Having taken a break during Covid 19 early days and then 100% focussed on launching ACEA Online we are delighted to be back blogging our Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA® Alumni interviews with the fabulous Marco Macente from Italy – one of our first online ACEA® Alumni.
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for the ACEA® blog. We are delighted to have you as our interviewee.
Please tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Marco Macente and I have been working as an Admin Professional for almost 10 years. I graduated in Economics and Business communication and I completed a Masters in Corporate Communication at the University of the Arts, in London.
Currently, I am working as Global Executive Assistant at Bayer Pharmaceuticals in Milan, supporting different teams within the Oncology Development division.
Recently I’ve also started a special assignment working as Project Partner within the Medical Affairs Business Unit, working with Project and Study Managers focused on running clinical trials in multiple hospitals and clinical centers.
I love playing tennis, exploring and travelling and one of my favourite countries is Greece – I love its culture, its history and the Greek people.
I’m fluent in four languages: Italian, English, Spanish and Greek, achieving my Greek attainment certificate in 2020 in Athens.
I am a networker and I love connecting with colleagues and peers all around the world as I truly believe in the power of knowledge and sharing this through networking.
I am also a member of IMA (International Management Assistant association).
How did you find the experience of joining ACEA® online and the interaction/teamwork with the other participants?
When I applied to attend ACEA®, it was in April 2020 and I was booked to attend an ACEA® course in Copenhagen, June 2020 but the session was unfortunately postponed, due to the pandemic.
When it was clear that the pandemic was not going to end in 2020 and I also got confirmation that ACEA® run virtual courses, I took the decision to attend an ACEA® course online as I did not want to loose the opportunity to apply for the first available session and it was great to know that I was the first delegate confirming the attendance for such a course.
ACEA® was great – the interaction and communication between the delegates and the trainers was constant and highly informative with many team exercises done in the breaking rooms via Zoom. In particular, we discussed each topic together in the sessions, then in the breaking rooms and finally we were given homework to do on our own. This process allowed me to capitalise well all the information we covered.
The experience made me feel as if I was in the room in person, exchanging experiences, thoughts and opinions around topics and contents that pertain to our role.
During my session, our group comprised 19 delegates from more than 10 countries, such us Japan, Singapore, India, Brazil, Nigeria and many more! So the team was international – one of the amazing characteristics of ACEA®.
Do you have any feedback / comments regarding the lead trainer Jeff Lockhart and sessions with Richard Arnott?
I loved Jeff with his insights on all the topics we covered in each of his sessions. With a wealth of professional knowledge , Jeff was able to give us great perspectives around the EA role and its impact on the business.
Richard was also amazing – his experience and knowledge was clearly evident when he spoke about the role and the perception that Managers and Leaders may have in business organizations.
Both Richard and Jeff are amazing trainers and they guided me through each topic very professionally.
There are many training courses available for Executive Assistants. Why did you choose ACEA® in particular?
In the last few years I have attended several training courses that have helped me to improve my skills and abilities as an EA.
But I wanted more – I wanted to make a qualitative leap that for me means starting working as a Strategic Business Partner and being recognised in this role.
It was my friend Diana Brandl, Global trainer and Host of the Future Assistant Podcast, that suggested I should attend an ACEA® course as she had attended in 2018 as the 1000th delegate at that time. I had high expectations and looking at the ACEA® course structure, I noticed it was both interesting and comprehensive. So I thought ACEA® was the right training for me, one made up from an Executive point of view that focuses 360° on business topics that are relevant for an EA who wants to maintain a competitive edge. And it was!
ACEA® has definitely exceeded my expectations.
What were your favourite subjects covered and why?
I really found the DISC Assessment session, the Project Management, the Risk Management and Leadership Skills sessions very interesting.
The DISC Session was great as an insight into the many aspects and traits of different personalities which will prove very useful in the working environment to help manage yourself and also better understand your approach to other people. The Project Management session was very useful to me, especially now that I am working with Project and Study Managers, as I find myself on the same page with my colleagues regarding terminology, the processes and the procedures we have within a project which will make a hugely positive difference.
The Risk Management was great as I hadn’t been using models and strategies to predict and mitigate risks as I was previously thinking of them separately. Having a clear method that helps you find the risks and the right strategy to face them is very helpful, especially when working on different projects.
Finally, the Leadership Skills – it was great to understand how competent managers don’t always make great leaders, how trust plays a pivotal role and how there are varying styles and methods a leader can use within an organization. One of my favourite learning points is that we as EA’s are leaders and we can take the lead whether performing tasks, attending meetings or joining a team.
Has achieving ACEA® helped you personally or in your career?
Absolutely! In parallel to my EA role, I now have the potential opportunity to work as a Project Partner within the company and this is thanks to the skills and knowledge I was able to develop attending ACEA®. The Project Management and Business Partnership sessions gave me the right insights and focus to be able to apply the tips and strategies into my working day. As an EA, I was able to grow my partnership with my Executive, support my team better with proactivity and effectiveness.
Personally, I feel I better understood my personality thanks to the DISC session so I am better able to manage my emotions when working with colleagues and peers, being more professional and balanced at work.
ACEA® has been like a journey – the trainer is your guide and each session is a piece of the path you gradually discover.
Was there anything in particular that you remember returning to the office with and implementing?
Of course, I will take with me the advice and insights I learnt during the Leadership Skills, Project Management and Meeting Management sessions – I truly believe that an EA can play a pivotal role within an organization and he/she can have a great impact on the business strategically.
That’s why I want to contribute and perform to the best of my ability in my role especially when providing support to projects and Leaders within the business.
The vision, the mission and the objectives need to be clear and shared in order to focus on what really matters – this is important when organizing meetings, projects and business events.
ACEA® gave me the right tools to work as a Business partner and this will be my first aim after completing the course.
If a friend or colleague asked you to convince them to attend ACEA® what would you say to them?
A couple of EAs within my network have asked me about ACEA® and I’ve told them that this course is what truly helps you to get to the next step: the globally recognized certificate for Executive Assistants helps you to elevate the role, to level up, to raise the bar and be a Business partner for your Executive. Attending ACEA® is worth every minute. The Online sessions also allowed my company to save money. With no need to travel to another country, book flights and hotels etc, it’s definitely great value.
Personally I think that we as EA’s are leaders and we need to lead ourselves first, making the right choices when it comes to training and development. ACEA® combines theory and practice in a unique format through a multicultural approach which definitely makes the difference in what we do.
Thanks Richard and Jeff for making ACEA® so inspirational, enhancing and energizing: I am very happy and proud to have attended it!