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PA Profile: Shirley Ruiz, Senior EA at Citi

PA Profile Shirley Ruiz EA at Citi

Our Editor met up with Shirley Ruiz, a Senior Executive Assistant at Citi, to discuss the role
of an EA, her recent move from one international banking giant to another, and what career
success looks like to her.

What are the most important life and career choices and milestones that have led to your current role?

I have been at Citi for nearly six months now, prior to that I worked at HSBC, BNY Mellon and Standard Chartered Bank. There are three important events in my life that have led me to my current role. The first was my son getting married in Japan. I felt I needed a new venture in my life. I was then approached by a recruitment agency via LinkedIn proposing an exciting role at Citi which I applied for and got! This role not only provides assistance to the Executive ,but it also allows me to learn new skills and gain new knowledge. It felt like the perfect time and opportunity for me to face a new challenge, acquire new knowledge and meet a new group of talented people. The role of an EA is fast paced and forever evolving, not least in today’s environment of rapid technological advances.

What, in your opinion, makes a great Assistant today and how to futureproof the role?

The ability to learn and embrace new technology is key. We are on a stimulating and exciting journey. Technology will improve our work processes, automating routine tasks and providing easy and fast access to information. The role of an Executive Assistant will continue to be the linchpin connecting executives with crucial information on one side, whilst proving a human touch on the other.

What do you enjoy most about working at your current role?

Aside from the EA duties, I enjoy helping to create an environment that’s conducive to success, based on collaboration amongst the team members and those carrying out the varied responsibilities. I also enjoy discovering new digital tools and learning new skills. It is a constant learning curve, and I am loving it.

What do you find most challenging in your role?

Dealing with multiple demands, and having to change conflicting priorities at last minute. Keeping track of different activities to ensure project deliverable timelines are met and that stakeholder presentations are prepared on time. However, I manage this by ensuring I keep a to do list, reminders and prioritise tasks and deadlines and focus on what I do.

What would be your top advice for a newbie wanting to enter the Assistant profession?

Being an Assistant is very challenging however it can also be rewarding. Have an open mind, love what you do and don’t take things personally. Be professional and always provide the best service you can to assist your manager. Establish good communication from the start and build trust with your actions.

Who do you admire and why?

I don’t have a specific person in mind; however, I admire all parents, and it’s still mostly mothers, who are successful in balancing their personal and professional lives. Their dedication is truly inspiring.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given and by whom?

My grandfather said to me when I was very young that knowledge is power but always be humble, work hard and treat people as you would expect to be treated.

Are you involved in any special projects, either at work or during your free time, that you are particularly passionate about?

I enjoy volunteering at various events from the London Marathon to charity events such as cooking and wrapping Christmas presents for children. I also love booking events and getting away at weekends. I love organising it all, and it’s especially fun when I manage to find great discounts.

What are your favourite things to do and places to visit in London?

I love walking and exploring different areas and places, and London is a great place for that with its iconic landmarks. I recently visited the Rose Court in the Bankside which boasts stunning panoramic views. I walked back by the river, passing the Globe Theatre and The Millennium Footbridge with Tate Modern and St Paul’s Cathedral on each side of the bridge – the architecture was outstanding, very exhilarating.

Travelling is my passion and I have a bucket list which includes visiting the wonders of the world, UNESCO World Heritage sites and famous landmarks. This year I visited the Iguazu Falls situated between the Argentinian province of Misiones and the Parana in Brazil. I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction out of travelling, as well as a sense of achievement. It’s a lovely way to learn new things and broaden my horizon whilst discovering new places. I enjoy meeting people from different countries and cultures, and making new friends. I’d love to continue travelling as long as I have the strength and health to be able to do so.

What are your go-to places when booking your executives for a business lunch or dinner in London?

As for London restaurant recommendations, I regularly book the Rules restaurant for lunches and dinners. It’s a great restaurant and never disappoints.

A former colleague has this to say of Shirley:

“Shirley is one of those people who lights up a room with her smile, positivity and happiness. It’s always a pleasure to work with her – so hardworking and showing a high commitment and dedication to any task in hand. She’s a real team player who looks out for others, and an excellent friend.”
Jenny Brittain – a former HSBC colleague

You can connect with Shirley on LinkedIn

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