Jeremy Burrows is dedicated to helping executive assistants become effective, empowered leaders within their organizations—without burning out. As the EA to the Founder and CEO of Capacity, Jeremy knows firsthand how challenging it can be to support the senior executives of today’s dynamic, fast-paced companies. Sensing a need for a forum where thought leaders and experts could challenge and encourage their colleagues, Jeremy founded “The Leader Assistant Podcast,” which has become the highest rated assistant podcast in the US.
Jeremy recently invited Savoya executives Meagan Gleason and Dominic Miraglia on “The Leader Assistant Podcast” to discuss tips and best practices for managing executive ground transportation.
We asked Jeremy five questions about the changing roles and expectations of executive assistants, and how managing ground travel specifically has changed over his 12+ years as an EA.
How have the expectations for executive assistants changed in the last 12 years?
More and more, EAs are expected to be business-supporting rather than person-supporting. What that means is that EAs are expected to engage in activities that actively grow the business, and to report on those activities on a regular basis. In most organizations, EAs are critical when it comes to managing budgets, and have taken on key marketing and sales functions; things like customer outreach or event management.
The most effective EAs set specific, measurable business goals that drive company and career growth and clearly articulate their value to their organizations.
How can executive assistants set more effective goals?
My friend Jillian Hufnagel actually wrote an article about this recently that I posted on my blog. She stresses the importance of executive assistants getting buy-in from their executives on their goals; not just the “what,” but the “why” as well. One of my favorite pieces of advice she gives is to avoid the task versus outcome trap. Tasks are “what” you did, like automating the process for requesting purchase orders. The “why” is the actual value of the task you accomplished, which sounds more like: “I increased efficiency and visibility for tracking outstanding POs, which decreased late payments by over 60%.”
There’s obviously a big difference in the two.
How has managing ground travel for senior executives changed, specifically?
Honestly, it hasn’t much. All other aspects of travel – specifically air travel and lodging – seem to have changed dramatically. And ride share services like Uber have completely changed the game for taxi service.
Black car services, on the other hand, have been very slow to change. You typically call a dispatcher or receptionist at a local garage and give them all the trip details over the phone. When the pickup time rolls around, you essentially have to sit back and hope the service got all the details right and the driver got there on time. Half the time, you end up on a three-way call with the driver and your executive trying to guide them towards one another. Once your executive is in the car, they typically spend the first 10 minutes of the trip walking the driver through their itinerary, checking Waze or Google Maps to estimate their arrival time and calling their assistant to relay information to the meeting or hotel destination.
Safety is also a bigger issue than it used to be, especially for high-profile senior executives. I like to know exactly who they’re getting in the car with. More and more companies are adopting security teams and protocols that mandate who their executives can and can’t travel with, which I think is wise.
How has your experience with Savoya changed your expectations when it comes to ground travel?
Savoya graciously offered their service to my wife and I for a night out so that I could see their service firsthand before interviewing Meagan and Dom on my podcast. First and foremost, I was impressed by how easy it was to plan the trip online, door-to-door. I was able to create a multi-stop itinerary easily without opening another tab or window because location addresses pre-populated directly into their portal from Google Maps. I was even able to create custom traveler preferences like the temperature of the car, radio station and even snacks and beverages we wanted in the vehicle.
Second, I was impressed by their intuitive and helpful notifications. I got a pre-trip text notification that gave full driver and vehicle details, including a picture of the driver. I got a text notification that told me when the driver was onsite to pick us up, with exact staging information detailing where to meet him. I even had to change my pick-up time because my wife and I get tired a lot quicker than we used to (pre-kids). It was nice to have the flexibility and not worry about whether or not we would be able to make a change at the last minute.
Finally, I was impressed by the quality of the driver and vehicle. On the podcast, Meagan and Dom talked a lot about the importance of Savoya’s driver vetting and training process, and I now know why. My driver was a total professional and made us feel safe and well taken care of. Another bonus: the car was very clean!
What one piece of advice do you have for executive assistants that they could implement today?
Learn how to stay calm in the chaos. Our jobs are fast-paced and unpredictable, a perfect recipe for constant stress. Force yourself to slow down and be mindful of your emotions. Take deep breaths and methodically think through the situation. Once your brain moves away from the natural fight or flight reaction, the fog will lift, and you’ll gain clarity on how to solve the problem at-hand. You’ve solved thousands of problems before, and you’ll solve thousands more in the future. Keep calm and keep leading well!
What other questions do you have for Jeremy? Leave us a note below with your comments.