I am extremely lucky that the VACT is supported not just by Virtual Assistants, but by Administrative professionals generally and on a global basis. So this week, I am honoured to showcase one of these amazing ladies – Diana Brandl. I love the work that Diana does to help grow the administration profession, she is a prolific networker, an amazing connector of people and massive Champion for the administrative industry globally. So on that, let me share this great insight:
Welcome Diana, please tell us a little about you and your professional career?
I hold a Degree in International Administration and Management, specializing in Office Management. Throughout my career, I have been working for C-Level Executives within global corporations such as Sony. I also have a strong background in Communications and consider myself an active networker. I joined the professional network IMA (International Management Assistants) in 2006, and currently act as Head of Regional Group, Berlin. I continuously support the role of the management assistant by speaking at international events and publishing various articles in Germany and abroad. I also write my own blog.
What or who inspired you to become a professional administrator?
Nobody specifically, I have always wanted to work in an office environment dealing with international business, languages and above all people.
Who do you work for?
I am currently working as Senior Executive Assistant for Mister Spex, Europe`s leading online optician. Our vision is to become Europe’s favourite way and place to buy eyewear. Via the Mister Spex websites, the company also operates in France, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, the Netherlands and the UK. In July 2013, the company also took over the Swedish online eyewear shops Lensstore and Loveyewear and, in January 2015, the Norwegian contact lens retailer Lensit. In February 2016 Mister Spex opened its first store in Berlin.
I am managing the office of the two Managing Directors (one of them is the founder) and supervise a team of Office Managers. I also support our CFO in terms of Corporate Law duties.
What training have you done that has helped you get to where you are? How do you maintain your professional knowledge and skills?
Ever since I became a member of IMA, I attended various events, trainings and workshops. I have been to Antwerp for IMA in April for the Training Day and our Annual General Meeting will take place in The Hague in September. I regularly attend other high-class conferences such as Executive Secretary LIVE. I recently joined for the second time the London event and look forward to travelling to Washington in November for another LIVE. Between this, I am organizing my own events in Berlin and attend other regional events within IMA Germany.
The network has brought so much inspiration and helped me grow personally and professionally in many ways.
What is a typical working day like for you?
For sure never the same. I feel privileged to have a team that makes my days easier as I simply do not have to deal with administrative topics anymore. They are all handled by the team. I can truly focus on my two bosses and help them managing their daily routines and joining meetings and off sites with them.
What is your biggest achievement so far?
Helping my team to grow. I am coaching my Office team in many situations and I simply love to see them achieving new goals and develop within their personalities. I give them new responsibilities and projects where they can show their strengths. Witnessing them succeed makes me proud and extremely happy.
What success do you still strive for?
It is not a question of success. It is a question of vision. My vision is #WeAreInThisTogether and I will root for this initiative as much as I can. My personal goal has always be the same: I would like to be proud of myself at the end of the day by telling me that I helped my peers in many ways. Be that: I liked a post a management assistant wrote on Facebook. I shared a link to an event where I know that people from my network will deliver a speech or workshop. I lift other Office Professionals in what they do to support our industry. This is what I strive for.
What motivates you?
Simple as it is: The joy of life, travelling and the fact that I am in general a positive thinker and a happy person.
You are a stalwart in helping others build their personal brand and professional credibility – why do you feel this is so important?
As Assistants, we tend to think that we should perform in the background, play a hidden role, the person in the background with hardly any voice. I have seen companies where the PA is not even listed on the org chart. And such facts influence the standing and positioning of our profession. This needs to be changed dramatically. My goal is to encourage my peers to step up, share their stories and knowledge and above all be bold and vocal.
Can you please tell our readers about the #WeAreInThisTogether project that you have created, what inspired it and the desired outcome of it?
I have observed that as Administrative Professionals we are outstanding motivators and have an amazing capacity to look out for each other. We uplift our peers, highlight and promote the work of others and are extremely social and collaborative. No other profession out there acts in such a committed and sustainable way.
These incredible and talented people are true leaders and show the highest level of emotional intelligence I’ve come by. I am proud to witness them setting new milestones by reaching out to the community with specific topics raised in presentations, speeches or articles.
I highly rate platforms like Eventopedia, LinkedIn, Facebook groups, blogs and the Executive Secretary Magazine where we all can share knowledge, expertise or simply voice our opinion and tell a story.
Many industry experts have already joined the #WeAreInThisTogether initiative and I hope even more will follow. I am reaching out to my network to get quotes and examples but more and more people are actively contacting me sending their statements. Love this vibe!
Do you have one rule that you live by?
Support the people the same way you want to be supported. Such an easy task and this is what #WeAreInThisTogether stands for.
What is the best business book you’ve read and how did it impact you and your business?
There are truly great reads out there, but one has affected me a lot. “Eat, Drink and Succeed” by Laura Schwartz, former White House Director of Events within the Clinton Administration. http://lauraschwartzlive.com/the-book/
As stated above, I call myself an active networker, but what Laura does is simply incredible. I recently joined an event together with her in Helsinki, Finland and she introduced me to so many wonderful people. Laura is not only a great and authentic networker – she builds bridges and hey – this is also #WeAreInThisTogether. Easy, right?
What do you love to do when you’re not working or if you had a spare afternoon off how would you spend it?
My husband and I love travelling whenever we can. We also have a small dog called Phoebe and therefore, we like the outdoors a lot. We love animals and are animal rescue activists. We are currently supporting a shelter in Romania and a local shelter in our Berlin region.
Finally, tell us one thing you can tell us about you that not many people know?
I snore and talk while sleeping once in a while. At least this is what my husband tells me. And he knows me for almost 20 years.
Learn more and connect with Diana:
Blog URL: https://www.facebook.com/BlogWithMe/
Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/diana.brandl.berlin
Twitter ID: https://www.twitter.com/dianabrandl
LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diana-brandl