Happy Administrative Professionals Day!

Administrative Professionals

If you’re an administrative professional, you know your job goes far beyond the old cliches of answering phones and endless filing. Today’s administrative professional wears many hats, from project manager to editor to accountant. Administrative Professionals Day is Wednesday, April 25, so what better way to celebrate than featuring a handful of our own hardworking Grinnell Mutual employees?

But first, some history

The National Secretaries Association was formed in 1942 to support the personal development of administrative professionals and to help attract workers to the field. In 1998, the association’s name was changed to the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). The first National Secretaries Week was held June 1–7, 1952.

A league of their own

Cheryl Banzhaf, a Grinnell RE and Mutual Adjuster Program administrative assistant, has been with Grinnell Mutual for 39 years. Like most careers that have spanned a few decades, Banzhaf has seen her job change quite a bit over time, but she maintains that one of the common misconceptions of administrative work has remained since day one.

“There are people out there who think it’s an easy job that anyone can do,” she said. “But a typical day is actually very busy — there are basics like answering emails and distributing mail, but the bulk of my job involves handling incoming calls for the Reinsurance department, plus contracts, letters, and special billings for the Mutual Adjuster program. It’s a challenge to schedule my time wisely so I can fit everything in.”

Sherry Harthoorn, a retired Personal and Farm Casualty Underwriting administrative assistant, worked at Grinnell Mutual for over 30 years and enjoyed the fact that no two days were alike.

“It’s true that people have the misconception that admins only perform simple tasks and don’t make important decisions, but my team wanted to hear my ideas and included me in daily complex processes,” she said. “That meant a lot to me.”

After 33 years with Grinnell Mutual, Executive Assistant Kim Pickett can safely say she knows a thing or two about juggling multiple responsibilities and unpredictable timelines.

“There’s really no such thing as a typical day,” she said. “Having to cope with an ever-changing set of priorities and handling everything from Board meetings to report preparation ensures tomorrow won’t be a predictable repeat of today.”

“We’re an integral element of an executive’s professional life,” Pickett continued. “Our skills, knowledge, capabilities, and responsibilities make our executives' work lives easier and smoother.”

For more information

There are more than 22 million administrative and office support professionals working in the United States, according to IAAP. Many work in independent agencies and for Grinnell Mutual members. We salute them not just on April 26, but every day of the year for their significant contributions to the workplace. Know an administrative professional who wants to work for a progressive, innovative company? Direct them to our Careers page today!