Enjoy today’s Day in the life: Anna Dukes, Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive at ITN, which is full of Executive Assistant Tips and Tricks.
What are the main aspects of your role?
My role is to act as a support/confidante to the CEO and executive team at ITN with all of the usual diary management, travel, managing of inboxes, that goes with it. I support the CEO, CFO and Editorial Director. However, my role has evolved, and I feel a part of the senior leadership team very much.
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
I listen to the Today programme while getting ready for work and unless it’s raining I try to walk into the office from Finsbury Park station (5.5k walk), which gives me the headspace and energy for the day ahead.
What time do you get into the office, and what time do you leave?
I’m usually in the office by 9 am. Unless there’s an evening event, I will always leave by 5.30 pm to be home for the children, however I always check my emails at home in the evening and I feel very fortunate to work for a company who supports flexible working, which provides me with a good work/life balance as the mother of two teenage children.
What does an average day look like?
No two days are ever the same, which is what I love about the role. I’m always juggling the CEO’s diary as she’s very much in demand and agrees to far more than her diary will often permit. I’m continuously checking the CEO/CFO’s inboxes and try to deal with as much as possible myself to make their lives easier.
What do you do for lunch?
We now have a beautiful café in the entrance to the building, which is also open to the public, and they have an incredible array of fresh salads which I usually have. I think it’s vitally important to get away from your desk during the day and to get some headspace ahead of the afternoon.
What is the hardest part of your day?
Juggling the diaries!
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love offering support and advice to the executive team and feel very valued. I’m very fortunate to work for such a dynamic and inspiring CEO who is very supportive and motivates me daily.
What has been your career highlight?
I’ve been very fortunate in my career and worked in some exceptional places. One of the many highlights has to be working for the royal family which enabled me to experience a vast array of ‘pinch me’ moments, not to mention having a beautiful office at the front of Buckingham Palace.
What do you do in the evening in your spare time?
I watch a lot of TV to unwind (but to be fair I do work in Television) and love watching the news. I also love long dog walks with my family if I can manage to drag the teenagers out of bed!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Be bold and never be afraid to put yourself out there. The more you put into it the role, the more you will get out of it and always remember that behind every great executive is a fantastic PA/EA.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
I’d work in property as I’m obsessed with houses. I always dreamt of becoming a property finder like Kirsty Allsop.
What is the one piece of technology, app or website you could not do your job without?
City Mapper is a great one, especially when the traffic is terrible and the CEO has to walk to her meeting. It shows you the best routes and even the best carriage to sit in public transport.
Can you recommend any events, books, publications, websites, training programmes for other assistants?
I’m a member of the PA club, and regularly log on to Practically Perfect PA and Miss Jones websites. I follow Bonnie Low-Kramen (Bestselling Author, on LinkedIn) and Lucy Brazier (Publisher, Executive Secretary) and I’m also a member of several Executive Assistant groups on LinkedIn.