The Vital Role of the Executive or Administrative Assistant

The Vital Role of the Executive or Administrative Assistant
The Vital Role of the Executive or Administrative Assistant

Date(s): -
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Whether you support the School Head or another administrator, lead from your position in a manner that sets you and your school apart. Learn proven strategies and tactics for supporting your supervisor, your team, your mission, and your school.

Are you meeting your professional goals at your private-independent school? How does your role connect to the school’s mission and hold students as central to your work? Do you feel supported and empowered by your supervisor and colleagues? Have you set and maintained boundaries so that you have adequate time to execute your work?

This workshop helps you frame or reboot your affirmative responses to these and other points of your career. Guided by an experienced workshop leader and working with a group of individuals in similar situations, develop your own professional development plan for implementation. Enhance your ability to deliver results that positively impact all constituents’ school experiences.


    • Discover and refine ways to lead from your support position to benefit your school and yourself.
    • Design a self-evaluation system that can be routinely and formally used to chart your professional development.
    • Discover how current technology can be used to strategically navigate your busy day and add value to your role.
    • Learn more about the projected evolution of the administrative support role.

      Who Should Attend:

      This workshop is geared toward executive assistants of various experience levels, assistants to School Heads and Division Heads, and receptionists with one year of experience in a support staff position. Assistants to Directors in Admission, Advancement, or Business Office can also attend.

      Helen Foster

      Helen Foster, J.D.

      ISM Consulting Manager


      Helen’s corporate and public sector project management experience in the areas of procurement, education, and healthcare have helped her hone skills in marketing and sales, customer service, proposal writing, and workshop facilitation.

      Current Role

      As ISM’s Consulting Manager, Helen helps ensure ISM consultants match their skills and expertise with private-independent schools across the globe. Helen brings over 25 years of diverse work experience to ISM, including a successful track record of for-profit consulting and nonprofit education and health care management.

      Prior Experience

      Helen joined ISM as the Consulting Manager in July 2016 after one year as a Board member and four years as the Executive Assistant to the Headmaster at Saint Edmond’s Academy in Wilmington, DE.

      Helen has worked across diverse populations, departmental lines and affinity groups to deliver superior project execution. Her collaboration with and work in support of peer, volunteer, senior and executive level stakeholders has been demonstrated numerous through board directorships, most notably as a Trustee with the State of Delaware Board of Pensions since 2003.


      Helen received her J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law, her master’s degree in management from Lesley University, and her bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University.

      Workshop Schedule (subject to adjustment)

      (Continental breakfast is available starting at 7:00 a.m. and breaks are at 10:15 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily.)


      7:00 - 8:30 Registration and Breakfast

      8:30 – 10:15 Session One

      10:15 – 10:30 Break

      10:30 – 12:15 Session Two

      12:15 – 1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15 – 3:00 Session Three

      3:00 – 3:15 Break

      3:15 – 5:00 Session Four

      5:00 – 5:30 General Session

      5:30-6:00 Reception with ISM

      6:00 Dinner with ISM



      8:30–10:15 Session Five

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:15 Session Six

      12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15-3:00 Session Seven

      3:00-3:15 Break

      3:15-5:00 Session Eight

      5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM



      8:30–10:15 Session Nine

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:15 Session Ten

      12:15-1:15 Lunch with ISM

      1:15-3:00 Session Eleven

      3:00-3:15 Break

      3:15-5:00 Session Twelve

      5:00–6:00 Reception with ISM



      8:30-10:15 Session Thirteen

      10:15-10:30 Break

      10:30-12:00 Session Fourteen/Action Planning


      24.5 hours

      Workshop Location
      Hilton Penns Landing 
      201 South Columbus Boulevard 
      Philadelphia, PA 19106 

      The Hilton Penns Landing is on the Delaware River, adjacent to the Independence Seaport Museum and summer activities along the river. It is within walking distance to historic Old City Philadelphia. 

      A group hotel reservation rate of $219 is available until June 15, 2020. Subject to availability. Please wait until the workshop status is 'confirmed' before making your travel and hotel arrangements.

      Reserve Your Room

      Make your hotel reservations by:

      • Reserving your room online
      • Calling 215-521-6500 and let then know you are with ISM or Independent School Management Summer Institute

      The Hilton Penns Landing is pet-friendly. Please contact the hotel for details.


      Getting there from Philadelphia International Airport

      DIRECTIONS: Follow the signs to merge onto I-95 N. Take exit 20 for Columbus Blvd. Turn left onto S Columbus Blvd. Hotel will be on the right.

      Distance from Hotel: 11.7 miles

      Drive time: 15 minutes


      How will ISM communicate workshop information with me?

      It is essential that your school approves the following email addresses from ISM:


      You will be receiving all communication—including your confirmation email and access to your workshop's Google Drive account—from these e-mails.

      What does my registration fee include?

      All workshop materials, breakfasts, lunch or dinner daily, and social hours are included.

      What is not included in my registration fee?

      Hotel accommodations and travel expenses, other meals not noted.

      What should I wear?

      Meetings rooms are generally cold, as temperature control in meeting spaces and large convention centers is difficult. Please bring a sweater, jacket, or sweatshirt.

      Summer temperatures average mid-80s to a low of 65. It can get quite hot—into the 90s—and humid. The classrooms and guest rooms are usually comfortable, but you may want to dress in layers in case the rooms are too warm or too cool for you. Dress is casual. Wear whatever is comfortable—jeans, sweat shirts, sweaters, etc. For current weather conditions, we recommend checking

      What should I bring?

      You’ll receive a letter from your workshop instructor letting you know what to bring. However, please bring a laptop or tablet for online access.

      Where can I work out?

      The Hilton Penns Landing offers a fitness center and a pool, as well as bicycle rentals. Since the hotel is located on the river, you have easy access to walking in Old City, as well as on the riverfront.

      Can my special dietary requirements be met?

      Absolutely. Just give the Workshops Department a call at 302-656-4944, and we'll make sure your needs are accommodated.

      How much free time will I have?

      There are periods before, between, and after workshop sessions for relaxation, recreation, and socializing.

      Should I need medical or dental attention, where should I go?

      Should you need medical attention in a non-emergency, notify ISM staff and the hotel staff. The hotel can recommend what facilities are available, and may be able to supply transportation. In an emergency, call 911.

      Confirmation and Cancellation Policy

      We will correspond with you through email as soon as your workshop is confirmed, no later than two weeks prior to its start date. Occasionally, we may be forced to cancel an unconfirmed, scheduled workshop due to insufficient registration. So we ask that you do not make non-refundable travel arrangements until you receive notice that your workshop is confirmed. (ISM will not be responsible for any change/cancellation charges assessed by your airline or travel agent.)

      Tuition Payment and Cancellation Policy for In-Person, Group-based Programs

      Tuition must be paid in full 10 business days prior to the start date of the in-person, group-based program. An attendee with a balance due on the start date will be denied entrance to the program until the balance is paid in full.

      Cancellation requests must be made in writing by emailing, faxing to 302-656-0647, or mailing to: Professional Development Coordinator, ISM, 1316 N. Union St., Wilmington, DE, 19806.

      • Cancellations received more than 15 business days prior to the start date of the program will be fully refunded. Gold Dollars will also be fully refunded.
      • There will be no refunds for cancellations made less than 15 business days before the start of the program. For registrations paid for with membership Gold Dollars, the member school will receive a 50% refund of Gold Dollars.
      • Non-payment of tuition or no-show to the event does not constitute a cancellation. Full tuition will be due and payable.

      The Substitution Option and Wallet Option

      Should an attendee need to cancel less than 15 days prior to the start date of the workshop, the school has two options to avoid penalty. Schools may also exercise these options at anytime for cancellations. 

      1. The school may substitute another employee.
      2. The school may bank the funds for a future ISM registration. These funds must be applied to a professional development event within one year from the start date of the original workshop. After one year, the funds will be forfeited. To use banked funds, please call the Professional Development Coordinator at 302-656-4944 x152.

      *We DO NOT accept enrollments from consultants.



      Image of a teacher and students in class
      Image of a teacher and students in class

      Our Guarantee

      ISM believes in providing quality and excellence in all of our events and in ensuring the satisfaction of everyone who attends. Nearly 100% of our participants say they would recommend our events to their colleagues. If you are not satisfied with your event for any reason, ISM will credit the fee you paid toward another similarly priced workshop or will refund it.

      If you have any questions, click below to send us an email. 

      Workshop Registration

      Register for your workshop online by filling out the form below. If you'd prefer to register by mail, download our registration form.

      Image of a teacher and students in class
      Image of a teacher and students in class

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