Your boss is one of Finland’s busiest people – the prime minister. As his assistant, you are on call 24/7. What’s it like to juggle the schedule? How do you make time for the most critical items? Do you get any down time?

Ilse Mattlin, assistant to Alexander Stubb, shared her insights at Amcham’s sold-out business luncheon aboard Tallink Silja.

With her boss on business in Norway, Ilse took time out of her busy schedule for Amcham’s Executive Assistant’s Network Q&A. Here are some of the highlights:

Q – What is the prime minister really like as a person?

“He is just like he is in the media, in the office!”

Q – How much of your day goes to managing the schedule?

“Everything the prime minister does is in the schedule, so a lot of my time goes to making it happen,” she said, adding that in the busy election season, she was typically answering 100 emails a day.

Q – You are always on call. So, can you switch off your phone at the movies?

“Yes, because otherwise people will be wondering ‘who are you,’ but I check in as soon as I’m done!”

Q – After the election, who would you like to work with? Any of the future prime ministers?

“Of course I will work with anybody.”

Q – What is the best thing about the job?

“Being in the middle of everything. Finland, Europe and the whole world!”

Assistant to not one but two prime ministers, and with 30+ years’ professional experience, Ilse also shared her top

5 tips for steering executives:

  1. Always be yourself
  2. Admit mistakes – we are all humans
  3. Always be alert
  4. Stay curious and update your skills all the time
  5. Never lose your sense of humor

Ilse joined the Prime Minister’s Office in 2011 as assistant to former prime minister Jyrki Katainen. She continued in the same position with Alexander Stubb.

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