Today we have guests Adam Maxted and Craig Harris, who have put together a wonderful new group, the LGBT Admin and Assistant Network. It’s been exciting to watch the group’s positive impact widen each day. I know so many of you have been curious to learn more, so please enjoy!
Christina: Craig and Adam, thank you for being here today! Could you please give an overview of what the LGBT Admin and Assistant Network is as well as what inspired you to create the group?
Adam: Craig and I had a discussion about why there wasn’t a community or network to represent the LGBT community within the administrative profession awhile back. There are so many different roles within the profession and a huge diversity of people within it. As two gay men ourselves, we saw there was a need for the network and for the community to have a voice. The LGBT Admin and Assistant Network was then created.
Craig: I suppose our inspiration came from different places. It was Adam’s initial idea, which we had discussed a while ago, and he asked me to come on board. Being someone that is an assistant and gay, I know the struggles we face, so it was a no-brainer for me to be involved.
Christina: What are the goals of the network?
Adam: I wanted there to be a network for the LGBT community at all levels and positions within the administrative profession. I want it to be a place where members feel like they can talk about any relevant topic or have a discussion in a safe environment. I would also like it to be a centralized group not only for members of the LGBT community but for our supporters from different roles in the profession. We all have a voice, knowledge to share, and need somewhere to belong. Craig: I want it to be a space for people to share their experiences being an assistant or administrative professional and to learn from others. I also really want people to make friends and feel like they have a support network. Being a member of the LGBT community can sometimes be very lonely, so I want people to feel accepted and supported.
Christina: Is the group specific to those living in the UK? Also, is there a cost involved?
Adam: We started it as an international network. As soon as we created the Twitter feed @LGBTAdminProff, community members from all over the world asked for it to be international. We have a large interest and members from the USA, South Africa, New Zealand, and Australia. With the numbers continuing to increase in the USA, we are looking at introducing a team there to drive the network even farther. A majority of members are in the UK as that’s where Craig and I are based, but if the community grows in other countries, we have members who will spread our message and hold our events there.
There are no fees to join the network; all you need to do is fill out the short contact form on our website. There might be charges for the events and social network meetups depending on the location and the activities, though.
Christina: What services do those who join the network receive?
Adam: As we are still a new and growing network, the services provided to the members are mainly held through online contact. These are through posts, blogs, vlogs and our Facebook and LinkedIn discussion group pages. Now that the network has grown, we will hold our first day event very soon. Eventually, we want to hold monthly network events and introduce online webinars to help inspire all our members, especially internationally. As I said before, as the numbers grow in different countries, events and social meetups will be arranged.
Craig: At the moment most of our contact with members is online, which has been a great starting point. Our immediate plans are to set up a networking event where members can meet, get to know each other, share knowledge, and learn from each other. We want to be led by our members, so we will be reactive to what they want the network to be.
Christina: I know your group is still pretty new. Have you received feedback from the community about the group yet?
Adam: Our network is receiving a wonderful response from the community and advocates all over the world. This includes speakers, authors, and LGBT advocates. Hopefully, we will be sharing some original articles and blogs written by these people soon so keep an eye out.
Craig: We have and it's been really positive. We’re actually a bit blown away by how popular it has become. So many people have said that they have been waiting for something like this, which is great to hear.
Christina: Your group has partnered with a wonderful charity. Could you please tell us about the organization and how you are involved?
Craig: We’re partnered with The Albert Kennedy Trust. They are an amazing charity which supports homeless youths from the LGBT community. Our plans are to support however we can, which could be through volunteering or fundraising. We’re still working on some ideas at the moment.
Christina: I noticed you have an extensive events section on your website - that must have been so much work to compile! Could you please share the types of events that are on there?
Adam: Thank you! We want the calendar to include events for the LGBT community, such as pride festivals. Also, we want to include important dates and events for the administrative profession. We want this event information to be accessible for both the network and everyone else. Most events that have a website are linked to the event for easy access to find out more. Soon we will be creating a Network Events page as a separate entity once these are finalised.
Craig: Haha! Excellent work by Adam on that front, I can’t take any of the glory! We talked about what we wanted to add, but the manual side of things was all Adam's handy work.
Christina: If people are interested in learning more, where can they find you?
Website - www.lgbt-admin-and-assistant.com
Twitter - @LGBTAdminProff
Facebook - @LGBTAdmin.Assistant
LinkedIn - linkedin.com/company/lgbtadminassistant
Christina: Thank you again for being here! Congrats on creating such a supportive network. I am excited to watch its growth and positive impact spread as wide as possible.
Adam: Thank you Christina for having us. It was a pleasure and it’s wonderful to have your support.
Craig: Thank you for your support. It means so much to us.
Adam Maxted is a Regional Business Manager at Pitman Training, an international company established in 1867 that specialises in further education for administrative professionals. Adam is also a qualified assessor and trainer. Previously, he was a PA to an MD of an international manufacturing company, a sales administration assistant and a front of house/reception staff member for a 5 star hotel chain.
In his spare time, Adam volunteers for a charity which helps victims of trauma get back into society safely. He also enjoys singing and is part of a theatre and performance group in his hometown Kettering.
Twitter - @AdamMax85
Craig Harris is an international award-winning Executive Assistant currently working at Shelter, a national homeless and housing charity based in the UK. Craig has been working as an assistant for the last seven years, mostly within the charity arena, and is well-respected amongst his peers. Prior to his career as an assistant, Craig worked as a customer service manager and trainer.
Craig describes himself as a ‘PA for life’ and does all he can to empower and encourage others in the profession to support and build each other up. Craig uses his experiences to speak at events and help train other admin professionals.
In the last two years, Craig has taken part in several running events to help raise awareness and money for various charities that he supports. Craig also enjoys going to the gym, the theatre, reading, and spending time with his fiancé.
Twitter - @Harris3thatsme