EA Ignite Spring 2024 Admin Day Panel + Afterparty Recap

May 10, 2024


State of the Profession panelists on stage at EAI Spring '24
State of the Profession panelists on stage at EAI Spring '24

"I think if we start to wrap our heads around the fact that there are ways to improve processes or streamline processes or condense timelines, we are the people who will find the way to do it."

-Ike Saunders

Administrative Professionals Day, which occurs each year on the last Wednesday in April, recognizes the often overlooked contributions of administrative staff. That's why, at EA Ignite Spring 2024, the American Society of Administrative Professionals marked the holiday by hosting a panel discussing the 2024 State of the Profession survey report, followed by a celebratory afterparty in Nashville, Tennessee. 

Moderated by Executive Support Media CEO and founder Lucy Brazier, OBE, the panelists included: 

  • Kristen Ostro, former EA turned CEO, Strut Consulting

  • Mia Lane, Manager, Executive and Administration, UKG 

  • Ike Saunders, Executive and Personal Assistant 

  • Joshua Washington, Owner, Lee Malveaux – People, Strategies and Solutions

Though the panel was held in person, the American Society of Administrative Professionals also live-streamed the panel online for admins not in attendance, in an effort to share the report's value and key findings in four main areas: Compensation; Professional Development & Certification; Key Responsibilities; and Essential Skills & Expertise. The livestream is now available on-demand for viewing

Attendees during panel session at EAI Spring '24
Attendees during panel session at EAI Spring '24

Panel Takeaways


ASAP's findings on compensation show that as the pandemic recedes, the average annual salary for administrative professionals has increased by $10,000 since 2020. Additionally, across various job titles, almost three quarters of admins say their compensation rose over the past year.

When asked what factors are driving these trends, panelist Ike Saunders cited an increase in workload, saying, "We were the people who stayed on the longest and the hardest during the pandemic, and stuff that got put onto our plates is not coming off our plates. I think people are recognizing what we can do professionally and what our skillset is, and they're expecting us to do more."

Panelist Joshua Washington agreed, calling administrative professionals "swiss army knives" for their productivity and versatility, which has helped their compensation to be on par with middle management and project managers. 

To read more on ASAP's compensation findings, click here.

Professional Development & Certification

While generating the latest State of the Profession report, ASAP found that out of the five conditions associated with admins feeling valued at work, the top two include one's organization being supportive of your professional development and the power to choose training. However, those who have been in the administrative profession for 20+ years indicated that their manager was less likely to support professional development in comparison to entry-level or slightly experienced admins. Those who are able to pursue training, specifically certification, earn roughly $6,000 more than admins who hold no professional certificates.

When asked how certification has improved her career, panelist Mia Lane, who has both her PACE and CAP certifications, said she now feels that she can stay ahead of trends and know what's going on within the administrative professional world. Mia also remarked that "Certifications are great, however, they resonate within you first. There are some people... that don't believe in certification, but you shouldn't be focused on what they believe. You should focus on what is going to resonate and help make yourself better."

Panelist Joshua Washington, who spoke on why more senior-level admins often have less support when pursuing professional development, expressed that those who have been in their position longer tend to develop a mindset where they think they "know it all." However, Joshua recommended senior-level admins embrace their fear of change and emerging trends while also challenging themselves to speak up more and ask for opportunities to "further accentuate their value."

To read more on ASAP's professional development & certification findings, click here.

Key Responsibilities

The State of the Profession report shows that administrative professionals have hugely diverse and demanding roles. In fact, those who support an executive indicated that they shoulder an average of 23 responsibilities, while admins who don't support an executive report an average of 17 responsibilities. 

When asked how administrative professionals can plot a path for professional growth that leverages their unique skills and experiences, panelist Kristen Ostro stated that admins need to say "yes" to more internal processes, including the "operational procedures" of one's organization, in order "to grow your understanding of the firm and your skillset." This, says Ostro, is what "differentiates EAs who kind of stay the course and those who skyrocket and become something more," like making a lateral move within their company, taking on more responsibility, and moving up the pay scale.

When speaking about the differentiation in skillsets between executive-supporting and non-executive-supporting admins, panelist Ike Saunders said that responsibility expectations boil down to trust: "I think when you're working with an executive directly, you're demonstrating a lot of skills. You are showing a lot more capacity, and you end up involved in more." With admins who don't directly support an executive, there could be less of an expectation to handle varied and personalized requests.

To read more on ASAP's key responsibilities findings, click here.

Essential Skills & Expertise

According to the State of the Profession report, admins are continuously upskilling and exploring new ways to develop their expertise. Lately there has been a lot of buzz around AI, or artificial intelligence. Additionally, managing admins and those who support executives both say they have acquired roughly six to seven new skills in the past year to keep up with changes in the profession, with a quarter of admins citing AI as a regular tool used to fulfill their job responsibilities. 

When asked how the role of AI will evolve in the administrative profession over the next five years, panelist Mia Lane stated that, although AI scares some people, "You should embrace it... because it helps you to do your job smarter and not work as hard." When discussing the AI platforms both she and her coworkers use, Mia cited ChatGPT and Grammarly.

Panelist Kristen Ostro agreed it's important to utilize AI, saying, "Spend a little bit of time every week [learning]... There's a lot of great resources out there... Try to take a young, curious approach to it. Play with it like a child would. It should be fun and interesting, and try to approach it that way rather than [seeing it as] a daunting, scary, 'gonna steal your job' tool."

To read more on ASAP's essential skills & expertise findings, click here.

Admin Day Reception 

After the panel concluded, EA Ignite attendees enjoyed a variety of food and beverages, guided line-dancing from local instructors, live country music, and networking opportunities. Thank you to all who came out to celebrate with us!

EA Ignite attendees during Admin Day reception
EA Ignite attendees during Admin Day reception

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American Society of Administrative Professionals

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