Debbie Gross is an author, trainer and coach in administrative excellence with over 30 years working in the field.

Debbie Gross Leader Assistant

Debbie shares the story of how she ended up working with John Chambers, the former CEO of Cisco. She was employee number 564 when she started, and when she left Cisco, they had over 73,000 employees. Debbie also talks about a “3 D” technique she used for managing her executive’s email: Delete, Do, and Defer.

Enjoy and be sure to check out Debbie’s book -> The Office Rockstar Playbook: How I Leveled Up as an Executive Assistant and Helped My CEO Build a Multibillion-Dollar Company.


Leaders become great not because of their power but because of their ability to empower others.

– John Maxwell

Debbie Gross Leader Assistant

Debbie Gross is an author, trainer and coach in administrative professional excellence with over 30 years working in the administrative profession and was formerly the Chief Executive Assistant to the CEO of Cisco. She is considered a leader and champion for the administrative professional, creating programs and initiatives that focus on recognition, mentorship, guiding company policies, encouraging teamwork and continual development and skill improvement. Having received the Colleen Barrett Award by the Admin Awards of Silicon Valley, the highest award given for administrative excellence, she is a passionate advocate for the administrative profession.


Download the first 3 chapters of my book, The Leader Assistant: Four Pillars of Game-Changing Assistant FREE here.


Subscribe to The Leader Assistant Podcast so you don’t miss new episodes!

You can find the show on Apple PodcastsSpotifyGoogle Podcasts, Pandora, and Stitcher.

Join my email list here if you want to get an email when a new episode goes live.


Join the Leader Assistant Slack Community here, or the Facebook Group here for bonus content and to network with other assistants who are committed to becoming leaders!


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!


Debbie Gross 0:00
Hi, my name is Debbie Gross. And my favorite leadership quote is by John Maxwell. Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others.

Podcast Intro 0:15
The Leader Assistant Podcast exists to encourage and challenge assistants to become confident game changing leader assistants

Jeremy Burrows 0:26
you’re listening to Episode 59 You’re listening to Episode 59. Hey, leader assistants, that was my son Silas. Thank you Silas for introducing the episode. He’s been doing a great job with his brother Weston, thank you both for participating in my show. Even if I have to bribe you with Oreos at times, I really love you boys. And I’m just very thankful to include you in this process. So speaking of including my boys, they made a chart for my book sales to keep track of how many hardcover preorder bundle sales I’ve sold, and they fill in a different color for each square as the chart fills up. So it’s really fun. I posted a couple pictures on LinkedIn and Instagram. If you want to look those up. It’s really cute. But anyway, I have a couple more weeks for selling the preorder bundle before I have to close that down so I can ship them all in order the T shirts and it comes with the hardcover copies that I will sign and ship myself along with stickers that say assistants lead and a T shirt that is triblend and next level brand which is very soft, very comfortable. I wear them every day. And yeah, you can go to leaderassistant Now you can also just go to Click on the preorder bundle link on the top right. Or you can just download the first three chapters of my book for free at as well. Now the book launches on June 23. So again, order your preorder, bundle And my boys will fill out another square on their chart. So thanks again for your support. And let’s jump right into the interview. Hey, leader assistants. Thanks for tuning in to The Leader Assistant Podcast. It’s your host, Jeremy Burrows. And today I’m very excited to be speaking with Debbie Gross, who’s former chief executive assistant to the CEO of at Cisco. She’s a leader and champion for the administrative professionals all across the world. And I’m very excited to be joined by Debbie. Debbie, how’s it going?

Debbie Gross 2:47
Oh, Jeremy, it’s going fantastic. And thank you so much for having me and allowing me to share a little bit about me and about what I do with your audience.

Jeremy Burrows 2:56
Awesome. Well, let’s jump right in and talk about your very first job. What was it? And what skills did you learn in that role that you still use today?

Debbie Gross 3:05
Oh, that’s pretty funny. My very first job, I worked at a hamburger joint called Smokies, which was River, which is basically it was a seal. So I got to wear a sailor outfit and a sailor hat. And it was pretty funny. But I think that the things that I learned, and the one thing I really learned was how to deal with all kinds of people. And also customer service. You know, it’s, I had to learn how to deal like I say, with a lot of different people. I had to have tolerance, a high tolerance for all kinds of people. And I also learned to excel and learn to really push myself to excel in what I did. And that was everything from making a milkshake to cleaning the grill up close every night. So those are the two top skills I think I learned in that job.

Jeremy Burrows 4:00
That’s great. So when and why did you become an executive assistant?

Debbie Gross 4:07
That’s another interesting story. Because I never thought about being an executive assistant. I was an office manager, I had three people reporting to me, and I thought I was on top of the world. One day, one of the people that did report to me had left me to go get another job. And that was to be an executive assistant. So she called me and she said, Debbie, we have an opening here in our company. And I think it’d be perfect for it. And I started to ask your questions about Well, why would I want to leave my job as a manager and go work for a year company as an executive assistant? And she said, Well, basically everything that you’re doing as your office management you would be doing as an executive assistant. But what really tipped the scales Jeremy was that she told me how much she was making. And at that point in my life, I did have some financial goals and when I started to think about it, I was getting maybe 2% a year in turn Have a raise. And if you calculate I started calculating that out went Wow. Okay in five years, I will know where near Meech my financial goals. So why don’t I just go over and check this out? It’s an opportunity. I don’t know if I wanted but let me go and check it out. So I did. And it wouldn’t be working for two vice presidents in this, it was a startup. And they made me an offer on the spot. And when I started thinking about I thought, You know what, I can do this. And not only can I do this, but I’ll make more money. So that’s how I got in to the executive assistant profession. Not originally my thought process, but it became my thought process.

Jeremy Burrows 5:41
So how did you end up? Kind of how long were you in EA before you ended up as the EA to the CEO of Cisco? And how did that happen?

Debbie Gross 5:51
No. Well, so in the startup world, it’s very risky. And first of all, I was loving what I was doing. I had two executives of totally different personalities. And I was learning how to cope with their personalities, but I loved what I was doing. And when our investor or chief investor shut us down, now I was kind of left without a job. And I realized, okay, you love what you’re doing. So maybe you should start focusing your career path as an executive assistant. So I actually hired a recruiter, I was, by the way, applying for jobs, through the local newspaper, the Internet was still very, very new. Social media wasn’t even on the scene. And I went to a number of interviews for executive assistant positions. And in this case, I was just applying for anything that looked like it would be of interest to me. And I happened to put it out and put my resume into a company called Cisco, which I found very interesting. And it’s in itself, and it was working for the Senior Vice President of Worldwide sales. So I thought, well, I love sales salespeople are very social, really fun people to work for. So I sent my resume in via mail. And I think it was about two, maybe three weeks later, maybe longer. That I got a call from the recruiter saying, Would you like to come in and interview and of course, I’m going through my files, and I’m going okay, who is this company? And oh, yes. Okay. I’m sure I’ll come in and have an interview. The thing was, it was it was 45 minutes away from where I lived. And so I was thinking, Oh, my goodness, what was I thinking? But long story short, I drove up there. By the way, the company at that time, was in a very poor part of town. And I’m driving through that poor part of town going, what was I thinking, This is crazy. But that very first day, I went in, and I met with the recruiter. And because I’d come from a startup environment, I knew that there were certain things that I definitely wanted to make sure of one was financial health of the company. So I asked questions about what was their revenue? Who was their customer base? I think I scared the recruiter actually, because I asked more questions that he asked me. And finally, he said, well, thank you. We’ll be in touch. And I said, Okay, sounds good. It was great to meet you. And I got a call about two days later. And they said, Do you like to come back in an interview with John Chambers? So I said, Sure. Okay. And so that started the whole process of going back up there. And interviewing John didn’t know at that time, and that was in 1991. I had no idea at that time, that he would ultimately be a CEO. He was a Senior Vice President for worldwide sales. So that’s kind of how it all started, I guess, in terms of me, ultimately, connecting with John, I’ve been on a number of different interviews, by the way of different companies. And I really was looking for the right person to support I had to be good chemistry, I had to have a good feeling about the culture of the company. There were things I really definitely wanted. And John and Cisco had a lot of those things that I was very excited about. And after the interview, and I was driving home by the time I got home, and that was about a 45 minute drive home maybe longer because it was after five. My husband said hey, by the way, there’s a guy named John Chambers has just called you and want you to call him back. And so there he was, he called him back and he made me an offer right then and there. So that’s how that all started.

Jeremy Burrows 9:39
Wow. So how many employees roughly did they have at that time?

Debbie Gross 9:43
We I was employee number 564. Wow. It was sort of a company going through transition and transformation from a startup mentality to more of a business mentality. They brought in a CEO John Morgridge to really start to focus the company more in business versus entrepreneurial innovation. And yeah, I, when I left Cisco, they were over, we had over 73,000 employees. So why that journey in itself? I’ve always been proud of my badge number 564

Jeremy Burrows 10:18
Yeah, that’s awesome. I’m, I was hired number one at my current startups. So, you know, I’m kind of thinking dreaming about a day when it’d be fun to have a 5000 member company and be number one be number one. But anyways, that’s awesome. So what do you love about the role of an assistant?

Debbie Gross 10:40
I think what I really love about the role is the variety of things that I was doing on a day to day basis, I don’t think there was a day that I came in and was the same every day was different. And I think also learning about the business but also having one. I’ve heard some of my friends call service heart, helping, helping my executive be successful. He was very wonderful in terms of empowering me to do a lot of cool things. But it was just the variety of doing something new and different every day, there wasn’t like I said, there’s never two days the same, they’re all different, and you never know what you’re gonna get. Again, and that’s what I love about the profession, the ministry profession, you have to have a servant’s heart and want to care and help people. But it’s, it can be totally exciting and crazy and challenging all at once. And I like that a lot.

Jeremy Burrows 11:37
So do you have any interesting or funny or crazy stories of your time at Cisco? And maybe maybe specifically, when you save the day?

Debbie Gross 11:47
Yeah, well, there’s a couple. But I remember one day that John had come in, he was going to have a very high level government meeting in our boardroom, and he comes in in a rush, and he comes out and says, Debbie, I forgot my belt. I don’t have a belt, I need you to go get me a belt right now. I need it in 10 minutes. And all I could think about was a belt now. And he gave me his size. Now I had to go down the line to every male executive that I knew to say, Hey, do you have a belt 36 inches needs to be black, you know, and everybody’s looking at me like I’m crazy. But I’ll tell you what, I got that belt. And I got it to him just in time before he had to walk into the boardroom with the government official. And interesting one, I left the company, I had in my bottom drawer, two belts, several pairs of socks, a tie and a pair of shoes. You never knew whenever he needed something that you needed to be prepared to make sure you have what he needed. So it was pretty funny that day that that happened. That’s

Jeremy Burrows 12:55
funny. I had this same thing happen a couple times, actually where my executives like, Hey, could you run home, run to my house and get my belt? I forgot it.

Debbie Gross 13:09
And I didn’t have time. I didn’t have time to go to a store. I just had to ask executives if they had a belt that bit John, you know,

Jeremy Burrows 13:16
Oh, yeah. Life? Yes. Oh, yes,

Debbie Gross 13:19
definitely. I do have another funny story that I share if you have time for it. We had a special government room. This is where John would interface with high government officials. And this room had to be completely secured. It had to be sound proved it had to have digitize telephones or I mean, it was just amazing. Plus, you had to know several combinations just to get into the room and to get out of the room. And I was in charge of that particular room, which I hate it I’ll tell you, the room was as big as a closet was really, really tiny. And John was going to have a call with a very high level government official and asked me to go ahead and help him get into the room, which I did pretty well, by the way, you couldn’t write the combination down, you had to memorize it. Which is hard when you don’t get into that room all the time. But I got him into the room and he sits down. And I’m standing there with the room door kind of open because I’m a little claustrophobic and he says, Debbie, you got to come on in and close that door. This will not be a secure call. And I thought oh gosh, okay, so I closed the door. And he gets on the phone. And he looks at me says, Well, this phone’s not working. We’re gonna have to get somebody to come in here and fix this phone before I can have this call. So I need you to go get that taken care of. Well, I turned towards the door, and I’m so claustrophobic and my heart’s racing. And I realized I have completely forgotten the code to get out completely forgotten the code. And I’m just staring at the door thinking what am I going to do? What am I going to do when I do and then I look over at John and he says, well, what’s the matter? I said, I can’t get us out and he goes We’ll just call somebody and I said, John, cell phones don’t work in here. He goes well, and then he gets this big grin on his face. And says, You mean to say that we you and I are trapped in this room? And nobody knows we’re in here because nobody can hear us. And we can’t call out. And I said, Yes, you know, and I’m about ready to cry. I was so upset. And he says, Well, let me think for a minute. I think I know the code so long, he was able to actually get us out of that room. But I’ll never forget that as long as I live. In fact, I told him, I did not want to be on the secure room Duty ever again. Scary, it was scary at the time it was happening for sure.

Jeremy Burrows 15:46
Yeah, it’s crazy. So what was the biggest mistake you made? Or one of your bigger mistakes? And what did you learn from the process? And how did your co John handle that?

Debbie Gross 16:03
The biggest mistake I think ever made was sending John off on an international trip. And I forgot to give him his passport. John always expected us members of the team to make sure he had his passport. He never really cared it. We always carried it and made sure he had it. And what happened is we were all assuming the other person had it. So on Sunday night, he’s headed to Israel. He’s going to meet with the president Simone Perez. And then from there, he’s going to rush us. So it’s nine o’clock at night, I’m sitting there watching my favorite TV show and my fuzzy slippers, and I get a call from John. And I pick up the phone says, Danny, we got a problem. And I thought at first he was joking. I said, What’s the problem? He is don’t have my passport, and I’m an hour from landing in Israel. I just about died. And I said, Tell you what, John, and he’s trying to help me and I said, Tell you what, John, let me hang up from you. And let me start working on this right now. Because you’re an hour away from landing, and we need to make sure we figure this out. So I will say that the rest of my night was pretty much focused on getting him the passport. What the good news was, was that the President Shimon Peres was a real good friend, and John’s, and I worked immediately I called the Israeli team and said, This is what’s happening. And they said, okay, no worries, we’re going to get him a temporary passport, we’ll make sure he gets into the country. And of course, having Shimon Peres his influential person was really, really good. However, that was not going to be the case in Russia, he was going to be speaking there. And John did not have the relationships in Russia that I could count on. So I think the rest of my night was working with our travel our amazing travel guy, he was so amazing to say, We’ve got to get John’s passport to him before he leaves Israel, he was only going to be in Israel for two days, right? Just two days. And so I rushed to the office to find out where to go, the passport was sitting in his office drawer, da, I should have thought. And I got the my travel person to make sure it got to federal express the next morning at five o’clock in the morning, and we literally tracked that passport from the time it left Silicon Valley until it got to Israel planes, trains, automobiles, you just won’t believe where and how it tracked through. It got to John an hour before he was leaving the hotel to head to Russia. And I think I breathed a huge sigh of relief because he had it in his hands. But my biggest takeaway was never ever assume anything. Because that just blew blew my night. I couldn’t sleep I was stressed. And I learned that never assume was part of my motto going forward for anything. Anything that I was doing. Never assume that’s the big takeaway.

Jeremy Burrows 19:08
Yeah, that’s really good. I had one of my early executives, my first, maybe, maybe my second assistant role. He taught me that he’s like, Jeremy never assumed and he kind of took it with me.

Debbie Gross 19:24
Yeah, you’re always going to actually it’s gonna hurt you. It can bite you if you’re not careful. Yeah.

Jeremy Burrows 19:30
Well, what do you have any tips for managing an executives inbox?

Debbie Gross 19:37
Yeah, you know, I had to manage John’s inbox as well as my own and he got tons and tons and tons of emails. But I think the one thing that I see and that I think is important for us if we are managing our executives inbox is to acknowledge that the email has been received and be responsive. Even if you don’t have an A answer. I think sometimes people send an email to your CIO. And it goes, they think it’s going into a black hole. And so for me, it was always just letting somebody know I got it. And I would be working on it. Because sometimes you had to research it, you had to do some things that were important before you could even answer it. But I wanted to make sure that giving, you know making sure that John seemed accessible, that I let them know, Hey, I got your email. That was number one. But number two, there’s a thing that I call the three D method of managing emails. And this can work for you with your executives, or it can work with you for your own emails, very simple technique, but I call it the three D because the first thing I would do is go through his emails. As we all know, there’s a ton of spam and crap. And so the first thing I would do is just go through his emails and delete anything that had no relevance to him or anybody else. It was just crap. That’s the first D, which is delete. The second D was really do and do is any email, and I knew that I could answer in less than two minutes. This is thank you so much. He appreciated it. Great to hear from you, John, you know, anything that I could definitely answer in less than two minutes. That would be the second time I go through his email, the third time became the key because the third time became what I called defer. And what I meant by that is that was any email that I knew that I had to do research, I had to check calendaring, I had to decide what kind of response I was going to send, because sometimes my responses had to be well thought out, that’s more than two minutes. And those would become tasks, those would actually become my working tasks for the day. So I tried not to stay in his inbox that much, but start to use the tasks is how I operated in my daily routines. And I did the same thing for my own emails, it totally took away that frustration and that nausea you get when you open the emails, and there’s 1000s of them there. So those are just two ideas that I have in terms of managing the inbox. But the 3d method can totally take away a lot of that stress and anxiety. If you practice it. And it’s a behavioral change. By the way, it doesn’t happen overnight. So you do have to do it for at least two to three weeks before you get it. And once you get it, you don’t really change you go right you do you use that technique, I guarantee it will be so much easier for you than trying to manage every email that comes in all the time because we just get stuck in looking at all the emails coming in. And we get stuck on one and we get stuck on another. Let’s create emails as our actual priority in our tasks. That’s how I used it. That’s how I got it.

Jeremy Burrows 22:46
Yeah, love it. Delete, do defer. So, Debbie, if an assistant called you tomorrow and said, they are not respected or don’t feel recognized or valued in their current role, what would you say to them?

Debbie Gross 23:05
I think the first question I have is really, have you had a discussion with your executive? That’s the first question I have. Because sometimes it’s just a matter of opening the lines of communication. The other thing I start to question is, how are you showing up every day? And what kind of what are you doing to add value to your executive. And I’m not just talking about managing their calendar, because we all do that. But there’s so much more we can do to be valued. And it can be very simple as walking a candidate from the lobby to a conference room and getting to know the candidate so that you can provide feedback to your executive saying and commenting on staff meetings, like that was a great strategy you put out there, we tend to stay behind the scenes and just do the normal tasks. So that would start to question that executive assistant in terms of how are you adding value? What are you doing differently? Because they will recognize that but you have to put it out there? And then the third thing I would say is are you actually sharing and showing what you’ve accomplished? Do you do you show and toot your own horns periodically when you built a process that totally increase your executives productivity. That was just some of the questions that I would ask when someone is stating that they, they’re having a problem with their executive. At the very end of the day, we have to we have to prove to them that we are valued, we have to prove that we can do the job and do more than just the job they’ve hired us for. But also, you also have to think if over time, this executive is never going to recognize you. Then you’re the captain of your own career and your own ship and So you’ve probably started to think about, well, where and who can I go, I need to go find an executive where I can truly be that business partner for that person, because there are some executives that just, I don’t think get it, period. And we either have to show it, or we have to move on, so we can show it to somebody else. Does that make sense?

Jeremy Burrows 25:17
Yeah, definitely. So in general, though, how? Maybe it’s not with your specific, specific executive, but how can we help executives, HR departments, recruiters, other managers, you know, how can we change the perception of our roles and help them value assistance? In general overall?

Debbie Gross 25:43
Well, you know, I know that question, because I really pondered that question. I hear a lot of this from administrative professions. But I guess, for me, it’s, it does start with us, it does start with us and how we’re showing up every day. You know, it’s it starts with, we have to show our worth, I think, this is a long struggle we’re going for it’s an uphill battle. But we have to show our worth, we have to show our value and prove it and get in front of them and show it not just think it but show it, we have to think like our executives and ask for what we need and want, and not just settle for oh, this is the way HR has always done it. We have to have the competence to be able to stand out and say, Look, this is the things that I’m doing for my executive right now. I’ve also, by the way, increased my executive productivity by 40%. Just by the way, I’ve changed the way I’m calendaring for him or just by the way, I’m analyzing the data that he’s doing. They don’t know what we do. They really don’t know what we do. They think they do the job description says they think they know what they do. But I don’t think they do we have to do it, we have to share with them as much as possible, what our worth is, we also need to negotiate and be very clear about what we need. And I don’t know a lot of Administrative Professionals or executive assistant have enough confidence to do that. But not having confidence is another reason why we’re bucking ties and this lack of value. So I don’t know if that answers your question. But I really personally believe until we show our value until we really, you know, put it out there and show we’re doing we’re going to always be kind of in these buckets that I don’t think we should be in. But I didn’t stay in that bucket. And I do a lot of career coaching. And I see Administrative Professionals who just aren’t taking it to that next level, aren’t thinking about, you know, I’m gonna ask you a question. And I asked this of all my students that I have in my teach, how many are actually reading USA Today. And nobody, nobody’s reading anything that’s going on in the world, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, business news. They’re not even doing that. So already, how do we? How are we going to be showing up every day and adding value? If we’re not even reading the same news in our executives or reading? If we’re not paying attention to what’s going on with the world? We’re not paying attention? What’s going on with industry? And what’s going on with China? What’s going on stuff? How are we, you know, what are we doing, we’re in silos focused on our calendar and our computers and our calendar. And that’s about it. So I really do think Jeremy starts with us. And it starts with showing up every day, adding value being more than what you thought, and giving your executives a clue. And being vocal about it and negotiating and telling executives HR and all what we want and not not hiding behind lack of confidence, because that’s part of the killer, right? There is lack of confidence not to be able to speak up, I spoke up a lot in my role as CEA and as EA, if I didn’t see it, if I didn’t think it was right, I would basically be vocal about it. So you know, that’s kind of my feeling on it. Making, making time and connecting with your HR representative to sit down with them and say, here are the things that I’m doing right now. You know, maybe doing some research on what’s out there. Research on where salaries are just just in general. Right. It talks with it. I personally, personally believe it starts with us.

Jeremy Burrows 29:20
Yeah, that’s great. So you mentioned a little bit about your coaching. So share with us kind of how it came to be that you decided to start training other assistants?

Debbie Gross 29:34
Well, so originally, I had never thought about training or teaching or coaching or any of those things back at Cisco in era when we were hiring butts and seats. We were hiring so many administrators every quarter that it was crazy and HR actually approached me one day and her name was Celeste and she said Hey Debbie, we have so many new administrators here who Don’t know Cisco or its culture? Would you be willing to get up in front of these people and share with them your knowledge? And I just looked at her like a doe and a hairline headlights and said absolutely not. No way. I am not getting in front of anybody. I don’t have the skills, I just can’t do it. And she laughed, and she said, Well, what if we got you a coach, and I said, Okay, I can see that I could use a coach, if you get me a coach, and I still feel good and comfortable, I’ll do it. Well, I had a great coach. And long story short, I got in front of 25, brand new executive and Administrative Professionals. And I had a wonderful presentation. And as I was going through the presentation, and having them do some fun exercises, I don’t know of watching the light bulbs go off in the room, people nodding their heads and like they were getting it, I got this state of euphoria that I’ve never felt in anything else I had done in my career. And when I walked out of that room with them clapping, I was on cloud nine, I was just on cloud nine. And I realized at that moment in my career, that I had found my passion, and I found what I truly loved to do, which was to help Administrative Professionals be better at what they were doing. And based on my own experience, that’s how I ultimately ended up training, I got certified to teach. I ultimately ended up on stage speaking, which is, in itself a scary thing. And I also now, in my new career, not only do I speak and I teach and I trained, but I’m also trying to help people on a one on one basis, I have a number of clients that are going through and wanting to become more wanting to become valuable wanting to become business partners. And I’m trying to share with them what it took for me to get there. And I’m hoping in some of these clients, they’re getting it and they’re going, you know, you’re right, I should be doing differently. It’s about doing the work, but doing it in a whole new way. And thinking more like thinking differently is what it is, it’s thinking differently than the standard executive assistant role. So that’s how I got into it. And I love it, and it’s what I thrive on. It’s what makes me happy.

Jeremy Burrows 32:18
That’s awesome. So what would you say I’m gonna put you on the spot for a second, what would you say? Is your unique kind of position or perspective on the admin training world? In other words, why there are a lot of EA coaches and trainers and speakers? What do you bring to the table that you believe is kind of your unique differentiator?

Debbie Gross 32:43
Ah, that’s a good question. So, first of all, working for a extremely what I call dynamic, globally renowned CEO for 26 years, I was able to get a lot of a lot of insights, I learned a lot, John was extremely demanding, very detail oriented, I was constantly changing the bar. And I feel that I learned so much from him. And he was definitely a mentor guide or an image visionary. But at the same time, I think I bring a different perspective. It’s not like, in a way, it’s like sharing 30 years or 26 plus years of what I learned the mistakes that I made that I don’t want anybody else to make. By the way, we need a lot of teachers and a lot of trainers out there to teach the administrative world. I love everyone who’s out there doing what what I am doing. So I’m not downgrading anybody, because I think we need so many of us out there helping the administrative world. You know, I think there are plenty of administrative assistant books out there that we can read. I’ve certainly read a lot of them. There’s more coming out all the time. My if you think about my book, which is the office Rockstar playbook. It’s really a part memoir. But it’s also part of a how to guide that offers practical advice. I tell some funny stories. I’ve got some great stories in that book that I think makes it entertaining. But at the end of it, it’s the lessons that I learned that I’m hoping that I can share with others out there. It’s not like the regular professional development book. It’s not a dry read manual. It has life’s lessons that, you know, that I think really carry on in and that people can take to the bank with it. That’s kind of the way I look at that.

Jeremy Burrows 34:49
That’s great. In What’s the title of the book. It’s called

Speaker 1 34:53
The Office Rockstar Playbook is I’m out there trying to create office rockstars People who are just doing amazing things.

Jeremy Burrows 35:03
Awesome. Awesome. Well, we’ll definitely have a link to the book in the show notes so people can find it easily. And check it out. So, Debbie, I’m gonna ask one more question. And thank you so much for your time. But I like I like to close off most of my interviews with this question, what makes an assistant a leader?

Debbie Gross 35:25
Well, I have to tell you that what I think makes an assistant, a leader is someone who is willing to raise their hand and take initiative. Leadership doesn’t mean you’re running an entire show. Leadership means that you are raising your hand and say, I’ll do it, I’ll take care of it, I will work on it, instead of sitting back and letting someone else do it. I also think that it takes somebody who really cares about the people that they support cares about the administrative community, somebody who’s humble, I was extreme, I’ve always been humble. I don’t toot my own horn around the big group of people because I want to be loved for who I am not for who want my title is. Someone who’s not politically or power focused is someone who’s willing to take risks, and initiatives, who cares about others, and who is assertive when needed, because sometimes we have to be assertive in a good way to get what we want. So coming from a place of caring, but being assertive so that you don’t get stepped on. But at the same time, for me, it sort of is I care about me, and I care about you. So those are just some of the tips that I would have in terms of becoming a leader. But the biggest part is to take initiative, take a risk, get out of your comfort zone, show people what you can do. That’s to me what a leader should be.

Jeremy Burrows 36:55
Awesome. Great. Well, Debbie, thank you so much again, for your time. Thank you for your passion for lifting up the administrative professional career and coaching and training and sharing your wisdom with assistants all over the world. How can we support what you’re doing? And where can we find you online?

Speaker 1 37:17
Well, you can support what I’m doing by getting my book and you can just go to All you have to do is type in Debbie Gross or office Rockstar playbook, it’ll come up immediately. I would love to come in to companies and share my knowledge and and help build rock office rockstars out there. So that would be a big help to me and people are saying I need someone to come in. I want I want to motivate people I want to motivate I want to have fun. And I also want to teach the power behind this role. You can find me online at Facebook or Instagram or Instagram or Twitter at Win with Debbie G or And I would love to to be there to help wherever I can and whenever I can.

Jeremy Burrows 38:11
Thank you so much Debbie. It was a great conversation. Everyone, check out the show notes at and reach out to Debbie check out her book and also a reminder to check out my book The leader assistant four pillars of a confident game changing assistant and you can learn more about it at Until next time, keep leading well.

Please move you on Apple podcasts.

Download FREE Chapters