The Savvy Assistant

A Day of Thanks from these Awesome PA’s

· Assistant Tips


Happy Thanksgiving to All Savvy Readers!  What a perfect day to reflect on the blessings & gifts we have had this past year.

~A fun twist this year. Enjoy what our AWESOME PA’s have said they are thankful for as well as highlighting their charity of choice~


Tiffany Rinehart:

I am grateful for my family, friends & health.

One charity that I work a lot with is .It is a great organization that offers tickets to sporting events and concerts to actively serving soldiers and veterans. We give them tickets to all of Kathy’s tour dates.



Donna Coulling:

I’m grateful for all of the support my friends and family have given me throughout this roller coaster year. Thankful to the companies who have employed me and given me the opportunity to travel globally and meet incredible PA’s (not so thankful for all of the jet lag and probable early ageing!), I’m very grateful to Williams Sonoma and their peppermint bark hot chocolate (yet ungrateful they won’t ship it to the UK!)

I support Centrepoint who support homeless young people to give them a future – no-one deserves to be homeless ever. And over the holidays this always feels more magnified.


This year, I’m thankful for my growing family: the arrival of my first niece this September, and the expectation of my first child – a girl, coming in February! I’m grateful for my husband: for the support he gives me every day, for his patiently moving and assembling furniture to get ready for the baby, and especially for the 2 cases of It’s-It ice cream sandwiches he ordered for our first anniversary on November 9th.


NYCA has added a charity component to our annual holiday party; last year we donated toys to local kids affected by Superstorm Sandy, and this year we will be holding a canned food drive for City Harvest ( Personally, the charity I support on a regular basis is Heifer International (, which aids and empowers impoverished communities around the world through livestock gifts and agricultural education to provide food and sustainable income for the long-term. Donations range from a share of a goat ($10) or a flock of ducks ($20), to the Ark ($5,000).

city harvest

Bonnie Low-Kramen:
I am grateful for my 25 year old son Adam who calls to tell me he loves me and we have great talks about real things.

The charity I support is 180 Turning Lives Around based in Freehold, NJ Domestic Violence Services for Women, Men, and Children


Brandon Branch:

I’m thankful for Gin and Tonics after a long day of work, my 2 dachshunds Simon and Charlie, and a boyfriend who loves to clean house!!

The Charity I support is The Baglady Foundation. Paula Deen started this foundation. It gives money and help to women and children who need a hand up. I have seen first hand the power of this charity and it has changed my life.

the bag lady

Kelly Kall:

I am very thankful for my family, friends and my wonderful job and amazing boss. This has been a hard year for my family, but I think it has made us stronger and closer. I’m lucky to be surrounded by great friends out here in LA and I am thankful for my boss who has given me time off to visit my Dad who is very sick.

This year I have donated to a few cancer charities as this hits home for me. I am also a big supporter of any animal charity/animal rescue

Ninie Lewis:

I am thankful for my husband, our three special needs dogue de bordeaux dogs/kids who have been quite a challenge, and have changed our lives in the best way ever! I am also thankful for my awesome job that allows me to work from home, donut holes, beachbody workout dvd’s, and my dvr. 

Tazzy Fund Rescue operates as a full functioning animal rescue, while focusing on seniors and the medically challenged. I became friends with the founder Leilani while I was helping to place a rescue dog in a great home. Her charity is amazing and continues to save many dogs!


Hi I’m Kipper! Click on my cute self to adopt me

Arm The Animals creates killer T-Shirts that make a statement, raise awareness and generate funds for small, struggling animal rescues. A good friend of mine started the company and I like to donate my time and help in any way possible to them.



Image credit: Giggles to Go


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Profiling Bonnie-Low Kramen: The ULTIMATE fmr. PA to Olympia Dukakis

· Assistant Tips, Celeb Assistants


Olympia and Bonnie

Olympia and Bonnie


In order to be a top PA or Industry professional, it is vital to look to others for their expertise, wisdom and guidance in the industry. One of those exceptional people is Bonnie-Low Kramen, who graciously gave back to Savvy readers with the below Q & A.  Bonnie will  be speaking at the upcoming BEL event {along with myself}, is a successful published author &  offers customized training workshops for other PA’s in the industry through

Q & A with Bonnie:

LH: Ecstatic  to see you in the upcoming BEL conference speaker line-up! What topics are you eager to share with other professionals?

Bonnie: In the past month, I sat in the front row for two of the world’s most prominent leadership and workplace experts: Sheryl Sandberg, author of the genius book Lean In and Jack Zenger, author of How to Be Exceptional. I am going to share with the BEL audience what I learned from Sheryl and Jack, including the secrets of embracing your tremendous power as an assistant and why it is necessary for you to manage your manager. When that happens, you change the world around you and the positive effects are transforming and profound. I will also be talking about leadership lessons from my 25 year career working as the Personal Assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis. We are going to have a great time. I hope you’ll join us!

LH: From one author to another, kudos on writing your book! What makes your book unique from other PA books & what is one tip from the book to share with readers to apply in their busy PA life?


Bonnie: Thank you, Lindsey! “Be the Ultimate Assistant, A celebrity assistant’s secrets to working with any high-powered employer” pulls the curtain back on a profession about which there is great curiosity, myth, and mystery. The book is not theory. As one of my students commented, “It’s the real stuff. No fluff.” In addition to my own experiences, my very generous colleagues contributed real-life stories which paint the picture of what it is really like to work as an assistant at the highest levels.

One tip from the book – Pay attention to the first thing out of someone’s mouth. That tells you the most important thing on their mind. If they repeat it, treat that as a red flag of the highest priority. My thanks to the wonderful psychologist Dr. Maddy Gerrish for this tidbit. Try it. It’s so true.

{Savvy insider:  BEST tip! I tried this & it is amazing! What a great way to connect with others}

LH:  For our readers to know, your co-pilot for your workshops,etc. is Vickie Sokol Evans. How did you meet your professional teammate & what makes you guys the ultimate duo?

Bonnie and Vickie

Bonnie: Vickie Sokol Evans and I have known each other for about 10 years and we met through a mutual colleague at New York Celebrity Assistants (NYCA) which is the organization I co-founded 17 years ago. Vickie and I spoke on the phone and I knew immediately that all assistants need to know what Vickie teaches. I am not kidding when I say that she is the best technology trainer in the country. What makes her so good? She is not only a Microsoft Certified Trainer but she is a former assistant so she totally “gets” what assistants need to do their job. On top of all that, Vickie studied improv comedy so she makes a typically dry subject unbelievably accessible, entertaining, and very, very fun.

One of the smartest things I’ve done is to team up with Vickie because she cares as much as I do about giving Personal and Executive assistants the tools they need to go as high in the profession as they desire. I am committed and passionate about the soft skills of organization, problem-solving, leadership, and communication and Vickie is equally committed and passionate about the hard skills of technology and productivity. I have the deepest respect for Vickie. I hope every assistant gets to see her in action and learn, laugh, and learn some more.

In the 2013 workplace, training is no longer an option. Ultimate Assistants don’t just happen by magic. There is simply too much to know to wing it anymore.

So now Vickie and I travel the world together and we have become great friends and she happens to be a terrific roommate too.

LH: Your travel schedule takes you to a whirlwind of Cosmopolitan cities, each with their own flavor of style. It’s hard to pack lightly when going from San Fran, NY to Miami! What travel & packing tips have you learned when trying to travel light yet look stylishly professional for each city?

Bonnie: I keep notes of what outfit I wear in each city because it’s impossible to remember. The photographs tell the story! I am diligent about checking the weather where I am going so I’m warm enough and dressed properly. I’m not a fan of being cold. I also have a really cozy and cushy eye mask for sleeping from Brookstone. I haven’t learned how to travel light, unfortunately.

eye mask

I just had something happen two weeks ago that never happened in 25 years working for Olympia. My connecting flight was cancelled and I was put on a different flight but my suitcase didn’t make it. I was speaking at 9AM and my suitcase did not get to me until noon! I taught the workshop in the same clothes that I had traveled in. Fortunately, my audience of 90 assistants in Evansville, Indiana had a great sense of humor and didn’t mind my lack of style at all. They applauded when my suitcase showed up.

Lesson learned: Pack my speaking clothes in my carry on.
2nd Lesson Learned: Never stop learning!

2013-09-24 18.23.07 (1)

~ More questions for Bonnie? Tweet her at:  @bonnielowkramen~

Thanks Bonnie! See you soon in NYC!

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See you in New York: Behind Every Leader Conference Nov. 7-8th

· Assistant Tips, Celeb Assistants, Entertainment, Industry Insiders

See you in NY

For all of you ROCKI’N professionals, entrepreneurs, EA’s & PA’s..finally a conference FOR Assistants led BY assistants!

Behind Every Leader




What:  Behind Every Leader Conference

When: Nov. 7-8th in New York/New Jersey

How: Register & Get Tickets ~Here~

Who: Check out the STELLAR Key Note speakers lined up:

✶ Lindsey Holder-{aka the Savvy Assistant}Fmr. Celebrity PA & EA, Entrepreneur, Author
Anikka Fragodt – Fmr. EA to Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Ann Hiatt – EA to Eric Schmidt of Google
Robin Guido Parker Harris -Fmr. EA to William Shatner
Hamish Jenkinson – Fmr. PA Madonna & Kevin Spacey
Sergio Kletnoy – Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan
Rosemarie Terenzio – Fmr. PA of JFK Jr
Jeff Hoffman – Founder
Kelly Engstrom – President NY Celebrity Assistants {my interview with Kelly HERE}
* Bonnie Low- Kramen-Fmr. EA to Olympia Dukakis


Why come?

My interview with CEO, Founder & Creator of BEL…. Victoria Rabin give us the scoop on what to experience, who the conference is geared towards & what “Green” concoction she must have every day to keep her fit as a fiddle.










LH: What is different this year from last year’s conference that EA’s & PA’s can be excited to experience?
Victoria: First and foremost, we learned from our inaugural event and made this event even better by enforcing what attendees raved about and improving on what was lacking.

Attendees can expect a dedicated agenda for both EA’s and PA’s presented by an inspirational group of powerhouse speakers.
On that note, the lineup is OUTRAGEOUS! Never in a lifetime will assistants have immediate access to this caliber of aficionados! Except at Behind Every Leader!
And of course, expect a few extra surprises and tear jerkers.

LH: What piece of advice, tip or inside info. given from a past Keynote Speaker made an impact on you?

Victoria: That we can’t do it alone. Together in unison we are indispensable!

LH: If you are new to the EA/PA industry or simply exploring this industry, would this conference benefit you? Or would the conference be more beneficial to experienced Assistants?

Victoria: No matter what profession you choose in life, we all need to aspire to those that have succeeded in that specific role. Therefore, it is paramount that we seek mentorship, guidance and inspiration by those that have experienced the journey we are about to encounter.
We love nothing more than to give assistants of all levels the validation that being an assistant is an incredible honor and a responsibility to adhere to.

LH:  Balancing your own Company & personal health are a huge challenge. Watching your fb posts and tweets, you are always active in fitness and health. What is one of your “go to ” health snacks that you have when on the move?

Victoria: I never leave the house without having my delicious green smoothie. I cram it with a ton of nutritious greens, fruits and seeds.
My body is literally addicted to them. Happy to share my favorite recipes with anyone that wants them. Email me via













~ Thanks Victoria! Counting down until I get to meet everyone at this conference & celebrate with others in the industry~

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