OPSA is a SAQA recognised professional body for all administrative professionals in South Africa

10 Questions and a Selfie: Marié Mieny

Marié MienyWhat is your full name?

Marié Mieny

What is your professional job title?

School Administrator for the School of IT

Tell us more about yourself and the role you fulfil at your company.

I am the School Administrator for the School of IT and basically I run all the admin relating to the school and academia. I am the first point of contact for students and for my academics. I see my role as the Mom of the school, and my lecturers are my children and I have to keep them organised, and well trained! :- ) I absolutely love all my staff and will do anything for them and work really hard to make my school shine and look good! Some of my duties are simple, such as making sure the kitchen is well stocked with milk and coffee, and other duties are very complicated such as running and compiling examination reports which include complex excel formulas and macros or gathering and interpreting other school-related data.

What does a typical day in your life look like?

It definitely starts with a cup of coffee and greeting any of my colleagues that are in early like me.  My day typically starts at 08:00am (when the kids co-operate in the morning) and I take about half an hour to check through emails and Google Calendar so I know where everyone is and what my day will look like. I then start prioritising my work.  I will then often clean my white board and start a fresh new “To Do” list or update the one already there. During the semester I often see students throughout the day so my work is usually interrupted a few times in a day.  This is the nature of my job, so I don’t mind too much and I love it.

Finish this sentence: The ideal way to start my day is …

…To get in early when there is no one.  I literally do a happy dance!  I make coffee, switch on Classic FM and If I’m lucky I get to hear the breakfast quiz on Classic FM! I make my to-do list and get energised as I prioritise my day.  I admit when things are not too hectic, I will quickly check Facebook and also the news, especially at the moment for updates on the #FeesMustFall matter since it’s so pertinent to my work.

What are the most important tools, programs and systems you use for your work?

Absolutely the Google Suite.  I also very recently discovered a Google plugin called Boomerang! Its brilliant! I can schedule emails to be sent at later times and I can get reminders for emails that I have not yet had a reply on. I cannot tell you how awesome it is to be reminded that someone hasn’t answered an email you have sent! No more forgetting to follow up on emails!

The other critical tool I use is Google Calendar.  My boss, my colleagues, my critical deadline dates, my own meetings, to do list reminders etc… everything is in my calendar.

What are your favourite apps and why?

Google Apps.  I have Google Boomerang which is awesome as I mentioned.  I also recently discovered Doodle.com which is awesome for finding suitable times for meetings with a group of colleagues or large groups of students.  I have used this to determine a suitable catch up lecture time with students as well as for organising meetings. I also enable quite a few labs in Google Calendar, the most important one for me is the World Clock because I work with Australian colleagues and American colleagues.  So now at a glance I can see exactly what time it is in Melbourne Australia, or Washington DC!

How do you deal with conflicts or problems in the office?

It’s difficult but usually a deep breath and a strong cup of coffee helps to put things into perspective.  I have an awesome relationship with my boss and I often vent to him.  He usually then puts things either into perspective or approaches the issue from a more diplomatic perspective. I have also recently been exposed to the work of Erin Meyer and her Culture Maps, which has completely revolutionised the way I work with other people! Understanding why other people are different and how to work with people from different cultures will often minimise and even eliminate potential conflict in the office (http://erinmeyer.com/)

Do you have some advice for aspiring Office Professionals?

Embrace technology – it can really save you time if you use it correctly! And keep surrounding yourself with positive inspiring people. And by this I also include inspiring people world-wide to whom you can connect through YouTube if you have to! :- ) I have recently also attended the Global Leadership Summit (GLS) with such inspiring people and I am so energised and ready to take my department to new levels in whatever small way I can! Believe in yourself because you can do it!

Finish this sentence: My favourite thing about being an Office Professional is …

… that I get to inspire my other colleagues, I get to help my colleagues and share new and exciting ideas with them so that we can make a difference in our small way!

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