I am Cathy Harris, an Executive PA to the CEO of a forward thinking and innovative organization, where I have been for the last 15 years! I love my job! I love the values my organization aspires to, and I love working for a leader who shares the same work ethic, passion and innovation as I do! In striving to be exceptional in every facet of my profession, encouraged me to create a web page to share my knowledge of over 36 years to whoever appreciates the power of accelerating their personal performance and enhancing their skills, as well as discovering the true Power of a PA and the ability we have to change the ordinary into extraordinary!
Along this extraordinary secretarial journey, I have learned and gained so much; I have been given opportunities that I seized, some that I missed out on, and others that I have embraced and continue to support and enhance. Let me share some of my milestones with you. I was nominated as South Africa’s National Secretary of the Year for 2006/2007 where, since then, I continue to be involved with various Secretarial mentorship programs and training initiatives globally, facilitating workshops, chairing conferences and being invited as a keynote speaker at various secretarial initiatives around the world, including participating and facilitating a workshop on Internal Networks for the highly acclaimed Executive Secretary Live London Conference, an International PA event, which showcases the world’s top administrative trainers, sharing the stage with Ronald Reagan’s PA Peggy Grande, Bonnie Low-Kramen, one of the worlds most respected voices in the profession, Vickie Sokol Evans, world class Microsoft trainer and Lucy Brazier, the host, CEO and publisher of the Executive Secretary Magazine, to name but a few. Please do visit them at executivesecretary.com.
I also initiated the reformation of my organization’s in-house internal network, the PA Centre of Excellence, where I share the management role with a dear friend and colleague, Susan Engelbrecht. PA Forums, or Internal Networks is one of my initiatives that I am hugely passionate about, to the extent that I have been instrumental in assisting PA’s set up their own Internal Networks all over Africa. My very first forum or internal network took place over 25 years ago while working for Tek Electronics (Pty) Ltd, without the help of social media or the technology we have today! In conjunction with all these amazing adventures, I was also the Chairperson of the Office Professionals of South Africa (OPSA), and have recently been appointed as a Director for the OPSA (currently the only SETA registered association for Office Professionals in South Africa). http://www.opsa.org.za/ I am also involved with the OPSA’s various PA initiatives which included heading up the OPSA Annual National Awards and am actively involved with the assessments and assignments for the OPSA CPD and Designations certifications.
Once of the most recent opportunities is being invited to participate in the Isipho Admin Bursary, heading up their bursary assessment team and being a mentor and mother to Iris, one of four bursary students. For more on Isipho and how you can assist too, go to www.isiphoadmin.org.za For me is an amazing journey where the founders and Directors, Anel Martin, Lucy Brazier and Teri Wells put in place a dream they had to give something back to the world by uplifting communities in South Africa and provide entry to the PA profession in need of an opportunity.
Other initiatives include assisting in setting up the Mauritius PA Association, administrating the first ever Mauritius PA of the Year Award, am a member of the Global Administrative Summit, initiate bespoke one-on-one coaching programs, have written many articles for various secretarial magazines both locally and internationally, and compile secretarial workbooks and resources.