There's been a lot of talk lately about the lack of high-powered women at Facebook, but there's one indispensable lady at the company who few people know exists at all: Anikka Fragodt, Mark Zuckerburg's executive assistant. And if you've ever worked in a busy office, you know that an executive assistant is no joke, particularly not at a major company like Facebook. Often, executive assistants are the ones who are actually holding everything together.
According to her LinkedIn profile, Fagodt has over 20 years of assistant experience; after graduating from Notre Dame, she worked for companies like Siebel Systems, Netscape Communications Corp, and Doctors Health, Inc. before joining Facebook in 2006. Her past and former co-workers seriously gush about her work ethic and professional skills, calling her "a rock that multi-tasks like a dynamo but she can always be counted on to be there when you need her." One Facebook employee said she's "highly knowledgeable, professional and helpful. She's a great person to work with." Forthright, too: "If you're looking to get my response to something, you can find me much faster on Facebook. I rarely check LinkedIn," she says on her page. Naturally.
What can we tell from Fagodt's Facebook profile? Not much — it's sparse (we can't even see if she's friends with Mark) but she's a big fan of Donna Summer and Biggie, as well as more traditional psychologists and philosophers — she has quotes from Nietzsche, Smith, Solon and Jourard under her "About Me" section. She's religious, too: "I'm a very blessed person and I am thankful to God for His mercy," she says.
Her personality shines more on Quora, where she's answered 14 questions, such as, "How many hours a week does Mark Zuckerberg work?" She wrote back: "Honest answer? He works as many hours as it takes to get done what needs to get done."
We're into her subtle wit, too: when answering a question about the best car services in the Bay Area, she says not to take one that gets you to the airport 2 hours early, since "that can be boring." She's clearly a patient woman as well, because she answered a question about whether Cyndi Lauper or Ashton Kutcher is currently more well-known in America. (Uh, sadly, duh.)
In another Quora post, she detailed all of the qualities an executive assistant should have:
• Assist in accomplishment of Company and departmental objectives
• Review, update and manage schedule for assigned manager - confirm attendees and manage the agenda and logistics of all weekly and monthly global meetings, including but not limited, to customer and partner meetings
• Ensure the timely preparation and delivery of all briefing information for all meetings
• Communicate routinely to manager's direct reports policies and processes to ensure compliance with Company guidelines and procedures
• Communicate daily with internal and external customers, prospects, partners, and vendors while exhibiting the highest degree of professionalism, courtesy and diplomacy
• Ensure and maintain confidentiality of all appropriate communications and documentation
• Respond to and screen all incoming calls or electronic communication and distributed to appropriate persons
• Prioritize and assign all incoming written and oral communications, when necessary, to appropriate person(s) for response
• Organize and manage all travel arrangements
• Process expense reports
• Manage the reduction of expenses wherever possible
• Extensive knowledge of event and conference planning
• Partner with facilities to ensure that we have adequate room for growth, help drive required moves that will minimize disruption and keep employees happy and productive
• Excellent communication skills – proven ability to communicate with executives, peers, the public, and others via all means of communication including telephone, email, written correspondence and in person
• Excellent organizational skills with high attention to detail
• Good planning and prioritization skills
• Excellent computer skills – fluency in all Microsoft applications, especially Word and Outlook
• Ability to handle difficult situations and people
• Proactive and self-motivated with an ability to take direction
• Strong work ethic
• Willingness to participate at all levels of the business
• Five years of experience
• High school diploma
And that's just an outline. "You'll want to be sure the individual is a Jack/Jane-of-all-trades and understands the job description is a suggested list of things to accomplish but that there's a whole lot more," she advised. "Most of the time, a career admin is someone who will do whatever it takes to get the job done as long as it's moral and not illegal." Sound advice for life beyond the office, too.
Image via Fragodt's Facebook.