The story behind Boston Executive Assistants + The Assistants Hub
By Vanessa Farino, Founder and President of The Assistants Hub
As many of you might know, I have been an executive assistant for 10 years now. I understand the struggles, the stigma, and the lack of respect that surround our profession.
Back in 2011, I started supporting a fantastic CEO and entrepreneur and I wondered, “How does he do it all?” I soon realized that he had a support group, and he was very involved. I then asked myself, “Where is my support group?” I did a lot of research and found a couple of options, but nothing that was local or that had a human touch. I was working at the Federal Reserve Bank building at the time and I remember one day looking out the window over Boston’s Financial District. There were dozens of buildings, hundreds of windows, and I thought, “There has to be a thousand of me out there!”
I was so desperate to meet other assistants that I even came up with a plan to visit one building each week, going up to each floor and asking to meet with their assistants. I realized, though, that I would probably get arrested before actually meeting anyone. But, I had this idea of creating something for assistants. Not just a support group, but a movement to teach assistants, managers, and employers about our career.
I procrastinated from 2011 to 2016 because whenever I asked others for their opinion, they would say, “But you guys are just assistants, is that even a career?” or “Don’t you want to do something else?” or “I’m not sure that people would be interested.” After a few years of hearing this I thought, “Enough is enough.” I had a need for a support group and by that point I had found a mentor (Renee Viens) who supported my idea. That was all I needed. I launched Boston Executive Assistants in June of 2016. At the time, I thought my long term goal would be to get maybe 50 assistants to join our community.
Well, we just celebrated our two-year anniversary and, over the past two years, what started out as a small group has grown into a powerhouse organization with over 1,000 members, representing over 350 Boston-area companies. We have over 24 partnerships with local companies that support our mission. One of our partners, United Private Car, has been a huge support for us this year and we are so grateful. In celebration of our two year anniversary we had our first annual event at the AC Hotel Downtown Boston. We awarded Bonnie Low-Kramen (international speaker, best selling author, and former personal assistant to Olympia Dukakis!) the Keynote Speaker and BEA Impact Award Honoree for her lifetime achievement. Bonnie has also been added to our Advisory Board, and BEA will be bringing her Be The Ultimate Assistant workshop to Boston in 2019 for the first time!
As you can see, there is a need for our community, for our profession, and we are just getting started. We have created a community that supports, uplifts, and empowers its members. We encourage each other to be our own best advocates. We remind each other that we are worthy of respect and recognition. And soon, administrative professionals across the country will have access to this same community of support.
I am so excited to officially announce that we will launch The Assistants Hub in September 2018! This organization will serve as the central hub for assistants nationwide (and eventually worldwide!) Boston is one of the founding chapters, but there are more chapters to come! What we started as Boston Executive Assistants is now a movement, and it’s just the beginning.