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  • 1 Aug 2023 18:04 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    Diana Brandl talks to Karin Hélène, Executive Governance Officer of IMA Global and Head of the Director General’s Office of the European Spallation Source (ESS).

    Karin Hélène is Head of the Director General’s Office of the European Spallation Source (ESS), a European intergovernmental research facility under construction in Lund, Sweden. ESS will probe materials and processes down to the atomic scale using beams of neutrons, with a wide range of applications from engineering to energy to the life sciences.

    Karin is Swedish and has an extensive international background, having lived, studied and worked during a period of almost 20 years in the United States, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Thailand. She started her career as Executive Assistant in 1987 in Saudi Arabia and has worked within the private sector, the Swedish government and for non-profit organisations. She has worked at ESS since 2011.

    Karin was nominated and runner up for the Swedish Office Professionals Award in 2014, she believes in life-long-learning and is constantly looking for opportunities to develop her role, her most recent training focusing on the role of Chief-of-Staff and Management.

    Karin Hélène is the former Chair of International Management Assistants (IMA) in Southern Sweden and member of the Swedish National Board. Since 2020, she is a member of IMA Global Executive Committee where her role is Executive Governance Officer. Since 2018, she has represented Sweden at the World Administrators Summit.

    In 2015 she founded an internal network for assistants and support personnel at ESS and since a few years she is a mentor for students of the certified Executive Business Assistant education.

    Go to the podcast here


  • 1 Jul 2023 15:07 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    An article by iBabs - our Gold partner

    Meeting minutes are some of the most important documents for a business. They remind you why certain decisions were made and fulfil your organisation’s legal requirements, becoming essential as evidence in investigations.

    This makes correctness vital when recording minutes from a meeting. You need to present an accurate account of the proceedings that can prove helpful in the future. This article is packed with helpful advice for meeting administrators and assistants on how to be more effective when taking meeting minutes.

    Don’t be afraid to ask questions

    As an administrator, it is easy to feel as if you should remain in the background to perform your tasks in meetings. However, your task is essential to the governance of the organisation, so don’t be afraid to ask important questions to ensure you carry it out accurately.

    Here are some of the questions you might have to ask in a meeting to make sure your minutes are on point:

    • “Can you clarify this?”

    If you don’t understand something, just say. The chances are that the point was not clear and others may have also been confused by it. It is better to get it right straight away than to take up valuable time to make sense of it later.

    • “Are there any corrections from the previous meetings?”

    Ask attendees to rectify any mistakes from the previous minutes before you get into the next meeting. This saves discussion time in the future.

    • “Can I see a copy of the agenda?”

    Having a copy of the agenda helps you create a framework for the minutes, saving you time. Knowing what is happening and when means you can concentrate on what is being said rather than the structure of the meeting.

    • “Do you mind if I record the meeting?”

    Having an audio or video recording helps accurate minute taking. However, some meetings might feature private information that attendees do not want on record, so ask first.

    Tips for taking expert meeting minutes

    1.    Understand the topics

    Once you have the agenda for the meeting, research the topics up for discussion. This will make it easier to follow the conversation in the meeting.

    2.    Meet with the chair in advance

    Another way to ensure you understand the areas of discussion is to meet with the chair beforehand to gain an insight into how the meeting will run.

    3.    Create a template

    Having a framework that you can use for every meeting you minute takes a lot of the work out of the process, making your life easier.

    4.    Listen

    It seems obvious, but active listening is essential for following the discussion. If you are clued up on the topics and have a template, you are better able to dedicate yourself to listening carefully.

    5.    Be assertive

    You need to do all you can to carry out your job properly, and that includes speaking up if you need a point clarifying or repeating.

    6.    Check attendees in

    As meeting attendees enter the room, mark them off on your minute template. This helps you keep track of attendance for the official record.

    7.    Sit by the chair

    The seat next to the chair is the best place to ensure you can hear the entire discussion, as attendees direct their speeches towards them.

    8.    Take clear notes

    Keep the notes brief and clear and ensure they communicate the nature of the discussion as well as the decisions and action points. They don’t have to be word-for-word but should show the nature of the events accurately.

    9.    Write the minutes as soon as possible

    It is best to write up the minutes whilst they are still fresh in your mind. This helps you make them as accurate as possible without having to wrack your mind to remember key elements of the meeting.

    10.     Mix up your language

    Keep the minutes fresh by mixing up the language you use. Rather than just saying ‘agreed’, try swapping it for synonyms like ‘concurred’.

    11.     Use professional language and grammar

    Your minutes need to reflect professional actions, so they should be written formally. Use active language rather than passive, for example.

    12.     Adapt for remote meetings

    Many meetings take place in a hybrid or fully virtual manner now. Work with the chair to talk about how they will keep attendees engaged and in order, and be prepared to interrupt if there are any glitches or drop-outs.

    Technology to help minute taking

    Using a board portal, such as iBabs, you can save your minutes directly to the cloud and collaborate with attendees and the chair between meetings. This helps you ensure the previous meeting’s minutes are accurate and approved before the next meeting. You can also annotate the agenda through the portal, making writing minutes faster.

     

    Request a demo of iBabs


  • 26 Jun 2023 18:07 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    This article is written by Gina Theofilidou, Chair of IMA Greece

    In today's fast-paced society, it is more crucial than ever to find a place to belong and actively engage in a community. As social beings by nature, humans have a tremendous need for belonging and community. When we actively engage in a community, we not only feel a sense of belonging but also contribute to its expansion and success.

    What advantages come from belonging

    If we were to describe belonging, I would say it is the feeling of acceptance, inclusion, and importance as a part of a group or community. It is an essential human need. Belonging is the source of one's sense of security, identity, and purpose. It enables us to both foster a sense of community and while allowing us to enjoy our individuality.

    Emotional Wellness: Belonging to a group provides us with a sense of emotional support, which helps to minimize feelings of loneliness, isolation, and alienation. In a safe setting, we may openly express ourselves, share our experiences, and elicit sympathy and understanding from others.

    Personal development: By interacting with a variety of people, we increase our self-awareness, boost our self-esteem, obtain new perspectives, and learn important life skills.

    Shared Objectives and Values: People get a sense of fulfilment and significance when they have a sense of shared purpose.

    Social Support: Communities provide a vital network of support during trying times. When we need one other for emotional support, practical help, or collaborative problem-solving, we can rely on one another. We have many instances of this kind of inter-member support in IMA! Every national team can provide best practices and ways for helping its members.

    That is the one part of belonging, the easygoing one perhaps.

    But there is another side, and it is different because in that side, belonging it is a win-win situation. It involves give and take. It comes with benefits and responsibilities. It involves dedication and enjoyment. It comes with accountability, accountability of our own decision to do that crucial step aiming to expand our horizons and unlock new opportunities.

    Depending on their mission, associations are active, dynamic organizations that are essential to society or the labour market. Associations speak with one voice on behalf of its members, shape public policy, and promote advancement in their fields. Associations make a vital contribution to the expansion, development, and advancement of the communities and professions they represent through their devotion and dedication.

    Can you imagine the difference in our daily work or how we are treated in the companies or what would have happened in our profession, if there were no people that have taken the responsibility to create, to inform, to promote the importance of our role? If we are here now, is because some one took the responsibility to react and chose not to be a pathetic receiver of what was happening.

    People who share common goals, interests, and a desire to work together establish associations. More than benefits and privileges come with membership in an association; there is also requirements to actively support and contribute to the mission and core principles of the group.

    Although there might not be specific responsibilities assigned upon application approval and, in truth, I don't believe that, given our positions and experience, we need to have something in writing before we can respect it, follow it, and perform it, as members we do have duties to:

    Active engagement and participation in association activities and initiatives, attending meetings & events, sharing insights, thoughts, ideas, offering support and contributing to discussions, while upholding values and ethical standards.

    Contribute to the Association's Goals by offering our knowledge, abilities, and resources and by actively serving on committees, mentoring others, or actively taking part in initiatives.

    Share Successes and Challenges. Celebrate milestones, achievements, and request for feedback when we are facing challenges. We are all dancing in the same rhythm in our offices.

    Encouraging a favourable community culture by valuing different points of view and promoting a secure and inviting atmosphere.

    Acting as an Ambassador. You chose to be here, so here you are. Be happy to be here, then! because you can influence how industry standards, rules, and regulations are shaped. Create an elevator pitch with your colleagues in the network outlining who you are, what you do professionally, and why joining an association is important to your career advancement if you don't believe that you can effectively explain it to the world.

    Provide constructive feedback and ideas to the Board Members for enhancing the association's programs, initiatives, or communication channels. We are all a part of the larger picture; we are the team, we are IMA.

    Harness the Power of social media! Be the voice of the reasons you joined!

    Use your social media networks to distribute association updates and content that has been provided by the association. By doing this, you raise awareness of it and show that you support its initiatives.

    Participate in online debates: Participate in online forums, groups, and discussions pertaining to the association's industry or field of study. Share your perspective, pose thought-provoking queries, and participate in worthwhile discussions.

    Highlight association initiatives and events, and when you attend, document and post about your experiences online. Post pictures, share your essential insights, and inspire participation from others.

    When sharing content about the association and the profession, using hashtags and tagging other members makes it more discoverable. Ask you board members about which hashtags to use or propose hashtags, tag other users to promote connections and dialogue with people who share your interests.

    Belonging to an association is not just joining a group, it's discovering the power within you to make a difference, grow exponentially, and shape the future of your field. Together, we unlock endless possibilities, inspire one another, and create a community where our collective efforts create lasting impact.

    Embrace the strength of belonging! Embrace the strength of responsibility!

    Gina Theofilidou, Chair IMA Greece

    Virtual Business Support Professional, Owner of Your Distance Assistance

  • 27 Feb 2020 17:40 | Christina Kragh (Administrator)

    It is with our deepest regret we have to inform you that our founder, Mrs Sonia Vanular, passed away last night (26 February 2020) at the age of 98.

    Sonia was not in a very good condition since a year and a half and even more recently, her health state was slowly decreasing this last two weeks.

    It goes without saying that her passing is a big loss for our association. It is thanks to her that IMA now exists.

    She was the one who had a vision back in 1974 when she founded EAPS. She passionately encouraged our members to develop their role and to recognize the value and worth of the profession.

    EAPS changed name in 1998 to EUMA and again to IMA in 2017, but Sonia was always there fully and actively supporting every change to meet the requirements and changes of our profession. She followed her baby very closely and saw it growing into an association of more than 1600 members in more than 30 countries worldwide. Today, IMA is the only international network for management support professionals and we would not have been here without Sonia.

    Sonia loved life and we are sure we will all remember her with our personal memories and stories.

    Let’s all join forces and work together in order to keep her heritage alive for many more years to come. Let's continue to honor her tremendous and beautiful legacy.

    We will keep her in our prayers.

    Rest in peace Sonia, we will miss you.

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