There are all sorts of myths about being a personal assistant (PA) or an executive assistant (EA).

Equally, there are lots of definitions of the two roles, but essentially a PA (primarily) provides administrative support (to a person or persons), whilst an EA acts as a business partner and provides strategic input to the wider business.

Having spent much of my professional career as a senior PA/EA and EA team manager, I can confidently say that there is no one key attribute that enables you to be a successful PA/EA.

However there is one key resource that is essential to conducting both roles: Technology.

Technology has built upon and changed the role for the better but there are some myth-busting facts about EA’s and PA’s.

  • They do have influence
  • Their skill sets are transferrable
  • There is a career path
  • They are not ‘glorified secretaries’
  • It is a strategic and leadership role
  • They are not ‘office spies’
  • It is a rewarding role
  • Technology/AI will not replace the need for a PA/EA


You observe (not spy), and dive into the business on all levels, analysing all opportunities, and influencing outcomes whilst highlighting a multifaced tool kit of skills including leadership, decision making, resilience, communication, and project management.

The analogy that I use is you are the business world’s equivalent of a multipurpose, all-terrain vehicle that you would take to war with you!

Hardly surprising then that a natural role evolution can be into a C-suite roles, including chief of operations, chief of staff etc.

It is also accepted that AI and ChatGPT are an asset to us all, but they simply cannot replace intuition and creativity. Those skills are at the very core of the PA/EA role.

AI cannot learn to think outside the box, and ChatGPT lacks quality and depth.

The human touch is irreplaceable.

Could technology kill off executive assistants (EAs)?

It is far more likely, that these roles will use AI and ChatGPT as an assistant to their role, only further enhancing their impact and need in the world of business.