What a great first day of the 22nd Annual Administrative Professionals Conference! The day was jam-packed with fantastic workshops, networking, an amazing keynote, and a welcome reception (and raffle prizes) in the Exhibit at APC exhibit hall.
This is Kelly, one of our greeters this morning!
Today was my day to sit in on some fantastic sessions at the Executive Assistants’ Summit.  The EA summit runs concurrently with the APC. First up was Showcase Your Personal Brand With an Online Portfolio presented by Julie Perrine (her online portfolio is here

Julie highlighted how important personal branding is to get yourself noticed both in and out of the office. A personal brand, according to Julie, is “the process of taking your skills, personality, and unique characteristics and packaging them into a powerful identity that lifts you above the competition.” And again, this can benefit you in the office “Betty’s a PowerPoint pro, I’ve seen her online portfolio!” and outside the office: “Betty’s a well-known PowerPoint pro in the industry.”

Julie outlined three key strategies to boost your professional visibility: a print portfolio (work samples, project plans, even info from your performance review), a social portfolio (such as LinkedIn) and a digital portfolio.

Julie gave an example of hiring an admin for a project, and how you could ‘wow’ a hiring manager with a print portfolio that provides "proof on paper” and is compelling and adds value. That job applicant would definitely be memorable! A social portfolio is becoming more and more important in the digital age; Julie mentioned that 93%of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social profile. (Source: Jobvite)

With a  digital portfolio you don’t have to start from scratch – you can pull elements from your resume directly into a digital portfolio, with the added benefit of adding pictures, PDFs, and other ‘wow’ factors to showcase your skills and work. When a prospective employer or new division boss (for example) can go to a professional site and see examples of who you are and what you do, “they will fall in love with you before they even meet you.”

She cautioned however to remove super-identifiable info from a digital portfolio resume…after all people can contact you via a “contact me” page for more information. Finally, Julie provided seven specific technical steps for creating an online portfolio, including securing your own domain. Provided 7 steps for creating an online portfolio including securing your own domain. I learned a lot in the session, and I think others did as well as I saw some fast note-taking going on!

After lunch, I was able to briefly pop in mid-presentation to Corinne Hoisington’s session, The Latest, Greatest in Executive Office Technologies to share my thoughts on Google Glass, and was excited to catch some great tech tidbits. 

Corinne’s session was interactive, with different audience members sharing their tech thoughts, demonstrating new technologies, or “being” a technology example (such as a computer processor). I learned about mix.office.com (available with Office 365 or Office 2013) which allows you to insert video seamlessly into presentations (and much much more).  Corinne shared her thoughts on Windows 8.1, and demonstrated the built-in Skype capabilities…which included calling a local restaurant from the podium!

Corinne closed the session with a glimpse into the future-present of schools and hospitals with technologies from photovoltaic roofs to holographic telemedicine. It was definitely a “wow” session, with many of us exclaiming that when the new (cool!) technology ideas were shared.  

After an energetic conference orientation for first-time and solo attendees led by Colette Carlson, it was time for Jon Petz’s keynote. And I’m not kidding when I say there was laughter, tears and cheers in that keynote session!

With a  lot of audience participation, a $100 bill, some lemons, a “VP of WOW” and a very meaningful seven of hearts playing card, Jon highlighted the theme of “showtime” and taking the simple moments in what we do and making them significant!

He challenged the audience, asking “what are you going to do to make a difference, rather than just meeting expectations” and to “go for it when you want something.” In fact, he asked the audience who wanted a $100, and only a few took him literally and approached the stage (ran for the stage!). Jon reminded us to never use the phrase “just a” as in “just a new person”, “just an assistant.” By sharing the unique gifts that we have, we can share of ourselves and make moments special and extraordinary.   

We closed out the evening with a fantastic welcome reception at the Exhibits at APC and the awarding of the first raffle prizes. Great food, great conversation, and great networking had the room buzzing.

It’s an early morning so I’m off to determine what sessions I’ll attend tomorrow. Stay tuned here on the blog for another daily recap, and don’t forget that you can follow #apc14nationalharbor on Twitter and Instagram for up-to-the-minute coverage.

See you tomorrow!