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Member Spotlights 

Alison McKessar

National President

Association of Administrative Professionals NZ Inc. (AAPNZ)

AuSAE Member: February 2013 

What We Do 

Our mission is: to empower administrators through opportunities for development and connections. Essentially, we provide relevant, affordable professional development and networking opportunities for anyone working in the administrative profession (EAs, PAs, office managers, receptionists, etc). We also offer AAPNZ Certification; anyone with this certificate is verified as a skilled administrator with proven relevant experience and a qualification at NZQA Level 5 or above. For the past 12 years AAPNZ has run its Administrative Professional Award, the winner of which goes through a stringent written and interview process. The Award winner is announced at our annual national conference or professional development forum.

Number of Members

Staff Size
AAPNZ is run on a voluntary basis by those working in administrative roles. We have an elected National Executive Team of six with two contracted positions.

Years in Association Management
I was elected National President in 2016. Prior to that I had been a member of the AAPNZ Wellington Group Management Team, including Group President. 

How I Got Into Association Management
I believe that the more you put in to an association, the more you get out of it, so when I was approached to run for National President I grasped the opportunity with both hands. Additionally, I have relevant experience from past senior positions in voluntary organisations.  

What I Like About My Job
I have met some amazing and inspirational people who are passionate about the profession. We now have an international reach through relationships with Executive Secretary magazine in London, and trainers in the US, UK and around the world; I’m heading to Frankfurt in October to the World Administrators Summit. I also love to see new members grow in confidence through education and support who go on to secure their dream jobs. 

My Biggest Challenge
Time to focus on AAPNZ can be a challenge when I work full-time and do this voluntarily (by day I am the Training & Education Co-ordinator for the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists). AAPNZ has a limited budget to promote the association and our events so getting the name out there can be tough. Probably the biggest challenge is getting organisations to take the professional development of their administrative staff seriously. Sometimes it’s a challenge to get administrators to take their own professional development seriously!  

What I am most proud of at our Association
We’ve recently invested in a proper membership management system (Wild Apricot) which has allowed us to refresh our brand along with launching a new website. Membership is increasing and there’s a really positive vibe growing within the admin community. We are bringing some international trainers to New Zealand this year for MasterClasses and keynote presentations at our national conference (16-18 August at Te Papa).

Favourite AuSAE Event  
I went to the 2017 conference in Wellington and heard some excellent, motivating presentations. I also really enjoy the networking opportunities at the lunch events. 

What I want to learn from other AuSAE members 
How to make the most out of marketing, developing relationships with organisations with mutual interests and approaching/securing sponsors.

How AuSAE Has Helped Me 
The networking opportunities have enabled me to meet some helpful, influential people and presentations I’ve attended have provided some excellent advice which I’ve been able to introduce to the benefit of the Association. 


Reasons to Join 

Community of association professionals


Professional Education 


Member only on-line Resources


Leadership Growth Opportunities



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