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Press Contact: Jennifer Wilner  

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New Jersey is home to thousands of businesses and the 150,000 administrative professionals who are the backbone of companies and right arms to their managers. They work tirelessly and businesses cannot function without them. There is an entire week starting on April 20 dedicated to them. They are much more than “assistants.” Today, many are strategic business partners as I was for 25 years to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis. If you’re an administrative professional, be proud of the impact you make daily. If you’re a manager, thank her/him right now.

As a career coach for assistants, communication between an assistant and a manager still needs work. Assistants need encouragement to voice their opinion/concerns on issues that cause conflict (salary negotiation, workplace bullying, vacation time, etc.) Managers must welcome these conversations and listen.

A national workplace communications campaign kicked off April 2 in celebration of Administrative Professionals Week. The Speak Up! Pledge is a call to action for a better and more productive workplace environment. Issues can only be resolved when we start the conversation.

Bonnie Low-Kramen is an author and corporate trainer. More information on Administrative Professionals Week can be found at

blogtalkradio blogtalkradio: Management Moment with Doug Dickerson. At Management Moment Leadership Services it is our mission to add value to your vision. This is done through the weekly Management Moment column and with compelling interviews on this radio show.

Interview with Bonnie Low-Kramen about the Speak Up! Pledge.

Edison, New Jersey — April 2, 2015 — Harassed by your boss? Bullied by a co-worker? Afraid to ask for a raise? Feel undervalued? All too familiar with these dynamics, workplace/career coach and former executive assistant to Olympia Dukakis, Bonnie Low-Kramen is launching the Speak Up! Pledge to empower both assistants and managers to develop healthy, positive relationships in the workplace. Kicking off April 2nd, in celebration of Administrative Professionals Week, the goal of this national movement is to forge better communication between an assistant and her/his manager.

With one million pledges expected by Labor Day 2015, the Speak Up! Pledge is a starting point toward encouraging an assistant to approach his or her manager professionally and respectfully with questions, ideas, and concerns and “speak up” for what change/ improvement she/ he wants in the business environment. To participate, an assistant can go online at, download and sign the digital pledge and frame the certificate. “The pledge is a dedicated way for the assistant to make a commitment to her/himself to talk about a workplace issue and propel dialogue, instead of keeping silent,” Low-Kramen says. In workshops she conducts around the world, she has heard first-hand that the issue of not speaking up is a very real problem – the #1 challenge in the workplace. Fear of losing a job, fear of being told “no,” afraid of being perceived as a troublemaker, fear of being right or wrong – are just a few of the reasons why an assistant may feel compelled to stay quiet, according to Low-Kramen.

The web site also has a section in which a manager can participate and pledge his/her openness and commitment to positive communication within the office or team. The initiative is being promoted via social media channels. An assistant can take a ‘selfie’ of him/ herself, or with other assistants or with his/ her manager and send photos to Instagram with the hashtag (#) SpeakUpPledge. Low-Kramen is encouraging assistants and managers to share the pledge via social media and word-of-mouth in an effort to generate awareness.

Based on her own personal experience coaching thousands of assistants around the world, receiving personal calls and emails daily, Low-Kramen has observed that that many assistants feel discouraged, afraid and too intimidated to discuss a variety of workplace issues. Low-Kramen says, “From salary negotiation, a well-deserved day-off or a promotion, to being bullied or being sexually harassed, there is no shortage of difficult issues at work. Bullying, for example, is a silent epidemic that affects over 65% of assistants at least once in their careers. Not dealing appropriately with these issues is self-sabotage.”

Low-Kramen believes that strong, productive, mutually respectful, and highly profitable relationships between assistants and managers will only come about when communication pathways are opened and when the “silence is broken.” She emphasizes that when fear or intimidation is an obstacle, growth cannot be achieved.

The Speak Up! Pledge is meant to spur realistic and instantly actionable solutions for success in a demanding workplace. The bottom line is that when an assistant and a manager do not have an honest and open line of communication and there is not a real effort in resolving issues, it creates an unhealthy workplace – low morale, absenteeism and lower productivity — not to mention the emotional and physical toll it can take. “I have heard from hundreds of assistants who have left their jobs to take another one without ever talking to their bullying manager. That’s a lose/lose situation. Improvement and a better, more productive work environment can only happen when we start the conversation – when we break the silence.”

Dr. Laura Crawshaw, author of The Boss Whisperer and Taming the Abrasive Manager: How to End Unnecessary Roughness in the Workplace could not agree more: “I support the Speak Up! Pledge because it’s not until people speak up that we can get educated and change.”


Press Contact Karen Parziale at, 201.927.8536




Bonnie Low-Kramen, a workplace and career coach & author of “Be the Ultimate Assistant” joins Enterprise Radio to discuss how she built a business from her experience as a personal assistant to Oscar winner Olympia Dukakis. (Running time: 13:00)

Listen to host Eric Dye & guest Bonnie Low-Kramen discuss the following:

How did you transition from being the executive assistant to Olympia Dukakis to writing a book, speaking around the world and coaching businesses?
What are three lessons you have learned as an entrepreneur that you can share with others who are thinking of starting a business?
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting your own brand and what would you do differently?
How has the workplace changed in the last few years?
Your work is dedicated to helping assistants with your workshops and one-on-one coaching. What are the top 3 challenges for those that you coach or speak to?

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