It’s easy to find yourself in the weeds of running a business but knowing the right time to lean into your team is essential to maximizing your organization’s growth. And BELAY’s COO and CFO Lisa Zeeveld knows this firsthand.
Her executive assistant Kate has helped her navigate the good, the bad and the ugly, and Lisa would be the first to admit that she wouldn’t be able to lead BELAY well without her support.
Andy Stanley says, “Unexpressed gratitude feels like ingratitude to the ones for whom you are grateful.” So in honor of Employee Appreciation Day last week, LZ sat down with us to express her gratitude for all the ways Kate’s support has made a difference in her leadership.
Thanks so much for sitting down with us. Like Andy Stanley says, it’s important that we express our gratitude to those for whom we are most grateful.
So tell me: What has working with Kate afforded you that you didn’t have or couldn’t do before, both personally and professionally?
“With her, there is definitely no ‘I’ on this team. I’m not going at anything alone.
“She has helped me navigate through the good, the bad, and the ugly – and I wouldn’t be able to lead our organization well without her support and leadership.
“Kate has afforded me more time. Peace of mind. Maximized productivity. The list goes on and on – both those are the things you can’t really quantify but prove most invaluable.”
And how has that changed for you since starting your partnership, both personally and professionally?
“For me, over time, I was able to let go of those things that are easy and then growing that muscle over time. And those small wins breed for more trust.
“Trust begets trust. So the more I trusted, the more she trusted me. You go into this very positive trust cycle.
“And it earned me an accountability partner. She knows my goals and helps me stay on track. She’ll call me out when maybe I’m doing something I shouldn’t. Because again, just because I can do it does not mean that I should.
“It’s easy to find yourself in the weeds of running your business, but knowing that I can lean into her is essential to maximizing my growth, both professionally and personally.”
What is one thing Kate does for you that you can’t believe you used to handle yourself?
“First, I want to preface this by saying that numbers are totally my thing. I’m the CFO after all and I’m constantly reminded that I proclaimed to the world that ‘Budgets can be sexy!’
“I stand by that, by the way.
“But surprisingly, if I can only pick the one thing that I can’t believe I used to do but happily hand over to Kate it’s my expense report. It’s seriously the best.”
What is one thing you can’t imagine ever having to handle again because Kate does it so well for you?
“Just one thing!? Planning my day – but also expense reports and events. I can’t just pick one thing.
“Kate always says it’s like adult Tetris – but sometimes with two people trying to put the blocks in the same place. So she holds me accountable when I’m in there to make sure we’re not double-booking things.
“But calendar is the thing for me that I was like, ‘On your first day, please take this away from me!’”
What task were you most excited to delegate to Kate?
“Again, the ‘simple’ tasks, like the calendaring. Because that’s one of those things that should automatically be off your plate Day One. That is something I very easily handed over with clear direction.
“I had a great spreadsheet I gave her and explained colors that I liked, how I like it to look, and how I don’t like it to look to really lay that foundation in the beginning to make it so much easier.
“She always reminds me that while I may be absolutely capable, it does not mean that I should do those things – that I need the time to be able to focus on the vision, the bigger things going on in the company.
“She says that as my assistant, her job is to make me look good. She wants to be a burden-lifter. I just don’t know how I’d succeed without her. Who doesn’t need a Kate?”
What is a bonus gift or talent of Kate’s you didn’t expect but now can’t imagine living without?
“Oh, that’s easy. She is so much like me that she knows what I am thinking before I say it.
“To that end, she now proactively blocks times when she finds them for me to just focus – either a full morning or full afternoon – that she just saves and protects for me.
“We’re also both Disney-obsessed and are convinced we’re princesses!”
What is one thing about what you do that makes you excited to get up tomorrow and work with Kate again?
“She gets me! I know she wants the best for me. She is committed. ‘Going’ to work is so much easier knowing she’s in my corner. She’s kind, attentive, loyal, smart and awesome at seeing the details necessary to make things happen.
“I also take comfort in that she has the bigger picture of who I am. I’m not just LZ who only works. I’m LZ the mom and a wife, too.
“So she just really helps me keep all that in perspective and makes sure that I’m taking care of myself, too.”
You shouldn’t have to do everything. And now you don’t have to.
Are you ready for your own Kate? Let’s talk. Reclaim the most valuable asset in business: more time to focus on what matters most.