Blog Who needs an EA? 7 executives to prioritize

Who needs an EA? 7 executives to prioritize

Sep 15, 2023

11 min read

The buzz about executive assistants being a game-changer for startup executives is all over the internet. As companies grow, it becomes increasingly clear that the team needs executive assistants to take on administrative and operational tasks, supporting executives to make them more productive. The question is: Who’s first in line? The VP of Sales? The CEO? Or maybe the Head of People? 

Like every other decision to be made in a startup, it can be tricky to decide who needs an executive assistant and when. Most startups navigate through uncertainty and have many variables to account for before making a decision to bring in a new team member. 

This is why we’ve created this guide to help you decide which 7 executives to prioritize for EA support. 

Table of Contents:

  1. Executives in GTM roles: key players for fundraising, board meetings, and decision-making
  2. Executives who need to involve multiple stakeholders in their projects
  3. Executives who are struggling to get home on time or have 14+ hour workdays
  4. Executives who have more than 1K unread emails
  5. Executives with global teams who travel constantly
  6. Executives who want to have an EA
  7. Executives in internal operations roles who have high operations needs

1. Executives in GTM roles: Key players for fundraising, board meetings, and decision-making

GTM roles usually get the first go when prioritizing executives for an executive assistant. 


They are key players who will help the company raise the next round, attend board meetings (or at the very least help create the deck supplying information and data), and make decisions that will shift the company’s trajectory on a daily basis.  Also, executives involved in product and/or engineering drive direct efforts to scaling the company faster.

You want these key players to use their skills on activities that matter most rather than spend their days deleting spam or organizing their calendars. 

An executive assistant can:

  • Handle the logistics of fundraising, from arranging meetings with potential investors to preparing pitch materials made to impress. GTM executives can focus on the core of fundraising – sharing the company’s vision, answering investor questions, and creating connections that secure support. 
  • Track follow-up actions, nurturing the relationships that are vital for the startup’s financial growth. This support frees executives from administrative hassle, allowing them to be confident, focused, and impactful leaders in the growth journey.

Here are some questions to ask so you can decide if an executive in a go-to-market role could use EA support:

  • If there is no EA support, who is doing the admin work? How is this preventing that executive from reaching their goals?
  • Is the executive involved in fundraising and board meeting efforts? If so, how many admin tasks are they dealing with that could be delegated to an EA?

2. Executives who need to involve multiple stakeholders in their projects

Executives whose role involves multiple stakeholders may also need to be at the front of the line when deciding which execs need an EA. 

A product role like a CPO requires engaging with internal and external stakeholders, such as engineers, designers, customers, partners, and investors. 

Having a workload involving multiple stakeholders can create communication gaps and challenges that affect product success. This is where an executive assistant can help an executive be more effective and productive. That’s true for any role that involves these challenges, not just a CPO.

An executive assistant can:

  • Manage communication and coordination with stakeholders, including scheduling meetings, preparing materials, sending updates, and collecting feedback. The CPO can focus on the core functions of their role, such as leading the product team, solving technical problems, and driving the product vision.
  • Maintain relationships with stakeholders, ensuring timely responses and follow-up actions and confirming their satisfaction. This support can enhance the executive’s reputation, trust, and influence as a leader.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether an executive could use EA support:

  • Is my workload involving multiple stakeholders causing communication gaps or challenges that hinder the success of my projects?
  • Am I spending a significant amount of time on administrative tasks related to stakeholder engagement, which could be better utilized for core job functions?
  • Could having dedicated support for managing communication, coordination, and relationship maintenance with stakeholders enhance my effectiveness and influence as an executive in this role?

3. Executives who are struggling to get home on time or have 14+ hour workdays

Another clear indicator that highlights the necessity for an executive assistant is when executives find it challenging to get home on time or to log off at a reasonable time, if they are working remotely. This predicament can serve as an unmistakable sign of impending burnout. While every startup values a dedicated and hardworking team, pushing to the brink of burnout is neither productive nor sustainable.

Executives, regardless of their roles, need a healthier work-life balance that permits them to spend quality time with their families and prioritize their well-being.

An executive assistant can provide support in:

  • Planning and coordinating trade shows that involve the company’s sales team. This requires creating detailed checklists to track tasks, items, expenses, logistics, and status updates. Additionally, EAs can manage the shipment of items to events, such as shirts and giveaway gifts, ensuring everything is well-prepared.
  • Scheduling, preparing materials, and ensuring that weekly sales meetings run smoothly. This allows the executive to focus on meaningful discussions and strategizing with the sales team. 
  • Scheduling personal appointments, planning family activities and vacations, coordinating personal events and celebrations, facilitating health and wellness routines, and managing everyday errands.
  • Maintaining meticulous records of interactions, negotiations, and progress, including correspondence, contracts, and other pertinent documents, simplifying reference and progress tracking for the sales team.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether an oversubscribed executive could use EA support:

  • Does the executive consistently struggle to meet their desired work-life balance, including spending sufficient time with family or attending to personal well-being?
  • Are there signs of executive burnout or declining job satisfaction due to excessive workload or time demands?
  • Is the executive frequently required to manage complex scheduling, logistics, and coordination tasks, particularly for situations like trade shows, external meetings, or other events? Is the executive working late after-office hours to keep up with these tasks and would find it useful to delegate many of these tasks to an EA?

4. Executives who have 1,000+ unread emails

Having an overwhelming and inefficient email management system can become very costly to the executive and the company at large. Unread emails from customers, prospects, board members, and potential investors can bring unavoidable, disastrous consequences that hinder growth. 

In our experience supporting dozens of startup executives, we’ve noticed how overwhelming email management can be without proper support and processes. 

This is how an EA can help:

  • Taking over the executive’s email management, efficiently handling the influx of emails from various sources, including customers, prospects, team members, and board members. This support ensures that the executive’s email communication is organized, timely, and responsive, preventing potential consequences that could hinder the company’s growth.
  • Implementing strategies to reach inbox zero by sorting, prioritizing, filtering, and responding to emails on behalf of the executive. This proactive approach ensures that critical messages receive prompt attention while preventing small issues from escalating into major challenges.
  • Establishing streamlined email processes and guidelines, ensuring that important information is not missed due to email overload. This includes setting up filters, categorizing emails, and creating templates for common responses, all aimed at improving efficiency and reducing the risk of missing crucial communications.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether an executive could use EA support:

  • Does the executive have more than 1,000+ unread emails in their inbox?
  • Is the executive missing important information from various sources due to email overload?
  • Does the executive need help sorting, prioritizing, filtering, and responding to emails?
  • Does the executive want to reach inbox zero and stay on top of important information?

5. Executives with global teams and executives who travel constantly

In an increasingly globalized business landscape where international teams are commonplace, executives who travel frequently face unique challenges in managing their responsibilities effectively. 

Traveling can be stressful, time-consuming, and costly, especially when it involves multiple destinations, time zones, and cultures. Moreover, frequent travelers may have difficulty staying connected with their teams, maintaining their productivity, and balancing their work and personal lives. 

Spending several hours commuting to airports, sitting in waiting rooms, and flying can have a negative impact on an executive’s performance. In addition, making their own travel arrangements might leave executives with fewer hours in a day to tackle crucial tasks. For some executives, their days are all about traveling instead of the tasks for the role that they were hired for.

An EA can support executives with:

  • Coordinating travel details, such as flights, hotels, transportation, and even visas. These details can be complex and time-consuming, especially when dealing with different time zones. 
  • Planning crucial events, meetings, offsites, or conferences that involve people-related topics, such as hiring fairs, training sessions, performance reviews, and employee engagement activities.
  • Tracking, reporting, and reconciling travel expenses, which can be a significant challenge for frequent travelers. An EA can help manage expense reports and ensure timely reimbursement, reducing administrative burden.
  • Planning and optimizing travel schedules, ensuring that downtime during flights or layovers is utilized effectively for more efficient tasks.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether an executive could use EA support:

  • Is the executive frequently traveling to multiple destinations as part of their role? Are they using their time effectively for prioritizing role-related tasks or are they using 20% (or more!) of their time for travel and travel logistics?
  • Does the executive find it time-consuming and cumbersome to manage travel-related expenses and reports effectively?
  • Is there a need to optimize the executive’s time during travel for work-related tasks?
  • Are there difficulties in maintaining productivity and staying connected with the team while on the road?

6. Executives in internal operations roles who have high operations needs

Those in internal operations roles, like Chief Administrative Officers (CAOs) or Chief Operating Officers (COOs), are often prioritized when it comes to executive assistant support.

These executives bear substantial responsibilities in optimizing and streamlining internal processes, managing resources, and ensuring the organization runs smoothly. They are integral in shaping the company’s operational framework, fostering efficiency and steering strategic decisions.

Allowing these key individuals to dedicate their expertise to tasks that truly matter, rather than spending valuable hours on administrative chores, is crucial. 

Here’s how an EA can contribute with operational tasks:

  • Creating and maintaining a comprehensive contract repository containing all customer contracts, including status, expiry dates, notifications, and other critical details. This ensures that contract-related information is organized, easily accessible, and up-to-date.
  • Streamlining task management by reviewing tasks and uploading pertinent information to platforms like HighSpot, facilitating a more efficient workflow for operational leaders.
  • Reorganizing and creating new databases, such as an Accounting Project Management database. They can migrate data from underperforming databases and even present the new functionality to teams, ensuring smooth adoption and enhanced productivity.
  • Maintaining organized records of regulatory documents, licenses, and compliance-related paperwork. This includes tracking expiration dates, renewals, and compliance deadlines, ensuring that the company stays up-to-date with all requirements.
  • Assisting in gathering and organizing necessary documents and records, ensuring that everything is readily accessible for audit purposes.

Here are some questions to ask to determine whether an executive could use EA support:

  • Is the executive managing complex projects, databases, or data repositories that could benefit from the organizational skills and expertise of an EA?
  • Does the executive need support in areas that go beyond administrative tasks and are more operational, such as project management or special projects?
  • Would they benefit from support in coordinating compliance meetings, audits, and communication with various departments to streamline compliance and regulatory oversight processes?

7. Executives who want to have an EA

Executives who are keen to have an executive assistant to support them tend to use this resource more effectively than those who may need it more but are less enthusiastic about it. 

This readiness and willingness to partner with an EA is a key factor in deciding which executive should get EA support next, giving priority to those who are eager to benefit from this valuable collaboration.

Executives who embrace EA support proactively are more likely to maximize the advantages of this partnership, improving their performance, output, and impact within the organization. This shows that they are willing to simplify workflows, assign tasks, and achieve more ambitious goals in their roles.

The following questions can be used to evaluate the executive’s need and readiness for collaborating with an executive assistant:

  • Are you open to exploring how an executive assistant can support you in your daily tasks and responsibilities to enhance your productivity?
  • Have you identified specific areas or tasks where you believe an EA could make a significant difference in your effectiveness and workload management?
  • Are you willing to actively engage in a collaborative working relationship with an EA to optimize your work processes and achieve your professional goals?

Changing roles: How a Viva EA adapted from supporting the CEO to the COO

Let’s take a closer look at a real-world scenario that highlights the flexibility and adaptability of Viva Executive Assistants. Imagine a Series A startup that initially hired a Viva EA for their CEO but soon discovered that this talented EA, named Dennise, was a better fit for their COO. Why?  

First, the CEO’s demand for support was low. Second, the EA’s unique skill set and capabilities showed great potential since she was able to think critically and creatively, besides being proficient in administrative tasks like email and calendar management. Their EA was able to take on different responsibilities, to wear many hats like the rest of the team. 

The startup was dealing with several pain points, including the need to find someone who could seamlessly take on a variety of responsibilities.

Dennise excelled not only in administrative work but also in analytical operational tasks. As the startup was growing rapidly, she played a pivotal role in doubling the HR team, overseeing critical functions such as onboarding and offboarding processes. Moreover, the company had several high-impact projects in the pipeline, and Dennise’s skills like strong intuition and project management abilities, were in high demand.

In addition to a performance management project in which she collaborated, Dennise took charge of another crucial initiative: streamlining the documentation process of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). Both of these initiatives involved critical thinking, proactiveness, and improving and implementing processes. 

This real-life example underscores Viva Executive Assistants’ commitment to understanding your business, identifying the right fit, and ensuring that our EAs take ownership of critical tasks that often go beyond administrative tasks.

In a dynamic startup environment, having an EA like Dennise, who can adapt, integrate, and excel in various roles, is a testament to the value that Viva Executive Assistants bring to organizations seeking top-tier executive support.

Getting an EA for your executives in 1 business day

Regardless of which executives end up being paired with an EA, recognizing the need for an executive assistant in your organization is the crucial first step toward enhancing productivity and efficiency. 

Fortunately, Viva Executive Assistants offer a seamless solution that stands out. We provide not only individual executive assistants, but also expertly assembled teams of EAs, all screened, trained, and ready to dive into action within just 1 business day.

Whether your executives are in GTM roles, managing multiple stakeholders, struggling with long work hours, or grappling with overflowing inboxes, Viva Executive Assistants has you covered. 

Our EAs are well-equipped to tackle a wide range of administrative and operational tasks, ensuring that your executives can focus on what truly matters – driving your organization’s success. 

Interested in understanding how all of this can be applied to your specific business and role? Share your concerns and expectations with us by booking a call.

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