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