Notion’s growth: from 1 executive assistant to a team of Viva EAs
From 1 executive assistant to a team of EAs
Finding partners who can match the pace of your startup is essential. This was the case for Notion, a dynamic San Francisco tech company experiencing exponential expansion. Shortly after one of their managers sought a remote executive assistant, the rest of the leadership team took notice and, before long, an entire team of EAs joined to 10x their productivity.
Table of contents
- What does Notion do?
- An outstanding EA: the secret behind a connected team
- This is how an EA can bring structure to your team
- The unexpected benefits of having a remote EA
- Final thoughts
What does Notion do?
Notion is the first no-code software for teams to be able to create, collaborate, and share projects with each other. With offices in San Francisco, New York, Dublin, Tokyo, Hyderabad, and Seoul, and a workforce of over 500 employees, Notion has established a strong presence in the industry by creating “a connected workspace where better, faster work happens” as they describe themselves.
In 2023, Notion raised $275 million in their Series C funding round led by Coatue Management and Sequoia and has a post-money valuation of $10 billion. Thanks to the support from their 32 investors, Notion has established itself as the preferred productivity tool for some of the biggest brands of various industries: from Uber to Pixar, Nike, and Amazon, amongst many others.
An outstanding EA: the secret behind a connected team
The key to success often lies in the ability to keep teams connected and functioning seamlessly. For Notion, this secret ingredient was found in an outstanding Executive Assistant named María. What began as simple calendar management for the Head of Marketing soon transformed into something much more significant: an essential catalyst for team bonding and productivity across the organization.
María’s journey as an EA started with putting together a calendar proposal for the Head of Marketing, but it didn’t stop there. As her immediate impact became evident, Latoya Freeman, senior executive assistant at Notion, realized that there were other leaders who could benefit greatly from having an EA by their side. Latoya quickly became an advocate for creating a network of Viva EAs that could assist leaders from different departments in unique ways.
That’s how Namrata Ram, Head of Sales, Strategy and Operations, became Maria’s second executive. From that point on, María’s influence expanded beyond managing schedules; she became the driving force behind a more connected and motivated team.
Job satisfaction and productivity
Team bonding activities and thoughtful gestures for birthdays and work anniversaries became María’s specialty. These seemingly small gestures had a significant impact on the team’s motivation and camaraderie. For one executive, these activities were instrumental in cultivating a sense of belonging among new team members, ultimately leading to increased job satisfaction and productivity. Meanwhile, for the other team, the thoughtful approach María brought to the table instilled a profound sense of value and appreciation, fostering a positive work environment and better overall team dynamics.
María’s support didn’t end there; she extended her expertise to assist with meeting presentations. Gathering and organizing information, creating visually engaging aids, and even recording meetings ensured that crucial information was never lost. Moreover, these recordings allowed team members who couldn’t attend meetings to catch up and stay informed, further enhancing collaboration and ensuring that no valuable insights were missed.
Notion’s rapid growth prompted them to recognize the necessity of a strong support system for their executive team. Trusting Viva as their partner in scaling this vital aspect of their organization, Notion took a crucial step towards fostering a culture of connectivity and efficiency.
The impact of an exceptional EA like María cannot be overstated. By going above and beyond the traditional scope of an EA’s responsibilities, she became an indispensable link between different teams, propelling Notion toward success. Through her efforts, team members felt valued, heard, and empowered, leading to improved job satisfaction and higher productivity levels.
This is how an EA can bring structure to your team
Maintaining efficient communication and coordination among team members can be a daunting challenge. For the Head of Accounting this was amplified by the complex nature of his team: 16 members spread across five sub-teams, operating in three different time zones. Faced with this challenging task, this leader turned to Sophia, his Executive Assistant, whose invaluable contributions soon transformed the way the accounting team operated.
Communication is key
Sophia’s journey as an EA began with one critical objective: establishing a flawless operating cadence for the accounting team. With diverse teams and team members scattered across various locations and time zones, aligning schedules and communication channels was a considerable hurdle. However, Sophia’s meticulous approach and attention to detail proved to be the missing piece of the puzzle.
Calendar management for 16 team members
Taking on the role of the team’s organizational maestro, Sophia worked tirelessly to craft a meticulously designed operating cadence. She orchestrated an intricate calendar that effectively accommodated the Head of Accounting’s commitments while ensuring the availability of the remaining 15 team members. By skillfully coordinating their schedules, Sophia ensured that the team could function cohesively, optimizing productivity and fostering collaboration.
As an EA with a keen eye for prioritization, Sophia served as a formidable barrier against low-priority requests and meetings. When faced with conflicting demands, she skillfully managed and rescheduled commitments, ensuring that the Head of Accounting’s time was optimized for high-impact tasks. This selective approach helped shield the team from distractions, enabling them to maintain focus on crucial objectives.
Establishing an operating cadence
Sophia’s expertise didn’t end with calendar management; she went above and beyond to build a robust structure for the accounting team. Implementing a systematic process, she devised a bullet-proof cadence database that ensures all meetings take place at exactly the right time, and if there is a change of schedule, business days have shifted, or any other external factor has interfered with the cadence, she makes sure all other meetings are shifted and rescheduled. This cadence has been established for yearly reviews, monthly revisions, and daily adjustments.
In a world where startups must navigate constant challenges and ever-changing landscapes, Sophia’s unwavering dedication to precision and clockwork-like scheduling provided much-needed stability and structure to the accounting team. By acting as a central point of contact and communication, Sophia facilitated seamless collaboration among team members, even across geographical boundaries.
Through her meticulous planning, systematic approach, and keen prioritization, she elevated the accounting team’s productivity and performance, making her an indispensable asset to her executive and the entire organization.
The unexpected benefits of having a remote EA
In today’s interconnected world, where technology has blurred geographical boundaries and transcended time zones, businesses are increasingly embracing remote work arrangements. Amidst this trend, the role of the EAs has also evolved, offering unforeseen advantages that go beyond traditional office settings. Daniela, one of Notion’s EAs knows this firsthand.
Planning an international offsite for 27
Gone are the days when physical proximity was a prerequisite for seamless collaboration. With a remote EA like Daniela, time zones and borders become insignificant. When Emma Auscher, the Global Head of Customer Experience, tasked Daniela with planning an offsite for a team scattered across five different global offices, Daniela rose to the challenge. Her meticulous planning and thoughtful approach resulted in the best-orchestrated offsite the company had ever witnessed. From icebreaker activities that fostered camaraderie to productive working sessions and team-building outings, Daniela deftly navigated the complexities of distance to create a unifying experience for all 27 team members.
The Head of Global Recruitment, Kate Taylor also discovered the incredible value of having a remote EA. In Daniela, Kate found an agile partner who could keep up with her fast-paced thinking and movement, despite the physical distance. The remote setup not only allowed Kate to collaborate with Daniela seamlessly but also enabled them to build a strong rapport. This newfound synergy showcases how a remote EA can bridge the gap between executives, regardless of where they are based.
Strengthen your international presence
What’s even more intriguing is how remote EAs can help businesses establish a more substantial presence in different territories. María and Daniela’s executives saw an opportunity when they realized both of their EAs were located in Ecuador. Recognizing the potential of having a local presence, María and Daniela took charge of Notion’s upcoming launching event in Spanish, specifically in that South American country. By leveraging their in-depth knowledge of the region and fluency in the language, they can amplify the impact of Notion’s expansion, setting the stage for future growth and opportunities in the Spanish-speaking market.
Having a remote EA brings a fresh perspective to the table. Liberated from physical office constraints, they embrace a global mindset, crossing borders to connect diverse teams and drive collaboration. The experience of Daniela and Maria exemplifies how remote EAs can unlock boundless horizons, unearthing hidden potential and facilitating growth on a global scale.
These are just 3 different examples of how we support Notion’s executive team on their journey from having just one Executive Assistant to building a robust team of EAs. Finding a reliable solution is key for startups looking to scale and optimize their support team. Viva’s flexibility and scalability enable startups to expand their support from hiring just one EA to seamlessly building a team that caters to the needs of their entire executive staff.
Thanks to Viva’s superior talent, onboard an executive assistant once and expand to a pool of EAs ready to support as many executives as you need. Let’s chat about how we can do the same for you.