I’m originally from San Diego, California, but I have been living in Dublin, Ireland for the past six years. I have a Bachelor’s degree from Mills College in International Politics & Economics and a Master’s degree from Trinity College Dublin in International Development. Before Dropbox, I worked for a tech start-up and was the executive assistant (EA) to the CEO of an aircraft leasing firm.
What are the main aspects of your role?
For the past year and a half, I have worked as the EA to the Head of Dropbox Europe and the Global Head of Customer Experience, but my role has recently changed. Moving forward, I’ll be the EA for the entire global Customer Experience team and my role will include an operations element. This will mean managing budgets, assisting with internal communications, organising global events and loads more! My EA function includes booking travel, heavy calendar and email management and organising the site-wide events. Tech is a rapidly growing industry and can be incredibly busy at times, so being able to multitask and adapt is important. I love that there are so many opportunities to take on new tasks and develop yourself.
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
I check my emails first thing when I wake-up so that I can prioritise my day properly. Our head office is located in San Francisco, so they’ve had their entire work day while I’ve been sleeping and I like to know whether or not it’s going to be an extra busy day. I also run to the gym in the mornings before work – it gives me a clear head and I love getting that chore done first thing in the morning.
I’m incredibly lucky in regards to food – Dropbox has an amazing café at the office where we get free breakfast, lunch and dinner so I rarely eat at home during the week.
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
I’m in the office by 9:30am. I am not a morning person as much as I wish that I were! Because of the time difference with San Francisco, it’s also much more useful to be available in the evenings rather than the mornings and that suits me just fine! I have my brekkie and coffee while I respond to anything urgent, check in on the calendars and update my to-do list. I try to leave in the evening by 6:30pm so that I can have dinner with my husband and then I’m usually back online for an hour or so around 8pm before bed.
What does an average day look like?
I hate to use a cliché but there is no average day. I could spend a day visiting event venues, in back-to-back meetings, booking complicated travel itineraries or organising a team party! That’s one of the best things about my role; tech can be busy but also incredibly fun and dynamic. In general, I spend the morning clearing emails and meeting with my leads, and in the afternoons I work on site-wide initiatives or special projects that I manage.
What do you have for lunch?
I made it a priority over the last three months to start taking a proper lunch break and it has made all the difference! Stepping away from my desk for 30 minutes or so to have a chat and unwind gives me the energy to tackle the afternoon. As I said, we have an awesome café so I make myself a super-healthy salad, grab a fresh juice and join other Dropboxers for lunch.
What is the hardest part of your day?
I absolutely hate if it gets to 4pm and it’s one of those days where you still have so much left to do! I always wonder, where did the day go?
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love the collaborative nature of working at Dropbox! Some examples: I’m working on editing internal team communications with someone at Dropbox Austin, planning the site-wide events for 2016 with the Office Team and re-vamping our European All Hands meeting format with a cross-functional committee. There are so many opportunities to work with different teams and it’s rewarding to create something in collaboration with your colleagues. I’ve never been in an admin role before where you get to work together so much – usually it feels like you’re on your own.
What has been your career highlight?
This might be a bit cheesy, but last December we held our very first Children’s Christmas Party at Dropbox Dublin. When I started at Dropbox, there were very few parents working here and we didn’t have enough children to even hold a party just for them. We now have over 40 Dropbox Dublin children (and that’s not including the rest of Europe!). The party was a fantastic success with a visit from Santa, a magician and loads of arts and crafts. It was incredibly exciting to see the growth that we’ve experienced and to know that I’m a part of what we’re working to build.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
Some weeks I’ll meet up with girlfriends for dinner, go to the gym or see a movie. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I sometimes find myself working, but it’s a habit I’m forever trying to break.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Don’t be afraid to be assertive! Whether it’s asking to work on a special project, protecting your own time, or managing expectations – you’re your own best advocate.
What is the one piece of advice you would give your younger self at the start of your career?
Never underestimate how valuable an awesome admin can be! I think some people want to downplay our role, and I remember there were times where I felt that “I’m only an admin”. The truth is, most offices couldn’t function without us and we are the unsung heroes. I wish I knew my worth earlier on and was prouder of the work I had done. It’s so important to know that you are a valuable cog in the machine and, as much as any other colleague, you contribute to the success of the company.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
My graduate degree is actually in international development and I worked for an NGO as a teacher in Namibia after university. It was such an amazing experience, so I hope I’d be off doing something similar – saving the world (or trying to help the folks who are!).
What is your favourite app or piece of technology that you could not do your job without?
This is an easy one! It’s the Dropbox app, of course! My iPhone is literally an extension of my hand (I’d be lost without it), so to be able to access my files from anywhere means that I can do my job anywhere. This is so incredibly useful! I’m also obsessed with Paper, another Dropbox product. It’s an awesome online tool for collaboration where any number of people can work on a document at once. It’s currently available in beta.