Our Admin of the Month for January 2024 is Katina Randolph, Executive Secretary for the Executive Director at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/Veterans Heath Administration!
Katina L. Randolph is a native of Washington, DC and a US Army veteran, who, after serving for 5 years as a Food Service Specialist, received an honorable discharge in 1999. In 2012, Katina took a leap of faith, changed careers, enrolled in college, and, in 2012, received her Bachelor of Science in Legal Studies. Katina is an avid learner with various certifications, from paralegal to agile project management, and believes that you are never too old to learn anything or to live out your dreams. Her inspiration in life is her late grandmother, Thelma Randolph, who at the age of 45 became a nurse, homeowner, and entrepreneur after raising 9 children.
Check out Katina's advice video below!
How I began my career in the administrative field is very interesting, but the most interesting part is the different positions of the administrative field I have been blessed to work in. It has been a wonderfully ascending career, and I believe that all of it prepared me for the role that I am in now.
I began working in the administrative field in 2009 after I felt that as much as I loved cooking and baking, the food service industry wasn’t fulfilling to me anymore. I had always had a passion for the law since high school, and wanted to become a lawyer. But, as time went on and my family dynamic changed, I knew law school wasn’t the best option for me at the time. So, in 2009, I enrolled in college to obtain a paralegal certificate and in doing that, decided to get my Bachelor Degree in Legal Studies just in case I changed my mind about law school later down the road; all while working as a receptionist/legal secretary for the 8th District Court Trustee Office in Geary County, KS.
In 2019, I received a job offer to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) as a Legal Assistant for the Office of General Counsel. This was a great opportunity to work in another administrative function as well as staying in the legal field. In that position, I continued to obtain trainings, certifications, and even more skillsets than I had before. After the pandemic, one of the legal assistants left, and for 2 years I was in the position of working as 2 legal assistants supporting 28 attorneys, 5 paralegals, and 1 supervisory paralegal. It was difficult at first, but it taught me how to truly multitask, take on tasks and prioritize them, and run an office to include HR functions. In that position, there was nothing administratively that didn’t come through me. And what I didn’t know, I learned. That position prepared me for my most recent position as the Executive Secretary for the Executive Director of the VA Logistic Redesign Program Management Office.
While I am still fairly new to my current position, my favorite part of my job is having the opportunity to learn something new. I am no longer working in the legal field and have transitioned to Supply Chain Management. So, as of October 2023, I have been able to receive a certificate in Project Management. Working directly under the Executive Director allows me to see how supply contracts are handled from beginning to the end, all while staying in my supportive role and continuing to take minutes, manage calendars, and oversee travel arrangements, etc.
I came across ASAP in 2020, back when I began looking for professional courses to help boost my skills and resume. I was extremely impressed by the professionalism of everyone—from the instructor to the class cohorts. I wasn’t aware of the ASAP Circle until I signed up for the PACE certification. I find it to be one of my safe spaces. Not to mention, a place where there are administrative professionals that share the same ideas, goals, and worries as you is comforting. The support we receive, just through the chats alone, are unmatched. I am grateful that I have ASAP, as I don’t think it would be as easy navigating the demands administrative roles have on us without such a support system.
My first superpower is organization. I am able to take what appears to others as a mess and make it beautifully organized—either in the office physically, or with files and getting our SharePoint organized. I find organization skills to be very important as an administrative professional so you can back up your work and have the ability to pull up records from 2 years ago if needed. This fosters trust from your leadership and your team, as they look to their admins to quickly answer and resolve matters that arise. If you are not organized, how do you know where to get the answers? In my job as a legal assistant, I created half of the SOPs for the office during my time, and, before I left the office, updated and revised the other half to allow for successful transition for the new legal assistant.
My second superpower is compassion. I have found that in my position as a legal assistant, many people will come to me when they have difficult situations with their supervisors. I have been used as a mediator to facilitate meetings, and have even been a person others vent or go to for advice and support. My team trusts that nothing they say will go any further, and that all of their concerns will be met with compassion and understanding. I have never used any information that I was privy to as manipulation or as leverage over anyone and have learned in my lifetime and career that most people who are deemed difficult are sometimes just misunderstood.
More About Katina:
Katina is very active in her church and community, serving as an Itinerant Deacon, Praise and Worship Leader, feeding and clothing the underprivileged in the community, and visiting those sick and in the hospital. Katina is currently working on a Master of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary as well as preparing to take the PACE exam in March. When Katina is not working, in class, or serving in her church community, she is the proud mother of 4 adult sons (2 who followed in her footsteps and joined the military), 1 daughter-in-law, and the grandmother to 1 granddaughter and a soon to be grandchild this coming summer. Katina also has her own baking business on the weekends!
Welcome to the ASAP Circle, a community platform for peer-to-peer conversation on trending topics, professional challenges, and shared experiences. We even have designated spaces for weekly Tuesday Coffee Breaks.