Executive Assistants

Mission : Possible - Meet Jodie Mears

Discover the strangest thing she's ever had to do as an Executive Assistant, the best advice she's ever been given, and the 5 essentials she keeps in her tool belt.

We're thrilled to kick off our Q&A series with our first guest, Jodie Mears. The Mission : Possible series will highlight some of the incredible (and sometimes downright strange) work that Executive Assistants do on a daily basis. This group of professionals are not only working all the hours to get the job done, but they're doing it with poise, professionalism and extreme attention to detail.  

Jodie Mears is a C-Suite Executive Assistant at Cohesive Group, but has also held EA roles at Korn Ferry, Collins Aerospace and EDF to name a few. And it doesn't end there. She's also the co-host of the Crodie Files Podcast, a mentor, panelist and PA Show Advisory Board Member.

You might ask where she finds the time to do everything? Well, EAs are a bit superhuman aren't they...  


What are the three words that sum up your job as an EA?

Reactive, Adaptable, Solution Seeker, Business Chameleon 

What are the things that you do regularly that aren’t in your job description?
  • Review and sign contracts on behalf of my Executive
  • Attend out-of-hours board meetings
  • Review policies and procedure documents 
  • Assist in the recruitment process 
  • Have delegation of authority for approvals
  • Company-wide initiatives as someone who has a broad view of the business and what it needs 
  • Mental health first aider
  • Newsletter contributor and coordinator
  • Lead projects
  • Negotiate financially with external stakeholders
What are the 5 secret weapons in your tool belt? 

1. Executive presence - Demonstrating the ability to confidently communicate internally or externally on behalf of senior leaders and the C-suite.

2. Project management knowledge - Assisting with key tasks and leading projects, knowing what questions to ask and what to consider.

3. Leadership qualities - Being able to work autonomously, communicate at the right level and lead projects confidently.

4. Flexibility and resilience - The ability to handle a fast-paced work environment, adapting to constant change and ambiguity with a positive mindset.

5. Business acumen and a growth mindset - Having a good understanding of business terms, language and acronyms as well as an understanding of governance and compliance requirements.

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Even superheroes can forget to check visa requirements.

Get the Executive Assistant's checklist for travel booking - your go-to list of essentials to remember when planning a trip.

How do you keep on top of new developments and expand your skill set?

I take control of my learning and development, never taking “no” or a lack of budget as an excuse or a blocker not to proceed anyway, especially when I know it will add value to myself and the business. I attend networking group events, discussions and showcase my expertise as well as seek others who can help me expand my skill set. I follow industry leaders, engage in conversations, I’m always curious so ask a lot of questions, I attend conferences and exhibitions for our profession and generally have the mindset that, if I am going to do something, do it well and go all out.

What are the tasks that take the most time in your job, that you wish didn’t?

Last-minute travel revisions can sometimes be irritating but I see that as an opportunity to solve an issue fast. Two months ago I might have said lengthy meeting notes, especially when there can be revisions and back and forth for days after, but I now use MS Co-pilot which has turned that laborious task into a pleasant one.

Tell us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult travel situation, and what you did

I had an executive already in another country who not only had an unstable internet connection and couldn’t update me in real time but also wanted to move hotels not once but three times in five days and not pay for unused rooms. I acted fast,  made calls to the general manager of the hotels and got it mutually agreed, this was mainly down to my existing rapport and networking with the hotel chain that made this easier.


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Best travel planning hack?

Know what's coming - be at meetings or have regular check-ins to ask about future travel plans. Choose hotel locations that require the least amount of moving around for your executive or team and be aware of cultural customs so your executive can make a good impression by being fully aware ahead of time.


“AI will be the end of all EAs” - true or false?

False - It could be the end of the assistant who doesn't step outside of their comfort zone and learn to take on something new to add value to the role. AI will not replace an EA, an EA using AI now and using it well, suggesting new processes and learning from it, will replace the EA who isn’t.


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What's the strangest thing you've ever been asked to do as an EA?

"Book swimming lessons for the executive in case the plane crashes"

What is the most unrewarding task in your day-to-day job?

Expenses. Double-checking colleagues are remaining in policy and being that “financial warden” or the one who always picks up on discrepancies - there are seldom thank you’s by highlighting this, it usually creates difficult conversations. 

And the most rewarding?

Getting those high-level tasks done, completing a task and moving the entire company towards a business goal. I also like the completion of a successful off-site event or internal meeting that has had a lot of thought and planning go into it.

What’s the best praise you’ve ever received as an EA?
  • "I could not have done this without you"
  • "You really went over and above assisting me and being there at any and every roadblock!"
  • "You are such a pillar to all of us"
Best advice you’ve ever given someone else?

Fail and learn from it quickly. 

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable especially when learning to network internally and externally. 

If someone is giving you a hard time - don’t react too quickly, kill them with kindness every time, just smile.

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Best advice you've ever received?

"Don't be too hard on yourself, and ask for help when you need it. Perfectionism is a form of procrastination"

Most memorable moment or day as an EA?

When I decided to take this role seriously and own it.  I remember the feeling of letting go of not caring anymore about what people thought, what they said, and what they were doing, and did it my way-I started becoming the best version of myself in a role I love.


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