Find Your People: Associations, Networking Groups and More
Sometimes it can feel a bit like you are a lone wolf being in an assistant role, especially if you are a Virtual Assistant, have no coworkers or aren't really part of a "team" in the office. Meeting people in similar roles is great for that feeling of camaraderie, getting advice and for connecting with others who really "get it."
Here are some great resources for finding other people in our field:
Executive Secretary magazine has a thorough list of associations, organizations and networks at international, national, regional and local levels that I recommend taking a look at: Associations. It really is a one stop shop, so I recommend taking a peek here first. One group to highlight on the list is OfficeNinjas. They have fun and well-organized "Admingling" networking events in various cities, which I recommend.
MeetUp sometimes has local groups geared specifically towards people in related fields. For example, in Austin there's a great one for administrative professionals called APNA*. I recommend searching MeetUp with keywords such as Administrative Assistant, Office Manager, Executive Assistant, etc. and hopefully you will find one in your area (or perhaps get inspired to start your own!).
*Note: APNA moved from MeetUp to a LinkedIn Group, so the link provided now reflects that update.
I also recommend checking out local groups that are geared towards general networking. Sometimes they are listed on MeetUp, but sometimes you need to do a little general searching. Some groups I have had success meeting other assistants at locally in Austin, TX are through Young Women's Alliance, Texas Young Professionals and Austin Young Chamber, but there are national groups that I've also come across, such as Network After Work, which are all over the country. Try googling keywords, such as "networking [your city]" and see what pops up.
LinkedIn has great virtual groups if you just need a quick chat with others in our community. Here's some groups I recommend which are pretty active: OfficeNinjas, Effective Executive Secretary Network, Executive Assistants to CEOs, Executive Personal Assistants Society, Executive/Personal Assistants, as well as the PAs, EAs, VAs and Senior Administrators group. It also helps to check out groups that fellow assistants you are connected to have joined to see what they are part of.
Sometimes even finding a great go-to website can foster that feeling of community. I came across this wonderful article on LinkedIn which lists several great websites to check out: Resources for the Admin. Quill also posted a nice list that I recommend taking a peek at: Top administrative assistant resources & websites. You can also look for great blogs to follow; a few I recommend are Musings of a High-Level Executive Assistant and Bonnie Low-Kramen. I keep a list of blogs geared towards assistants that I update regularly.
Lastly, I also recommend looking into conferences and workshops for assistants. Sometimes once you have completed those, you get access to exclusive groups. One example of a great workshop is Be the Ultimate Assistant. I met other wonderful assistants during the training, several of which I still keep in contact with today. I also now even have access to the BTUA Alumni group online, which I have reached out for advice at various times.
I hope these resources help to build your network of like-minded people!
What are your favorite resources for connecting with other assistants? Please comment below!