This is supposed to be a short essay on Alexandra Armstrong - a little recap of her climb up from secretary to chairman of her own company with sprinkles of text describing her generosity, strong mentorship, volunteer work, being a role model and her endless (ENDLESS) energy.
I gleefully volunteered to write this blog because who else knows her best? I’ve worked for her for all my 34+ years at AFM, in one capacity or another. Piece of cake…
Fast forward to sitting down to write my first draft, never would I have imagined describing this assignment as one of the hardest I have had in recent history. Afterall, I’ve been present for most of her speeches/introductions, award presentations and accolades, read all the articles written about her, and watched all the interviews she gave – and I agree with all the hundreds of people that have bestowed great praise of her in any of her roles. There is so much information out there to help me build yet another glowing story of all that makes up Alexandra Armstrong, and yet I found myself struggling to capture it in words.
What was I supposed to write that wasn’t already said?! Which led me to this – a piece about what Alexandra Armstrong means to me alone.
Alex is larger than life to me.
Even after decades of knowing her and developing a unique relationship that is unmatched to any others in my life, she continues to surprise me with her capacity for life and others.
I first met Alex in person in the company lunchroom more than a month after I had been hired as a secretary. I already found her intimidating just from conversations with my new co-workers, so imagine my surprise when this petite blonde strides confidently into the kitchen and introduced herself while I tried to choke down the huge bite of the tuna sandwich I had just taken! She was very pleasant, but direct with her introduction and promptly left afterwards – her duty to meet the new girl fulfilled. I was immediately caught up in the world of Alex and never looked back.
The most valuable lesson I have ever taken away from Alex is how to share knowledge. Two employees working together with the same knowledge-base can get twice as much done. Multiply that by all employees and you have a smooth, well communicated running machine in which delegation of work is a walk in the park and the backbone to a successful firm where staff feels their contribution is valuable.
Alex is exceptional in her skills, and she expects no less from anyone that works for her. She expects only the best because she steps in and coaches you right from the start. Those lessons learned back then still stick with me today and I practice them regularly; Like owning up to any mistake made immediately so that the focus is on a resolution; and doing your homework, researching your own questions or issues and looking for an answer - even if it is a guess - to present all together to save valuable time.
However, one skill that no one will ever be able to mimic is her memory. It’s a steel trap. Her recall about a client, how they met, and key facts that are pertinent to that relationship is instant and accurate. It should probably be studied in universities across the world.
Alex is always forward thinking and ten paces ahead of the pack. It is a scramble to keep up with her once she sinks her teeth into an idea or project – which could be anything from a complex financial plan to rearranging some office furniture or cleaning out a storage unit! There is no stopping the forward motion until the task at hand is complete!
I learn so much from Alex on a regular basis – she inspires me way beyond this business. Bottom line, Alexandra Armstrong is the reason I stayed in this business and have managed to be successful in my career. Better yet, she is the reason I am a better person.