Behind every executive leader is the powerful position of the Executive Assistant. Executive Assistants make executive offices run more efficiently and productively, saving companies substantial amounts of time and money. Perhaps even more importantly, they establish and maintain relationships ensuring continued business growth. Get to know the power behind some of Louisville’s top executives.
Assistant to the Executive Director and Assistant to the Board of Directors, Louisville Regional Airport Authority
The Louisville Regional Airport Authority provides oversight for Louisville Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF) and Bowman Field (LOU). It is the 2nd busiest cargo hub in North America and the 4th busiest in the world. For nearly 14 years, Noel Jolly has served as Assistant to LRAA Executive Directors Skip Miller and Dan Mann and Assistant to the 11-member Board of Directors appointed by the Mayor and the Governor. “I help Dan do his job efficiently and make sure the Board of Directors have all the information they need for meetings and conferences.” Noel works with VP of Strategy and Innovation Darrell Watson on LRAA’s giving program SDF Cares.
We’re not just secretaries. We play an important role as members of the executive team. There has been a misconception that we just sit at our desks and type memos all day.
Noel holds degrees in English and Sociology from the University of Kentucky and originally intended to pursue a Ph.D. in English, but realized she wanted to choose where to live, not just chase available jobs in academia. Noel spent several years working for Bank of America in mortgage servicing and risk management, eventually becoming the Assistant to the site Executive, “I enjoyed it and have stuck with it since then.” She then went to work for the University of Louisville as a Residency and Fellowship Coordinator and Assistant to Director of Orthopaedic Bio-Engineering Laboratory.
In her current role with LRAA, Noel strives to be responsive and to cultivate good relationships with other Assistants, airport tenants, business partners, and people in her personal life. “Through networking, you get more accomplished with a personal introduction, as opposed to cold-calling.” Noel hopes by now that people understand, “We’re not just secretaries. We play an important role as members of the executive team. There has been a misconception that we just sit at our desks and type memos all day.” She is a member of the American Association of Airport Executives and will soon sit for her Certified Member certification.
Noel is married with three children - two in college and her youngest in sixth grade at St. Agnes, where Noel often volunteers. The family enjoys UK Football, Bellarmine Basketball, and horseracing. Noel practices at 502 Power Yoga and weight trains with Ambition Fitness.
For more information about Louisville Regional Airport Authority, visit flylouisville.com
Executive Assistant to the President, HJI Supply Chain Solutions
As Executive Assistant to HJI Supply Chain Solutions President Condrad Daniels, Renee Shafer is proud to work for one of the area’s largest woman and minority-owned businesses. Co-founded in 1994 by Alice and Wade Houston, HJI Supply Chain Solutions continues to be family-owned and operated. “This is the first I’ve ever worked for a family-owned business. I was a little skeptical at first, but that skepticism faded away during my interview. My current role as EA to the President, Condrad Daniels, is a blessing. We have great work chemistry. Condrad is a very driven individual that I admire. Our CEO, Lynn Houston Moore, with whom Condrad works closely, is just as awesome as he is.”
I would hope that people understand that our roles as EAs are very important and we truly are the force behind our executives in one way or another. I’m very passionate about my role as an EA because when I shine, my executive shines.
Renee’s father and husband are retired Air Force veterans, so she has lived and worked in several cities and states. “Moving around the country afforded me the opportunity to work for a few Fortune 500 companies such as Maybelline New York, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing Aerospace, as well as diverse industries such as Converse Consultants (a geological company) and Health Data Sciences, the first company to pioneer the Electronic Medical Record.”
In her current position with HJI, Renee is self-driven in all she does. “I desire to know my executive on somewhat of a personal level, rather than just on a professional level. I also strive to be a value-add to our company, and most importantly, I am trustworthy.” Regarding others’ perceptions of the job, “I would hope that people understand that our roles as EAs are very important and we truly are the force behind our executives in one way or another. I’m very passionate about my role as an EA because when I shine, my executive shines.”
In her spare time, Renee looks forward to volunteering each year with the Wine Women & Shoes ® event benefiting Family Scholar HouseTM, spending time with her family, and creating DIY home decor. Follow @sassychiccents on Facebook and Instagram. For more information about HJI Supply Chain Solutions, visit hjisolutions.com.
Executive Assistant, Fund for the Arts
Established by Louisville Mayor Charles Farnsley in 1949, the nonprofit Fund for the Arts’ current campaign focus is “Healing and Rebuilding,” following the many challenges of 2020, including the global pandemic and “long-overdue racial justice movement.” Fund for the Arts Executive Assistant Meghan Weidner filled us in on how the organization faced these challenges and where they intend to grow from here. “While many arts organizations around the country went dark during 2020, many in Louisville found new ways to engage their audiences (online, outdoors, etc.). With that happening, the Fund needed to do its part as well. Through the Cultural Lou Recovery Campaign, we were able to invest over $3.44 million in 175 local artists and arts and culture organizations between March and September 2020. With our focus on healing and rebuilding, we want our artists and organizations to hit the ground running when (restrictions) are lifted.”
As Executive Assistant, Meghan provides administrative support for Fund for the Arts President & CEO Christen Boone and CFO/COO Janie Martin. Her current role is “more than just the title,” says Meghan. “I am often the first line of communication. I like speaking with donors, seeing their passion for our work, and hearing about why they continue to support us. The same with our board. It’s been great getting to know such a diverse group of people so willing to step in and advocate for our arts and culture community. I try really hard to make people feel comfortable and heard, and that can carry a lot of weight when developing new relationships.” Meghan is “a fan and supporter of the arts” herself and looks forward to once again being involved “in a more participatory way.”
Meghan has worked in various assistant positions since college and joined Fund for the Arts in December 2019, “It’s been quite a year!” Her varied background has served her well in the many supportive roles she fulfills.
“You have to be an anticipatory person. You have to know what’s coming and pay attention to detail to make communication smoother. It takes time and mental commitment. You have to be ready to respond, not just reacting. We make sure executives look good and are well taken care of.”
Support Fund for the Arts at fundforthearts.org and follow @FundfortheArts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.