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How I Got JFK Jr.’s Executive Assistant To Speak At Our Annual Retreat

I am one of three executive assistants at Dyn, and one of my fellow assistants recently recommended a book for us to read: Fairy Tale Interrupted by RoseMarie Terenzio, written by John F. Kennedy Jr’s executive assistant. She writes about how she fell into her role, her day-to-day work, and her life after the tragic loss of her boss and confidante. Her book made us all laugh at the similarities between her relationship with John and ours with our bosses. It made us all cry at the loss of someone who had become such a constant in her life.

Like me, you probably hadn’t heard of her, so I’m proud to introduce you.

We passed the book around, and when it was my turn, I could not put it down. I have never read a nonfiction book about a career that was in line with what our team of three does every day. Granted, RoseMarie dealt with many different things then we do, but the baseline was pretty much on point. This book was all we could talk about.

Last year around this time, my boss and confidante Kyle York. went out on a limb and reached out to author Jeffrey Fox, someone who had impacted his life, to come to speak at our first annual “Baller’s Club” trip. That was really impressive, but also an amazing lesson that he didn’t even know he was giving. If you want something bad enough, you pick up the phone and ask. What’s the worst that could happen?

I had enough of talking about how cool it would be to tell this woman what an impact she had on our lives. So I took some inspiration from what Kyle did, tracked her down, picked up the phone and called her office.

Here’s what happened next.

The woman who answered the phone told me about a conference she would be speaking at in November. I got her contact details and looked up the conference, only

Dyn - Ashley Goodwin

Our meeting with RoseMarie Terenzio.

a short trip away in New Jersey.  I then emailed RoseMarie and took the gamble of asking her if we could meet up while at the conference. Much to my surprise, I got an email 22 minutes later with  a great response: yes.  I ran upstairs to tell the others and we started planning our trip, supported by our bosses who saw the importance.

We met her the night before the conference, and even while sitting at the table minutes before her arrival, we didn’t think she would really show up. Why would this New York Times best selling author want to take time out to meet us? Well, she did right on time and it was an instant friendship amongst us all. She was extremely down to earth and flattered at our excitement to meet her.

The meeting was better then we could have ever imagined. We saw her a few more times the next two days, and also met her sister and brother-in-law. She promised we would keep in touch, and we even agreed to plan a trip for her to visit our global HQ in Manchester, NH.

When I got back in the office and described the series of events with Kyle, he asked me if I thought she would be our featured speaker at the 2014 Baller’s Club trip. I was unsure how a previous executive assistant would appeal to the masses of sales folks and top performing employees, but Kyle explained that seeing our excitement about meeting and learning from her made him think she would be a great fit. He said, “Every person in every role in a company is imperative to that company’s success.” The three of us had a call and found numerous topics for RoseMarie to talk about that everyone could benefit from.

So now RoseMarie will be coming on our trip and I couldn’t be happier. I get to hang out with her again, and continue to learn from a great mentor. In about three months time, I read a book, contacted the author, met her, began a friendship, and inspired my boss to take a chance on someone that really inspired me. The fact that Kyle took an interest in something I was so passionate about really touched me. I feel extremely lucky to have these mentors in my life, impacting my career and personal growth.

Now, it’s time to pack and enjoy the trip of a lifetime!


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Whois: Ashley Goodwin

Ashley Goodwin is an executive sales assistant for Dyn, a cloud-based Internet Performance company that helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Follow on Twitter: @Ashly8g and @Dyn.