your shot. My other thing is, if you don’t, if you don’t hit every single thing on the list, in a in a job apply anyway. Like, it’s something that females especially do, where they’re like, Oh, but I don’t know how to do that. So what apply anyway, they may be able to teach you, they may be able to do it during handover. But don’t ever not take your shot. Because you think of one or two things that you might not be able to do. You’d be surprised what what people will be willing to teach you on the job. So yeah, just jump in there and give it your best shot.
Jeremy Burrows 18:49
Wow, that’s great advice. Thank you for sharing. Maybe one other one other advice, ask that I would like to hear your input on working with high net worth individuals or even just high profile individuals. What’s what’s a tip for those working in that net world? Or that what you even want to work in that world.
Candice Burningham 19:16
You need to be reliable, and you need to be flexible. These people are so busy and so in demand and their lifestyle network changes all the time. So you need to be reliable to answer the phone and you need to be flexible to make sure that that diary is playing Tetris, every seven minutes of trying to navigate how to get them from, you know, from Paris to Germany and there’s no flights, you have to look at the buses and the trains and they’re not going to like that, but you’ve got to get them there and you know, being mindful that they have families that they might want to see their families so making sure their schedule allows for that making sure let you know when birthdays are so that they can actually be home for those kinds of things. Be in their world, be across everything, sit in meetings, sit in calls, be involved with their PR managers, be involved in everything because you ask, they are so heavily reliant on you as their right arm to them in their head. They’re like I have to focus on there. So you have to focus on that. And these are very high. High, what is the word? Their brains are just going in the usually creatives, so they’re just like my last boss Kelly HOPPEN was a creative but she was also dyslexic, so I had to think of ways to make it easier for her to consume the information because she wasn’t gonna look at an Excel spreadsheet and be like, great, but so I had to do like a little PowerPoint and be like, this is this is this, and this is how it makes sense. So that’s also a good tip is make sure you’re working what works well for your executives, not what works well for you. You can then go back into your own notes, but just make sure that you my main thing is be reliable. You’re there to assist. You’re there to make their life easier, be reliable.
Jeremy Burrows 21:12
Yeah, that’s great. Well, Candace, thank you so much for sharing your tips. It’s been great chatting with you. How can people reach out if they want to learn more about you admin avenues? executive support? What’s the best way for them to Yeah, good.
Candice Burningham 21:31
Yeah, we’re on all mediums. So if you want to connect with me, particularly LinkedIn is always the best. And because I’m in EA, I am programmed to respond. So whenever you have a question or anything, please just shoot me a message. And then obviously, the websites and social media is where at admin me isn’t at the executive support on all channels. So please reach out if I can ever help you. If you’re ever in Australia, or you need some advice in the UK. Hit me up. I’m more than happy to connect you with who I know more than happy to provide advice. Anything I can do. Let me know. And when you’re coming to Australia, let us know we put on a big party for you.
Jeremy Burrows 22:14
I would love to I can’t wait to go to Well, thank you so much again and I will put all those links in the show notes at leaderassistant.com/208. Leaderassistant.com/208 and everyone can connect to all of the things in the show notes. So yeah, thanks again and hope you have a good one and hopefully get to meet in Australia someday.
Candice Burningham 22:43
Yes. Please bring the boys
Jeremy Burrows 22:45
yes that would be a blast. So best of luck to you.
Candice Burningham 22:49
Thank you so much Jeremy Thank you everyone.
Unknown Speaker 23:01
Please live you on Apple podcast.
Unknown Speaker 23:11