Meet Alia McCord, Executive Assistant at Scale Computing
Employer: Scale Computing
Job Title: Executive Assistant
Degree Path: Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism, Conventions, and Events Management
Hometown: Monroe, IN
Current City: Indianapolis, IN
What led you to your getting into tech and this occupation? What was your first job in tech?
Prior to entering the tech field, I had been working as a customer service representative for a few years, and I was looking for a change. I came across an open position for an Office Coordinator at Blue Pillar, and I jumped at the opportunity.
What has been your career path so far?
I worked as a customer service representative for Anthem BCBS for about 4 years before making the transition to be the Office Coordinator at Blue Pillar. During my time at Blue Pillar, I was promoted to be the Office and Events Manager. After 5 years at Blue Pillar, I was approached with the opportunity to come to Scale Computing as the Executive Assistant to the CEO, and I’ve now been here a little over a year.
When you think of a day in your life, what are the main work activities you do or responsibilities you have?
One of the great things about my role is my responsibilities can vary greatly from day to day. It never gets boring! My main responsibility is taking care of our CEO, which primarily includes managing his calendar, scheduling meetings, completing his expense reports, and booking travel. Another huge part of my role is managing our office. I facilitate any needs with the building, manage vendors, maintain office supplies and snacks/beverages, greet visitors to the office, and assist with onboarding new employees. The last major category of my position is planning our corporate meetings and events, which includes sales kick-off meetings, All Hands calls and meetings, board meetings, and President’s Club trips. I also participate in an internal team that plans and orchestrates fun events in our office on a monthly basis.
Help us picture your work environment.
I work in an open-concept office in the Union 525 building in downtown Indianapolis. If you aren’t familiar with the Union, it’s a very unique space with companies ranging from one-person companies just getting their start to larger companies like Scale that are growing rapidly. We have slides, an amazing coffee shop (Dry Bones Mud House), and a basketball gym. It’s a fun place to work!
I work from the office most of the time, but I do have the flexibility to work from home on occasion. In my role, I interact with a lot of people, both within Scale and the Union building. So, it makes sense for me to be in the office most of the time so that I’m here to assist others in the office as needed. I typically travel 2-3 times a year to help with on-site logistics for meetings I orchestrate.
What do you love about the work you do?
I love that my work is ever-changing and challenging and that I have the opportunity to be impactful to the people with whom I work, be that through planning amazing events, striving to improve our corporate culture, or just making sure they have the things they need in the office so they can focus on their job.
Which personality traits, interests, and abilities are important or common for a person to succeed in and enjoy this occupation?
To succeed in this type of role, it’s important to be very organized and detail oriented. I have lists for everything! Additionally, it is essential to be a multi-tasker and to be agile, as needs are always changing. You need to enjoy working with and for other people, and be comfortable communicating across all levels of the company. Finally, it is helpful to build your network within the local community, including vendors, hotels, event and meeting venues, other people who work within your building, and people who are in similar professional roles.
Which tools/technologies or technical skills are particularly important for a person to be proficient in for HR & office administration jobs?
Being proficient in using Microsoft Office, Outlook, Gmail and Google Calendar are very important. I also highly recommend Evernote, which makes my life much easier.
Which soft skills (aka general business skills or employability skills) are particularly important for a person to be proficient in for HR & office administration jobs?
Communication, multi-tasking, time management, listening, negotiation, problem-solving, attention to detail, flexibility, project management, networking, and teamwork are all important soft skills for an EA to possess.
From your experience with new grads applying for and beginning HR & office administration jobs, are they missing any particular knowledge, skills, or experiences that hold them back? Please describe.
I would say that new grads entering this profession for the first time are likely missing experience with the day-to-day operations of a company, experience communicating directly with C-suite executives, experience booking and changing travel, and experience dealing with the idiosyncrasies of different departments within an organization.
Which resources, people, books, websites, etc. would you recommend to those who want to learn more or advance their skills in this occupation?
One of the most valuable learning opportunities I’ve found is networking with other individuals in similar roles. I also recommend attending EA conferences, such as the Executive Leadership Support Forum, listening to EA related webinars, and subscribing to newsletters such as OfficeNinjas.
What encouragement or advice would you offer to others considering this occupation or wanting to stand out amongst others?
Be confident in your abilities! Speak to your strengths and don’t be afraid to have new ideas and share them!