On the Same Side: Winning Over Your Administrative Assistants

Work with administrative assistants—not against them—to manage meetings.

As an administrative assistant at Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J., Vanessa Hubbard planned board and committee meetings for her department, bringing up to 75 people to four- and five-star properties for five days. While she was a whiz at planning the programs, she wasn't comfortable signing the sizable contracts required — and she had no idea how to negotiate.

“I had no training, so when the contract came, I had to take it at face value,” recalls Hubbard, who has

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