The Providence chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals recently selected Celina Kesack as its 2014 Administrative Professional of the Year.
Since joining the IAAP in 2008, Kesack has served as treasurer and, most recently, as president of the chapter. She has volunteered on various committees, including: the administrative professional of the year, website, foundation of IAAP, and silent auction committees. Kesack has also served as chairperson for the IAAP’s membership committee.
She currently serves as administrative assistant at the Rhode Island Airport Police in T.F. Green Airport.
PBN: The functions of an administrative professional seem to be ever-changing based on the needs of the organization. How do you cope with handling new tasks?
KESACK: Not only do the functions consistently change, but technology is always changing as well. I find it easier to cope with handling new tasks because the IAAP provides me with training opportunities in a wide range of technology, communication, social and leadership skills. In order for me to stay up-to-date with these changes, I receive training related not only to technology, but also the advanced practices that are needed and used in businesses today. I continue to learn the necessary skills by attending workshops, conferences, webinars, networking and monthly chapter meetings.
PBN: Do you think attitudes towards the administrative function have changed at all since you started?
KESACK: I do think that people’s attitudes have changed. In the past, administrative staffs were only expected to have and utilize a basic skill set, i.e. typing, recording meeting minutes, filing, answering phones, etc. Today, the administrative professional is responsible for more than just these basic duties. Now, administrators must be responsible for catering to a bevy of new demands and challenges. The qualities many companies look for in a competent administrative professional are changing too. An administrator must be a self-starter and work independently, often upholding and maintaining confidentiality and of course should be, above all, versatile.
PBN: What has been the most recent professional skill you picked up and why?
KESACK: At one of [the IAAP’s] recent chapter meetings, we had Katy Hanley, a marketing specialist from the Groov-pin company, present to our members on a relatively new software program called Prezi. At this lecture, I learned how and why this innovative program is useful in a professional environment. It’s a groundbreaking piece of software that has handy tools to make my PowerPoint presentations fresh and engaging. •