Headroom Executive Assistant Esma on the one mistake that slows down executives’ productivity, and how to fix it.
For our Headroom Heads series, we sat down with Esma Bolat, an experienced senior EA with an impressive career journey to talk about the biggest mistake executives make when working with an EA, and the key to overcome that.
When did your EA journey start, and how?
After completing my MBO Secretarial and Tourism studies in 1997, I started working in a Call Center and then moved on to my first secretarial job. Meanwhile, I started studying part-time HBO Middle Management and Office Management and so I progressed to higher positions such as a Personal Assistant, Office Manager, Project Assistant, Executive Assistant – I did them all!
I did this work for years (including 3 years as a freelancer) and in 2013 I decided to emigrate to Turkey. Here I worked on and off while I got my first son and was finally ready for something else. On Instagram, I came across my old colleague Samora, now Headroom’s Talent Acquisition Specialist, and asked her if it was possible to work remotely for Headroom from Turkey. It was a match, and I have now been working at Headroom since November 2022 and I enjoy doing so. Thank you Instagram, thank you Samora!
You’ve been working closely with different entrepreneurs and high-achieving individuals: for you, what makes an executive more successful?
Self-discipline is what makes the difference, no doubt. Self-discipline is the single most important quality for success in life and business. The second one is communication: the more you communicate, the more you achieve.
The third one is open mindedness: the most successful entrepreneurs I know never forget how much they can learn from others (including their EAs). They ask for advice, they’re flexible and are also open to new things. We learn a lot from each other.
What’s the most common “mistake” executives make when it comes to managing their own time and being productive? What’s your EA advice to them?
Many executives mistake busyness for productivity. So they make everything a priority and struggle to choose what to delegate, and think having an EA will only bring in more work. Instead, I’d tell executives: dare to trust and let go of the simple things first (like your inbox management and calendar management) and leave that to your EA. And dare to ask for input.
The coolest or most unusual task you’ve helped an executive with?
That was years back when I worked for a Communications Manager. For her bachelor party, her friends asked me o arrange for a male dancer to perform for her!
What’s your favorite thing about working at Headroom?
Working remotely: whenever I feel like it, I can cozy up in a cafe. But I also love working closely with super fun colleagues based in different countries, and supporting executives and companies operating in wildly different industries – there’s never a dull moment or one day like the other.
What would you say to someone who is thinking of starting their EA career at Headroom?
Don`t hesitate and join our team: starting at Headroom has been one of my best decisions. You will be well trained. You get your own coach. No need to be embarrassed to ask for anything. Your colleagues
are there for you if you have a question. And best of all, you can work remotely (did I mention that already?).
If you want to nail the application and job interview, make sure you review the key interview questions we always ask to EA candidates, and tips on how to answer.
What is one new skill you’ve recently learned in your role at Headroom?
All the ins and outs of Gmail (previously only worked with Outlook). I’ve also been working more regularly with Hubspot, Notion, Aircall.
Are you ready to unlock your career?
Headroom offers Remote Executive Assistance to ambitious entrepreneurs & C-suites across Europe. We are an innovative and fast growing company with headquarters in Amsterdam.
Every day, our Executive Assistants create headroom for our members and help them unlock growth and new possibilities, one task at a time. Making the world a little better along the way.
Based on years of experience and best practices from the entire EA team, we have developed a learning academy and an intuitive task management platform that helps you become the best Executive Assistant you can be.