Lessons Learned as John Nicola’s Executive Assistant


Lauren Tattrie works in Nicola Wealth’s Vancouver headquarters, where she is the Executive Assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, John Nicola. Before transitioning into her current role, Lauren was a Wealth Planning Associate. In this piece, she speaks about her career pivot, her experience as EA to John Nicola, and lessons learned along the way.

By Lauren Tattrie

As an Executive Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer, the on-paper description of my role is that I work alongside John while supporting several initiatives, such as liaising between the Senior Leadership Team and our Advisory Board. In reality, every day is vastly different. Sometimes I have no idea what may come up, and while it is a requirement for an Executive Assistant to provide administrative support to John, the job has evolved into so much more.

I first learned of the position when I saw an e-mail from John to the office asking for a temporary replacement for his current assistant, Jackie, while she was on maternity leave. At the time, I was working at the firm as a Wealth Planning Associate, but something John said in his message stuck with me: come work with me, not for me. I replayed that in my head for days until finally, I chose to trust my instinct and apply for the position.

And I am so grateful that I did. Every day I am challenged to think critically and provide my opinion to our CEO, and my way of thinking about issues has inevitably changed. The Executive Assistant position has played a critical role in my professional development while providing a newfound perspective of our firm, including insight into our strategic approach and our plans for the future.

 

Life lessons I have learned from my experience working as John’s Executive Assistant:

  • Do not let the problems of others become your own. (John & Jackie taught me that). I have kept this lesson in my back pocket since day one.
  • You will never be able to please everyone. Get over it.
  • If you trust your gut feeling, you will always make the right decision.
  • From Richard Branson, but has been reiterated by John: “If someone gives you an amazing opportunity, but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!”
  • Always be intentional about the people you keep in your tent or corner (in your career and personal life). You are a product of those around you, and if your values don’t align, it’s going to be a tough road ahead.
  • Pivoting in your career is a positive. Your career path doesn’t always have to be linear.
  • If it’s not going to matter in five years, don’t give it more than five minutes of your time.
  • Always be your authentic self. The world needs all kinds.

 

My grandpa, Angelo Gigliotti, always used to tell us grandkids, “get an education, because no one can take it away from you.” Looking at the future of my career, I never want to stop learning and challenging myself; what I have discovered during these last few years of self-growth is to take note of what gives me energy in my day-to-day. Life is too short to dislike your job. This energy piece has come to make me understand my passion for people. Down the road, I would love to be working in a management or leadership capacity because empowering and supporting others is what keeps me going (and smiling!).