Mandela, Schmidt & Gates – The Gatekeepers Behind The Business

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‘Behind every successful business, is a PA’. Executive Assistants to Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates and Eric Schmidt, will take to the stage in London, March 20-21st, in a bid to lead change for Executive, Personal and Administrative professionals who often attract outdated, stereotypical judgment, and quite frequently go unrecognised for the middle-management expertise they deliver – highlighting why the PA industry is revolutionary, and has become instrumental in underpinning the success of multinational companies throughout the world.

The rise of those in middle-management roles has been under the spotlight since the recession hit, and those who now hold the real power behind multinational corporations, have been waiting in the wings, underestimated, and unrecognised for too long.

Zelda la Grange

Zelda la Grange, former PA to Nelson Mandela commented: “Being a gatekeeper to anyone is not easy. I was sensitive to criticism in the beginning but then realised that it was not a popularity contest I signed up for. I had to account to my boss and make sure he was comfortable with how I managed his professional world. Life equips you for the challenges you face, it is a journey of self-actualisation and personal growth. The key is to remain humble and grounded and realize that you always have something to learn.”

Alongside Zelda la Grange, who was Mandela’s most trusted assistant, Ann Hiatt EA to Eric  Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google, and Lauren Jiloty Senior EA to Bill Gates, will take centre stage at Executive Secretary LIVE, hosted at the Grange City Hotel, where EAs and PAs from across the world will congregate to experience 2 days of intensive training and inspiration from the world’s most motivational speakers. Taking advice from those that have led change across some of the world’s most successful global businesses, and of course witnessing the true integrity and strength required to be a truly exceptional gatekeeper to high profile figureheads.

A far cry from the stereotypical mad men style typing pools, todays EAs, PAs and Administrative Professionals are career driven, business savvy executives with a thirst for success and recognition.

Director of Executive Secretary LIVE, Lucy Brazier commented: “The role of PA’s and admin assistants has changed dramatically over the past 5 years, due to the effects of recession. Gone are the days of simply fetching the coffee and sitting at a type writer. Professionals who operate in this sector of industry are crucial to the success and profitability of a company, and it is important to continue investing time, effort and resources in to moving the profession forward.”

From an awkward, terrified young typist in her twenties later chosen to become one of the President Mandela’s most loyal and devoted assistants, spending most of her working life travelling with, supporting and caring for the man she would come to call ‘Khulu’, or ‘grandfather’, Zelda la Grange lead a truly insightful session on how to overcome adversity and deliver change.

Ann Hiatt

As EA to three of the world’s most successful giants of technology, Ann Hiatt’s 10 year career has been on quite a journey; currently Executive Assistant to Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman) at Google, she is also the former EA to Marissa Mayer (CEO of Yahoo!) and before that she was EA to Jeff Bezos (CEO of At the event Ann will share her story and tips for being a top level Assistant, leadership and personal effectiveness.

Lauren Jiloty

Lauren Jiloty Senior EA to Bill Gates, will also be sharing her story, and offering advice on how to get to the top and stay there. Jiloty will reveal the secrets of her phenomenal career: a career that has taken her from being a lowly volunteer for state and local political campaigns to Executive Assistant to New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton before landing her current role, overseeing all administrative aspects of Bill Gates’ professional responsibilities to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Microsoft.

Other speakers at the Executive Secretary LIVE event include; Microsoft’s renowned Office Master instructor Vickie Sokol Evans, Admin professional Lisa Olsen, Management Consultant Richard Arnott, US specialist PA trainer Kemetia Foley, PASFA President Anel Martin and event host and international PA trainer Lucy Brazier.

Executive Secretary LIVE is the leading international event for senior and aspiring Administrative Professionals and Executive Assistants, returns to London 20-21st March 2015, at the Grange City Hotel. For more details, and to book your place, please visit:

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