Executive Assistant of the Week: Indianapolis

Rita Black
Executive Assistant to VP
Cisco

Rita Black has been an Executive Assistant for 20 years at Cisco Systems, the last 12 having been at the VP level.  She has worked in several areas of the company throughout her career at Cisco including customer experience, services, public sector and service provider.  Rita also is an admin mentor and participates on a peer learning committee.  She began her career as a project coordinator in the tech industry and also has retail customer service background.  Rita is passionate about her community and participates as a youth mentor and as an advocate for JDRF and Folds of Honor.
 
Rita will will be one of the distinguished contributors at the ELS Forum: Indianapolis on January 23-24, 2019
 
1) Why is the Executive Leadership Support Forum important for Executive Assistants?
 
The Executive Leadership Forum gives Executive Assistants one location to come together and share best practices with our peers.  This alone is worth the price of admission to the event.  We will leave here with great ideas, renewed energy and lots of new friends.
 
2) Independently, what have you done to work towards professional development in the past?
 
Professional development in any position is up to the individual.  I don’t wait for someone to tell me how to do or where to go get it.  I have volunteered for projects, participated on committees, and attended industry conferences.  I provide the expected positive outcome to the managers and they will always provide the time and/or funding for the activity.  All of the extra work does take time, but the end effect is always worth it to further my learning and my career.
 
3) Tell us about a career accomplishment of which you’re particularly proud.
 
My biggest career accomplishment was very recent as my VP moved to a new role within the company.  As he interviewed for his new position, he made it clear that I was to join his as his assistant.  It may sound like this is standard, but in a corporate giant, red tape and department budgets sometimes do not allow this to happen.  I was very honored to be asked to go with my VP to his next position, and am thrilled to still be his business partner.  That he stuck his neck out for me makes me work even harder for him.  He’s the best partner I’ve had in my career and I’d like to be the same.