Farida G. has been an executive assistant since she finished her studies in 2009. With more than 10 years of work experience, Farida joined Double to add value across different organizations and become part of a community of talented assistants that she can continue to learn from. We asked Farida about her career, her experience as a double, how she leverages her multifaceted skill set to do her best work, and what advice she can share with other assistants.
Name: Farida G.
Experience working as an assistant: 11 years
Hobbies: Going to museums, reading in parks, hiking, and seeing castle exhibitions at Versailles
As an executive assistant, what motivates you?
I definitely need to bring added value! I am not an “executor” who does my job without any analysis or effort to understand the business. I need to be as essential as possible.
Human interactions are also really important for me, I like to have feedback to improve myself and become the perfect assistant that any director would fight to have!
How do you stay productive?
I am quite autonomous, so I like to manage my work without having someone checking in every 5 minutes. I love to be involved in interesting projects when my skills and experience are required and welcomed. Having a good assistant network to share experiences with and to get advice from also makes me productive. Even if I’m working alone at home, I am surrounded by benevolent people happy to help and who are very responsive—we never wait to have answers.
Why do you like being a double?
Being a Double means being considered talent. We are recruited to not only provide a good service to the executives, but also to be part of a remote community team that supports each other, shares a lot of tips, has fun, and shares good vibes. I also like that Double proposes a lot of education, guides on tools, and more to help us excel in our profession.
What projects are you working on currently?
Currently, I am in charge of some customer service-related work and other traditional assistant tasks such as calendar management.
I also work on personal tasks for the executives I support, such as planning vacations, setting up new internet connections, or even finding a company to manage the concierge service for a chalet—very different tasks!
The work of an executive assistant is varied. What do you consider to be the most important skills that make a successful double?
For me, organization is the key to being a successful assistant: managing my time, setting up priorities, organizing my desktop and Chrome profiles, and selecting the relevant tools that will help me save time.
I think a double also needs to have great adaptability: quickly get familiar with 10 or 20 different tools, switch from one tool to another, work on multiple calendars, and switch to something totally different in a minute.
A double definitely needs to have a great sense of (oral and written) communication because they will have to work with different types of people in their career––the busy one, the bad mood one, the speedy one, the one who won’t delegate, the “tête en l’air” one (head in the clouds).
Whenever it is possible, I also try to anticipate needs and be proactive, so that the executive I’m supporting will rely on me in the future.
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 always adapt myself to the person in front of me. When I begin working with an executive for the first time, I am always formal, smiling... but formal! Then, when I get to know and understand the personality of the executive, or when they allow me to be less formal for instance, I adapt myself to their style and personality.
My motto is: never disturb my executive! That’s why I take diligent notes on my 1:1 calls or meetings so that I never have to ask again for additional information. I gather all my questions and ask only once. I also try to make myself available to the person I’m supporting anytime they need to check something with me.
Part of being a successful double is building trust with the person you’re supporting. How do you establish trust?
Building trust is not something to be expected in one week. I make sure to be totally transparent with my executive. If they ask for any detail or have a question or doubt about something, I always provide them with the details or “proofs.”
I also regularly give my executive updates on what I’m working on and the progress status of my work.
I am very confidential, even if I’m not working on critical files or in a confidential department. I have the same behaviour, whatever my tasks are. All those little things will help to build a good relationship based on trust!
Do you have any advice for someone starting a career as an executive assistant?
At Double, we believe a successful pairing of an executive with an assistant starts with understanding who they are as individuals. 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.
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