NYGC Celebrates Administrative Professionals’ Week 2022
Before there was an Administrative Professionals’ Day, there was a National Secretaries’ Day, created in 1952. The designated moment of celebration was first dictated by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Charles W. Sawyer, as National Secretaries’ Week, held from June 1 through June 7. In 1955, Secretaries’ Week was moved to the last full week of April, with Wednesday marked as National Secretaries’ Day. In 1981, the name was changed to Professional Secretaries’ Week but, in the year 2000, it became Administrative Professionals’ Week in order to include the wide range of responsibilities and job titles of administrative staff in the modern economy.
The day has undergone several makeovers to reflect changing administrative titles and responsibilities in the modern workforce, but the initial goal to celebrate and recognize all the hard work administrative professionals do has remained. With remote and hybrid teams becoming part of the new normal, recognizing the efforts of support staff is more important than it’s ever been. At most companies, administrative professionals have been the glue for the teams they support, tackling new challenges and exhibiting grace under pressure while helping employees stay connected, engaged and productive during the pandemic.
As part of Administrative Professionals’ Day/Week, the New York Genome Center (NYGC) thanks the many administrative professionals at the Center for their hard work and their support, especially during the pandemic shutdown.
Learn more about a few of these professionals below:
Executive Assistant to Faculty (Sanjana, Lappalainen, Gürsoy)
Tell us about your current role at NYGC: I’ve been at NYGC since November of 2019, offering support to the faculty labs and working with other administrative professionals within NYGC.
What got you interested in working at NYGC? I had read about the work that NYGC was doing and thought that it would be a great opportunity to be a small part of an organization that was dedicated to advancing science and medicine for everyone. I’m amazed every day with the work that people do here, and what it means for the future of medicine and scientific research. And I was particularly interested in working with students that were finishing their graduate studies/starting their careers.
Have you seen the role of Administrative professionals evolve over the years? If so, how? I have worked as an assistant for various companies for over 10 years, and have definitely seen a change in how an administrative support team is viewed. It’s nice to see the shift from ‘secretary’ to ‘administrative assistant’ and it feels like admins in general are more included as part of the team, rather than an afterthought.
What/who is your biggest inspiration? My parents are a great inspiration to me, as they both taught me the value of not only hard work, but finding joy in what you do, not being afraid to try new things, and trying to be an example of kindness to everyone you interact with.
What do you enjoy doing besides work? I love singing and playing piano, spending time with my husband and friends, a nice bourbon, reading, and binging either “Prestige” or absolutely ridiculous TV.
Human Resources & DEI Assistant
Tell us about your current role at NYGC: I am the Human Resources & DEI Assistant at NYGC. I provide administrative support to the Human Resources team and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Advisory Group (DEIAG). My role involves recruitment, coordinating onboarding and offboarding of our colleagues, coordination of our under-represented minority intern program, and as I am new to the organization, I am gradually picking up more responsibilities such as managing leaves of absence, employee benefits and payroll.
What got you interested in working at NYGC? The people! Having worked here temporarily during someone’s maternity leave for a few months right before (then during) the pandemic, I had an opportunity to work with such a wonderful team. I also saw the great work that NYGC does and felt that I really wanted to support their mission.
Have you seen the role of Administrative professionals evolve over the years? If so, how? Early in my career, I started out as an Administrative Assistant and that role quickly went from ordering supplies, writing memos and taking notes to conducting screenings/interviews, orienting new hires, and planning/coordinating events. In recent years, the role has evolved even further, taking into account hybrid and remote work schedules. The shift from everything being in-person to being online and trying to keep organized, while maintaining unity and building relationships is certainly quite a challenge!
What/who is your biggest inspiration? I’d have to say my family. They keep me going and help me keep things in perspective.
What do you enjoy doing besides work? I enjoy traveling (pre-COVID), camping/relaxing outdoors, reading, painting, and I dabble in a bit of cooking/baking.
Tell us about your current role at NYGC: My role at NYGC is an important first impression for visitors to the Center. I am the go-to person when someone needs assistance with finding out information either by phone, email or in person. As the Reception/Office Assistant I am involved in all aspects of activities at NYGC. I am here to help everyone whenever needed.
What got you interested in working at NYGC? Coming from Jamaica where the people are of several races, it was intriguing to be offered a position at NYGC when the Center opened at 101 Avenue of Americas. I have always been curious about my family genetics; we are of many different races in my family, and as a child we were taught early about our ancestry. While working at NYGC, my brother and I sent genetic samples to ancestry.com. In the Island of Jamaica, ancestry is important to our people.
Have you seen the role of Administrative professionals evolve over the years? Administrative assistants play an integral role in the success of an organization. In the past, the main requirements for administrative assistant jobs were typing and word processing skills and knowledge of business telephone systems. Responsibilities of administrative assistants have increased, with tasks becoming more varied and complicated. Administrative professionals are collaborative team members with various skills as they interact with a broad range of people, including vendors, clients, and employees. My role has evolved over the years to include working with more departments, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. I was considered an essential worker and as such, worked weekly to help off-site employees transition smoothly.
What/who is your biggest inspiration? My grandmother; she was an entrepreneur with a business that serviced the community in Manchester Jamaica with food supplies, feed and grain for the animals, clothing, and anything else needed for the home. She worked tirelessly to help others in the community and never forgot them when she migrated to the USA.
What do you enjoy doing besides work? Traveling has always been one of my favorite activities; having family and friends that live in various countries allows me to see how others live. Working at NYGC gives me the opportunity to meet a diverse group of people daily; we discuss their country of origin, politics, and places I may visit during a vacation. My other activity is collecting clothes, books, buying food items and computer supplies to be shipped for a school in Trelawny, Jamaica.
We must always remember to help others whenever we can.
For more feature spotlights and other information, return to our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion main page.