- Stay agile to effectively support your executive in an evolving APS
- Understand the key traits required by top executives
- Make the shift to a strategic mindset
- Take control of your own professional development
- Build and grow your personal brand
- Focus on health and wellbeing for holistic job satisfaction
- Executive Assistants
- Personal Assistants
- Executive Officers
- Officer Managers
- Federal, State & Local Government
- Non Governmental Organizations
Attend to learn:
- Develop internal & external networks
- Shift to a strategic mindset & stay agile to change
- Take control of your professional development
- Develop your personal brand
Zelda la Grange was born in apartheid South Africa. After her secondary education, she completed a 3-year National Diploma. She started her career in 1992 at the Department of State Expenditure and in 1994 applied for a job in the Office of the first democratic Presidency.
In 1999, President Mandela hand-picked her from his personal staff to remain in his services beyond retirement.
Together with Professor Jakes Gerwel, Zelda was the only other founding staff member of the post-Presidential Office of Mr Nelson Mandela from where the Nelson Mandela Foundation was established. Zelda served President Mandela in various capacities over 19 years including Executive Personal Assistant, Spokesperson, Manager of Stakeholder relations, Aide-de-camp and Manager of his private office until his death on 5 December 2013.
She has been awarded by a number of organisations for her dedication and service to the late Nelson Mandela. She currently serves as the Patron for the First for Women Foundation, non-executive Director of the non-profit organisation Healing Hands and annually acts as a co-ordinator of Bikers for Mandela Day through which she pays tribute and disseminates the lessons learnt from her former boss in a charitable way. She is also a part-time employee of the Foundation for Professional Development where she presents leadership training.
She continues to inspire people through motivational speaking by sharing her life experiences on the international speaker circuit. Amongst others, Zelda has presented at TedxOxford and TedxAmsterdam, opened several local and international conferences or presented as key-note. In 2015 she was invited to speak at Campfire 2015, an exclusive annual private weekend on personal invitation of Jeff Bezos and Amazon.
On June 19th 2014 she published her memoirs entitled “Good Morning, Mr Mandela”. It is a story of love and hope in which Zelda shares her life and how serving Nelson Mandela for 19 years has had an impact on her life. She inspires through storytelling and shares some of the most private and public moments during her time at the side of the international statesman.
In December 2014, her book was announced to be the ‘Best Seller of the Year’ in South Africa and in 2015 in Brazil, with a population of over 200 million people, the book reached the top 10 best seller list. To date the book was translated into ten languages and is distributed in 15 countries, in addition to all the Commonwealth nations. The book recently also appeared in its Japanese translation format.
In February 2016 New York based Maven Pictures’ Trudie Styler, Celine Rattray and Jacqui Lewis obtained the rights of “Good Morning, Mr Mandela” for adaptation into film.
Department of Defence
Jenny O’Reilly has been the Executive Assistant to the inaugural Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force (IGADF), a statutory position, for over 12 years. The Office was established in January 2003, Jenny commenced working at the Office in 2005. She has been a part of the Defence family for over 38 years as both a spouse and an employee. She began her working journey as a Legal Secretary working for both country based and city based law firms. She has lived overseas for several years in Malaysia where she was heavily involved in volunteer work for the International Schools and various charity organisations. Her presentation will cover how she developed the role and functions of the Executive Assistant position from almost a blank canvas.
Department of Health
Elizabeth (Liz) Butler assumed the role of the Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Department of Health in July 2016.
Prior to her current appointment, Liz spent 2.5 years accompanying her husband on a Diplomatic posting to Manila, Philippines.
During a five year period (2008-2013), Liz worked for two Secretaries in the former Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, before accompanying Mr Blair Comley PSM, to his new appointment of Secretary of the former Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism.
Previously, Liz has fulfilled Executive Assistant roles to senior executives in a range of Government Departments, including the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Office of National Assessments, the Australian Taxation Office and the Department of Defence. From 2003-2004 Liz was Executive Assistant to the Head of Australian Defence Staff in the Embassy of Australia, Washington DC, USA.
As a career Executive Assistant Liz is committed to the professionalisation of the role and is a passionate believer in the increased capacity that highly effective Executive Assistants deliver to the workplace. Liz is actively seeks to increase the individual competence of Executive Assistants in her charge through the conduct of professional development activities, the implementation of formal mentoring programs and the promotion of organisational Executive Assistant networks.
Liz was a finalist in the Assistant Executive of the Year (APS 6 and above) in 2010 and was awarded the 2012 Executive Assistant of the Year in August 2012.
Minister for Human Services
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