Jinel H. fell in love with business administration while working her way through college and now has been working as an executive assistant for more than 15 years. Jinel’s creative background in Spatial Arts, ceramics, and graphic design prepared her for the dynamic problem solving and variety of projects that make up an assistant’s work. We asked her about her own best practices and how she succeeds at her job.
Name: Jinel H.
Location: Oakland, CA
Experience working as an assistant: 15 years
Hobbies: Listening to music, DIY crafts, playing games with her kids, ceramics
Jinel’s work experience 📋
Do you have any training or certifications that have been helpful to your work?
I have a background in graphic design, I’m a public notary, and I have a PMP (Project Manager Professional) certification—all of which have been beneficial to me as an executive assistant.
Do you have any go-to software, technology, or tools you like to use? My go-to tech tools are:
- Google Keep—the home for all my notes
- Airtable—the source of truth for all employee data
- Expensify—for making expense reporting a painless task
- Grammarly—for spelling, grammar, punctuation and message tone
What motivates you?
Family is the biggest motivator in my life. My kids are my biggest source of inspiration. They give me the support and drive I need to believe in myself.
Jinel’s experience with Double 👪
Why do you like being a double?
I like being a double because I really appreciate having a network of other executive assistants to share ideas and collaborate with. When you are facing a challenge, have a question, need feedback or simply want to bounce an idea off a colleague it’s rewarding to know you have a support system that you can count on!
What projects are you working on currently?
I’m spearheading a few projects for my executives at the moment. I’m building an intranet portal to establish a communication hub for employees and redesigning an existing onboarding process to include training and interactive orientation sessions.
I am also creating a small aptitude test for an open role with one of the executives I support.
For another executive, I am generating templates for agreements and proposals and establishing an accounting process.
What do you consider to be the most important skills that make a successful double?
The most important skills that make a successful double are being an effective communicator, being highly adaptable, able to multi-task and, most importantly, being up for any challenge. You don't have to know every answer, but I think you need to be willing and able to find ways to figure it out.
Communication is incredibly important between assistants and executives. What’s your communication style like? Do you have any tips or strategies when communicating as a double?
I describe my communication style in three “F’s”—Forthcoming, Frequent, and Friendly. I like to keep an open flow of communication with my executives, making sure to touch basis regularly. In addition, I have 1:1 syncs twice a week—first thing Monday mornings to kick things off and then on Friday to close things out and summarize the week.
Part of being a successful double is building trust with the person you’re supporting. How do you establish trust?
When building trust I think integrity is key. It’s important to be open and honest when you forget something or make a mistake and use those moments as opportunities to learn and grow. I establish trust by being transparent, having excellent communication (including asking a lot of questions), and learning about the business.
I try to think outside of my scope of work and look for more efficient ways to improve processes and/or strategize my executive's time. One of the questions I repeatedly ask in my Monday morning kickoff syncs with my execs is: “What are the goals or projects you are focusing on this week and how can I help to support you to hit those goals?” I find that being transparent, having great communication, and looking for ways to better support your executive is the the best recipe for establishing trust.
Advice for others 💭
Do you have any advice for someone starting a career as an executive assistant?
- Don't be scared to ask questions. Asking questions gets you answers and shows your interest.
- Know the value of your role. Being an executive assistant is so much more than managing someone’s calendar—it’s being able to to provide valuable support to a person and an organization you believe in.
- Be open to feedback. Both executives and assistants need feedback to perform more effectively.
- Share your thoughts. As an assistant, you can bring value through your perspective, so don’t be afraid to share your ideas or suggestions.
Our doubles are real people, with unique perspectives on productivity, professional communication, and what it means to successfully support executives. Learn more about working with a double.