By Arielle Avila
Assistant is a bit of a catchall term. Sure, assistants schedule meetings, take notes, and retrieve coffee, but they can also act as a quasi concierge, sending fruit baskets to top clients and buying gifts for partners. In an effort to unearth the highly specific material needs of powerful people, we sat down with “Marcella,” the executive assistant to the CEO of a fashion-production company with a roster of well-known clients and eight offices around the world. We spoke with Marcella about the 50 bottles of Champagne she raced to pick up across the city, the designer dog collar she imported from Europe, and the composter that makes fresh soil her colleagues “fight over.”
Marcella began working at the company as the office manager of the New York location, and by the end of 2021, she was promoted to the CEO’s first-ever executive assistant. Though her boss likes being self-sufficient, Marcella says he decided to change her role after they worked together on a demanding office renovation. She now manages the CEO’s calendar as well as those of all the international branches, and stocks supplies for a dog-friendly, sustainable office.
Because Marcella’s boss is a wine connoisseur, he likes having several varieties — only white, so it doesn’t stain the carpets — from makers the company works with on tap in the kitchen for late nights. On one of those evenings, he was on a call and signaled a “W” with his hands, which Marcella thought meant “water.” When she went to fill up a glass, she saw him shake his head. He then started wobbling in his chair to pantomime what he was asking for, but she still couldn’t figure out what he wanted. Finally, he texted her, “Whispering Angel, please.” Marcella ran to the nearest wine shop and bought him a bottle. She now makes sure to order the well-priced and not-too-sweet rosé for his conference room’s mini-fridge and is looking to add it to their office tap.