Administrative professionals are often the first point of contact in an office. As an essential support element of a workgroup, their work is important to keep a team operating like a well-oiled machine. To support and encourage this group of individuals, Methodist Children’s Home (MCH) recently held the Administrative Professionals Conference (APC), gathering together for the first time support personnel from all MCH offices.
According to John Warren, director of training at MCH, the APC was an important part of an organization-wide strategic plan to strengthen employees.
“Since 2009, the agency’s commitment to employee professional growth across all departments and programs has increased as a result of the strategic plan,” Warren said. “The APC is an important part of this commitment that came out of the implementation of the agency-wide training plan. The APC, in particular, was the result of an intentional emphasis on a group of employees who work in many different departments, but utilize a similar skillset.”
Attendees included administrative professionals from the Waco campus, Boys Ranch and the MCH Family Outreach offices located throughout Texas and New Mexico. During the two-day conference they heard from various MCH leaders on topics such as MCH’s legacy of ministry, building a culture of community and connection, and supporting the MCH mission. They also toured the Boys Ranch and new Daniels Home and received training from MCH’s training staff. Sarah Aynesworth, a professional etiquette consultant, delivered an interactive keynote address on professional and social interaction and conversation.
Jean Wright, MCH staff trainer, explained that the title of the conference, “The Connected Community,” was “to remind us of the importance of staying connected so that we can continue to strengthen our community even while we work in different cities and areas of the agency every day.”
“I think all of us can forget the scope of our programs and services at times,” Wright said. “We each play a different role, but we all contribute to MCH’s legacy and mission and are all connected to the accomplishments and developments taking place.”
Genie, Greer, administrative assistant in the MCH Family Outreach office in Lubbock, has been with MCH for nearly 15 years. She said the APC was a good time of encouragement and validation for her and her peers in similar positions.
“MCH has always been good to accept that the position of administrative professional, with all its different titles throughout the years, is important,” she said. “Coming from a managerial background, I know that is not always the case. Organization, flexibility, problem-solving, reliability, and sociability are not always attributes one finds within the same person. It is good to be recognized as one of the persons using these skills on a daily basis.
“MCH administration validated our position’s importance with the conference,” she added.
Maria Pintor, administrative assistant in the MCH Family Outreach office in Dallas, said it was good to meet others from around MCH with whom she communicates regularly and who are instrumental in her work.
“This conference helps new staff to learn the ministry of MCH and the difference it makes in the lives of many,” Pintor said. “It is also important to hear new ideas from one another that can make us more effective in our roles as administrative assistants.”
Wright said her “two primary goals going into the conference were to find ways to demonstrate to our administrative professionals how very much they are appreciated and valued for their service as well as create an environment in which we can all intellectually develop together. I hope and believe we accomplished that!”