If you’re a current subscriber, log in below. If you would like to subscribe, please click the subscribe tab above.
Username and Password Help
Bobbie Holt multitasks as she waits on hold in one phone conversation during a typical workday at Walker Motors in Memphis. Administrative professionals such as Holt are being honored this week as part of a national event to recognize the contributions of the key cogs of commerce.
Jasmine Hamner and Michella Hull in the Scotland County R-1 Superintendent’s Office are two examples of the hardworking administrative professionals that keep our community moving forward.
“What is in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” The line from Romeo and Juliet is central to the struggle Shakespeare writes about in the play, demonstrating that a name doesn’t offer true definition.
While a romance might denote Valentine’s Day, the concept matches up nearly perfectly with another celebration, Administrative Professionals Week.
Whether the job is referred to as a secretary, office manager, deputy, clerk, administrative assistant… what is in a name? An administrative professional by any other name would remain an individual tasked with coordination of information in support of an office related environment, specifically related to organization, paperwork, clerical duties, direction and management.
On a recent survey, the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), reported that a total of 520 different job titles were listed by respondents.
“It confirms that the administrative profession, is vast and various from top-down, and in a variety of fields.” said the IAAP report.
According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are nearly four million administrative professionals employed in the national workforce across a wide range of industry, with a focus in schools, hospitals, and government offices as well as legal and medical settings.
Nancy McClamroch and Mooreen Holton serve as deputy clerks in the Scotland County Clerk’s office. They are tasked with supporting various functions of the county government, such as budget preparation and tracking inventory.
“On any given day they may be helping conduct elections, balancing county funds against the treasurer’s report, processing payroll and accounts payable for all county offices, maintaining voter registration files, tracking road and bridge functions such as rock placement, overseeing construction and maintenance costs, issuing various licenses and notary commissions and maintaining the standardized addressing system for the county,” said County Clerk Batina Dodge.
In a nutshell, McClamroch and Holton offer perfect definition to the name administrative professionals. Regardless of the title, they are prime examples of the position which ultimately may best be illustrated as a juggler of many tasks to keep an office running efficiently.
The IAAP highlights this as the number one challenge for administrative professionals, juggling multiple priorities while keeping up with ever-changing technology being another test.
“Nancy and Mooreen do an excellent job of keeping up with the evolving duties for which the county clerk’s office is responsible,” said Dodge. “I am grateful to work alongside such dedicated public servants.”
Bobbie Holt has been the office manager at Walker Motors for the past six years.
“She does a lot of things for us,” said Brent Walker. “She is the front line for customer relations, answering the phones and greeting people that come through the door.”
But like a lot of other administrative professions, there is a lot more to Holt’s duties than may meet the eye of the standard patron at the office.
Behind the scene, she is tasked with bookkeeping and also does a lot of the parts ordering for the body shop.
“I get compliments all the time from vendors who are so impressed with how much knowledge she has of our industry,” said Walker. “Placing orders involves a great deal of detail, such as year of the vehicle, make and model, color, etc. It takes attention to detail as well as an understanding of terminology and industry-related vocabulary to make these transitions go so smoothly.”
On top of all the office work, Holt also puts in some elbow grease as well, handling much of the business’s finish detail work on vehicles.
“Bobbie really cares, and it shows in how she does her job,” said Walker. “Whether she has a phone in each hand, is transporting a customer back to work after they dropped off a vehicle, or scrubbing to make a car interior shine, her dedication to the customer is front and center. We are lucky to have her.”
Holt models the recent trend in the profession of better utilizing the abilities of the employee.
The IAAP survey reported that 81% of administrative professionals think their contribution to their organization has increased in the last five years.
Scotland County R-I Principal Kirk Stott’s observations would seem to support that finding.
“These ladies truly do run the school,” Stott said of the high school secretaries Lisa Humes and Hannah Bishop. “They are here from 7:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and serve as the first point of contact for our building.”
Bishop and Humes handle such tasks as answering phones, filing important documentation, communication to parents and students, inputting important student information in the district computer system, running the food service computer system at lunch, finding substitutes for teachers, delivering daily announcements over the intercom to students, keeping track of and delivering financial obligations to the bank, delivering and dispersing mail.
“These ladies are usually the first face the community sees and voice they hear when they enter our building,” said Stott. “They help keep everyone and everything organized every day through the organized chaos that is a normal school day.”
Elementary School Principal Erin Tallman echoed those sentiments regarding the secretaries in her building, Linda Hervey and Kathy Dickerson.
“There is no way to list every task they do,” said Tallman. “They are my sounding board and support on a daily basis. I truly believe that the rest of our staff would agree these ladies make the rest of our jobs possible. They are the friendly face that students, parents, community members and many others rely on for information and many other things. We would truly be lost without them.”
Scotland County Circuit Clerk Anita Watkins had similar praise for the administrative professionals in her office.
“The old saying goes ‘behind every great man is a great woman,'” said Watkins. “While I’m not a man, and am far from great, I feel that way with my deputies. Without their assistance, I wouldn’t be the Circuit Clerk that I am.”
Shelley Small has been a deputy circuit clerk since 2009. Sheila Himes joined the office in a part-time role in July two years ago.
Both deputies process new and existing court case, receive payments of fines and court costs, accept passport applications and answer inquiries from the public.
“I’m very proud of both deputies and I feel very blessed and grateful for the assistance they give,” said Watkins. “Their hard work and dedication does not go unnoticed.”