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Alumni Interview: Debbie Marchand ACEA®

We are delighted to continue with our Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant:ACEA® Alumni interviews.

This time we welcome the wonderful Debbie Marchand a senior Executive Assistant at Sandia National Laboratories, USA

Hi Debbie

Please tell us about yourself?

Greetings from the Land of Enchantment, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. My name is Debbie Marchand and I have been an Executive Assistant for 17 years. I support the President and Laboratories Director at Sandia National Laboratories and am chair of the Administrative Professionals Executive Council (APEC) at the Labs. APEC assists Sandia’s executives, promotes communication, helps develop and sustain effective operations, and trains and supports a robust workforce of almost 500 Administrative Professionals. Helping others achieve their best is my greatest joy.

I live with my husband and three dogs – ̶ T-bone, Raven, and Buddy. When not working, I’m typically engaged in an endless game of fetch.

Looking back on my career, the common denominator is customer service. My parents owned two motels and as a kid I would help guests with their bags, even though I could never carry them. My first “real” job was in a restaurant. Today I still make a mean pizza.

My professional mantra is stay hungry for personal and professional knowledge and growth. Unfortunately for my husband and co-workers, I like to gain insight from random conversations with complete strangers. I have met amazing people, all on their own journeys. It fascinates me.

Where and when did you attend your ACEA® training and who delivered it?

Because of the Covid -19 pandemic I attended ACEA virtually in January 2021. Richard Arnott and Jeff Lockhart were our fabulous instructors.

There are many training courses available for Executive Assistants. Why did you choose ACEA® in particular?

I was part of a team of Sandia Administrative Professionals who attended an Executive Secretary Live event in Atlanta, Georgia, and became familiar and intrigued with the ACEA program. I reviewed the curriculum and signed up immediately. The course touches on topics we see and hear our executives discuss daily. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but thoroughly enjoyed the content and was challenged.

What were your favourite subjects covered and why?

I’m fascinated with personal and professional growth. The leadership, personality assessment, and motivation topics were of particular interest to me.

Has achieving ACEA® helped you personally or in your career?

Learning excites me. My executive asked if I’m a better EA because of the training and I responded, “I’m already a great EA. Now you and I can speak the same language.”

Was there anything in particular that you remember returning to the office with and implementing?

As the informal leader of a large team, I frequently review the Emotional Intelligence and Disc Profile. I must remember not everyone is a driver and learn to respect others’ styles.

If a friend or colleague asked you to convince them to attend ACEA® what would you say to them?

ACEA offers an opportunity to understand how businesses operate. Where else can you engage with colleagues from around the world? It’s a unique opportunity.

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