This episode is full of great tips and wisdom from longtime c-suite executive Trish Stadler. We also have an honest conversation about dealing with tragedy in the office.
I’m grateful to Trish for sharing the unfortunate story of losing her executive and dealing with the grief and loss. I’m hopeful this episode will be a comfort to those experiencing loss in their lives, and a reminder that we’re not alone in our grief.
It always seems impossible until it’s done.
– Nelson Mandela
CONNECT WITH TRISH
Trish is a seasoned administrative professional, experienced in multiple industries including 18 years in the television industry, as well as various technology firms. Sought out mentor and coach, she loves what she does and loves to pass on her experience as the role of the executive assistant evolves and becomes more significant to the C Suite executives of today.
Subscribe to The Leader Assistant Podcast so you don’t miss new episodes!
Join my email list here if you want to get an email when a new episode goes live.
JOIN THE COMMUNITY
LEAVE A REVIEW
If you’re enjoying the podcast, please take 2 minutes to rate and review the show on Apple Podcasts here. Each review helps me stay motivated to keep the show going!
Trish Stadler 0:00
I’m Trish Stadler. Today’s leadership quote comes from Nelson Mandela. It always seems impossible until it’s done.
Podcast Intro 0:11
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become competent game changing leader assistant. Hi,
Jeremy Burrows 0:21
it’s episode 51 Hey, leader assistants. Today’s episode is full of tips and wisdom from my guest, Trish Stadler. But it also deals with a challenging topic of dealing with tragedy and loss in the workplace. She has very powerful story and unfortunate story about losing an executive. So I just wanted to encourage you to remember that you’re not alone if you’re dealing with tragedy in your workplace, and to reach out to other assistants who may have experienced similar situations and just be there for each other support each other. So I hope this episode reminds you that you’re not alone and bring some sort of relief in your pain and loss in the midst of tragedy. So you can find this episode’s show notes at leaderassistant.com/51. That’s leaderassistant.com/51. Hey, everyone. Thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host Jeremy Burrows and today I am speaking with Trish Stadler. Trish is a former C suite executive assistant and founder of Withers and Mane. Trish, how are you doing?
Trish Stadler 1:37
I’m great. Jeremy, how are you?
Jeremy Burrows 1:39
Doing good doing good. My kids just started school. So they’re getting up a little earlier than I would like but otherwise, things are good.
Trish Stadler 1:46
Right? Routine begins?
Jeremy Burrows 1:48
Yeah. So tell us a little bit about your very first job, and maybe even your your first non real job and in your first real job. And then kind of what you learned from those experiences that you use throughout your career?
Trish Stadler 2:04
That’s such a good question. And I love it. As you know, I love looking back and figuring out how did I get here. Prior to getting that first actual paycheck. I was the neighborhood babysitter. And literally I could have been a corporation, a bunch of kids on a cul de sac and I was the token babysitter. So I did very well. And what I learned from that, about myself was that I’m I’m good at this. I’m good at this. And because I’m good at this, I’m going to be asked to do it again. So it was a very basic lesson of be good at what you do. And you’ll, you know, more people will notice you. But then moving on to the real world. out of high school headed attending the community college in my town, because I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. A friend of mine worked at a big fortune 500 company that was right in our town. I live in New Jersey. And they needed secretarial support. And that’s what it was called. And I said sure I’ll give it a go. I’m in school, but they let me work around my school hours. So it was a part time gig. And as soon as I got in there I was in my glory. I loved it. I already knew I loved An office atmosphere. My dad had a law practice in our town, it was right across from the grammar school I went to and I’d often go there after school and play with all the office machines and smell the files and really go into the supply closet and just get you know very excited about that pencils. And yeah, it supplies shelf shelf upon shelf of supplies. Really just so passionate about it. And then here I was in an actual company that I was working for people other than my dad or fooling around in his office. Now I’m in the real world and I’m actually applying this passion here. And again, did a great job and I was getting very well compensated for it for 1819 year old out of high school. And, you know, because they were letting me work around my classes, I found that if I missed a class here or there, I could make a lot more money and it got to the point where I was making more money than some of my friends were going to be making when they got out of college. Now that lesson AI is good only in that if you feel you must go to college in order to make a good living, I’m here to tell you that’s not necessarily the case. So I don’t discourage anyone from going to college by all means, but here I was doing very well. And I ended up just finishing that first year of community college and not really looking back. I later took classes in later years, but I stuck with this job. And what I, again took away from it, there was one thing almost in hindsight, but I believe I was also realizing it there because they were involved with something I couldn’t really tell you. They were it was called Engelhard industries. And they were kind of like a, a manufacturing plant have sort. And I didn’t know a lot about the business itself. But I was still doing very well at what I was doing. And learning more about it and asking a lot of questions. Because I had to know something, but I didn’t need to be an expert in what they were doing. And that that was something that I found to be good news, because we don’t that that came in handy later on. When we maybe get into some other my jobs, but don’t not go on and interviewing for a successful growing company. If you aren’t familiar with everything they do, you will learn. And if it’s something that you’re interested in, you’ll you’ll do fine. But if you don’t know every little intricacy of the business, it’s not going to impact you if you’re really good at what you do. So that began my my career of, hey, this is something I can do well, and I ended up taking it from there to the big city. And in this case on the East Coast that’s in New York City, where if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere. And I went on to have a very exciting and successful career primarily in the television industry.
Jeremy Burrows 7:16
So when did you kind of transition from you know what, I’m really good at this, I enjoy it. I’m passionate about it to kind of the Okay, now I’m you know, a senior executive assistant at, you know, large organizations at the C suite. And this is kind of a whole new ballgame.
Trish Stadler 7:37
Right? Well, when I decided to get out of the small town and go into the city, I went to a temp agency, thinking that will be the best way to get me in the door. Which the door I wanted to get into was ABC television. I was having lunch with a friend and we were seeing the soap opera stars walked by. And she had said why don’t you work at ABC. And I was like, That would be awesome. So I went to the lobby and asked the nice person at the front desk if they happen to know what temp agency ABC uses. And it just so happened that person was with was there because of a temp agency. And she wrote down the name. And I called them and I was in their offices the next day. And they I was filling out all the paperwork and they ask on the application. Is there any company that you would like to be placed at of course I wrote ABC. And within a short while of them taking my application back to some back room and reviewing it. The owner of the agency came out. And she said, can you get to this place this address by 1130 and it was ABC. It was a right 66 and Columbus and I’m still not that familiar with the city but I called a friend and they said just go outside, get on the corner, put your hand up and yell taxi and gave the taxi driver the address where to go. And I made it to that assignment when they needed me there and it was working in the corporate travel department. So again, dating myself a bit because a lot of corporate travel today is outsourced but they’re at this point in time they had an entire well staffed department that handled travel. As you can imagine in the television industry between sports, ABC had sports and entertainment people are traveling quite a bit so it takes quite it takes a village to get everyone where they I need to get to on a regular basis. So being placed in that role, I worked for a very, very stringent, strict boss. And I’m so glad that I did. Now many people that were placed with this particular person came in in the morning, and they went out to lunch, and they never came back. And I made it through because I, there was, I was not going to be intimidated. I wanted to work there. I didn’t have any feedback about this person. So right away, I, we hit it off, and I was able to last with her to the point they hired me, they said, Okay, she’s made it this long, we need to keep her. So I went from temp to staff rather quickly. And that was probably smart of them. And I ended up working in corporate travel for a few years, which I think was the best thing for me to do. Because by working in corporate travel, I knew every department, I knew where everyone was going, I knew who was important. I knew who got first class who got business class, I knew a lot about everything, just by being in that department. And by working for this very tough person. It gave me a work ethic that stayed with me, stays with me to this day. Just you know, one of those bosses that you know, you’re going to be on time, you’re going to not make mistakes. And a lot of people complained about this person, I think some of the behavior wouldn’t fly in today’s world. But then I’m, if I were to see this person today, I would thank them. Because they instilled in me a way to conduct myself. And in that environment, and I thought it was a positive challenge. And it made anything after that very easy. Yeah, so I think that did I answered that question. Yeah. So
Jeremy Burrows 12:22
you talked, you talked about how a lot of people left after lunch with that executive? What was kind of other than just kind of surviving the day? What was kind of something you did to make a good first impression with them? And do you have tips for other assistants who are maybe starting a new job or working transitioning to a new executive on, you know, making a good first impression?
Trish Stadler 12:48
Yeah, I think that’s probably one of the most important moments that we have is that initial meeting, and I don’t know really what the secret sauce is, per se. All I know is what works for me is, I know that this is going you know what I want this to be if it’s the interview or the first day, if I want this to be a lasting, or at least a comfortable experience for me day after day after day, it’s got to start here. And by by creating a certain, you know, I could say Be confident feel that you’re not necessarily going to be that and I don’t think I would appreciate somebody telling me that as the best advice. Because that might not always be where you’re at at that exact moment. But if you can just converse in a way that you would converse in another comfortable exchange of dialogue with somebody else, if you can just draw up where you were at and how that was a conversation that was comfortable and use that same comfort with this person. They’re just another human being. And they need you as much as you need them. And eventually, they’re going to need you much more than you need them. And that’s what you’re going to create is a at least in those first exchanges, a way for them to almost immediately be able to say yes, I can trust this person is going to do this job for me. And I’m going to let them it’s really up to us to educate and put them at ease, more than for them to put us at ease. And if we can look at it that way. However that looks for you. When you’re doing that with somebody that’s not your boss. Because this person could be you know, We’re having exchanges with people at that level. On a regular basis, whether we know it or not in a coffee shop or somewhere else where there’s pleasant, comfortable exchange of conversation, you should be able to bring that into the office of your executive and just start there with this, you know, no tension, no fear, we’re in this together. Let’s do this. And if you go in with that energy, I can pretty much guarantee it’s going to get off to a much better start, it might not get to exactly where you want on that day or that week, but at least you started it off in a way that yeah, they can kind of get a feel for how you’re going to operate.
Jeremy Burrows 15:53
So what about on the other side? From the executives standpoint? What’s something that executives should look for in an assistant when they’re maybe hiring or recruiting?
Trish Stadler 16:10
When they’re communicating to the HR department that things were looking for, or when they’re actually sitting with the potential candidate?
Jeremy Burrows 16:21
I actually, that’s a good point, I would actually love to hear your thoughts on what they’re communicating to either a recruiter or the HR department, then I’ll talk a lot about that. And I think that would be very, very helpful to just kind of hear your, your thoughts on that, that element.
Trish Stadler 16:37
Right. I always hope that the HR department is communicating and taking the time to sit with the executive, before they start sourcing candidates. I don’t know that that’s always the case. But it should be and I think it would save them a lot of time. But to the to many of their credit, I think they do take the time to maybe not just go by, you know, history so much, although that’s important. Okay, so another assistant is out. Let’s just start sourcing another one. Let’s go find out. What didn’t work, the obvious questions, of course, what didn’t work, what does work, but it for the from the executive standpoint? I’d almost say aside from quirky little things, because there’s not a whole lot they can say, you know, they can’t customize the person that’s going to come in. And they might say, Well, someone similar to the CEOs assistant with that level of experience, you know, but also find out, do you want somebody that is interested in doing more than just sitting outside your office and taking care of the tactical items that scheduling and travel? That might be able to, you know, take on other projects? Yes, yes. Well, that’s, that’s a different type of person that they’re going to be looking for. Of course, you know, the budget and the years of experience are very important. And I think sometimes HR departments are remiss. And using just a template, and putting, you know, as soon as I see two to five years experience, and it’s for Chairman or C suite, I want to pick up the phone and say, What makes you think someone with two to five years experience is going to be able to do this job? Or maybe, you know, five years, perhaps, but even then I’d say you want somebody that’s been doing this for about 10 years, if you want it to work. So it’s there’s a lot of variables here. But if the if it is a high level executive, there, yeah. Are they looking for somebody that is coming in with quite a quite a bit of experience under their belt that has, you know, attends meetings is really someone that’s in their life, in their email in their world. That’s good information. But a lot of executives, especially some in the tech industry, that are a little bit younger, that aren’t quite accustomed to what an EA is all about, may not even realize it, that’s what they want. They don’t know what they don’t know. But if they could, if the executive could communicate how open they are to having a almost a partner versus somebody that’s just outside their office. And I think if it’s put that way, nine out of 10 executives will say I don’t want somebody that’s just waiting for me to come out and tell them what to do. And then then we’re talking Okay, so you want somebody that’s able to anticipate A and really see in advance what what’s needed. And the only way he can do that would be to work for the person for quite some time or to already come in with experience. So I think it’s important for the executive to communicate, but you have to be a little, you know, with some caution that they may short themselves by not listing some other attributes that would be very valuable to them. Does that make sense? Yeah.
Jeremy Burrows 20:38
Yeah, that’s great. So let’s kind of go back to your story a little bit, what was the biggest mistake you made as an assistant? And what did you learn from it?
Trish Stadler 20:51
You know, that’s a great question. Because if you know, EAS did not make mistakes, they wouldn’t become great. And I’ll tell you a true story. Recently, I was considered for a pretty juicy role. And in my thank you note to the HR person, I literally said, I’ve made a lot of mistakes that made me who I am today. I mean, it was worded a little more eloquently, that might have been a mistake right there because I didn’t get the job. But I think it’s funny, I laugh because that’s me. I thought, that is never a truer statement. If I didn’t make some of the mistakes I made. And some of them were so you know, so bad. And I’ll give you one example. You know, that I will never do it again. Yeah, you just won’t do that. Again, more than likely there’s, there’s a good chance you won’t repeat that mistake. So I love that I made them made mistakes along the way that taught me and became a growth opportunity to not do that again. I remember when I first started off riding horses. And it wasn’t that long ago, it was late to the party there. And I fell at around the third oil got thrown around the third or fourth lesson, I went good. I’m glad we got that over with. Now let’s carry on, and I haven’t fallen or gotten thrown off son. But there was, I think, and I’d be interested to hear, if you have ever like tallied what category when assistants answer this question, it falls under in mind, because I think there was room for error at every turn of the corner. When you’re booking travel. And mistakes can be made, and your boss is out there somewhere. And all my goodness. And I come from I think the fact that I started off in corporate travel, when I listed some of the benefits of being able to understand the inner workings of the company. It also made me very adept at booking travel. And it was one of my claims to fame, and still is to today, including international travel. But this was the big mistake. With international travel. My boss traveled to India quite a bit at one of my positions. And it’s another today ahead, there’s something you know, it’s Oh, you’re always working in the next day when they’re traveling, overseas or Asia or wherever. And I booked the hotel. But I booked it on. And when you fly to India, you get in in the middle of the night, you know, there’s no flights getting in at 7pm. And then you’re gonna get a nice dinner. You’re arriving to your hotel very late. And after lots and lots of travel, you want your hotel room? Well, because I booked it and didn’t add the day plus one. It was the day before. So because he didn’t show up, they canceled it. So when he arrived the next day in the middle of the night after arduous travel, there was no hotel, and it doesn’t sound like the end of the world, but under the circumstances and all the checks and double checks that we always do when he traveled to India. For him to not have a hotel not only did not have a hotel, they didn’t have a room. And he was in the lobby. Yeah. I said I’m packing up my desk as we speak. And he laughs Yeah, because I really thought that’s it, you know, it sounds so you know, these are things that can be avoided with proper Check, check, check, and I dropped the ball. And the last thing I was going to do is try and point the finger because we did have an on site person, but that person wasn’t there. And I wasn’t going to start. It was me it was my fault. easily remedied. I wanted to blame the hotel. Alright, you didn’t call and say where is he? Yeah, we’re canceling the room. They don’t do that. I have not done that again.
Jeremy Burrows 25:00
Have you ever think about those types of mistakes? It’s like, they’re so hard or like, oh, I can’t believe it. And then you’re like, Yeah, but I’m never gonna do that again.
Trish Stadler 25:09
I’m never gonna do that one again. i Yeah, I know. Yeah, international travel and time. And but outlook is our friend there. And if I used it, I would have seen, you know, it’s on the it’s he’s arriving the next day. Yeah, just but we are, you know, the important thing there too, is because my boss literally laughed, I beat myself up far harder than he was going to beat me up. And we can’t You can’t really live in that too long. You know, we have to move on. Yeah.
Jeremy Burrows 25:39
Yeah, like to say we, we’ve got to take things seriously and take our mistakes and learn from them. And but we can’t take it personally.
Trish Stadler 25:49
Excellent. That’s absolutely right. Because if we do, it’s, it’s just going to snowball, and it’s going to impact how we show up? Absolutely.
Jeremy Burrows 26:02
So if you could snap your fingers and instantly give all assistance more of something, what would it be?
Trish Stadler 26:09
That is such a wonderful question. And I really sat with myself for a little bit of 100 things I would want to give them but the most important thing would be each other. I want them to collaborate, and network and reach out and use each other, start within your own company, join the forums, join, you know, like, what you’re doing a wealth of support, and information. That is, I can’t even put $1 price on it is just an amazing network that has been created. Almost like a movement we are, you know, you’re not alone, I would give them each other, we just need to give each of us each other. And it just, it’s life changing.
Jeremy Burrows 27:12
It’s great. Yeah, it’s pretty powerful to be in a room with other assistants to grab lunch with another assistant. And, you know, because often time our role is pretty siloed. And we feel like we’re on an island, especially for the only EA and in our direct division. In my case, I’m a startup at a startup, we have 65 employees, and I’m the only EA. So it’s always very encouraging and refreshing to sit around the table with other EAS and talk shop.
Trish Stadler 27:47
Absolutely. And I don’t think it happens enough. I think we all go into I saw it at that I took a contract assignment just to keep myself busy this winter, and I loved it. And I was really pushing to try and get some kind of EA thing going and it was you think I was pushing a boulder up a hill so not not everyone’s open to it. It may be out of fear, you know, confusion. I don’t really know but I hope we’re making headway there by just you know, people like yourself and Barney and the others out there that have really put us on the map and and really talked about the you know, the networking aspect of our success. But it can start right in you here. Yeah, on your own there. But just starting monthly lunches with the EAS not everyone will show up. It’s not for everyone, you know, make it optional. No real agenda. Just the power of that coming together. I’ve never walked away saying I wish I didn’t go to that lunch. I always learned something and making friends with each other and saving each other two hours. My Yeah, I had an EA that worked in the London office. If my boss was travelling to London, she saved me so much time she gave me restaurants hotels. Yeah. Go go there go here. She was my Google. And that’s what we could be for each other. Yeah.
Jeremy Burrows 29:19
Awesome. So do you have any interesting or funny or crazy stories about times when you saved the day? Sometimes big sometimes small. I mean, yeas, save the day, pretty much every day, but anything that kind of stands out in your career as an assistant.
Trish Stadler 29:39
I like to tell the story of the impossible. Where I was asked to do something. I had a kind of a celebrity CEO that was very demanding and again, loved it took the challenge learned a lot in this short time because I got poached and ended up somewhere else. And it was it turned out to be for the best. But in that time, I learned things that I still use today. But in this particular case, the executive was traveling and was attending something on the west coast for it might have been a concert. And so it was in an auditorium, arena type thing. And he left the event and headed to the airport, and realized on the way that he left his camera. And this was some this again, back before we were really using our phones. And it was a good camera and the pictures that we’re taking were meaningful. So he wanted that camera and he wanted it in his hands before he got on the flight. And this was on a day, this was the next day after the concert or later in the day, the arena, the auditorium was closed. Nobody was answering the phone. And I quickly had this is where there’s always a solution. There’s always a way called the hotel. That was I believe across the street from the let’s say it was Coliseum I don’t I don’t really know the name of the place that this took place. And I kind of blocked it out. Ask the ask for the concierge asked the concierge to please do me a solid and go across the street and knock on the window of this coliseum and try to get somebody I explained. You know who this was for. And then that person was a VIP that was just staying in their hotel. So they did do this for me. They did find somebody from the maintenance department that was there that opened up the door. I knew the seat number the concierge went to the seat got the camera and messenger did to the airport. And it got into his hands before he got on the plane. When you find somebody to do something like that for you, you send them lots of gifts. Thank them profusely. But that was a that was a win. I think he almost asked it knowing he was getting on that plane without the camera, but I did it and you just have to be resourceful. And anything’s possible. Awesome. That’s, that’s pretty crazy, right?
Jeremy Burrows 32:39
Yeah. So what about let’s, let’s talk a little bit about maybe, you know, your toughest times as an assistant in your career, you went through a tragedy. And, you know, it’s not, it’s not something that’s easy to talk about. It’s not something that, you know, is, you know, obviously fun or sexy, but it’s it’s real life, and it happens to many of us, most of us experience some sort of tragedy or loss in our life. So could you talk a little bit about that and maybe how, as you head to you kind of a unique angle as an assistant and then just kind of how you, you know, work through that and overtime got out of it.
Trish Stadler 33:33
Sure. Um, so back to that great job at ABC where I was doing a great job in the corporate travel department, a lot of people were getting to know me, and the people in HR knew me. And they were in the midst of recruiting for the executive producer of ABC Sports, they were looking for an assistant and according to them, anyone that they were bringing to Him were not working out and they figured since I worked out with this person in the travel department that I might be good to put before the executive producer here. And sure enough, you know, I they call me into HR would you be interested and I thought, oh my gosh, sports, you know, now I was I knew some thing about sports. But did I know everything about sports? No. I did bone up a little bit at least on what I needed to know to be actually in the ABC Sports department. Fortunately, like I said, I worked in travel. I knew we covered college football and Monday Night Football and all those great things so I wasn’t completely in the dark. But I didn’t know I didn’t need to know you Whatever running back does and I was kind of getting into that minutia. And I finally just said, whoa, whoa, I know enough. Ball. Yeah, I mean, it was, how much do I need to know? I don’t think they’re looking for that I’m not coming in to produce one of their events. So I, they teed me up, I went to meet with Jack. And it was, yeah, he had me at hello. I was expecting this, you know, person that was gonna be very intimidating. I couldn’t understand why they couldn’t find somebody to work for this man. He was, you know, perfect. And I worked for ABC Sports, it was the best job. I’ve had so many great jobs. So many great bosses. But this definitely is top top one or two. You have to understand here I am working at one of the best. Yeah, sports, TV companies, they have all the great events. A lot has changed since then. But at the time we had, you know, everything. And all I had to say was I basically I work at ABC Sports, and I was the coolest person in the room. And I just I loved it. I loved working for Jack, I loved working for ABC, it was a great company, everything was great. And things were starting to change. ESPN was coming into play. And Jack, my boss had just told me that he was going to be leaving ABC. They were bringing somebody else has things happen in that world, and probably going over to Major League Baseball and that I would go with him. But before he went, because one of our big events that we covered was the Tour de France, the company in you know, as a goodwill or whatever, wanted him to still take that trip, he was bringing his wife and his daughter who was a French student at the time. And so he decided he would continue with the plans to go to Paris. Mostly because he was you know, he had told his wife and daughter that they would come along. And it would be the last hurrah and the last event for Jack to do for ABC Sports. And so we booked the flights to Paris he did. Jack was always very savvy about booking his he wouldn’t book his own travel, of course, but he would do some research and hammy flights that he would like to take. So I worked with my VIP, travel person in our corporate travel department, we were very close. And we knew that this was Jack’s final trip for the company. And so we switched the flight from the one he chose to the TWA Flight got him, you know, upgraded all the way Yeah, from soup to nuts. And off he went and about 830 that night. I’m home and I get a call from a friend of mine that I worked with. And she said is that is that Jack’s flight. And I had the news on in the background and ironically was just unpacking I’d moved into a new place and I wasn’t paying that close attention. But she kept asking is at Jack’s flight. And I said, What are you talking about? Because there’s a flight down in the Long Island Sound and it was about a third he said now his flight left a while ago he called me from the airport. And she’s like, well, I don’t know Do you know his flight number? Normally I would. This was the last time he was going to be traveling I normally have the itinerary with me did not have it with me. I hung up on my friend I called my travel guy had his home number and I asked him Sean is that Jack’s flight and he was an answering me and then he said Yeah, I said What’s his flight number he said it’s that’s his flight Trish and that the rest is kind of a blur. The top one thing you’ll know as the assistant you’re so important at that point because the top brass needs to know for sure. Did Jack board that flight? Yes. Yes, Bob Iger Jack boarded that flight. Yes. So once they determined that they go into you know what they need to do for their for Jack’s family for the for his staff. And I can’t tell you enough how wonderful they were to me In the very next day, they had Grief counselors, priests, rabbis gathered in the conference room, I didn’t get there. I got there a little late, they waited till I arrived. And this was the entire ABC Sports department, entered the conference room and got all the support that I needed. And the rest was just putting one foot in front of the other. However, like I mentioned, his wife, when his daughter went, there was no, I was, you know, people would see me days after weeks after sitting outside his office, and they, they couldn’t even come up to me, it was just too sad. He did have two sons, they were twin boys, they chose not to go to Paris, they were staying behind to go to basketball camp. So the whole story is so tragic. So back at that time, and surrounding that time, and for a good time after that, I definitely was not the impact it had on me. And everything that was going to happen. Going forward was immense in so many ways. But the thing I remember the most was the support that I got from the company and my colleagues. And I took time off. After a while it got to be too much, I think, for everybody to have me there. And I patched myself up the best I could. And the company had me come back. And I asked if I could work in another department. And I ended up at ABC News. And that that opened other doors for me. No, it was still and to this day, it’s several, several years later. It’s something that stays with me, but I let it be more about my, what I learned from all of it, what I got from that, what I learned from a man like Jack O’Hara. And I don’t put that on, you know, I want every job to be like this and every boss to be like this. But he kind of taught me, you know, what a great working relationship really looks like. And I knew you know that it’s possible that you know, if somebody tells you that somebody said, a tough person to work for disregard that, because there was nothing about that. That was remotely what I found in this man. But like I had mentioned to you, when we talked about this earlier, it did, there wasn’t a whole lot of people that could understand in the way that they went through this. And it wasn’t until I went to a conference that I heard another assistant who had a similar experience. Talk about it from the podium, and I almost fell off my chair. And it was just almost like I found you. There’s not many of us and we embraced each other afterwards. She also had, you know, because I always kind of that one part that really makes people
you know, gasp a little bit is that, you know, I being the good executive assistant found a better flight for him. So I, the important thing that I miss saying about part of the recovering from that was stop blaming myself, you know, I’m not that powerful. I didn’t make the plane go down. And I think we take I was taking on a little bit too much ownership for that tragedy, and it was halting my ability to move on. And this assistant had a similar thing where she had told the person’s significant other who wasn’t going to go on that flight. Why don’t you go you should go. And she ended up going. So she lived with that, you know, and it’s it’s it’s heavy stuff, right? Jeremy? It’s like it’s giving you probably chills because but this these are some of the things that executive assistants will face and there’s probably some listening out there that are shaking their head like we’re in. We’re in the hot seat and we’ve got, you know, all kinds of things that we’re dealing with. And I think the important thing is how are we going to deal with it? And I’m not going to say that I didn’t melt down and have every reaction Every emotion that you can imagine, but I talked to the right people, and again, with the support of the company. And taking that blame off myself was the best way to start coming out of that, you know, we are responsible for a lot, but we certainly don’t we’re not in the outcome business either. So yeah. That’s important to remember. So yeah, I appreciate that we kind of went down this road, because I think it’s important to talk about it. It’s, it’s, it’s going to come up for some of those yeas out there. We have very busy traveling bosses.
Jeremy Burrows 45:40
Yeah. Yeah, I appreciate you sharing. Obviously, it’s a tough, tough story to go through. But I know there are a lot of tragedies in different different ways with people’s families, people’s executives. You know, I had a couple of scenarios at my last job where we, you know, one of my good friends slash coworkers, unexpectedly, unexpectedly had a heart attack. And, you know, you just kind of as the EA to the CEO, or the, to the, to the founder, I was, you know, like, you know, I was a friend of the guy, and, but I also was EAA. So, you know, it’s like, okay, well, I’m still having to try to figure out how to help with the funeral. And, you know, help plan the take care of the family and make sure you know, it’s just like, it’s just a tough, interesting, unique position to be in.
Trish Stadler 46:38
Yes, well said, because I was very involved with helping the family with the list of names and how to contact many of the objects, colleagues, within the company and outside of the company and the family. Such a gracious family couldn’t have been more thankful for my help. But I did I said, How can I be of service at that point, and just carry on that way? Yeah.
Jeremy Burrows 47:06
Well, and the other thing that you mentioned was, you know, you’re at a conference, I think you said, when you heard the story from the other assistant, you’re like, Oh, I finally found somebody that can relate. Were you at an assistant conference?
Trish Stadler 47:21
Is that Yes, yes. It was a conference for executive assistant. So more to my thing, you know, we’re not, we’re not alone. And we need to, we need to put ourselves at these places so we can find our people.
Jeremy Burrows 47:35
Yeah, just even just stepping out of your comfort zone and going to a conference and meeting other EAS. Yeah, something like that, that that meeting for you is very powerful in your, you know, healing process. And so yeah, it’s just more, you know, confirmation that networking with other like minded EAS is very, very powerful.
Trish Stadler 48:00
Yeah, you never know, you never know what’s going to come a bit. I still reap the benefits of attending conferences with my contacts, that last job that I went on that juicy job. I was referred to by somebody that I met at a conference that we sat on a panel together, and we’ve stayed friends were we were in touch, we see each other for coffee. And she thought of me when she saw a position because she knew my background. That would never happen if I didn’t go to that conference. So I highly recommend.
Jeremy Burrows 48:32
Yeah. Well, Trish, thanks so much for, again, sharing your story and taking time out of your day. What’s we didn’t get to talk a lot about your kind of coaching and administrative professional speaking that you’ve done in your career, but where can we find info about that? And how can we support what you’re up to?
Trish Stadler 48:53
Yes, thank you. And this, this was amazing. I enjoyed it very much. I am found at my website, www.withersandmane.com. I am still, you know, doing corporate work, because I like to be in the trenches, but I’m available for mentoring and coaching. Because I love it so much. And it was a path that I kind of almost accidentally went down. And I’m enjoying it so much that when I’m in between gigs I am coaching and yeah, so and I am seeing on as many of the EA forums on Facebook as possible. So you might see me comment here and there. When I see somebody struggling with something and I feel I can give some advice from my own experience. I will always do that.
Jeremy Burrows 49:50
Awesome. Well, thanks so much again, and I’ll share all those links on the show notes so people can find you and reach out and say hi and yeah, thanks so much. She’s
Trish Stadler 50:00
awesome talk soon talks and Jeremy. Thank you.
Jeremy Burrows 50:04
Thanks again to Trish for sharing her story very powerful. Hope it was comforting to you. Just a reminder to reach out to other assistance network. You’re not alone. And you can check out the show notes at leaderassistant.com/51.
Podcast Intro 50:33
on Apple podcast go bulls.com