Returning to Work in Your 40’s with Hilani Ellis, Founder of Exceptional Admins


In this episode, I am joined by Hilani Ellis, as we discuss practical ways to get back into the workforce in your 40’s. How do you know when you should get back? What career should you choose now? How do you find the job that fits you best? We touch on all these topics and many more.

Hilani Ellis is the founder of Exceptional Admins, a company that helps executives find the perfect admins for their business. She has been coined a CEO Assistant Matchmaker by her clients because of her special abilities to recognize the compatibility between two employees. Her experience and process will definitely prove insightful to many of you who are on the verge of taking this next step.

Visit Hilani’s website here.

Also check out her own podcast Exceptional Admins

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT


Doryn Wallach:

Welcome to It's Not A Crisis. I am your host Doryn Wallach. I'm an entrepreneur, a mother of two, a wife and a 40 something, trying to figure out what is happening in this decade. Why is no one talking about it? I created this podcast to help women in their late thirties and forties to figure out what is going on in our mind, body, soul, and life. We may laugh, we may cry, we may get frustrated, but most importantly, my goal is to make this next chapter of life positive. I'm also full of my own questions. And I'm here to go on this journey with you. So let's do it together.

Welcome to another episode, and thank you for coming back. I have to say that because I appreciate that you're coming back and listening and that you liked the other episodes. So I normally do my intro before the show, and I'm still learning this whole podcast thing. But today I had a feeling that I was going to need to do it after. And I'm so happy that I did. Today's show was such a great show. It brought up so many questions that we have as women and mothers at this time in our lives. And thinking about working or just doing something with our minds that stimulates us, our kids are getting older or even our kids are young and we still want to work or do something. So we get into a lot of talking about what you can do if you are staying at home, what you can do to prepare for later.

And I'm going to have her back on the show because there are so many other things that I want to touch on, but I've been fortunate enough to have my foot in the door throughout the years of being a mom for 13 years, because I've been able to run my own businesses. And so I've gotten experience on different things here and there. But what I learned today is that I think if I went into a corporate job and said, "Hey, I'd like a job." I don't know that I would be prepared at all. And not because I'm not experienced, but because I don't even know the first thing about what it's like to go get a corporate job these days, she touches on that a little bit. It's really, really a great show. And I've received numerous messages from all of you on this. So I've gotten tons. So I hope that we answered all of the questions that you've asked. She is awesome. She's available after to email her and ask anything else that you want to ask her.

My guest today, Hilani Ellis is the well-known business owner behind Exceptional Admins, a boutique specialized placement and training firm. Her depth of expertise stems from working for over a decade as an administrative professional, her previous roles were anything but ordinary. It's the dynamic job circumstances that helped Hilani build a unique foundation atypical of traditional administrative roles. Later in her career, Hilani transitioned from holding a corporate seat to launching Exceptional Admins. The mission and vision of the firm is to support leaders and other administrative professionals with their talent needs, whether hiring or training.

Today, Hilani's journey, grants her an edge when she engages with others on the topic of authentic leadership and or administrative greatness. Her understanding of the job's complexities brings clarity and energy to a trailing and misunderstood field. She believes everyone has unique gifts that support being highly impactful to business goals. If you can hear me smiling, I'm smiling because even her description about herself is just so intuitive and she really understands who she is. And so I hope you enjoy the show.


Doryn Wallach:

Hilani, welcome to the show. I'm very excited to have you here today.


Hilani Ellis:

Thank you for hosting me. It's going to be a great conversation. Very excited to be here at the podcast, It's Not A Crisis.


Doryn Wallach:

It's Not A Crisis. I loved our first conversation. Can you remind me again how you found me?


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah. I was on Instagram, on my business page, which is Exceptional Admins, and I did a general hashtag search for podcasts, and yours popped up right there. And like most people, went ahead and stalked you for a little bit, checked out your feed, noticed billing to access your jewelry line, which is gorgeous by the way. And then your podcast, which was essentially the reason for doing the hashtag search. And I listened to one of the episodes and completely stopped dead in my tracks. I'm like, "This woman's great. I'm going to totally jive with her. She's going to totally get me. I should introduce myself and suggest an idea to be a guest on your show."


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah. So I always talk to my guests to make sure that there's chemistry there because they could know everything. And if we don't have chemistry, it's just not going to work. And also I pride myself on being real and who I am. And if I'm talking to someone who phony, I don't even have friends like that.


Hilani Ellis:

Well, kind of to the audience profile that you have that's just a little bit of a gear, even though young people and older people in their journey in life can listen to it. We start to get to a position where we just need authenticity, realism. And so I totally hear you there.


Doryn Wallach:

For sure. Okay. Well, I'd love to start with your backstory that leads you to what you're doing today.


Hilani Ellis:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). So I'm 41 and I've had quite of an interesting journey. I started in Florida, lived in Los Angeles for a good while, I now live in Colorado. And today I'm a specialized headhunter specific to helping leaders be it executives in organizations, or very powerful entrepreneurs find their strategic business partner, which could be labeled as an administrative professional. I did waitressing a lot throughout high school and also right before I took a corporate role. Fast forward, I took another role for about four years as an executive assistant within a sound technology company. And then I took a break. I had my first child. I was home for eight years as the CEO of the house and everything involved in that. Made the move to Colorado and was finishing out kind of my time at home. I ran a very small business to just, again, continue to be connected with myself.

I took an amazing opportunity to put myself out there. I applied for a job. I interviewed, I left that interview so excited to go back to working again. And I left that interview, I'm like, "I still got it." And the cool thing, but also the bizarre thing when I did the math, I hadn't interviewed for a job in 12 years, 12 years, interviewed landed a job for four, took eight years off.


Doryn Wallach:

And your child's I assume was eight at this point.


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah, he was, he was eight. And then my youngest was almost three, but it was an amazing opportunity. I took it, loved the job, was in that role for four years. And at the end of the first year, I started having interactions with other influential leaders in the community that were very close to my executive. And I started to notice a trend that, which if you're very good and love what you do as an administrative individual, you wind up building relationships with these very important busy people because they trust you.

I left the corporate world in May of 2017 to really give the attention to my business, Exceptional Admins that was necessary to become a specialized headhunter.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, you're clearly very intuitive as well, which I think you can't just... There are a lot of recruiters and headhunters who aren't so great at what they do, because they're not that in tune to other people. So it's immediately obvious to me that you have that gift. And I don't think that that's something that can be learned. So well, you mentioned staying home for eight years as the CEO of the house. I love that. I always call myself the momagement or something like that. I write notes all around the house and say like, wash your hands, the momagement. Do this, the [inaudible 00:07:45], yeah.


Hilani Ellis:

Oh, that's awesome. I haven't heard that one yet. I'm up to use that. I'll give you credit.


Doryn Wallach:

Thank you. I appreciate that. I don't think I came up with it though. When did you realize that it was time to stop staying home with kids and getting out and going back to work? Because I think a lot of women feel this many times throughout their years of being stay-at-home moms, but they're either too scared to do it or just kind of say in their head. "Well, when my kids go to college, I'll think about doing something then." But it's also pretty... That idea is very daunting because so much time passes. I stayed home for five years.


Hilani Ellis:

Which feels like 10.


Doryn Wallach:

They did, those toddler years were not easy. Those were the hard years to be home. And they don't remember, by the way, at all. They're like, "Mommy, you were working a lot yesterday." And like, "I stayed home with you for five years. We went out every day. I did those dumb mommy and me classes. We had lunch together. We did all this stuff and you remember nothing and then nothing." So by the way, ladies, if you're staying home with your little kids, they're not going to remember it. So don't feel guilty if you... I don't know. Okay. So back to my question, what made you realize it was time to go back to the office?


Hilani Ellis:

I declared to myself that I wouldn't lose identity. I wouldn't only be Brendan's mom, Todd's wife or Brody's mom. I was Hilani. And when I realized that that was going to be really important because just like you said, actually, they don't remember, right? You're home for five years, they don't remember those moments. I'm going to have to go back and be me someday. So if I forget about me, there's this whole entire period of having to reconnect with myself. So, if you've lost sight of you, it's okay. There is still plenty of time for you to make that connection. So, as I mentioned, and you just reminded me, eight years is when I was home. That's a long time. And when I had my first child, my kids are four and a half years apart. It was really one-on-one, he's the compliant child. The second one, not so much.

The first thing was I'm very type A. Oh my gosh. And the type A that I had over time, even in those first years and when the second one was born, who's strong-willed, which I described actually is very passionate about many things. I started to realize I was suffocating myself. And until I recognize, and I think I said this to you in our first call and you laughed, I am no longer an upper case type A, I am a type A lowercase, but if you need that upper case, I can turn that dial at any time. My first child was awesome. We kind of really got excited about the next one. And as I mentioned, he's strong-willed and it just put me in a position of start assessing, not judging, but assessing, "What am I doing? Where am I going? When does my next chapter of Hilani? I've covered mom, I've been in this role at home eight years."

As I mentioned, I ran a small business to just sort of stay engaged mentally, which kept my office skills, polished, poised, and ready to go. Should I be back in front of that resume, ready to apply and begin looking for what made me feel alive inside, an administrative role. So I was sitting down one night and I distinctly remember it was in December of 2012. And I said, "I think it's time." And I went on the job boards, Monster at the time, which no one really uses today. And this one stuck out to me, executive and personal assistant. I was like, "I like this." So really making a lot of commitments to myself to be grounded, helped me come to the realization that it was time to head back to the office. And then that experience worked very much in my favor. And I truly believe it was also because of my mindset. I interviewed, landed it and I loved the four years I was with that executive. We're still very close.


Doryn Wallach:

Did you have normal hours when you were doing that?


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah. So I had to put my almost three-year-old into a pre-preschool. He was very accommodating at the fact that I was just reentering the workforce. So he gave me flexibility, but I also in return gave him trust that I had high integrity to perform well and never abuse a bit of that extra slack he gave me. So there was a give and a take with that. I had kind of a routine schedule. My husband got off work at 3:30 every day. So there was a real big benefit to that, to our story, that he was able to do pickup in case I got stuck in traffic, my commute was 30 minutes one way.

And I was also in a heavy position of learning that if we were in the middle of a meeting at 5:30, I did not want to lose industry knowledge because it was private equity, which I knew nothing about. We sat down as a couple and we talked about it and I said, "It's time for me to go through this experience. And if it truly doesn't work out, I'm not going to be disappointed and I'll stay until the executive finds a replacement." So we created a plan, which I believe probably could have happened before I made that submission for the application. If I gave any advice, sit down, talk about a plan. Don't expect answers in the first meeting with your partner, start designing what would be an ideal scenario, multiple scenarios or a situation.


Doryn Wallach:

Right. And some women can't because it doesn't make sense for them financially to go back to work sometimes or vice versa to stay home. But just speaking from my own experience, I was fortunate enough to have a woman in the past few years who cleans for us and also helped me with pickups with my kids. So she did both things, but if I didn't have her, there is no way I would have been able to go to the office every day. And she's expensive. So you definitely have to think about it, really think it through before you do it.


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah, to add to that, you're right. It's got to make the right amount of sense. And when I think about what I started in making what the cost of childcare was, dry cleaning, car mileage, gas, all of those things, I genuinely believe my expenses overrode the profit, kind of to the declaration. I had made the point, but I'm doing something for myself that is for my mind.


Doryn Wallach:

I often felt guilty working because financially I didn't need to work, but I love to work, but love to be there for my kids too. So I'm lucky. I've always had to be able to balance both not well, but I have.


Hilani Ellis:

I think you brought up a really good word, guilty. And it is society that has forced that feeling and emotion on working women. I no longer allow the guilt because when I think about, "Am I having quality time or quantity time with my children?" I actually, when I went to the office, right at that first point of starting back into the workforce, I started to recognize that I was more intent with the time I spent with them. And not that I wasn't before, but it was even heightened, because I was gone all day. And I do believe that that blip in their story, which obviously was dictated by me being their mom, they feel that time with me. And we truly have memories made based on feeling, not only conversation, we pick up from a conversation, how did that make me feel?

And then our memory is piqued at a higher level to create memories around what's going on. And so I say that here, because that guilt word is so powerful and I'm so glad you said it. If you are a stay-at-home mom or if you are in your maternity leave and you're feeling guilt for the fact that you're going back to work, knock it off. It's not necessary.


Doryn Wallach:

It isn't, but you know what, I think for me, if somebody said that to me when I was younger, and that my kids were younger, I'm not sure I could understand that as well as I do now. Because I think when they get older, you have confirmation from them that like, "Oh, okay, I don't care that you are at work late today." You know what I mean? But when they're little, you come in and it's the, "Mommy I missed you mommy. I want to be with mommy and I don't want mommy to leave for work." Now, I come home and I'm like, "Hello." And nobody wants anything to do with me. Listen, I can't even sit here and tell any woman, any mom to not feel guilty because it just continues throughout their entire time of being a mother. But yes, as they get older, there are the other things you become guilty about, but you let go of the other things once you have confirmation from your children that you're doing okay. They weren't traumatized that you were gone when they were two. And because they clearly don't remember it.


Hilani Ellis:

And you're touching on something great. It is the future and the uncertainty of not knowing what that looks like for everyone's individual story. So yeah, from my story, if I spoke back to my younger self, I might've given myself a little bit more grace with the worry, some that I welcomed into my particular story, but you're right. Feel what you should be feeling and be ready to embrace that next story, that's a part of... They're one-month older and then now, while they're celebrating another birthday.


Doryn Wallach:

What about the women that... I've friends who really don't want to go back to work, but then all of a sudden, now that their kids are teenagers or even going off to college, now they're like, "Oh, I need to do something." And they had spent a lot of their time doing things like PTA or class mom and volunteering, and which is great. For women who are now in a position where they're say nearing 50 and they want to go back to work, and I think different reasons. I think some women may just need something to occupy their time and stimulate their mind. Some women may really need to go back to work. What is your advice at that stage? Because that's not eight years, that's a lot longer.


Hilani Ellis:

In order to really kind of set yourself up for personal fulfillment, which could also be labeled as success with entering back into the corporate workforce, whether that's in the private sector or the public sector, retail, Starbucks, those types of opportunities, you kind of need to do a self-assessment. What do I actually like to do? How can I actually speak authentically about something if I were to interview? And sitting and capturing in writing the things that make you feel alive, get fun with it, right? Like get out, colored pencils or crayons from your kid's stash and just kind of do a bit of word-dumping onto paper so that you can really connect with what sets you up, then going to the job boards and recognizing, what roles speak to those many things that you wrote down, kind of drilling down the focus. And the way that we do it today is very different than even three and four years ago.

And there's a lot that needs to be captured that is very marketing heavy, which becomes a bit of a crippling experience for those seeking to go back out of where do I begin? And so I actually declare at the beginning of that article, 75% of that messaging and advisement is a professional opinion. And the other 25% is my personal opinion. And then I talk a lot about it in the podcast episode as well. Really sitting down and looking at some of those things that make you, you. You're going to have a more enriching experience when you interview to avoid the potential avenue of discouragement and disappointment when you start to put yourself out there, then you're like, "Well, maybe it's not the right timing." Which could be the case as well, declaring on paper, what it is that you want to do and the why, recognizing that your resume needs to be a story that's told today.

And I don't know if maybe you want me to cover this here, because it's important. You guys wonder what to do about the gap when you were home. Absolutely, put it on the resume, go ahead and get very clear [crosstalk 00:19:24].


Doryn Wallach:

CEO of the home.


Hilani Ellis:

Exactly. Budgets, groceries, and I've even offered as a sense of humor because there needs to be personality in the resume, kept three children alive.


Doryn Wallach:

I love that. That's great. So it's funny, I have a lot of friends or women I know that were in finance or they were lawyers or they did something, they were social workers and it's funny, the ones that were in the very high-powered careers, they either continue that job or they stopped when they had kids and they have zero interest of ever going back to that. And again, there comes the guilt fame because I have a law degree. I have an MBA, I have this, I have that. And I've had the conversation before with friends and said, "Yes, you have that degree. You have that experience. That doesn't mean you have to do that. But that does mean you have some experience doing something that can lead you to a lot of other opportunities."

I would imagine using that to your advantage, but I think it's a daunting idea to women to try to even get anywhere near back into what they were doing and most likely, I don't feel like you can, maybe I'm wrong, but if you were in a big law firm and then took off 20 years to have kids, I doubt big law firms hiring you back, but am I wrong about that?


Hilani Ellis:

It's an interesting thing that you bring up. I'm excited and honored that I've talked to some really amazing, kind of what you just described the profile of, let's say the lawyer and she did take that channel. She came to a fork in the road. I'm having my first child. I might have a second. I've got this wonderful career. I've worked very hard in my education to get to, am I throwing it all away? And that is kind of where in the essence of, maybe it is on the PTA, which can be a very beautiful, fulfilling and highly reinvesting back into your experience. I often think too, if you're at that point, as I was mentioning, kind of trained for the marathon, start calling non-profits and volunteer your time, right? Just kind of get that experience, start building out a new network of people today because the others have maybe gone a completely different freeway in a different direction.

There is ownership of us to be able to recognize, where we were. We took a break to raise the next generation. We're ready to come back in and add value. I genuinely believe, especially with the leaders that I've talked to who are my clients and friends, they do have a sense of piqued interest with those reentering because there is a higher level of I'm ready to prove how much I want to work that the energy of coming back to the office is higher than someone who's always been working. So I see that to the advantage of those coming back in, really wanting to sink their teeth into the work. If they're a lawyer, someone who was in finance and is still been watching MSNBC for the last 10 years that they've been at home, they know what's going on with the markets, right? They've stayed relevant. That is really powerful and just kind of staying engaged to what they loved, what their degree was in and their sort of when they thought they were maybe going to work all of their professional years, but they chose to take a break, which is great.

I think that being able to speak to your passions allows you the opportunity to be interesting. If you're not interested in something, then you're no longer interesting and it's hard to be able to have a dialogue about it. And so when you can prove... I absolutely love Williams-Sonoma. I've told my husband that when we're retired, we're not really going to be retired because we're going to work at Williams-Sonoma together, same shifts, the whole bit. And I'll be interested in that because of what Williams-Sonoma is about, food, bringing people together, they have on the weekends, the baking and you can smell it halfway through the mall. And there's a sense of excitement when people want to get that new kitchen utensil or that new machine, whether it's an instapot or something else. And just being able to be interested in something, proves to someone that you're interesting and worth the time.


Doryn Wallach:

That's great. And by the way, if you were doing some high-powered career and you choose to work at a Williams-Sonoma, that is okay too. I think women feel like what will others think of me? But this is the time and this is the point of this podcast. This is the time think about you and what makes you happy and forget what other people feel. I actually have to tell you something that I'm going to admit. And when I was looking for employees for my business, I found myself in my head somewhat discriminating against mothers with younger kids. And being a mother and like knowing, like I never wanted to... I would never say that, but I did think like, "I know what it's like. You've last-minute things or you've got to do pickups, or you have to do stuff at school."

And I really needed somebody to be fully committed in there all the time. And that's not to say that that moms of little kids can't do that, but a lot of my questions in interviews were do you have help? What is your backup if you have to work late? Do you have all that? But it crossed my mind and I felt terrible about that.


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah. And it happens often. And the things that I've been told in confidence from clients on certain criteria there, I think one of your questions too for us to spend time on is ageism and maybe we should do that here, but it's human nature to be out the gate judging. And I tell my assistant, "We are in a business of assessment." And the differentiator between that is judging is, "I can't believe Hilani is wearing that lipstick with that outfit. It's so ugly." That's totally judging. Assessing is, "What does she bring to the table? How did she deliver on that? How is she representing herself? Where's her learning curve?" Really taking a sense of assessment of what are we in front of, much like when you walk through a brand new house you might want to buy and you're like, "Okay, the kitchen might need an update. Oh, everything else is great." The square footage, we're really assessing what's going on and what's in front of us.

When we do fall into natural human tendencies, we do what you just did. I try hard to assess, evaluate, and give people chances and figure out what's the right thing. And also have to listen to the clients and some of their crazy criteria. I had a woman tell me once, "Don't let this person come into our home and be fat." It was a very wealthy family. This person was going to be answering their door and dealing with all their vendors on their estate. It was a very high-level role. I said, "I can't guarantee that because we're looking for the quality of the candidate, not their physical appearance." And so it is unfortunate that we're all in a position to have that happen to ourselves and our thinking. And it happens in HR. And it's unfortunate.


Doryn Wallach:

Well, and I think the point of me bringing that up is that what I learned from that was that I just had to ask the right questions and find the right person, and some people's situations are much more flexible than others. And at the same time, you want to serve the world and you want to help every mom who wants to get out there and stimulate their brain. I actually used to have... I had a Broadway actress work for me, intern for me for a little while. Because she was just like, "Ah, I don't know if I want to do this anymore."


Hilani Ellis:

There's criteria for a reason, right? There's criteria for a reason. And I have to remind clients often we're hiring the whole person, not just their skills. This isn't a robot that we're programming to do the day-to-day. This is the whole person, we're looking at the whole person, which for you guys listening, who are you? There's a large part of what you're going to be doing in the essence of getting back onto your two professional feet, making declarations to yourself. And we haven't said this word yet. It's one of my favorite words, permission slip, right? Giving yourself the permit. You mentioned this actually in one of your episodes. That's when it stopped me dead in my tracks. I was like, "Oh my God, she's my favorite phrase. I can't wait to talk to her." Permission slips. We are not given permission slips around certain things. And it's a big thing I do a lot on my podcast. And in general conversations when I'm connecting with candidates on a weekly basis.

Where was the permission slip for yourself to be okay with that mistake? Where is the permission slip to realize you had to learn more than you thought you did? And that goes a lot with the word, grace.


Doryn Wallach:

I think you are very, very unique though in your understanding of women. And I think that that's probably what makes you so successful. I don't think everyone is like you.


Hilani Ellis:

Our disclosure because you just admit it. I'll say it here. I am aware of the fact that I have a very special talent or gift that's come from so many parts of my story that were hardship that gave me a chance to be able to spin it for the grace and goodness of others, specifically women. And that... It gets me a little emotional right now, but to be there for them is a big deal.


Doryn Wallach:

Oh, that's so great. That's how I feel about doing this podcast. I feel like... Do you just look for executive administrative assistance or do you place other jobs?


Hilani Ellis:

I believe I can fill a variety of professions. There are some I have no interest in touching whatsoever as it relates to accounting. Accounting makes my skin crawl. That's why I have a bookkeeper and I love her and she loves me because I'm like the most compliant client. But as it relates to my company, Exceptional Admins, yes, I'm specialized in the administrative profession. And if I ever decided to tap out of this to be wider-reaching in supporting businesses with their talent acquisition activity, I have already bought the URL for it. It's called Exceptional Talent. And the abbreviation for that is ET, so.


Doryn Wallach:

Being an admin is not the same as when we were younger and there were secretaries. It's not the same thing anymore.


Hilani Ellis:

Absolutely. And I'm so glad you said that. I am on... I met a podium in front of thousands and thousands of professionals constantly advocating for the fact that there is a large gap from where leaders and companies believe this profession sits and where we truly are today. And I'm speaking to that often when I'm talking to a prospective client and he describes the basics. I'm like, "I'd like you to know you're looking for a secretary." "Oh no, no, no, no. I need an executive assistant." I said, "Well, let me tell you what an EA is today." And I go through this whole other bucket of enriching responsibilities, from meeting management, PowerPoint presentations, all these other things. And they're speechless. They're like, "Well, I didn't know an assistant could do that." So I'm on a bigger mission with my company to really educate leaders, HR on what the possibility is, which then essentially opens a brand new channel for these assistants that have a hunger for more, that they aren't able to speak up about. So I have in my signature of my email hashtag admin advocate and I live for that every day.


Doryn Wallach:

That's awesome. I love it. And looking back at your time at home and then being an employee and now an entrepreneur, again, what advice would you have given yourself during each phase?


Hilani Ellis:

Oh, I love this question. Taking full ownership. When I think about the beginning of my career, which was 21 years ago and I'll declare this right here, I don't regret 99% of the things of my life. I believe that there's a small bucket of 1% of things I might regret. The things I would have told my younger self at the beginning of my career, and I find myself still doing it today, but not nearly as much is I would listen differently. And I would listen differently because when I get very excited about a topic, I can find myself or way back when interrupting, because I'm ready to speak to the topic. And that in hindsight was just a bad composure, which I don't think I was digging for it, but I'm sure behind my back, it was spoken of kind of, "I can't get [inaudible 00:31:00] with that one." And just listening different, listening longer, having some really established habits, which I'm reading an amazing book by James Clear called atomic habits.

It takes 66 consecutive days of doing something new for it to become natural. And that's not a long time considering how long 2020 has made us all feel that we've aged. That's not a long time. And if I would have sort of embraced that a bit more openly, I would have told my very younger career self that. Another thing too is at work, you need to remember work friends do not mean authentic friendships. I overdisclosed often in my younger years, personal things that then were used against me in the workforce. It created an unfortunate friction, which was unnecessary because I was embracing the relationship. So sort of knowing, and the phrase that's out there, routinely is having boundaries. I maybe would have kept myself a little bit more private versus so open. Just think about that one for a hot second. Definitely as I've said a few times here just to reiterate, when you're at home, don't lose yourself. And you're not just a stay-at-home mom, you're who you are and you're who you were way back when, before kids and really staying committed.

And I'm not someone that journals a lot, but I can find myself writing notes to myself as you were sort of saying, like the notes around the house. One in particular that I have on my computer screen, it says, "Be quick to listen, slow to speak and be slow to become angry." And I have that up because one of the things I am proud of now many, many years later is I really allowed emotions to drive certain situations. And that in hindsight didn't really get me to a better place. So I've learned that unfortunately through the hard way, but then fortunately recognizing that I've been able to shed that habit, I actually became... I'm not a fan of which was my own habit. And then kind of to the point of the motherhood is quality time over quantity is okay to preview or review or assess or look at your situation of... I hear often from the working moms that I work with and the sentence is going to hit home. I don't spend enough time with my kids.

And the word enough can actually be bad. So, going on a vacation with your partner and getting away from your kids is great and that's fills you up. So think about those little micro-moments and here's the permission slip to spend time alone with yourself, which sometimes we're uncomfortable doing. I've embraced that now many years later. So I would definitely say that to my younger self, that when I was sitting and getting my nails done while I was a stay-at-home mom, we lived on a budget and I felt guilty about that. That I maybe would have just said, "Don't feel too guilty, recognize that it is okay. And then you'll be back home in a little bit in the part of the fold again."


Doryn Wallach:

Oh God, I couldn't agree with you more on every single one of those things that you're just said.


Hilani Ellis:

Oh, thanks.


Doryn Wallach:

I feel the exact same way-


Hilani Ellis:

Same way. And I know you're not alone, right? Yeah.


Doryn Wallach:

... Yeah. I know it's so true. And I'm sure that many women that are going to listen to this are going to just really feel that and understand that wherever they are in those phases of life. This was so wonderful-


Hilani Ellis:

Oh, thank you. I [crosstalk 00:34:25] that we made it work.


Doryn Wallach:

... I know and now you are an excellent guest. I'd love to have you back again. Actually liked the idea of the resume.


Hilani Ellis:

[crosstalk 00:34:35].


Doryn Wallach:

That would be interesting because yeah, there was a time I wanted to start a different part of my business and my husband was not happy about us putting personal money towards the business. So I was like, "What kind of job can I get along with my full-time job and my business?" And I went to go look at jobs online and they asked to submit a resume and I was like, "Huh, I don't even... What am I going to say?" That is a great topic. So I would love you to come back if you were open and willing.


Hilani Ellis:

Be honored to come back because there were actually some things I was thinking as we were spending this time together. I think kind of a role-play experience with you on like what our traditional interview questions today that people are asking? What's the more creative way to stand out? And it does start with that piece of paper, which is the resume. And so for the resources I have on my website, regardless if I'm unique to administrative roles, which are good roles to sort of kind of reenter the workforce in, even if it's part-time, I would say, look at my website, there is a general tone to the inspiration, advisement that I give that is applicable to any sort of journey. There's people who were in PR and they would definitely benefit from the advisement I have on the website. And I've got a section that is both career development and role development under the EA University tab. And there's a wealth of information that is easy to digest versus feeling overwhelmed, that will give you the energy of like, "I can totally get this going."

And I'm going to say one final thing here. Do not say I want to have a job by three months from now. Give yourself a little bit more of a casual mindset around it because time and time again, "Oh my gosh, Hilani, I totally would've thought I'd have a job by now and I don't and I can't get past the first round and this just sucks." And I'm like, "I hear you and I want to give you some help to know that you're not alone, but then unfortunately you're not alone. Others are doing the same thing and listen, we have lofty goals for ourself." Right? I said I'm type A, so I make goals.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, me too.


Hilani Ellis:

I make goals, then we know that about ourselves and there's a sense of control with that that helps us have assurance. So if you put a timeline on it, I would say this instead, within three months, you want to be so solid in what your goals are. You want to be so proud of that resume. You're showing it to your husband or your wife. And you're looking at it wondering what can I do now? Now you can apply. Now you can look out. I often say too, volunteer first, kind of get that office, physical presence going and interaction and conversation. But yeah, I would absolutely be honored to come back and speak to those things so your listeners can get some concrete inspiration.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, no, I love this topic is so great. And tell everyone again where they can find you.


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah. Thank you. So the company is called Exceptional Admins and the website is exceptionaladmins.com. There's a wealth of information. It's pretty easy to get through. There's testimonies if you kind of want to see what the experience has been for assistants, which can also light you up on what the future looks like in finding employment. I also have a podcast which can be found on Spotify, Apple, and Google Play, which is also covered under the title, Exceptional Admins. I'm on LinkedIn if you want to kind of start, which by the way, we didn't talk about this. We could in the next episode, but you've got to start having a presence there and you've got to start telling your story in digital. It is the absolute backup. Just like when you apply, they're going to want to look for you there and they want to know how serious you are about employment. And they do, excuse the word, judge, are you there or not? So you definitely want that.


Doryn Wallach:

I'm going to have to talk to you about updating my LinkedIn because-


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah, that'd be fun. We can talk about that.


Doryn Wallach:

Yeah, just on the side. I don't really know what I'm doing over there.


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah. But you can find me in all those areas and if you join in and listen, I love to hear back from people. My email address is also on the website, so send me an email.


Doryn Wallach:

Great. Great. Thank you so much, so much-


Hilani Ellis:

Thank you. Very excited.


Doryn Wallach:

... This was wonderful. And we will have you back again. I don't know who we is. I will have you back. I know, there is always a we with me, but it's really just me doing everything.


Hilani Ellis:

Yeah. Well, I'm honored I was here. This was a wonderful conversation and I hope the guests and listeners took a lot away.


Doryn Wallach:

Great. Thank you. Thank you so much for listening. Remember to give yourself permission and know that you are not alone. Don't forget to subscribe so you don't miss any episodes. Reviews are always appreciated and you can reach me by email