Administrative Professionals’ Day, an Interview with Elisa Raney

Administrative Professionals’ Day, an Interview with Elisa Raney


Hi. I’m Kelli Whitecar, Recruiting Manager at Parker Staffing. I had the opportunity to sit down with Elisa Raney our contractor at Adaptive Biotechnologies. We chose to feature Elisa for National Administrative Professional’s Day because of her outstanding work supporting executives in the biotech sector. I initially met Elisa in 2016 when she came to us as a referral from one of our other contractors at the Gates Foundation. I immediately recognized Elisa’s strong communication skills and professionalism and knew it would resonate with our clients in mission-driven organizations. Without further ado, here’s my interview with Elisa. What attracted you to this role and this organization? Well, I could tell right off the bat, when I interviewed, that Adaptive (Biotechnologies) is cutting-edge and they’re very innovative thinkers. I really valued that because I wanted to be challenged in the role that I took. Additionally, it’s a newer role, so it gave me the opportunity to really make it my own and establish meaningful processes. (Voiceover) Even from the first interviews which then was born out above and beyond, I think, people’s expectations Elisa was someone who didn’t just view her role as an administrative assistant as a functionary who simply followed whatever instructions she was handed, but, viewed herself as a critical team member who had her own insights and experiences to bring to the table on the issues at hand. And, who felt therefore that she was a part of a team and had her own contributions to make and her own insights for a given task, and could also be creative in terms of her approach to problems from the most (you know) routine to those that, I hope, within this position have challenged her to actually extend herself in terms of how she sees the role. When we first met, you told me about a social business venture that you started in college. Can you tell us all a little bit more about that? Yeah! TK Threads is the name of the company, and they work to empower formerly oppressed women through longterm employment in apparel manufacturing. We partnered with a former REI designer to create this business and ended up winning the Seattle Social Venture Competition as a result. We have handed it over to Jessica Watson now who is running it. When I interviewed you initially, you struck me as the type of person who is very involved with social well-fare activities. I was curious to find out if you are currently doing anything in your free time in the non-profit sector. I do! I am an overnight supervisor at a women’s shelter called Tabitha Shelter. Once a month I’ll stay there with about 8 women and sleep that night with them. Elisa, what advice would you give to someone who’s interested in starting their own social venture? Well first of all, you have to realize you can’t do it alone. I did it with a team who each came from different backgrounds and brought very different skill sets and perspectives to the table, so we had rich conversation and dialogue and I believe that led to the success of our social venture. Additionally, we all knew our limitations, and that allowed us to ask other people and get them involved which brought more engagement to the social venture itself. So essentially, it’s all about the community you’re around and bringing people into what you believe in. What advice would you give someone who’s starting an administrative support career in a cutting-edge industry? Well, first of all, every admin job is different, so you need to get an understanding of the culture of the organization and how that fits your own personality. Then when you’re in the role, you have to realize that there’s a lot going on and when you are in a cutting-edge environment, which is exciting, it can be a challenge. But that means that you need to think innovatively on how you can support and fulfill different needs that may not have been originally on your job description, but are ways that you can meaningfully contribute to the team. What advice would you give someone who wants to incorporate their passions into their professional work? I would tell them to just do it. You have to find the things that matter in each job and really focusing on that, have that propel you as you work each day. (Voiceover) I think at this point in time it’s fair to say that her performance has been such that the people at Adaptive (Biotechnologies) are invested in her not only in her current role, but also have begun to think seriously about career development. We chose Elisa as the administrative professional we wanted to recognize for National Administrative Professional’s Day And as a thank you for your time and all of your hard work, we wanted to donate a financial gift to the non-profit of your choice. That’s great!

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