Executive Assistant Tips

The Power of Authentic Networking: Lessons from the Founder & CEO of EA Social Club | Becky Kaapuni

As executive assistants, we often focus so much on supporting others that we neglect our own professional and personal development. But here's the thing: building a strong network of genuine connections is one of the most valuable investments we can make in our careers and personal development.

When I started the EA Social Club, a community dedicated to bringing EAs together for meaningful connection and support, I had no clue it would grow from a simple dinner series in San Francisco into a worldwide movement with events held across the globe. I've seen firsthand just how transformative authentic networking can be. The secret sauce to our success and the magic of the EA Social Club is all about creating a space where EAs, PAs, and support staff can be their true, authentic selves without all the competition, rivalry, and toxicity that can sometimes plague our industry. By coming together as equals, we learn from each other, offer guidance, and build genuine relationships that go way beyond the workplace.

Every single connection you make has the potential to shape your career path and personal life in a big way. Here are my key reasons for why authentic networking is so darn powerful:

Unlocking Opportunities: Your network is often your greatest asset for finding new job prospects. Take my current role supporting the CEO of AI at Salesforce, for example. I got this opportunity because I met my executive eight years earlier after connecting with her husband, who was looking for an EA. Even though he couldn't afford me then, he introduced me to his wife, who was also hiring for her startup. While she couldn't hire me then either, she remembered me when she was at Salesforce and needed a new EA. People are way more likely to vouch for or hire someone they know, so cultivating genuine relationships can open up opportunities you never could have imagined!

Accessing Collective Wisdom: As EAs, we have an incredible wealth of experience and expertise to share with each other. When you build a strong network, you tap into a vast pool of knowledge that can help you tackle any challenge. Whether you're navigating a tricky travel itinerary, looking for tips on managing up, down, and peer-to-peer, or needing help with a tough boss, your network has your back with invaluable guidance and support.

Plus, authentic networking can do wonders for your self-esteem:

1. Validation and Belonging: Connecting with colleagues who understand your unique role helps you feel validated and a part of a community.

2. Positive Feedback: Genuine relationships lead to praise and compliments, helping you recognize your own value.

3. Imposter Syndrome Relief: Networking with accomplished peers normalizes self-doubt while affirming your talents and achievements.

4. Increased Influence: A strong professional network expands your sphere of influence, boosting your sense of personal power and agency.

5. Reciprocal Support: Helping others in your network increases your sense of self-worth through service to others.

So, how can you start building your own network of authentic connections? Here are a few tips:

1. Follow me!

2. Join the EA Social Club for events to meet other EAs in your area and/or network virtually; check us out at

3. Join online communities and forums to connect with peers

4. Start one-on-one conversations with colleagues and peers - trust me, it gets easier with practice!

5. Approach every interaction with curiosity, empathy, and a desire to learn

Remember, authentic networking isn't about collecting business cards or making small talk. It's about building real relationships based on shared values, experiences, and goals. It's about showing up as your true self and creating a community that supports that.

While networking can feel awkward, it's important to remember that we can do hard things. Start small, approach networking with a growth mindset, and focus on building genuine relationships based on shared objectives.

As executive assistants, we have the power to change our industry through the connections we make. By embracing the power of authentic networking, we can level up our careers, boost our self-esteem, and help create a more compassionate and collaborative professional environment for everyone.

Becky Kaapuni

Founder & CEO EA Social Club

Sr EA, CEO of Salesforce AI

20+ years of Executive Assistant experience, having partnered with prominent leaders in high-pressure and fast-paced companies, such as Salesforce, Twitter, Goldman Sachs, and BMO Capital Markets. Outside work, Becky offers admin support to a rescue in NY, offers 1-1 ad-hoc mentoring sessions to EA/Admin professionals, uses her voice to advocate on behalf of the admin profession, and focuses on building the admin community through the EA Social Club.

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