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EAG Celebrates 25 Years of Professionalism

October 20, 2015 - Governor's Mansion, Olympia WA

On October 20th, EAG members and his or her Director’s joined together at the Governor’s mansion to celebrate 25 years of administrative professionalism. The honorable First Lady, Trudi Inslee, may not have originally intended to join us, but when she heard our joy and exchange of laughter she honored us with a sincere “thank you” for the work we do. Also present to greet guests was Kelly Wicker, Deputy Chief of Staff, from the Governor's office.


Despite hectic schedules, quite a few agency directors attended to show support for the Executive Assistants Group by attending. The executive chef made it worth the visit providing wonderful hors d’oeuvres including smoked salmon. The staff at the mansion was amazing and we are grateful that they pampered us with their talents and kindness. EAG would also like to thank Frances Munez-Carter for assisting with the preparation and coordination of the Governor’s mansion and catering.


The event was well planned and executed by our 25th Celebration committee team led by Mary Anderson. Extraordinary effort went into the celebration. Mary and her team pulled together historical minutes, creating an outline EAG accomplishments. The team includes, desiree Monroy, Xyzlinda Marshall, Leslie Pope, Melanie Hisaw, Geri Nelson, and EAG co-chairs Robin Riley and Michelle Rancour.


Honorable mentions were made to Rhonda Penrose and several of the founding members, Linda Fredericks, Jeri Seveir, Betty Mackey, Pat Schmidlkofer and Mary Henley, although not all could attend. A quote from Rhonda back in 1996 was shared, “As I look back over the accomplishments of the EAG since its inception only six years ago, I am amazed. I think about how hard we work at our Fort Worden sessions, the professional caliber of the EAG fall conference, the newsletter, the correspondence guidelines, our legislative receptions…those are exceptional accomplishments for a nonprofit group that meets only once a month. I feel that our efforts to strengthen relationships with our legislative colleagues are vitally important and will continue to build EAG’s credibility. I believe the value of benefits of the EAG will surface for most of us during the upcoming election and gubernatorial transition. More than anything, I treasure the friendships I have made and am able to maintain with my peers in EAG.”


Over the past 25 years, EAG members have supported Governor Booth Gardner, Governor John Spellman, Governor Mike Lowry, Governor Gary Locke, Governor Christine Gregoire and now Governor Jay Inslee. In collaboration with the Governor’s Office, we created and continue to maintain the Executive Correspondence Guidelines. These guidelines were created for consistency throughout the state. EAG continues to host the Executive & General Correspondence Guidelines on our website.


EAG is instrumental in advancing our profession, some examples include:


  • EAG was highly involved with the clerical/administrative classifications process working in coordination with the formerly known as Dept. of Personnel.

  • EAG strives to provide a useful curriculum of speakers and trainings at our monthly meetings and hosts workshops when a longer period of time is necessary. These trainings are at no cost to the member’s agency. Not too long ago, EAG hosted training on Conflict Resolution provided by the Dispute Resolution Center of Thurston County.

  • EAG members collected and created position descriptions for member’s to utilize.

  • The EAG distribution list is used to distribute job announcements and recruitments to open up the pool of qualified candidates within state ranks.

  • When we needed more information on governance, EAG created a subgroup on Boards and Commissions.

  • The Adjudicatory workgroup was created to help relieve some stress from the legal process of arbitration and rulings and to share best practices for those working in that capacity providing customer service for the parties involved.

  • What started as a quarterly newsletter became a website full of resources for our members and their administrative teams.

  • We get the job done. Where we see a need, we try to address it. For instance, EAG hosts a Legislative Reception nearly every year to provide a face-to-face interaction with those we work with over the phone during the legislative session. This can really make a difference when trying to schedule with a legislative member.

  • In order to help mentor and develop a 1st class workforce, EAG hosts a fall conference that is open to all support staff within our state. We offer quality training at a minimal cost – and when times were tough, the conference was free.

  • In addition we annually host a more intense training and planning session in the spring. This allows us time and access to information and emerging issues in state government.

  • And evening sessions were created for members who just can’t attend the regular monthly meetings due to work scheduling and conflicts,  but who still want to network and share information

  • Members share with others skill building tips, like inserting hyperlinks, using pivot tables, and many more useful suggestions and informal trainings. This also allows EAG members to stretch and practice giving a presentation or sharing knowledge with peers.

  • EAG provides networking opportunities with others in our unique positions. Most Executive Assistants are in isolated positions within his or her organization, so the ability to talk across agency to learn from others can be critical. Our strong dedication to confidentiality provides an atmosphere conducive to this activity.


In this day and age where a cell phone only lasts a year, computer operating systems are no longer supported after thirteen years, where governor’s change in eight…EAG still remains the same. EAG is consistent, provides value, and continues to serve the state

of Washington. Our job titles may be similar to those that founded this organization, but our level of responsibility, our wealth of talent, and our ability to support our members continues to grow.


​As if all of this was not enough, EAG members also work in the community. Annually EAG members team up with the United Way to participate in the Day of Caring. This keeps us connected to the communities we live in and speaks to the values of our organization and the state of Washington. Some of the organizations we’ve helped throughout the years include:


  • Thurston County Food Bank

  • The Literacy Network

  • GRuB

  • Heartstrides Therapeutic riding

  • South Sound Reading Foundation where we added organization to chaos. We did so well they asked for us again!

  • The American Red Cross

  • Crisis Clinic

  • Sidewalk

  • And most recently Catholic Housing Services where we helped spruce up low-income senior housing landscaping.


EAG members support agency leaders, and in turn EAG provides opportunity to grow leaders. EAG took a few moments to recognize the members in attendance who have stepped into leadership positions including:

  • Former Chair, Vice Chair, & Secretary - Barb Cleveland

  • Jay Raish – former co-chair, vice chair and treasurer

  • Current Chair Elect – Leslie Pope

  • Geri Nelson, former Secretary

  • Former Treasurer and Co- Vice Chair – Paulette Yorke

  • Former Chair, vice chair, and current Treasurer – Xyzlinda Marshall

  • Current Co-Chair, former Chair Elect, and Secretary – Robin Riley

  • Mary Anderson – current co-webmaster, creator of our website, former vice chair and chair.

  • Michelle Rancour – current Co-Chair and former chair-elect

  • Our current Secretary and historian – Melanie Hisaw

  • Shellie Burnham, former Co-Vice Chair, Co-chair and honorary member

  • Pam Abbot former co-vice chair and co-chair

  • And former co-chair, past chair, and secretary – Laura Moore.


As you’ve seen and heard, Executive Assistants can do a lot in 25 years. The current members are looking forward to 25 years more. Thank you to all EAG members, officers (past and present), agency directors, and all those who support us. Happy 25th!

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