Today is Administrative Professionals Day, an annual event celebrated on the Wednesday of the last full week of April.
According to the International Association of Administrative Professionals, the idea was the brainchild of Mary Barrett, president of the National Secretaries Association.
The idea took hold and National Secretaries Day was first proclaimed in 1952 by then-U.S. Secretary of Commerce Charles Sawyer.
The name was changed to Administrative Professionals Day in 2000 to better describe the expanding responsibilities and wide-ranging job titles of administrative support staff.
Melanie Nicholson has served as secretary to three school superintendents and one associate superintendent during her 23 years with the Douglas County School System. Having served under former school superintendents Don Remillard and Randy Brittain, she currently works with Superintendent Gordon Pritz.
Nicholson, a product of the Douglas County School System herself, is a graduate of Douglas County High School.
Nicholson said she has to be on her toes working in her capacity of the superintendent’s “right hand.”
“You have to be ready to do whatever they need for you to do,” she said. “I keep the superintendent’s calendar and do what is needed to help out when calls come in and provide support for the school board.”
Nicholson added that her job also requires keeping accurate records and minutes of board meetings.
School Superintendent Gordon Pritz, as her supervisor, probably knows her work ethic better than anyone in the school system.
“Ms. Nicholson is one of the most caring and compassionate people I have had the pleasure to work with. She is extremely capable,” he said.
Nancy Lewis is executive assistant to Gary Miller, chief executive officer of Douglasville-based Greystone Power Corp.
She lives in northwest Paulding County and has worked at Greystone for 13 years. She was promoted to Miller’s executive assistant in 2007.
Prior to coming to Greystone, Lewis worked in a similar capacity for Honeywell for 25 years.
“I love this job because it is very varied,” said Lewis. “Very diversified. I have a set schedule of board meetings and committee meetings, but when you work for an executive committee, you are always being pulled in different directions.
“Greystone is a really good company to work for and I have a great boss. He isn’t a micro manager. I know what I have to do and I have the responsibility to not drop the ball.”
Greystone Power CEO Gary Miller said, “She’s the gatekeeper. She keeps up with my calendar and keeps everything organized. I’m a multi-tasker, which is necessary to do this job.”
Lillian Lester has worked as executive secretary for Douglas County Commission Chairman Tom Worthan for the past two and a half years, following a career in the medical field.
She describes herself as “very people and service-oriented, someone who strives to meet goals and provide answers for people in this job.”
“I am also very grounded in organizational skills,” said Lester, “which is a plus in working for the chairman and in coordinating his calendar in the board of commissioners’ office and for public events.”
She said that she really enjoys the job and the certain amount of freedom the position holds.