7th Annual EA/PA in the Public-Sector

Improving productivity and progressing your career as an EA/PA

Event Details


Registration and coffee
Opening remarks from the Chair
Dianne Parker, Group Executive Officer, Civil Aviation Authority
Icebreaker | Networking

Take this opportunity to meet your peers and share your stories. Get to know others in similar roles and their professional journey.

Dianne Parker, Group Executive Officer, Civil Aviation Authority
Opening keynote: The future of technology in the public-sector in New Zealand

Technology plays an integral role in the Government’s day-to-day operations and is also central to its ambitions in achieving an equitable society and sustained economic growth. This keynote will discuss the vision for the future of the Government and place for the society and how technology plays a pivotal role in achieving this.

Tim Occleshaw, Deputy Government Chief Digital Officer and Deputy Chief Executive, Service and System Transformation, Department of Internal Affairs
Table challenge: Utilising technology as an EA/PA in the public-sector
Morning break
Executives’ panel: The evolving nature of the role Stay on top of your game

Senior executives in the public-sector will discuss the breadth of the role and the constant need to step out of the (comfort) zone.

  • Understanding the scope of an EA/PAs role, hint it’s not what’s in the job description. 
  • Learning how to utilise the needs of the role to upskill assistants.
  • Implementing strategies to keep up-to-date with the nature of an EA/PA role and performing efficiently.
David Habershon, CIO, Ministry of Social Development
Pat Stuart, CEO, Wellington Museums Trust
Case study | When business isn’t business as usual

New Zealand has been prone to big earthquakes such as the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Kaikoura. This session discusses how IRD were able to overcome the issues and challenges faced as a result of the damage caused by the Kaikoura earthquake. It will delve into how IRD were able to respond to the event and the EA’s role in leading and supporting during this time.

  • Exploring the issues that can arise because of a natural disaster and the impact it has on the daily work schedule.
  • Managing the transfer of information with ease whilst maintaining integrity.
  • Key success factors in managing such events.
Phillippa Plunkett, Personal Assistant, Inland Revenue
Lunch break
Managing managers: Building your skills toolkit

Managing multiple managers can be quite challenging, but rewarding. To make the process somewhat easier, there is a toolkit of skills that can be used to help create efficiency in the workload. This session will explore what these tools have to offer and the risks and benefits they bring.

  • Improving and managing balance between managers.
  • Effectively managing time and tasks for multiple managers.
  • Making the most out of the working week.
Elke Schaefer, Executive Support Manager, The Salvation Army Education & Employment
Prioritising your workload – Get the high importance tasks sorted

An essential skill for an EA/PA is to be able to effectively maintain a healthy workload. This session will provide insight into how this can be achieved.

  • I dentifying tools and techniques to build resilience.
  • Using subtle negotiation skills to maintain a healthy working dynamic.
  • Establishing a targeted plan-of-action to improve performance.
Keith McGregor, Director, Personal Psychology New Zealand
Optimising the cloud: Risks and benefits of collaboration

Cloud is an important platform for collaboration allowing multiple editors on a single document.
This session will unveil some of the risks and benefits especially when dealing with sensitive information.

  • Improving work-flow and collaboration within departments.
  • Increasing efficiencies between assistants and their managers.
  • Maintaining security on internal sensitive information – how to achieve this?
John Weaver, General Manager, McDonalds IT
Table challenge: Put forward the top 3 ways to manage priorities

This is your opportunity to discuss the key challenges facing EAs/PAs. It will give you a chance to get insight on how others manage these challenges and what you can start implementing.

Afternoon break
Case Study | The Sustainability Project

Often EAs/PAs find themselves in the midst of managing projects across the board. Pamina was involved with leading and managing the Sustainability Project, undertaken by Invita NZ to align their operations to their sustainability goals and keep track of their carbon footprint. She will discuss the approach she took in managing such a project.

  • Highlighting effective methods of managing a project to deliver a favourable outcome.
  • Understanding all aspects of project management.
  • Developing a policy and strategy for Sustainability and managing and reporting on key initiatives around Sustainability.
Pamina Prasad, EA to Group Managing Director, Invita NZ; Director & Pamina@Events

The roundtables are an interactive discussion that gives delegates the chance to listen to others in the same industry and learn from others’ experiences. The roundtables are 20-minutes each and delegates can participate in two roundtables.

Networking roundtables

Wine and canapes | Tips, tricks and lessons learnt

ROUNDTABLE 1: Dealing with conflicts | Conflict management
  • Understanding different personalities and behaviours and how to deal with them.
  • Learning how to keep a ‘calm’ approach in difficult situations.
  • Dealing with a difficult situation assertively and effectively.
Pamina Prasad, EA to Group Managing Director, Invita NZ; Director & Pamina@Events
ROUNDTABLE 2: Ways of improving performance in an EA/PA role
  • Knowing when to take charge with your manager and leading (with) them.
  • Setting achievable and measurable goals and how to achieve them.
  • Learning how to seize succession opportunities in an EA/PA role.
Caroline McGlynn Tran, EA to CIO, Ministry of Social Development
ROUNDTABLE 3: Performing in a diverse workplace
  • Understanding effective methods of communication and setting boundaries.
  • Working collaboratively in a workplace and achieving goals as a team.
  • Understanding motivations of different generations.
Sue Reeves, Coach/Mentor, AltusQ Consulting & PA to CEO, AltusQ Consulting
ROUNDTABLE 4: Building and maintaining relationships
  • Effective methods of building relationships with new managers.
  • Discussing challenges and solutions that come because of transitioning managers.
Elke Schaefer, Group Executive Manager, The Salvation Army
Summary remarks from the Chair & Networking Drinks
Welcome back from the Chair
Dianne Parker, Group Executive Officer, Civil Aviation Authority
Keynote | From an EA to a CEO | This is my story
  • Learning how to progress your career and seize opportunities to further your (transferrable) skills.
  • Working with your manager to achieve influence and develop leadership skills.
Teresa Tepania-Ashton, CEO, Māori Women’s Development Incorporated
Taking charge | Leading with your managers as a strategic partner

In order to stand out as an EA/PA, one must align themselves as a strategic partner to their executive(s).  

  • Effective communication methods to clearly and concisely get the message across when time is of the essence.
  • Learning to take charge to manage your manager.
  • Developing attributes to allow further progress into leadership roles.
Caroline McGlynn Tran, EA to CIO, Ministry of Social Development
Morning break
The new Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff

Life in a Ministers office is quite different to other public-sector organisations. This session will discuss the new Code of Conduct that was put together by the State Services Commission and how it applies to the Ministerial support staff.

  • Understanding the new Code of Conduct and its implications if there is a breach.
  • A look at the differences in the roles in a Ministerial office and other public-sector organisations.
Aidan Ruland, Portfolio Manager in Ministerial Resourcing, Department of Internal Affairs
Developing management skills

I n order to progress into leadership roles, it is key to build management skills. This can be achieved by recognising opportunities that allow you to take on leadership roles in the workplace.

  • Communicating your vision to your leaders effectively.
  • Learning to take charge and lead in the workplace for example leading meetings.
  • Addressing an admin’s performance issues constructively.
Sue Reeves, Coach/Mentor, AltusQ Consulting & PA to CEO, AltusQ Consulting
Lunch break
Mini workshop | Psychological science and the art of dealing with resilience under pressure

Feel like you have too many balls in the air? Is it hard
to get a sense of doing anything well because you are juggling lots of priorities? Recent research from positive psychology and neuroscience has provided some exciting new insights about how to stay resilient and thrive under pressure. In this interactive session Gaynor will lead us through strategies for:

  • Improving your recovery from work.
  • Strengthening your bounce back from stress and difficult emotional experiences.
  • Maintaining your well-being when time is short.
Gaynor Parkin, Founder and CEO, Umbrella
Afternoon break
Learning how to keep up with change in the workplace

Change is the one constant in the world today.
The public-sector is most definitely changing and the question is what’s the best way to cope with change?

  •  Building an agile mindset to cope with new change and development.
  •  Looking into the benefits of the changing workplace i.e. working remotely, working digitally or in an open plan office.
  •  Meeting the needs of multiple generations during change in workplaces.
Craig Scott-Hill, Change Management Specialist, Grafton Wellington
Table discussion: Coping with change

This table discussion is an extension from the previous session – an opportunity to discuss with others seated at your table on what their approach is to cope with change.

Craig Scott-Hill, Change Management Specialist, Grafton Wellington
You are now logging off | Managing work-life balance

Technology keeps us connected 24 hours a day, 7 days
a week. By doing so, it has created a need for ‘instant’ responses whether it be to a text, email or a call. In all this hustle and bustle, how does one really disconnect once they’ve left the office?

  • Learning how to disconnect once the work day is done.
  • Exploring options to achieve work-life balance.
  • Seeking guidelines on acceptable response times after the work day.
Pam Hewitt, Founder, FitFuture
Closing remarks from the Chair and end of conference
Dianne Parker, Group Executive Officer, Civil Aviation Authority
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