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Posted on Thursday, Jan 5, 2017
As official Official Recruitment Partner of New York City Football Club Hays placed Sarah Westlake, who has more than 10 years of experience as a personal and then executive assistant, with the club in 2015. We caught up with Sarah to find out about her career, her experience with NYCFC, and her advice to other administrators and assistants.
Executive Assistant to the President and Match Day VIP
Hospitality at New York City Football Club, LLC
How do you think the perceptions of being an Executive Assistant differ from the reality of the job?
I think the perception is that EAs simply schedule meetings and keep an organized calendar. The reality is that we all wear many different hats. My role does involve scheduling meetings, and keeping the calendar organized, but I also liaise with all departments of the company, coordinate company-wide events and trips for 100+ people, and well as book travel and organize catering when needed.
Additionally, I manage hospitality and protocol for all of our NYCFC home matches which is an entirely separate job from being an EA. This job involves sending out invites and itineraries for confirmed guests, organizing the seating arrangements, compiling a detailed executive briefing document, ordering special gifts, ticketing the guests, and coordinating all match day related logistics for protocol guests - both leading up to the game as well as on match day. We average 100 guests per game, so my job as an EA is also very heavily event related. It’s not “just” organization and scheduling.
How does working in football (soccer) compare to your previous industry?
I came from IMG Speakers which transitioned into WME/IMG Speakers. It was very similar to my job at NYCFC from an events standpoint because I coordinated all logistics pertaining to speaking engagements for our clients.
However, it is very different in an agency vs. a sports team. I worked heavily with the talent at IMG on a range of both large and small event. I worked on multiple events at one time with both the talent appearing at the events and our clients who were hosting said events. At NYCFC, I get to focus my energy on one sport, one team and work directly for one person.
What career advice would you give to someone looking to become a successful EA?
Organization, a sense of urgency and the ability to prioritize is key. You need to be proactive without stepping on anyone’s toes. If you go above and beyond, and do everything with a spirit of excellency then you will stand out and you’ll find lots of opportunities for career growth. I’d also say cut yourself some slack, no one is perfect. Have some fun along the way - I work with some really great people so I know who to go to when I need a laugh or a break. It’s a busy job, but it’s so rewarding to see everything come together on the day.
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