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  • 19 Apr 2021 6:32 PM | Anonymous

    To say that we are grateful to our sponsors for our 2021 Administrative Professionals Day breakfast is an understatement. 

    Without them - we simply could not make the event what is is. 

    Of note is that all of them have hung in there with us - having gone through the ups and downs that 2020 provided..... 

    To each and every person, business, and team that are supporting us this year to bring a fabulous breakfast event to Wellington administrators >>> THANK YOU!!!

  • 17 Mar 2021 8:38 PM | Anonymous

    Ri Streeter, Executive Manager to the CEO at Weta Workshops: 

    From the staid world at the courts to my role at Weta Workshops

    Born in Invercargill in 1973, Ri and her family relocated to Dannevirke around 1976. Ri attended primary school at St Joseph’s Primary School and secondary at Dannevirke High School. After High School Ri went to the Palmerston North College of Education where she completed two years primary teacher training. But teaching was not to be her calling and armed with her shorthand/typing skills she embarked on a role at the Palmerston North High/District Court in the typing pool.

    After a two year OE adventure in the UK Ri returned to New Zealand and landed the role of High Court Judge’s Associate to the Honourable Justice Lowell Goddard at the Wellington High Court (and was in this role for 9 years). However, thanks to the eagle eyes of a friend in Auckland who saw the advertisement for the role of Executive Assistant at Weta Workshop, Ri submitted her application and in April 2007 began her role as the Assistant to co-founder and creative director (now Sir) Richard Taylor out in Miramar.

    In the (almost) 15 years that Ri has been in her role she has been surrounded by an incredible group of creative talent, met some wonderfully inspirational visitors & cliental, witnessed the growth and diversity of the business and been fortunate to travel to many corners of the globe (in the name of work).

    Ri is our guest speaker at the 2021 Administrative Professionals Day breakfast event. You - and your colleagues are able to register online over on the event page

  • 18 Oct 2020 7:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kia ora koutou,

    Angie Simms, Wellington Group President

    Your GMT’s focus this month has been on Team member movements, in and out of the Team, as well as swapping over to other roles.

    Our heartfelt thanks to Jenny Porter, for her wonderful support as Admin Officer this past year, as well as Vice-President prior to that. Jenny will continue in her Central Regional Leader role, on which she wishes to focus her attention.

    Emma Washer has stepped away from the Finance Officer role and will continue to support GMT as a general member with projects, events and fantastic ideas.

    I’m pleased to announce that after requesting expressions of interest from our membership, Nicole Green has been promoted from Newsletter Editor to Finance Officer. Congratulations to Nicole on her new appointment! But wait, it doesn’t stop there. We are still seeking interest from members for our two remaining vacant GMT roles: Admin Officer and Newsletter Editor. Please email me if you’re curious as to how you can boost your career potential.

    One member recently shared that she was told her current and prior role applications were successful because of her active involvement in giving back to her professional community, by being an AAPNZ GMT member.

    Our Newsletter will move to being produced quarterly whilst we recruit for a new Newsletter Editor. I will, however, be providing brief monthly updates to you in the meantime via email, along with any other items of interest.

    Our guest speaker this month is Sara Warnock, speaking to us about Understanding Burnout Through Theory & Experience at our Group meeting on Tuesday, 20 October at the Oaks Hotel on Courtenay Place. Sara holds a degree in Human Resources, is a qualified primary school teacher and has recently completed a Master’s degree exploring the phenomena of Burnout. Sara is the Program Lead at Seedling Yoga and this is a further offering to assist members with their wellbeing.

    Our National President’s virtual update was held via Zoom on Wednesday last week. Vicki outlined a number of new NET initiatives including considering a possible organisation name change to reflect our moving with the times and to ensure we remain relevant during what is occurring in the business world today and in the future. Further details are in this month's newsletter.

    I’m to participate on a panel discussion on Taking Control of your Own Career Progression at the upcoming 4th Public Sector Executive Assistant Congress, being held at InterContinental Wellington on 4th – 5th November 2020. If you’re keen to learn more, take a look at the programme here. You will see there are a number of familiar names from AAPNZ. That’s no accident, I might add. There is an offer of a 10% discount if you wish to register. To secure the discount, simply email their registration team and mention you’ve been referred by me.

    If we haven’t seen you in a while, why not reconnect with us? We miss you! We are endeavoring to offer meetings on varied days throughout the week, to capture those who cannot make a particular night; as of January 2021, will be offering all Group meetings virtually to enable those who have family commitments to attend from the comfort of home; and surveying members asking what they’d like to see being offered to the Group. I would love to hear from you directly with your thoughts on what could be improved. Your voice is important to us so let’s hear it!

    There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.” - Aldous Huxley

    Naku noa,

    Angela Simms

    Wellington Group President

  • 18 Oct 2020 6:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Psychological safety and the importance of calm and mindful leadership

    by guest author, Gerard Hoffman, Registered Social Worker, Counsellor and Organisational Wellbeing Consultant

    A strategic focus on Workplace Wellbeing within organisations is increasingly being seen as a non negotiable priority. The experience of Covid-19 across NZ has put into a spotlight again the importance of organisations looking after the emotional wellbeing of their employees – especially during challenging times where anxiety, uncertainty and organisational change is apparent.

    A holistic model of organisational wellbeing focusses on three key areas of strategic focus: Strategies that enhance individual wellbeing and resilience; build leadership capacity to create psychological safety; and take a whole of organisation perspective  me, we and us. Examples of these would include encouraging work life balance practices for employees, training people leaders in mental wellbeing promotion and in compassionate conflict resolution, and developing a whole of organisation wellbeing strategy.

    Harvard Business School professor Dr Amy Edmonson describes a psychologically safe workplace as one where people have “a belief that one will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns or mistakes.”

    There is clear evidence that workplaces that prioritise the wellbeing of their staff, create and nurture a psychologically safe culture and environment, have more engaged and high performing employees, lower absenteeism and a better bottom line. It is the single most important determiner of staff engagement.

    Leaders have a responsibility for building a culture of psychological safety which includes acknowledging fallibility, being accessible, balancing accountability with respectful behaviour, and openness to learning from mistakes.

    The unique challenges of Covid-19 have also led to high rates of burnout amongst employees this year. The ability of staff and organisations to recognise the early warning signs of burnout  including addressing early on, threats to wellbeing such as high levels of stress, organisational change, uncertainty and personal perceptions of loss – is crucial. People facing these factors need help to ensure they build in recovery breaks and stress management techniques on a daily basis and remain vigilant for the signs of burnout: exhaustion, feelings of dread, anxiety and depression, brain overload, cynicism and disengagement at work, and a crisis of self confidence.

    Many people have experienced heightened anxiety in the face of rapid and frequent changes in the Covid-19 situation this year and their fight-fright-freeze psychological response reflex has meant that they remain emotionally reactive and fearful. Organisations can, and should, anticipate these staff needs by building leadership capacity to support staff wellbeing.

    This past 9 months has also seen the emergence of real clarity about the importance of what I call calm and mindful leadership attributes which include:

    1.   Displaying genuine empathy and support for their colleagues
    2.   Communicating well and often – to reduce anxiety and uncertainty
    3.   Role modelling emotional evenness and calm
    4.   Prioritising connectedness in the workplace
    5.   Creating psychological safety at work – especially a climate of openness, learning from mistakes and high trust

    These behaviours are often not recognised or explicitly taught to new or even experienced leaders, and technical skill and operational priorities often dominate. Teaching leaders skills in empathy, building rapport, encouraging the quieter team members to speak up, naming and addressing interpersonal micro aggressions and ensuring true collaboration within the workplace should be a priority focus.

    Finally, we all have a responsibility to take personally the task of protecting or building our own resilience. Emotional resilience includes developing preventative strategies such as ensuring we have realistic expectations about the future including what we need to prepare for, maintaining a work-life balance and ensuring we stay strongly connected to others, both at work and home.

    We also need to develop a resilience tool kit of coping strategies that we can call on at high stress and pressure times, which include stress management techniques such as switching off, mindfulness practices, taking recovery breaks, learning how to shift negative emotional states and finally, having the ability to take proactive action when we recognise the early signs of burnout.

    Take a moment to reflect on how well your own workplace and people leaders enable a climate of psychological safety; and also, how established your own resiliency strategies are.


    Gerard is a clinical social worker, counsellor and trainer in private practice. He is also the proud father of three girls and grandfather of two. Gerard is passionate about normalising mental health as something we all have and believes that our organisations and ourselves should prioritise gentleness, kindness and well-being promotion in daily life.

    You can contact Gerard at

  • 16 Sep 2020 3:39 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kia ora koutou,

    Angie Simms, Wellington Group President

    I’d like to ask you all, how are you doing? In your personal life, with your whanau, your colleagues and in your team?

    This month we have Gerard Hoffman, a Clinical Social Worker, Counsellor, and Trainer in private practice, as guest speaker at tonight's face-to-face Group meeting, talking about “Supporting Staff Through Change & Transition such as a time of Covid 19”. Gerard presented to our group last year and we had a turn out crowd! Come join us and please ensure you follow Urban Hub’s COVID guidelines whilst attending this event. Do register; we look forward to seeing you there.

    Late last month, our Group Management Team (GMT) met for its annual Strategic Planning Day, facilitated by Claudia Gonzalez Barrio. Claudia was just what we needed to stay on course! We discussed forward planning; how we could improve what we offer our members by way of topics and themes throughout the year; what form our offerings could take and when, supported by presenters and Newsletter articles in a more cohesive way. We also worked on how we can make our GMT meetings more strategic and less process driven, as time is always precious for our GMT members who volunteer their time to the Group.

    Some of you will have attended the recent presentation to our members by Broni Carey, from Virtual Solutions NZ, about the role of being a Virtual EA, and how she started up her business. Her presentation certainly had many of us contemplating what it would take to set up a new business, work for ourselves, for the hours that we set and be responsible for sourcing that work. Very thought-provoking indeed! Broni happily answered many questions and can be contacted through her LinkedIn profile if you want to know more.

    I am looking forward to attending the upcoming ExecSecTech two-day virtual session later this month. If you are working from home especially, this might be a great way to keep yourself up to date with what’s happening with workplace technology. The cost is reasonable and AAPNZ members have been offered 10% off the registration cost as AAPNZ has an Executive Secretary Magazine subscription. Please use the unique code: “AAPNZ10” to claim this.

    Take care everyone, and if there is anything your GMT can assist you with, please email us.

    Naku noa,

    Angela Simms

    Wellington Group President

  • 16 Sep 2020 3:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Sherie Pointon, AAPNZ National Social Media Officer, tells us how she started her own training, development and consulting business, and how her AAPNZ membership helped her along the way.

    Tell us about your company?

    Admin Advantage offers a wide range of services. From training solutions for admin teams to one-on-one mentoring and coaching. I have worked with some of the big four accounting firms, through to admin teams within schools. I have spoken for events like AAPNZ Group meetings through to international events such as the Executive and Personal Assistants Association (EPAA) conference. At this year's EPAA virtual conference over 300 people attended my session. One of Admin Advantage’s point of difference is that I also take contract administration positions to keep my skills current.

    What drove you to start Admin Advantage?

    Admin Advantage came about as I saw a gap in the market for training, assessment and consultancy on the business support profession by someone who is a business support professional. I was frustrated attending courses and events being told how to do my job by the trainer when that person had never been an EA. I spoke at length with Eth Lloyd, AAPNZ Life Member and my mentor, about the move. At this time Eth was looking at retiring from being an assessor for the business administration qualifications so the timing for both of us was right.

    The final push that I needed came when my close friend prompted me to take the plunge – her exact words were “I’m sick of hearing about it, just go and do it already!” Sometimes I think that we need to have that external cheerleader that has an unswerving belief in us to help us see the reality of opportunities.

    What is your background?

    I hold a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with papers in Theatre and Film from Victoria University of Wellington. I then went on to complete a Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Secondary) at the then Wellington College of Education. I taught for a term and realised that teaching wasn’t right for me at that time, but having the understanding of the education sector enabled me to secure my first admin role at NZQA. From NZQA I moved to Basketball New Zealand and was in charge of running all the age-group events in NZ. I then went back into the Public Sector and Education, taking on an admin role at the Education Review Office, from there I was offered a role at the National Office as Personal Assistant to two of the National Managers. At this time (2005) I joined AAPNZ, became a member of the Group Management Team and had my first experience on the “speaking circuit”. Since ERO, I have worked at the Tertiary Education Commission, the Institute of Public Administration where I was the Executive Officer, Ako Aotearoa – the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence, Onslow College as the Principal’s PA and finally fulltime in Admin Advantage. I gained AAPNZ Certification in 2007 and in 2019 I completed my National Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Teaching.

    You mentioned joining AAPNZ and becoming a member of the GMT; what roles have you had in AAPNZ?

    A lot! I almost immediately joined the Wellington GMT, Eth and Tricia Caughley had set up the New Member group (which was the precursor to the Module One Competency Certificate) which gave me tasks to complete within the Group and joining GMT flowed on from there. I have been the Sponsorship Officer, Website Administrator, Newsletter Editor, Vice President and President for Wellington Group. I also convened the Administrative Professionals Day events for three years. From there I have had national roles as the NET Administration Officer, a Director of AAPNZ Professional Development Limited, Central Regional Leader and 1st VP. I am currently a member of Professional Development Sub-Committee and the National Website and Social Media Officer, a contract position that is 50% sponsored by Admin Advantage.

    What part has AAPNZ played in your journey?

    AAPNZ has been a major contributor to me gaining my last five employment positions, because of the experiences gained in governance, event management, membership management and websites. The opportunities I gained through being involved in AAPNZ gave me not only the skills but also the confidence to create Admin Advantage. I would not have had the exposure to speaking at conferences without my connections to AAPNZ. The support and friendship from AAPNZ members has also been instrumental in being where I am today. I can honestly say some of my closest friends are people I initially met through AAPNZ.

    So what’s next for Admin Advantage?

    I have a few exciting initiatives in the pipeline. I don’t want to give too much away, but it involves online learning opportunities and resources. As always any of my products and services are available to AAPNZ Members at a discounted rate, this includes your workplaces if you initiate the conversation with me because of the AAPNZ connection.

    I am also currently representing AAPNZ as the peak body for our profession and work place assessment on two NZQA review panels for unit standards and standards being used for the nationally assessed qualifications and also part of the team from AAPNZ writing our own micro-credentials.

    Amongst all of that, I am looking to set up an AAPNZ Wairarapa Group too!

    What do you do in your spare time?

    Having moved into our new house just before Christmas, I am busy designing the landscaping with Spring having arrived. I am the Chair of the Board of Trustees of my girls’ school and support both girls in their sporting endeavours as well as being a rather vocal supporter of my husband’s hockey team! I am an avid reader, particularly of historical fiction with Tudor England being my favourite time period (Phillipa Gregory and Alison Weir novels), I think this all stems from my fascination with Shakespeare. I am also a closet Sci-Fi fan and we enjoy Saturday night family movie night. 

    Contact details for Admin Advantage
    Sherie Pointon (AAPNZ Cert, NZCATT, GDipTchg, BA)
    Director, Admin Advantage Ltd
    ph + 64 21 074 1654

  • 18 Aug 2020 6:53 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kia ora koutou,

    Angie Simms, Wellington Group President

    So here we are, beginning round 2 with an increased Alert Level lockdown, with most of us working from home again. But I feel assured that the majority of us are saying “I’ve got this!” We are well prepared, and in being so, displaying the natural leadership characteristics of our roles to our managers and teams in how versatile, flexible and indispensable we are!

    This is a timely reminder that we have Broni Carey, from Virtual Solutions NZ, as our guest speaker at our face-to-face August Group Meeting tonight, talking about the role of Virtual EA and how she got into this business. In this day and age, where some of us are experiencing job uncertainty, this may be an avenue you hadn’t considered in the past, but could well be an area of interest for your future. Please ensure you follow Urban Hub’s COVID guidelines whilst attending this event. I look forward to seeing you there.

    I have registered for the upcoming ExecSecTech two-day virtual session in September with speakers that are still being announced. This is promising to be a fantastic training event in which to keep yourself up to date with what’s happening with workplace technology. The cost is reasonable and AAPNZ members have been offered 10% off the registration cost as AAPNZ has an Executive Secretary Magazine subscription. Please use the unique code: “AAPNZ10” to claim this.

    Late last month, twenty of us networked the night away at the Thistle Inn, downtown Wellington, for our Mid-Winter Networking Dinner. Our National President, Vicki Faint, spoke briefly about NET’s aspirations for the coming year. A personal thank you to Vicki, who is also a Wellington Group member – you’re aiming for the heavens, and we would expect nothing less from you! A great night was had by all. Thanks also to the Thistle Inn for providing such a memorable night for our members and guests. See pictures in the August newsletter (above).

    The AGM was held virtually this past weekend. I hope some of you took the time to participate. We always get a great bird’s eye view of all the inspirational projects the regional groups are working on. Do get involved, it will make your role as a member more enriching and provides much needed assistance to the Group Management Teams throughout the country.

    I am pleased to announce that one of our two Remits at the AGM was agreed to. The Wellington Group will host the 2022 AAPNZ National Conference in Wellington to coincide with the celebration of our Wellington Group’s 50th Anniversary.

    Take care everyone, and if there is anything your GMT can assist you with during the further lockdown period, please email us.

    Naku noa,

    Angela Simms

    Wellington Group President

  • 18 Aug 2020 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    by guest author, Sarah Warnock, Seed Planter and Master's student

    Many of you will balk at the title of this article.

    Indeed, the word ‘Spirituality’ can be simultaneously synonymous with Religion AND woo-woo new age ideals. Oftentimes mentioning the word spirituality is a social faux-pas akin to mentioning politics at the dinner table.

    It might interest you to know that over the last 10 years there has been a steady increase in the amount of research exploring spirituality in the workplace, or as it’s referred to in the literature 'Workplace Spirituality' (WPS).

    WPS is described as “informal and personal,” “distinct from institutionalised religion” and “non-denominational, broadly inclusive and tolerant” and exists as an acknowledgement that employees within an organisation are individuals who want to experience a sense of purpose and meaning both in their work and through being connected to others in their workplace community. As a concept, WPS grew in popularity as organisations began to explore how they could reduce turnover and absenteeism by increasing job satisfaction, after finding many employees felt disheartened and insecure about their lives (Hassan, Nadeem & Akhter, 2016). We could explore the many reasons why this might be (some of these are considered in my previous article about Emotional Labour and the cost managing our emotions at work has on our mental, physical and emotional wellbeing), however it is more interesting to me to move the conversation about spirituality itself forward.

    Over the weeks of our Nationwide lockdown I have no doubt many of you were kept busier than your usual, working from home with children etc. However, for others, how many of you were confronted with considering the meaning of life and work in the absence of collegial connection, daily routines and, in the cases of those of us not considered essential, actual job purpose?

    It is inevitable that the majority of us go to work because we must – to feed, clothe and house ourselves and our families. However, is this all that motivates us to work? Beyond our pay-check, what ELSE keeps us coming back to work every-day and, if/when we reach a point of no longer wanting to show up to work anymore, what has been lost or is not being fulfilled?

    In a PHD Thesis published in 2003, the author Joan Marque compiled a list of themes she proposed related to a Spiritual Workplace. These included notions of Ethics; Truth and Honesty; Respect; Openness; Understanding; Encouraging diversity; few organisational barriers; interconnectedness and, a sense of peace and harmony. I am curious at how many of you experience these at your workplace and how many of you are motivated to experience these in your lives both through your work and in general.

    As you sit at your desk today or as you make your way home tonight, perhaps you might like to consider what spirituality means to you at this point in your life? You might take a few deep breaths first, feel the chair beneath you and purposefully sit a little taller to really recognise that it is you that is sitting and thinking. Try having a conversation with yourself, inside your head about what the word spirituality conjures up for you.

    Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? Why? Why not?

    What do you think is the difference between Spirituality and Religion?

    Do you think Spirituality has a role in the workplace? Why? Why not?


    Growing up in the Hutt Valley, Sara was ready to disappear into the bigwide world and moved to Melbourne to pursue a career in recruitment consultancy post undergraduate study. Not only did that not work out but health challenges lead to attending an accidental yoga class on an early Thursday morning. Fast forward to completing a 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training, Sara spent a year in India practicing yoga and nannying before returning home to the Hutt Valley to complete her Primary Teaching Diploma at Victoria University. As she moved into her first (and only) full time classroom teaching role she found yoga supported her and her children to settle into their day. The mental and emotional workload of teaching quickly took its toll on her mental health and she left the classroom but still felt strongly that there was something worthwhile bringing Yoga into the primary classroom. After a chance encounter with the Hutt City Council recreation team a yoga in schools pilot programme was born. Sara is now completing a Master of Education at Victoria University exploring Burnout in Primary Teaching. Her goal is to utilise this research to justify further doctoral research exploring mental, emotional and physical wellbeing in teaching and learning.

    Seedling yoga logo 

  • 7 Aug 2020 12:06 PM | Anonymous

    Executive Assistant to Chief Executive

    We've been advised by the Ministry of Transport they are seeking an Executive Assistant to work with their Chief Executive. 

    The advertisement contains the position description for the role, along with the information on how to apply. Please visit the careers page on the Ministry's website.

  • 16 Jul 2020 4:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Kia ora koutou,

    Angie Simms, Wellington Group President

    Our first newsletter post COVID lockdown. We’ve all had enough, I’m sure, of COVID this and COVID that in the news, our lives, and possibly even personally affecting our own whanau. The majority of us survived and even thrived! In the usual admin professional fashion, we’ve taken a negative and come out with so many positives.

    Most of us were working from home and this has ensured we were up to speed pretty quickly with connectivity, if we weren’t already, and getting used to the “new normal” of working in our home offices, on our kitchen tables, often with the kids doing school work, on a daily basis, and we survived.

    Alongside our work, we also used that time to upskill ourselves with technology, attending webinars and scheduling “upgrade time” around home life and whanau. Our employers also now realise they can trust us to work from home, get the work done, be more focussed and productive even, in a much more flexible way, whilst helping the environment. It’s a win-win, and we need to keep that conversation going in our workplaces.

    To help our members with having difficult conversations, we had international presenter, Anel Martin recently present to AAPNZ members nationwide. I’m sure those who attended will agree, she was well worth it! If you missed the session, we have a number of coupons to give away so you can watch the presentation retrospectively. More details are in our July Newsletter.

    Kim Chamberlain presented on Public Speaking at our recent virtual June Group Meeting and was a great success, with around 40 attendees from all over New Zealand participating and taking advantage of Kim’s knowledge, experience, and tips in this area.

    As administrators, we are now more than ever, required to step up and speak to groups, whether they be our work colleagues, community groups or with our AAPNZ group. Stepping out of our comfort zone is all about growth.

    Recently, I had the privilege of attending the virtual ExecSec Live Conference which was originally scheduled in Wellington this year. What can I say – the speakers were all top of their respective field, and although the sessions were pre-recorded, each speaker participated in the online chat, answering questions and participating. I always come away with something new from these conferences.

    Speakers such as Vickie Sokol-Evans, Peggy Vasquez and Bonnie Low-Kramen, to name a few of the 51 speakers! Attending this virtual conference allowed us to reap the benefits of additional speakers and to later review any the pre-recorded presentations we missed.

    I’m looking forward to catching up with many of you at our Mid-Winter Networking Dinner which is to be held at the Thistle Inn on Thursday, 23 July. Please see registration details here. Our National President, Vicki Faint, will be joining us and presenting briefly to the group so it should be a great night. Have a great month!

    Nāku noa,

    Angela Simms

    Wellington Group President

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