October 22, 2018
A small team of EAG members volunteered at the Thurston County Food Bank in Olympia, WA. Team members directly worked with clients, handing out food, stocking shelves, and calling seniors to remind them about their commodity boxes.
Longtime EAG member and food bank volunteer, desiree Monroy, finds value in the volunteer opportunity with EAG saying, "Teaming with my colleagues is different than just working here on my own. I get to work in new areas and learn even more about how the food bank helps their clients. EAG members are enthusiastic, catch on quick, and find ways to improve the process. I love this group!"
EAG members volunteer annually in the community. Volunteerism increases job satisfaction and provides an opportunity to build the EAG team in a way that cannot be achieved through monthly meetings. Stay tuned to another great volunteer opportunity in 2019.
Modern Workplace Tour
August 1, 2018
Two years ago, Nikki Johnson, Director of Office of Facilities, and her team from the Department of Health (DOH) introduced the modern workplace to EAG members at a monthly meeting. Since that time, her team has lead efforts to attract and retain talent while saving state dollars spent on 8 x 8 cubicles and leased office space.
EAG Chair-Elect, Melanie Hisaw, created an event out of a monthly meeting this August. Her Director, Michelle Davis from the Washington State Board of Health, welcomed and thanked EAG for the opportunities it has afforded her agency through Melanie's participation. She shared information about the history of public health policy and talked more about current efforts her Board is currently overseeing.
Long-time EAG member, Terry Bergener, followed with her own special greeting to EAG. Terry is celebrating 37 years of state service. Her positive attitude and welcoming of change has helped keep the modern workplace efforts be successful.
Following the presentations, EAG members were invited to take a tour of the DOH facilities. Please enjoy these unofficial photos of EAG members exploring the hard work and efforts of Nikki Johnson and her team.
October 6, 2017
EAG has a recipe that attracts attendees. Add dynamic speakers, great content, a local leader, some awesome swag, and light refreshments and you have a sold-out conference once again. Another year and another success for this conference sponsored by the Executive Assistants Group. The Fall Conference is our opportunity to provide networking and professional development for all state support staff.
Chair-Elect Denise Ross and her conference co-chair Robin Riley led the team for the 2017 event. Evaluations from the previous year indicated that our audience needed some balance, tips for communication and reducing conflict, and some inspiration to send attendees back to the office refreshed and ready for change. Stacy Conway, Kathleen Turnbow, Leslie Pope, Melanie Hisaw, Paulette Yorke and Mary Anderson threw in their time and skills to help make this another great EAG conference.
No conference is complete without an opportunity to hear an insightful and inspirational story from one of our own. Former EAG member, Ashlee Frye, opened up the conference with her story of moving from an office assistant to the Chief Financial Officer at the Washington Health Care Facilities Authority. Despite her obstacles, Ashlee now holds an MBA and has 17 years of state service under her belt.
When looking for trainers on mediation for conflict, there's no better resource than the Thurston County Dispute Resolution Center. The DRC team brought four of their experts to help our attendees learn concepts and skills to improve communication and reduce conflict in relationships. It wasn't a biology lesson, but we did learn about the pre-frontal cortex and amygdala. The body physically responds to button pushers, but we can choose how to respond. The DRC group covered a lot of information on emotional intelligence, communications, and developing reasonable expectations of ourselves to help re-frame and create true emotional balance.
EAG saved the best for last on this agenda. Powerhouse author/coach, trainer Jennifer Powers brought her internationally acclaimed presentation on the shifts you can make to take full control over your personal and professional lives. She empowered us to choose to step into a more productive mindset and make positive changes that really stick. Jennifer asked us to commit to shift, the four steps to shift your reaction and your reality. 1. Observe and resist your knee-jerk reaction (pause); 2. Say the magic words: Oh, Shift!; 3. Ask yourself a question (she provided a list of options to flip, find, and freak); 4. Answer the question (this is where the shift happens.) So flip the focus, find a reason, or freak by saying "oh well, big deal, so what, who cares" in order, three times fast.
But let's be honest, the real reason that attendees register is for the networking. Having a day to breathe outside of the office, see old friends and make new, you can always count on the Fall Conference as an opportunity to learn from your peers and to return to work with new ideas and resources.
Thank you EAG for another great event. See you, and 144 of my good friends, next year!
United Way's Day of Caring
September 22, 2017
It is devastating to hear that in our community there are thousands of children a week that would not have food over the weekend if not for the efforts of the volunteer and staff of the Thurston County Food Bank (TCFB). Thanks to a generous community, TCFB provides bags for those children every week under their program FORKids. The bags typically contain a can of soup, milk, cereal, granola bars, fruit cups, and more. Volunteers fill bags; transport them to the schools where the school then gives them out to eligible kids before the final bell rings on Friday.
Our team of eight, including fearless leader Barb Cleveland, pushed ourselves to fill 872 bags for the FORKids Program. That was in addition to our work sorting produce, packing senior produce bags, and organizing pallets of donated food for the coming Thanksgiving.
Our team of volunteers this year included Xyzlinda Marshall, Lindsay Matthews, Rica Helberg, Melanie Hisaw, Kristin Ritter, desirée Monroy, and Robin Riley.
When asked about her experience, EAG Co-Chair Melanie Hisaw said, “This was my first year volunteering and I was so inspired by the teamwork, energy and compassion of the EAG members. I was also incredibly moved by the heart of volunteerism, strength in numbers and the organization and mission of TCFB. Prepping for 15,000 holiday meals, 2,000 (weekly!) kids backpacks, fruit/veggie packs for the seniors and so much more was beyond impressive and heartwarming. It challenges me to bring my kids to volunteer and realize how fortunate they are!”
Thank you EAG for being a part of the United Way’s Day of Caring. EAG continues to affirm that participating in activities like this supports the EAG mission of networking with our peers and accessing information about emerging issues in the state, in this case hunger in our community.
As a state employee, you can give to TCFB directly out of your paycheck with the Combined Fund Drive using charity code 0316378. Find more information about TCFB at http://www.thurstoncountyfoodbank.org.
Spring Planning Work Session (SPWS!!!)
April 27-28, 2017, Ocean Shores, Washington. EAG members meet annually to prepare for the upcoming year. Committees are formed, topics for monthly meetings are brainstormed.
Balance is the key to life. Because how can you help others if you haven't taken care of yourself?
Each year it becomes more evident that there are certain personality types that are drawn to executive assistant positions. We create order out of chaos. We care deeply and have a genuine want to be helpful. Always thinking two steps ahead to anticipate our director's needs, it becomes difficult to turn those thoughts off at the end of the day and find rest.
Larisa Faw, a contributor to Forbes, said it well, "ultimately these women are going through the difficult realization that they may have to redefine their goals and come up with different measures of success in order to thrive."
Haley Lowe, Executive Director at Behavioral Health Workforce Collaborative, led an intensive two-day training that tapped deep into job satisfaction, self-care, and a balanced relationship with family, work and self. Goal setting, accountability, and positive thinking are pillars that can help us each attain balanced lives.
Thank you Haley for once again bringing your knowledge, enthusiasm, and insight. Thank you to all the attendees that put forward their most authentic selves and whole-heartedly embrace Brene Brown's recommendation of vulnerability. Thank you Kristin Ritter, Melanie Hisaw, Mary Anderson and Xyzlinda Marshall for your collaborative leadership on this event.
If you missed the Spring Planning Work Session, please consider attending next year. You will return to work refreshed and infused with new ideas and enthusiasm. More importantly, you will help guide the coming curriculum offered to members in the coming year.
Legislative Assistant/ Executive Assistant Reception
February 3, 2017
Columbia Room, Legislative Building
125 people attended the "Agency Leadership and Legislative Liaison Meet & Greet" on February 3, 2017. Composition of attendees included executive assistants, legislative assistants, session aides, agency directors, agency legislative liaisons, and other persons who work with scheduling with legislative members.
The event was well planned and executed. Thank you to Melanie Hisaw and Kristin Ritter for chairing this event. Melanie, a former legislative assistant herself, was able to help guide the group to find the ways that legislative assistants would most appreciate the time spent. Further the planning group called EAG members on the roster, met with LAs directly, and encouraged their teams to attend. Melanie and Kristin thanked their planning team members Danelle Guerin, Denise Ross, desiree Monroy, Leslie Pope, Paulette Yorke, and Shellie Burnham.
This reception was one of the most well attended. Well done, Team EAG.
October 14, 2016
Labor and Industries Auditorium
The annual Fall Conference hosted by the Executive Assistants Group was a sold-out event. Blitz, the mascot for the Seattle Seahawks helped kick off a blustery day, while our "coach" Randy Frazier gave us lots of tips to put in our playbooks. Our rowdiest speaker was our very own Maia Bellon, Director of the Department of Ecology. She joined in our Team Washington fun by donning her many Washington jerseys!
Thank you to conference chairs Xyzlinda Marshall and desiree Monroy. They share kudos with their planning team consisting of Mary Anderson, Paulettte Yorke, Melanie Hisaw, Tam Snell, and Leslie Pope.
Resume & Recruitment Workshop
June 14, 2016
Washington State School for the Blind, Vancouver WA
Workshops are held ad hoc from guidance provided at the Spring Work Session
Thank you to those who participated in the EAG Resume & Recruitment Workshop.
EAG members met in Vancouver at the Washington State School for the Blind. Thanks to member Janet Kurz and her team, we were well hosted and enjoyed our tour of the School. Please enjoy our candid photos as we toured some of the special museum exhibits at the school. These unique displays allow the students to touch and feel the artifacts, unlike most exhibits!
EAG members were joined by four panelists that shared a welath of information with us:
Scott McCallum, Superintendent of the Washington State School for the Blind
Jessica Sydnor, Human Resources, Center for Childhood Deafness and Hearing Loss
Christine Dominguez, Staffing Consultant 4, Department of Labor and Industries
Megan Eason, Recruiter, Employment Security Department
Thank you to the planning team that brought this together. Special thanks to Janet Kurz for all the technical and logistical support!