Lucia “Cia” Sherman, winner of AMA’s 2013 Innovation Award for Administrative Professionals, is the executive assistant to Scott Fisher, owner and CEO of Scott Fisher Enterprises (Harley Davidson Retail) in Fort Myers, Florida. She received the award at the 21st Annual Administrative Professionals Conference in Las Vegas in September, 2013.
Cia’s award-winning innovation was “The Communication Innovation,” which involved leading the design and production of her company’s Pipeline newsletter. The Pipeline is a monthly newsletter produced in-house and mailed to the home of every employee. According to Cia’s Innovation Award application, the Pipeline “has significantly reduced communications fragmentation affecting over 250 employees across six locations, including the management office in more than four states nationwide, while saving the company in excess of $100,000 annually.”
As the deadline for the 2014 Administrative Professionals Innovation Award approaches, we thought it would be a perfect time to check in with Cia to see what she’s up to and to find out how the Award has affected her career.
Here are some excerpts from our interview:
AMA: It’s been 10 months since you received your Award in Los Vegas. Has the recognition changed the way you are perceived at work, by management and/or by your peers?
Cia Sherman: That’s an interesting question because I don’t think that anyone was surprised that I won, except me! I had overwhelming support and if anything, winning the Award reaffirmed the value of the project and my role in the company.
AMA: Tell us a bit about the experience of going to Las Vegas and speaking at the Admin Conference.
Cia Sherman: In a word, exhilarating! The conference alone was incredible, but to be able to share my success with so many was a real honor.
AMA: Your innovation involved the development of the Pipeline, a monthly employee newsletter. How is the Pipeline doing now, a year later?
Cia Sherman: Great! It has expanded to 16 pages with each store having its own feature page. Management is in full support of looking for ways to digitize the publication for distribution to include our vendors and business contacts.
AMA: As with any new initiative, you had to overcome some challenges when you were first launching the Pipeline. What challenges are you currently dealing with?
Cia Sherman: Right now, my biggest challenge with the Pipeline is two-fold. First, there is the change from creating the entire publication to managing its production. The second challenge is inspiring others to be as passionate about its success as I am.
AMA: Are you working on any new innovation projects that you can tell us about?
Cia Sherman: Right now, apart from my regular job duties, I am focused on continuing to make the Pipeline a stronger and better communication tool that can be distributed to a larger audience. While I am not working on a new innovation, I am part of the team designing, planning, and marketing the biggest project in the history of our company, Six Bends. I am heading up the part of the project that is focused on creating a nature/education trail.
AMA: Finally, Cia, do you have any advice for your administrative professional colleagues? And what would you say to someone who may be hesitant to nominate herself or her team for this year’s Innovation Award?
Cia Sherman: As I said earlier, I think the only one surprised that I won the Award was me. In our roles, we make a profound impact on the companies we work for. We are happy to hang out in the background while those around us and above us shine. I want to tell my colleagues, “This Award is your time to celebrate your achievements.” I nominated myself not thinking I had a chance to actually win. When I did, my boss looked at me and said, “I don’t think you realize that you really are the manager of the single greatest communication tool we have as a company.”
So, I want to encourage you to submit your innovation, because while to you it may just be something you are passionate about, to others it is probably seen as the most important initiative in the company.
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