Maximizing your Potential as a Personal Assistant

More than 300 management assistants and guests from 24 countries flocked to Paris in late October to attend the 40th annual conference and annual general meeting and to celebrate EUMA's 40th anniversary.

Maximizing your Potential as a Personal Assistant

The conference kicked off with the council meetings and meetings of the European Committee. In the afternoon of October 30, 2014 some participants went on a guided tour of the palace of Versailles. The weather was unusually warm and sunny for late October and the palace and the beautiful park were teeming with tourists. The tour led the participants through the private rooms used by the kings from Louis XIV to Louis XVI and their queens as well as the chapel, the Hall of Mirrors, the Gallery of Battles and the beautifully landscaped park. All rooms were richly decorated with paintings, statues, gilded accents, rich tapestry and beautiful furniture - simply impressive and overwhelming.


In the evening everyone met in the conference room of the Novotel overlooking the Seine river for the welcome reception. Else-Britt Lundgren, European Chairman welcomed the participants. EUMA-founder Sonia Vanular also greeted the guests. The remainder of the evening was used to meet old friends and make new ones.



On October 31, the conference was opened by Christophe Choleur, the day’s host, and Else-Britt Lundgren.


Then followed the first presentation "Maximizing your Potential to reach Professional Excellence" by Suzie Barron-Stubley. Using her own experiences she explained in and entertaining way how she reached professional excellence and how she uses her experience to coach management assistants and executives. She mentioned the "imposter"-syndrome, i. e. the fear that people regardless of their position and skill level will be unmasked as imposters who do not really deserve that fancy corner office or big salary, is pervasive across all hierarchies and stated that one should cast that worry aside. She also encouraged the audience to be brave and seek new challenges to reach the next level.


Next was Sue France who introduced the audience to neuroscience and the role it plays in our lives. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenalin and oxytocin have a big impact on people’s lives, but that a healthy lifestyle is a good way to keep those neurotransmitters at good levels.


Thereafter the participants attended workshops on a wide range of topics.


The next highlight was the presentation "Fortune favors the Bold" by Bonnie Low-Kramen. She served as personal assistant to famous actress Olympia Dukakis for 25 years before embarking on a successful career as speaker, author and coach. She encouraged the audience to be bold enough to address the proverbial "elephant in the room" i. e. unpleasant topics such as bullying which when ignored could develop into a crippling problem for the entire organization. It is essential to leave one's comfort zone to be successful and reach one's full potential in one personal and professional life.


Excellence Awards

Then it was time for the Excellence Awards which on the occasion of the 40th EUMA-anniversary were awarded for the first time. Ten EUMA-members had submitted their applications. The runners-up were Rita Kotsapa of Cyprus and Gadiel Gabriel of the U.A.E. The overall winner was Andrea Macarie of Spain.


After the conference was closed, it was time to get dolled up for the Gala Dinner. Decked out in their finest clothes, the participants were chauffeured to the "River Palace" and the "Tennessee" and it was off on a cruise of Paris by night during which a scrumptious dinner was served. The dessert, a beautiful and, more importantly, very delicious birthday cake were served after the ships had moored again. This was followed by dancing.


Second day

In the morning of November 1, 2014 the AGM took place. SNCF was introduced as a new Gold Partner. Ursula Wartha’s mandate as European Treasurer was renewed for another two years. Christina B. Kragh will assume the newly created position Website and Social Media Coordinator. Chantal Sneijkers was elected Deputy European Chairman and Gina Theofilidou Public Relations Officer.


The focus over the next years will be on establishing a mentoring program, attracting new younger members and expanding EUMA’s presence in the social media. The national chapters of Austria, Italy, Norway, Sweden and the UK were honored for their 20th, 30th and 40th anniversaries. Information on the upcoming Training Day in Milan in April 2015 and the Conference and Annual General Meeting in Limassol in September 2015 were given before Else-Britt Lundgren closed the AGM. Before the participants returned home or enjoyed the remainder of the weekend in Paris, EUMA Cyprus enticed the participants to attend next year’s conference in Limassol by offering a selection of the national delicacies.


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