Joan Burge is Founder and CEO of Office Dynamics International, host of the Office Dynamics Conference for Administrative Professionals.

ep35 joan burge leader assistant podcast

Joan has been training administrative professionals for almost 30 years. Before that, she worked as an assistant for 20 years. Lots of experience and wisdom to extract, so I did my best!

Check out my conversation with Joan on Episode 35 of The Leader Assistant Podcast. Joan talks about what it means to be a leader assistant, why she started Office Dynamics, and more.

Enjoy our conversation!

P.S. – Join our new Leader Assistant Slack Community to connect with hundreds of assistants from around the world!

P.S.S. – Interested in an AI-powered knowledge management platform for assistants? Sign up to get notified here.


Anyone can be a leader. Leadership is a set of characteristics, not a position.

– Joan Burge

Joan Burge leader assistant podcast episode 35


About Joan Burge

Joan Burge is a pioneer in the administrative training industry. She started Office Dynamics in 1990, after working in the administrative profession for 20 years. Joan has written 5 books for assistants, is a seasoned trainer, speaker and coach to executives and assistants. Joan hosts numerous training programs, conferences and webinars for assistants.


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Joan Burge 0:00
Hi, I’m Joan Burge with today’s leadership quote, leadership is for any individual leadership is not about a title or a position. It is a set of characteristics.

Podcast Intro 0:17
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become irreplaceable, Game Changing leader assistants. Thank you for listening to The Leader Assistant Podcast. You’re listening to Episode 35.

Jeremy Burrows 0:35
Hey friends, welcome to the show. Hope you’re having a great day. I wanted to invite you to our new leader, Assistant slack online community, you can check it out at Slack is an instant messaging group forum tool that we are using to organize by city organized by topics. And really just help support encourage and challenge each other to become better leader assistants. I also want to share some exciting information about a project I’m working on it my company capacity in St. Louis, Missouri. We are in AI powered knowledge sharing platform. And we have knowledge base plus Help Desk plus workflows built into our enterprise product. However, I’m very excited to offer a an early adopter beta version for executive assistants. So this would be a knowledge base specifically for you, the assistant to keep track of travel preferences, launch preferences, Rapid Rewards points, office numbers, conference room information, whatever it is that you want to manage at your organization. And with your executive, you can set it up to teach this AI powered knowledge sharing platform the knowledge that you need to get an access to quickly. And the best part is there’s an AI powered natural language processing chatbot on top of the knowledge platform, so you can simply chat with a bot to get the information you need instantly 24/7. So if you’re interested in learning about this, please sign up at That’s go Sign up. Let me know you’re interested in this early adopter program. And I will get you the information as soon as possible. Now let’s jump into this week’s interview. Hey, everyone. Thanks so much for tuning into The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host, Jeremy Burrows. And I’m very excited today to be talking with Joan Burge. Joan Burge is the founder and president of Office Dynamics, which she started in 1990. Joan, thanks for joining me.

Joan Burge 2:59
You’re welcome. I’m happy to be here. Happy to do this with you, Jeremy.

Jeremy Burrows 3:03
So let’s kind of rewind a little bit and tell us about your very first job. And maybe what skills or what did you learn from that job that you still use today?

Joan Burge 3:15
Wow, my very first job that’s going way, way back. My first job I’ll never forget, it was as a receptionist assistant, at L cam aluminum in Cleveland, Ohio. I was quite green, fresh out of high school. Although I had taken the secretarial few of the secretarial classes in high school, mostly shorthand and typing. So there are many things that I was fortunate to learn from a woman who worked for the president of that division that we were in, in Ohio. So I learned a lot of protocol and etiquette, which is really interesting, because that’s gone by the wayside today. So learning how to properly answer the phone and talk to people greet people to be a good communicator, with people to provide information. I learned a lot of the basic administrative skills, how to organize my workspace organize my work, how to work with different personalities, how to get along with people. I learned about giving your best from the very beginning. Expectations were set high that I was always that type of individual anyways, even growing up as a child. My mother always taught me whatever you do you do it 100% You do it at your best no matter what you’re doing. But that was the first real job, you know, where I could really apply and think about how do I implement that every single De.

Jeremy Burrows 5:01
So did you think when you were maybe even before that? Did you envision that you do this assistant? secretarial work?

Joan Burge 5:10
Yes, when I got out of high school, like knew I wanted to do secretarial work. But it’s kind of interesting. If I could tell you something really quick, though, until 10th grade when I acknowledged that, really since I had been a child, a little girl, going to school teacher. And that was really my dream. And I would even come home from school and play school. That’s how badly I wanted to be a teacher. And then when I got into high school, and I guess, really realize that, wow, that requires a lot of college and continuing education. And then that point in high school where we had to make a choice, either we had two choices Hall Mac, or the secretarial office course. And there was no way I was the whole Mac person. I want to go okay, I think I like the office, you know, kind better learning the shorthand, the typing, how to run the mimeograph machine. And I fell in love with that. And so then it was during that two year period of time that I realized, yes, I want to be a secretary.

Jeremy Burrows 6:24
So then, how did you kind of progress into more of the executive assistant role in kind of the senior level role over your career?

Joan Burge 6:35
Yeah, I progressed actually, rather quickly. I didn’t stay at Alcoa, aluminum for very long. And I was fortunate, I hopped or got into some positions. At the higher levels. I worked for the Director of Human Resources at the Higbee Company, which was a huge company and organization. And so I did move up the ladder rather quickly. And I think some of that was due to the way I presented myself always very polished, always very professional. Took my career seriously. Talked about the possibilities, you know what I could offer fine tune my skills, you know, all the time, I was working on my skills. And I also spent a lot of time observing the assistants around me who were seasoned assistants. And really, what did they do? How did they act? How did they carry themselves, so I was like this little sponge, you know, always absorbing. I also had another awesome position with fabric centers, and they owned JoAnn Fabric stores, which there were about 350 stores across the country. And I had an amazing opportunity there. Because I worked directly with the assistant to the CEO, she really took me under her wing, and truly taught me how to be an executive assistant. And so during my time there, I learned a lot just through that him variance being given opportunities. I did support an exam with like 16 District supervisors that I had to really manage a lot of that so I, I feel I was just blessed early on in my career to be around some phenomenal assistants, who took me under their wing, and I was the eager student, I was a sponge. And so I gravitated toward that. And also, I had a strong desire to work for a top level executive. I was hungry, I was eager. So when the opportunities presented themselves, I leaped to those opportunities. And like I said, I was fortunate and blessed to work for some top executives early in my early 20s.

Jeremy Burrows 9:04
That’s awesome. So when you you talked about you had these other assistants to kind of take you under their wing? How would you encourage assistants listening to reach out in network with other assistants that are maybe farther along than they are in their career?

Joan Burge 9:22
First of all, don’t be intimidated by them. Don’t be intimidated by their title by their position. You know, they all started out somewhere they didn’t start out at the top. And I think as that that that other you know that sistent looking up to others it can be very intimidating, like oh, I don’t dare talk to her. She she reports to the CEO. So first of all, don’t don’t feel intimidated. That’s a natural feeling. But again, just tell yourself, they all started out like you and they had to gain that confidence and grow They’re human beings, I also find that often when you reach out to that more seasoned person, most of them the majority love to get, give back, that love to mentor, you may meet a few who that say No way, I don’t have time for you, I’ve got enough to do learning on your own. That would be such a small percentage. So you’ve got to leap out, take the chance, say, I admire you, I admire where you have moved in this in this career and and I admire what you do and how you do it. Do you have time to have lunch with me? Do you have time? Could you maybe have a cup of coffee with me for 10 minutes, I would love to pick your brain and. And that’s what I do, actually, with all types of mentors I’ve had in my career, letting them know how much I admire what they do that it’s a dream of mine to be the best that I can be. So don’t be afraid to have the conversation. Don’t be afraid to reach out to that individual. Ask them for that cup of coffee. Or if you see them, something they’re doing really well. You you maybe can say I’m really I struggle in that area? How is it that you manage your multiple priorities? You know, I’m I’m not as experienced at you. And I would love to be as good as you are. So do you mind taking 10 minutes and sharing with me how you do that. And again, hopefully, they’re the type of individual who, like many when you have done this 20 and 30 more years that you know, it’s time to give back to the others and you get great joy out of mentoring and teaching

Jeremy Burrows 11:50
how other than maybe learning from other assistants like we’ve been talking about? How can an assistant grow their skills and existing skills and develop new skills?

Joan Burge 12:04
So first, I always start with mindset. Now we could talk about the tools, you have to have that mindset. Like I said, I was always a sponge, and I’m still a sponge to this day. So first of all, just have an open mind. And if you want to grow. So what I always encourage us to do a self assessment, first of all, where are you today? And have a list of what are your strengths? What are you really good at, maybe you’re really good at organizing events or meeting planning, maybe you’re really good at travel scheduling, maybe you’re really good at just you’re a good listener, you know, make a list of your strengths. Then make a list of the areas you know you want to grow in, for example, what I sometimes coach assistants on, they want to be more assertive, they want to be able to demonstrate leadership, they want to know how to have courageous conversations with their executive. So make a list of where you don’t feel strong. And then when you want to do is really a couple of things to be is first of all know yourself as a student. How do you like to learn? Do you like to read? Do you like live? Do you like webinars doing things at your own pace? I think knowing how we best learn and how we liked PHLEARN really helps, because we’re going to be more engaged in the learning process. So for me, I love live, I want to be there and be live with you. Yes, I love to read that’s another vehicle I use. I’m not as crazy about online learning. I like like I said the interaction. I’m not saying I won’t do it, but I know my preferences. So when you know your preferences, and you know what skills you have to develop, then you could start to research. Okay, here’s the skill I have to work on assertive communication, who’s out there and how how are they offering those learnings? I’m also a strong believer though in taking in information from all vehicles. And I know from being in the learning industry for 30 years now adult learning we have to hear and see things over and over and over. That’s how we make you know those changes. I mean, think about how you learn when you were a kid in school right? Repetition we had to do it over and over and over till it sinks into our head. I mean think about driving, how many of us were scared to death be when we got behind a wheel and then we did it over and over and over till now you don’t even think about it. So it’s really the same thing you know, with our learning. And then what I what I always tell assistants, is you you keep these lists forever going. If you’re truly a star assistant Your list will never stop even after 30 years. So I will continue to build my strength Column list. And I will still refine my strengths. And I have an ongoing list of the new skills that I want to develop maybe presentation skills, maybe leadership skills, maybe persuasion skills is a big one for assistance. Many assistants do not see themselves as salespeople and they give up at the first No, to me, that’s one skill, every single assistant needs to work on resiliency. I mean, there’s so many out there today. But I think it’s very, very exciting. Because learning keeps us fresh, and excited and enthusiastic. And I see those assistants who are what I call coasting. They feel they know it all. They don’t need to learn anything more. They’re really stagnant. And it shows. So I hope that helps. Does that make sense? Yeah.

Jeremy Burrows 16:04
That’s very helpful. So kind of shifting a little bit? What would you tell assistants who are really excited about learning, and really passionate about learning their, you know, the way they learn and exploring different education, mediums, but they also feel undervalued or, you know, aren’t respected, and really just aren’t being recognized in their role in their current company or with their executive?

Joan Burge 16:33
Yeah, that’s a really good question. And it’s, there are many assistants who feel that way, which is, is, you know, kind of sad, right? Because we know they bring tremendous value. And I, when I thought about this question I, my first question actually was, what do you do to make help people see your value? So in other words, I know you do 101 things, I know you bring great value, I was an assistant. And I also see the value assistant spring every single day, but not every executive is observant, not every executive pays attention. I mean, there are so many managers who just think, Well, anybody could do your job. I mean, I’ve heard that many times. Really, it doesn’t take talent, you know, and I hate it when I hear that. So a couple of things. One, I would just say, first of all, are you doing anything to maybe help educate them about what you do, you’re not just as I always say, you’re not just a task doer, an order taker, you are a cognitive being, you have to engage your senses, you have to use your brain. And so I think the more we can educate managers about this role, and what really is involved in it doesn’t mean that you’re going around tooting your horn and having a big ego about it, it but it is educating people you know, about what you do, do and that value you bring, and many, like I said, many managers just aren’t even cognizant of what you do. They’re in their own little world. They’re very, very busy people, they’re very absorbed, you know, and their challenges and what they’ve got to do in their next meeting and their next international trip, you know, so then that’s where if you have ongoing communications with your manager, if you’re having those daily huddles that sort of gives you the opportunity to talk about what you are doing and, or what you’ve accomplished or saying things like, Do you know, I was able to save us? You know, $700, because I researched three different vendors for this particular thing. Do you see that value? Not just Oh, I found I found this product for us. And I put the order in No, as an executive I want to know. Right? So that’s the other piece I want to say for assistance is don’t talk about what you do per se talk about the results of what you do those flawless meetings you know, flawless execution. That that’s the kind of verb did you have to use? That’s executive speak, as I call it. So doing that I think having the the honest conversations, feeling comfortable having those conversations and I do know many executives just don’t realize that even just a thank you that was a great job would mean so much to an assistant, right?

Jeremy Burrows 19:49
Yeah, that’s very helpful. So what do you look for in an assistant?

Joan Burge 19:57
This is gonna be like interesting answer, I think for people I look for creativity is very important to me. I want to a creative thinker, someone who looks at things a little differently than everybody. So of course, skill set is important to me. What’s important to me again? Yes, it’s how you present yourself is Hi. quite important. You’re my representative, you’re a liaison. So making sure that this person is representing you, but I would like represented someone who takes the initiative who’s proactive a problem solver, good communicators, someone who’s approachable and friendly. So do you see I’m really highlighting a lot of the soft skills. Because technical skills, anyone can learn technical anyone send you to a class, if you know how to learn, you’re gonna learn them. It’s hard. The soft skills are hard. That’s what I’ve been teaching for 30 years. Those are not easy to teach the good attitude. You know, those are fuzzy skills, like how do you teach someone to be persuasive? Right, that’s not easy. So but yeah, the creativity because to me, that’s important. How do you stand out? How are you going to bring new ideas to me? How are you going to look at things differently than I look at them, so that we change it up, we do a better job. So those are some of the things that I look for I also something that I I did, Jeremy? What was 13 years ago, I totally changed the way I looked for and interviewed assistants. So I’ve had many assistants over the years, obviously, I’m sure you know that my expectations are very high. This is what I teach. So my bar is super high for an assistant. But anyway, people could what I’ve learned over the years is people could really look good on paper. And this would go for any individual, any employee, they can talk up when they come in, they could have 20 years of experience, and not be awesome. I’ve had that happen. So 13 years ago, I changed my entire approach to interviewing, I was looking for an assistant and instead of doing just a local search, I opened it up across the nation. I thought open my mind up, you know, why not? Maybe there’s someone out there in another city, who would love to come work for me, granted, I wasn’t going to pay for their move. I couldn’t do that kind of thing. But maybe there is that person, right. And there was this assistant, actually who I had admired. She was in one of my classes, she came to Vegas for a class. And I watched her for three days. And she stood out. She was creative. She was all the things I’m talking about. And so I kind of threw it out when she left, I just throw it out there really lightly. If you ever want to move to Las Vegas, I need a star assistant, right? This was on a Friday. And on Monday, she calls me and says I’m interested, my husband and I are interested. And I was like floored. But what I did, aside from skill testing, it was more of an essay, she had a complete, like, I don’t know, 15 different questions, such as office dynamics, you know, we teach Administrative Professionals we project and encourage excellence. How will you align yourself with our values? Those types of questions, not how are you going to manage my mail, you know, my email, we can figure that out. That’s not what I want to know. I want to know if you’re aligned. And the other piece too, I would just say today a big one, again, because I’m really entrenched with some other CEOs and the issues of employee turnover. culture fit is a big thing today. So again, it’s not only the skills that you can bring, you gotta have the skills and wanting to learn, but it’s culture fits weighing heavy now in a lot of organizations, and that’s becoming a part of the interview process.

Jeremy Burrows 24:29
It’s great. So you kind of thought outside the box and

Joan Burge 24:33
I said yes, yes. Finish the story. She stayed with me for 10 Years She Grew and my company grew year after year after year. And it was amazing. We were truly strategic partners. She could run my company which was awesome because in 2014 I had emergency medical situation I had a massive tumor, a skull base. Is tumor. And I was out of condition in one day, I couldn’t even talk to her for three, four weeks, I did not come back to work for four months, and she kept my business afloat. That’s the level of skill this person had. And today, Malia, Malia, who’s with me, her her role is in a, you know, somewhat of a different capacity. But I also know that when I’m traveling, which I do a lot, and I’m gone for a week, or I’m out for a while. Malia plus the mother SMA team, they keep everything humming. So that’s what we look for, you know, and especially when you’re a small business, right? I don’t have hundreds of people to go to so. But if you even look at the executive assistant, one on one, and executive one stat assistant who keeps the business moving forward, keeps information moving forward, don’t let things get clogged up. You know, you’re you’re my right hand partner. And so I know I could talk to you a course for hours about this, Jeremy, because I’m super passionate about Administrative Professionals and the relationship between executives and assistants. I think it’s the best in the world. But you work. It’s a team working relationship.

Jeremy Burrows 26:33
So tell us a little bit about how you transitioned from being an executive assistant in the corporate setting, and then starting office dynamics. Why did you start it? How did you kind of fall into that? And what are some of the challenges you faced running your own business?

Joan Burge 26:53
So when I was 3037 38 years old, I was working as an assistant, we were living in Asheville, North Carolina. And I’ll, and I’ll never forget it. I mean, one day I woke up, and I just thought to myself, I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to be an assistant anymore. I don’t remember why that thought came about. But background, not because I didn’t love it. But when in my 20 year career, I worked in 12 different companies and five states. So I had seen a lot in my 20 years, and I had some not so good places, and I had amazing experiences. And I just I guess I just felt like, where do I go from here? I’ve seen so much I’ve done so much. I’m not feeling that challenge anymore. And so I said to myself, by the time I’m 40, I don’t want to be doing this, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do or what I could do. I did not have a college degree. All I knew was being a secretary. And so at that time, in Asheville, there was I worked for a big company, we had 900 employees, and we had our employee counselor there, her name was bow. And her and I became friends. I worked for the head general manager there. And we just hit it off. And I was talking to her about, you know, how he was feeling and not knowing where to go. And she’s the one who said, well, Joan, you know, why don’t you teach assistants how to be great assistants, you’ve done it for a long time, you have a lot of experience. And I just that kind of set the little seed for me. And so I really started to think about that. And then to kind of keep this brief because there’s a lot to the story. But basically what ended up happening is I started doing some one hour little sessions for the assistants it’s still case, I thought, Okay, I gotta start learning how to do this, I need to have credibility, I need to do start learning basically. And we only have like six assistants, for 900 people, but a lot of that was manufacturing there. So I put together a little one hour programs. My executive was very happy because I didn’t ask for any extra money. I did it on my own time. And then actually what happened my friend Bo and I, we started office dynamics together because she wanted to get out of what she was doing and we were going to co run the business and co teach. So for about six months her and I met every Saturday we were learning how to run a business. I started trying to learn more about training and then my husband got promoted. Got a nice promotion. So we moved to Memphis, Tennessee and VO and I ended that relationship because she was staying there and we moved to Memphis my husband started a new job we Got a beautiful new home. So I went back to looking for a secretarial job, which was frustrating and so get out. Because when you move to a new city, you don’t walk into those top jobs, you just don’t do that. So I wasn’t happy anywhere. I wasn’t, I wasn’t really happy being an assistant anymore. I was really on the edge. So then I thought, You know what I could do this without vo I’ve been in the system, I know what to do. I just have to learn how to be a trainer, how to be a speaker, all of it, the whole gamut. So a couple things I started doing, again, internal training, where I was working, I offered to put in my own time, I didn’t want any more money. I wanted to just help the assistants there. So I used to put together these little mini programs and, and teach where I was I tried to do a few little teaching sessions outside of work, using vacation days. Then I met a consultant who took me under his wing. I joined the American Society for Training and Development so I could learn about teaching. I joined the National Speakers Association, so I can learn about speaking I mean, again, I was a sponge. So this went out for like two years. I was driving my husband crazy, cuz I didn’t want to be an assistant. But I was so scared to cross the line. Because this was a new niche. No one had really focused on administrative assistant training brand new territory. And then my husband got a promotion and we moved to Virginia Beach. That was in 1990. And my husband said to me, Look, you either give it up, give up office dynamics. And just you know, shut your mouth. Because he was tired of hearing me, or you go for it. 100% and I knew I couldn’t. I couldn’t just stop. So I stopped 100% We moved to Virginia Beach. I had no money we had no money put aside for me to do this. None. You never started a business without six months money put away. I moved to a strange city. I didn’t know a soul. Another No, no, you don’t do that. We had two little children. We rented a house because we couldn’t buy a house. I didn’t even earn any money for the first eight months. And my first check was $250. I mean, we scrimped and we did everything. And I wanted to do this. And again, I found mentors. I just, you know, kept learning and growing and and started getting some some ground in Virginia Beach. And two years later, my husband got another promotion. And guess what, we moved to Michigan, and I lost a lot of clients I had. And so then I was kind of starting over again. But then it was around the mid 90s, where I finally had gotten a few big corporate clients I got Caterpillar was huge. I did a lot of training there. For a couple of years, I had developed a course which is still in existence today called the Star achievement series. I landed I got work with US Airways huge. They use my star program to teach 1000 assistants in five cities. So from there it was, you know, growing, growing, growing. But you know, now that I’ve been in this 29 years, I could tell you I’ve almost closed my doors four times. It’s not easy at all. Tough, tough industry takes a lot of stamina. A economy affected me September 11 drastically affected me. Because most of my work I we go into organizations and do training. And so when September 11 hit, it hits some of my clients who were in the avionics industry, not to mention I was petrified to get on an airplane petrified after when it happened. Last thing even if I got the business, I didn’t want to get on an airplane. So I went through that I had setbacks. When I had my brain surgery. A year later I had open heart surgery. I you know, I’ve been through it for sure. But I’m determined and I love what I do. I love it, love it. Love it. I love helping assistants, and I wouldn’t want to do anything else in the world. And you know we’ve grown and grown and now we work with phenomenal clients. Last year I worked with Walt Disney World fab you was 18 days of training over six months. I mean, I, you know, it’s that’s great. I’m able to, to reach and touch and, you know, it’s, it’s great, and I’m very grateful.

Jeremy Burrows 35:16
So what I want to know is when did you call your husband and say, Hey, we gotta move for my job now

Joan Burge 35:27
that I have time I will take well, we never, you know to answer that. That’s an awesome question. We’ve actually never had an MOU because of my job because I work all over the country, right? However, my husband when we moved to Michigan for an awesome position he had after eight years that ended. And at that time, we were able to think about where do we want to go, what do we want to do? And I said, I want to go to Las Vegas. And this time, you’re coming with me? It was a hard sell, because he actually liked a lot of things about Las Vegas. But it was yeah, this was mine move it and to tell you, I don’t think you’re aware of this, Jeremy. But my husband passed away years ago, from pancreatic cancer. And I had people say to me, Well, aren’t you gonna move back to Ohio? That’s where I was born. That’s where my family is. Right? You go to go to Michigan. That’s where my daughter lives. And I’m like, why? I mean, this is my home. This is where I live. And no, this is this is where I want to be. So yeah, it’s kind of interesting. You’re right. That was definitely a move I wanted. Fortunately, he did like Vegas and such. That’s great.

Jeremy Burrows 36:54
So what let’s kind of wrap things up with a couple of questions. One, I want to ask you, what’s the craziest thing that you’ve either been asked to do as an assistant or you yourself has have asked an assistant to do? Wow.

Joan Burge 37:17
Golly, what I was asked I, I don’t have to think back really far. I know, there were some crazy things I was asked to do. I’m not sure if I could remember all of them. But I guess what comes to mind with my assistants, I think I’m a pretty good boss. I don’t ask too many crazy things. But I think something that was kind of crazy fun is when that one assistant was with me for 10 years, her name was Jasmine. And we were exhibiting at this big human resource convention. It was and it was the first time we were doing a huge exhibit. And so there was a lot involved and going and we had it was in Atlanta, I think, or something. And about a couple days before I caught drift of this great fundraiser in Las Vegas, and it was going to be Brad Pitt was coming and George Clooney. And who was the other one we should not always shouldn’t Sullivan guy and I’m like, Oh, my God. I’m telling Jasmine, we have to go. I love Brad Pitt. I love George. I told her we have to do this. It was occurring on the day we were to get home. So it’s all this last minute crazy stuff. And we’re trying to figure out that we’re exhibiting somebody’s got to box stuff up, pack things up. We’ve got this huge display. We just can’t take off. But we’re like, Yeah, but we are going to take off. So who could get to help us? So I think we had two other staff members there. And this is all last minute and Ryan I bought the tickets for the fundraiser. And we had our flight. We moved it up a little bit. I’m telling the other team. Alright, this is what you’ve got to do. And you got to get this stuff shipped back. And you got to do this and that. I mean, we had a big exhibit. It wasn’t a little table. And so Jasmine, and I had this plan where we had our clothes figured out because this was like a red carpet event. And we get off the airplane and we’re racing and we have a town car to pick us up at her and I ran into the ladies restroom at McCarran Airport. We’re changing our clothes. We’re moving really fast. We happen to towncar he’s racing through rush hour traffic we’re trying to put on our make. We’re just having this crazy, crazy time. And we pulled out just in time, you know to get out and make the oath. So we had a ton of fun. It was crazy, but it was fun.

Jeremy Burrows 40:00
So did you get to meet Brad Pitt?

Joan Burge 40:02
He we got to he was right there standing right near us. So we didn’t get to personally like say hi. But it was in a movie theater, a little movie theater there where they walked in and Jasmine and I were sitting on the two and seats and they walked right past us right by some chest and yells out Whoa, Brad, you know? I mean, they’re right in front of us. And yeah, it was pretty cool. We had a good time. And then we went to some, I love to dance, jazz and loves to dance. So we went up to the club, and we were dancing all night and having a ball and it Yeah, it was fun. It was great fun.

Jeremy Burrows 40:41
And none of it could have happened if you didn’t have a great assistant. Right?

Joan Burge 40:46
Right. Yeah, no system who wanted to play with me, you know, I mean, like, not everybody wants to go out and, and like, let their hair down. You know. And so that that also was was very cool. You know?

Jeremy Burrows 41:05
Well, John, what what makes an assistant leader

Joan Burge 41:13
ah, being a visionary, you know, being able to see things other Don’t you know, other people don’t see being able to see the future like visioning things that people can’t envision. So like, again, me starting up training inside my company. I started years and years ago, and Jazzercise was it was an end. And we didn’t have corporate gyms. I started a little Jazzercise session that I held during lunch three times a week, we found an empty office building. I started a Star Achievers group years ago, getting together top level assistants. So it’s having that vision for things that don’t exist, and then creating them not waiting, you know, for others. Or maybe it’s just a change that you need to see that needs to take place. Maybe there’s a process, maybe you know, better a better way of doing something. And again, instead of waiting for someone else, you take the initiative, you’re the catalyst, you you show people, you show them the way another areas walking your talk, you know, just don’t talk about things which I find a lot of people are great at. A leader also is someone who makes time for other people who helps support others in their mission and helping them accomplish their goals and helping them be successful. So a teacher, you know, so those are some of the characteristics or some of the ways we demonstrate leadership as an assistant.

Jeremy Burrows 42:59
Yeah. That’s great. Awesome, Joan. Well, thank you so much for taking time out of your day and sharing your wisdom and your story. With my listeners. Where can we find you online? And how can we support what you’re doing?

Speaker 1 43:15
People could find us at And we also have a site And then office dynamics Joburg, Facebook, we’ve got LinkedIn. Rob, I’m on the Instagram, Instagram, we’ve got all of that. So they could again, look for office dynamics, or I have an office dynamics and Joan Burge Facebook page, and I guess how you could support what we’re doing is just help educate your managers educate your organization, on the importance of education and continued education for your role, for assistants, help them to see the value help to help them to see it’s an investment. It’s not a cost. And, and also the other important messages. And this is why I started office dynamics is that assistants are supporting these key executives just like I did. And so executives are growing, they’re learning they have all types of educational opportunities. Yet, assistants are not keeping pace with the very people they support. And that’s why I started office dynamics. I saw a huge gap. How you know, I’m supporting you, I’m running your life and yet I’m not getting education for my career, the administrative role it’s worthy of investment and providing ongoing education.

Jeremy Burrows 44:59
Awesome. Well, thanks again really appreciate it. I’ll share the links to your site and and LinkedIn and all that in the show notes so people can find it. And yeah, we really appreciate getting to chat with you and we’ll talk soon.

Joan Burge 45:13
Thank you very, very much. I enjoyed it. Thank you Jeremy.

Jeremy Burrows 45:18
Thanks again to Joan for joining us on the show. You can check out the show notes at Again, join our Slack community at See you next time.

Speaker 2 45:34
Please review on Apple podcasts.

Unknown Speaker 45:54


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