Michelle Bowditch is a C-Suite executive assistant and advocate. She started Door20a to help Executive Assistants find their voice, disrupt the status quo and identify better ways to do business.
1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?
I am a wine and food lover, raising three teenagers on my own. I credit motherhood as my hardest but most fulfilling job, achieved with the support of my friends and cheerleaders.
Creating a community both personally and professionally is high on my list of core values. Growing up in an International sporting family where I was their cheerleader, I now know the impact unwavering support and encouragement can have.
I entered the wonderful world of wine in a global events role which I excelled at for many years. When deciding to have children, I made a strategic career move into the Executive Assistant space.
In 2019 I founded Door20A, created to help Executive Assistants find their voice, shake things up to continually inspire learning, connect them to the right people and provide them with a tech-tool-kit to back it all up.
Starting Door 20A was not a planned, thought out decision, it simply evolved when I saw a genuine need to help women with tech. I was supporting a CEO in a start-up tech business and to be honest they couldn’t afford me nor did they need an EA at my level. In the meantime, I had arranged several speaking events, all whilst still looking for a full-time position.
Upon entering the speaking circuit, I was instantly inspired. It gave me the confidence to believe in myself and what I was doing. It was then that I felt the confidence to start educating and inspiring others.
I continue to wake every morning with the sole purpose of inspiring others no matter what is happening in my world. I get a huge kick out of helping people and removing the fear of using technology.
“It’s not about the 1st or 20th door that opens and closes on you, it’s about the A Team that you journey with along the way” this is what Door20a stands for and why it was established.
2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?
As a parent of 3 teenagers and one that is an apprentice electrician, my day starts with waking him up around 4:30-5am and cooking a hot breakfast for him.
Once he is out the door I then get dressed and hit the pavement for a 5km walk with my walking crew called the Buns on The Run – they are a group of extraordinary women who inspire me to be the best version of myself.
Once home a double espresso, and I enjoy 8 mins to myself, maybe mediation, pray or listening to a podcast. Every day of the week is different and you will note further down the interview how I balance my week evenly.
One ritual I commit to is connecting with 3 people every week for a virtual coffee, why because as a small business owner we need to always learn from others, be inspired by other business and leaders and grow to become the best version of ourselves. It’s a 30 min call that I look forward to.
3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?
Most definitely I have total flexibility in my business. I have set my business up to work Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only. Monday’s I am a domestic engineer aka mum and do all things to get my house sorted, school activities and engage in something for me (massage, boxing class, coffee with a girlfriend)
Friday is my mental health day and I can do anything, stay in my PJ’s and watch Netflix, lunch with the girls, go for a 20km walk around our beautiful city of Sydney, whatever I choose to do. This is my head clear and re-balance day.
I also am very conscious about having balance in my working week to ensure I get an even spread of Tech Audits, #walkntalks, System Health Check and speaking events, too much of one activity can bog us down in moving forward and impact the opportunity to build a love of technology and embrace it.
4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?
Part of my remit when leaving the corporate world and becoming an entrepreneur and small business owner was to get work life balance and to become more present with my family so I work 3 days a week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday only
I also wanted to ensure I created something amazing. One of my service offerings is a #walkntalk or I refer to it as “Liquid Happiness” During this session, I blend exercise with laughter, listening and sunshine to help EA’s and women in business make strategic connections across industries—connection is the key to success.
5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?
Mediation and me are still figuring out our friendship and it’s going to be a while before we are best friends but I am motivated by the benefits you can gain from it when it works
I have un-blurred the lines between work and home now we are 100% remote working. When I am working in my office and on calls I am present and when I leave the office (literally closing the laptop and door) I am with my children, I am present with them.
This means I am no longer scrolling IG at the dinner table. There is a separation in my life and it’s important to my well-being and productivity as an entrepreneur.
One significant thing I have implemented is the 8 minute rule when I wake up (by Chelsea Pottenger who is a very dear friend)
- Don’t look at your phone
- Practice 30 seconds of gratitude
- Look at my vision board to remind me of my goals
- Gentle stretch
- Have a glass of warm water with lemon
“Harvard research suggests that practicing 30 seconds of gratitude a day, strengthens and grows the part of the brain that builds resilience.”
6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?
I’m the first to admit I am not great at reading books but I am a massive podcaster or audible book listener. My favourites change all the time but I can’t live without Marie Forleo “Everything is Figureoutable” both her book and weekly podcast.
Today I am highlighting and putting sticky notes (after reading the audible books) through Daring Greatly by Brene Brown, Spirtually Fierce by Ricci-Jane Adams and Women In Leadership by Julia Gillard & Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.
Once this is finished I then pull the books apart and create a vision board with the nuggets of gold I captured from what each author has taught me.
7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?
Tech wasn’t always my first career love, however, in 2018 I landed the opportunity to support my CEO who was heading a Silicon Valley incubation—WOW! —My eye’s popped out of my head; I said yes (and fell in love with technology).
Technology creates efficiencies in our roles, and that’s why I love the world of tech. The thing to understand about tech is that it’s not a one box fits all—just because your bestie or neighbour is using an app; it doesn’t mean it’s the solution for you. I encourage everyone I work with to explore new platforms or apps before jumping in. It’s about working on your business, not in your business.
My approach makes technology fun for all. I am a ‘Woman in Tech’ and part of the global organisation womenintech.org
My tech discussions help people to find the right technology solution. Each week I host #shotoftech via my #coffeenlearn sessions. I showcase a piece of technology or a new app and deep dive into its benefits and how you can use it in your workplace.
We have so much to choose from with tech and apps these days and there is always new ones hitting the market place each week. For me as a business owner and educator in the tech space I about creating efficiencies in the way we work “work on your business not in your business”.
I can’t live without a scheduling app for my social media platforms and I use Later. Currently I have my social media post 3 weeks ahead of time and what a scheduling app allows me to do is to connect with people on social media and great conversations instead of worrying what to post.
8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?
For those who don’t know, the 5 AM club is a concept started by Robin Sharma where you wake up at 5 AM do twenty-minutes exercise, twenty-minutes planning and twenty-minutes study. It’s a great concept and it is something I have been wanting to do for some time. I did modify the structure a little in 2020 when COVID hit but he is a constant motivator for work-life balance.
9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?
I love what I do and knowing being the best version of me is enough for me. Always be open, authentic, honest and vulnerable. And I promise you, any fears you have will wash away and be replaced with absolute strength.
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