The World Administrators Summit (WA-Summit) is the 1.5 – 2.5 day working meeting of administrative professionals held every 2 – 4 years. The purpose of this global meeting is to … guide, influence and positively develop the profession. This meeting is focussed on discussing topics of importance to all administrative professionals around the world. The topics are gathered through a global survey of those working in the profession, seeking matters that are reflective of the critical issues facing all administrative/office professionals. The topics discussed lead to an Outcomes document and feed into Administra The World Action Plan which is for administrative professional associations and individuals. Administra is a set of guidelines and not rules.
Formally appointed Delegates from every country in the world may attend. Each country may have no more than three Delegates. Most Delegates come from the professional association in that country for example: International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), the International Management Assistants (IMA) or the Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand Inc (AAPNZ). However some countries do not have an administrative professional association or their association does not wish to participate. Then an individual may apply to be a country Delegate. The Delegate Credentialing Form must be fully and properly completed before being submitted to the Chairman of the WASummit Advisory Council for acceptance and all criteria must be met, including sending through a photograph.
The next WA-Summit is the 11th and is in Wellington New Zealand on 30, 31 August – 1 September 2020.
The WA-Summit is an international platform where peer-to-peer discussions are held on relevant topics which impact those working in the administrative profession. It provides an opportunity for each individual administrative professional to be heard and contribute to the recognition of their work as a profession. For the individual their participation is called for through responding to surveys and ensuring their country is present to represent their views.
The discussions at a WA-Summit lead to outcomes which includes research to support those outcomes such as: the reports from the 2015 discussions: International Credentialing, International Networking and International Position Titles and from 2018 a White Paper on the Image of the Profession. The outcomes also lead to the development of tools of value to the administrative professional such as the new Skills Set Matrix being developed, templates to assist with personal and professional development and valuable information and tools to assist with the management of workplace harassment.
As the WA-Summit is a non-profit making event and is run by dedicated volunteers, sponsorship is very important. The aim of sponsorship is to keep the cost of the WA-Summit registration down so that each country can afford to attend and can consider sending their full complement of three delegates. Without sponsorship this would not be possible. Sponsors get coverage in the countries that attend, in 2018 that was 22 countries from around the world. They also get exposure through this website and through our long-term strategic partnership with Executive Secretary Magazine.
The WA-Summit Advisory Council currently is an informal body that, under a voluntary Chairman, manages the WASummit event and the between summits research.
The new organisation, the World Administrators Alliance (WA-Alliance) will be a formal structure (a Non-Profit Trade (profession) Association) which will replace the Advisory Council. The new structure will enable responsiveness and resilience for the WA-Summits and the between WA-Summit tasks. The WA-Alliance will be responsible for the WA-Summit, which will retain its name.
The details are not yet finalised, but it will be a formalised structure which incorporates:
Information on these changes from the Task Force working on the “Future of the WASummit Advisory Council ” will be shared as promptly as possible and, as we go through this development, feedback will be sought as and when appropriate.
Our intent in using the term “administrators” is that it speaks to the scope of practices and activities surrounding our roles as well as those essential to conducting business. For those in the administrative profession a significant issue is the huge number of titles both within countries and across the globe. Each country usually have preferred titles (for example: Personal or Executive Assistant, Office, Business or Management Assistant). These titles can appear unwelcoming to those who undertake general administration, for example administrative assistant, filing clerk, receptionist, etc, who do not hold such titles. However, whatever the title and tasks the core of all these roles is administration. To administration a range of other tasks from reception to accounts to full strategic partner reporting to a C-suite manager are added.
If we look at a another profession having one word to describe a role for example:
It is very hard to be heard as a cohesive group internationally if we do not have a single word which generally encompasses our work. Be proud of the overarching title as well as our own personal position title.
The new structure needs to differentiate from the WA-Summit event so we chose a different but linked name. Some responses we received in our survey on the name choice are:
These responses mirror the thinking of the Task Force working on the Future of the WA-Summit Advisory Council.
The members of the WA-Alliance will come from around the world, check out these three documents which are the initial communications and a structure diagram, setting out the initial intent.
The actual details for the WA-Alliance have yet to be finalised. However:
Details of how representatives will be selected are not yet finalised, however the Advisory Council ToR sets out how it is managed for the current Advisory Council. Also at present where the Advisory Council does not have all the skills required for the tasks that need to be undertaken, an appropriate person can be co-opted to fill that gap. As more details are developed and clarified that information will be shared and feedback sought when required.
Do note that a founding principle of the WA-Alliance is that “this committee would be required to have multi-country (global) representation to establish equitable practices and shared accountability, ensuring that no one country would seize control or dictate the governance and/or management of the alliance, including fund management.”
Details of how long representatives can serve on the WA-Alliance are not yet finalised. Currently, on the Advisory Council, there is a three year term with one roll-over for a second three year term.
The United States of America was chosen as the country to register the WA-Alliance. This is for two primary reasons:
It is recognised that many countries in the world will have some law which the WA-Alliance could benefit from, but the support mentioned above will be critical to managing and running the WA-Alliance.
The WA-Summit Advisory Council has been a loose voluntary body, with no specific “home”. It has been based in the country where the Chairman of the Advisory Council resides – currently New Zealand. With the WA-Alliance being registered as a Non-Profit Trade Association in the USA, it will have a “bed” with IAAP. However no single country (including the USA) will have control over the WA-Alliance.
The WA-Alliance will require funding to cover initial set-up costs for example:
To date many of the above costs have been funded through the personal generosity of the individuals involved.
The WA-Alliance requires a diverse funding model likely to include sponsorships, strategic partners, association membership, etc. None of the required figures have been fully debated yet. The Task Force working on this project is very aware that the finances of associations are generally tight and in some countries very limited and this will be considered carefully in our discussions.
Could there be a Travel fund from the WA-Alliance to support those who could not otherwise attend the WA-Summit?
This is a great idea and is something that the new WA-Alliance will try to work towards. The desire is that every country should be able to send at least one Delegate to every WA-Summit every two years.
Will the change to the WA-Alliance impact on an individuals relationship with IAAP?
There is no plan or intention to affect the relationships of any individual with their own country professional association, be it IAAP or any of the others around the world. Nor will it affect any certifications or credentials you gain through your own association
IAAP’s CAP exam – will there be a global credential to match up with this?
The WA-Summit in Frankfurt, 2018, agreed to have a task force to work on a Skills Set Matrix. This matrix is to incorporate the data gathered by the International Credentialing Team between 2015 and 2020. The Matrix will show what the different role levels might be, what skills sets fit within those role levels and what qualifications and certifications are available to administrative professionals and where they fit within those role levels. This information will not take away from any qualifications/certifications that any individual holds. It will however, allow an individual to see where their qualifications fit and what qualifications/certifications they need to gain to assist them to work towards a specific level. This is a huge piece of work that is being undertaken by volunteers. It may not be completed by 2020 but will be at least in a state where feedback can be sought from the Delegates present in Wellington.