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Advocacy Group Launches International Virtual Assistants Day
Industry Shines Light on Growing African American Membership


Baltimore, MD, May 19, 2006 – For most professionals Friday, May 19, 2006 will be an ordinary workday – but not for Sharon Williams, Becky Gregory, Kirsten Womack or Carolyn Moncel, all African American Virtual Assistants, who along with over 5,000 colleagues worldwide will be celebrating the first annual International Virtual Assistants Day (IVAD).

 

Proposed by Sharon Williams’ online advocacy group, Alliance for Virtual Businesses (A4VB), IVAD is now officially registered with Chases Calendar of Events, the recognized authority of special days, weeks and months. IVAD will appear in the 2007 edition and will be held annually on the third Friday of May. The inaugural celebration of International Virtual Assistants Day coincides with a three-day assembly sponsored by the Online International Virtual Assistants Convention (OIVAC) running from May 18 – 20, 2006. Virtual Assistants worldwide will display the free IVAD logo and creed on their websites.

 

“VAs are making important contributions to the growth and stability of small businesses everywhere, and the establishment of IVAD simply acknowledges all of those virtual professionals who work so hard to honor our creed: Dedication, Experience, Expertise and Determination to Succeed (DEEDS), ” says Williams who says almost 10 percent of her organization alone is comprised of African American VAs. “In the 10 to 20 calls I receive from aspiring VAs each week, 25 percent of them openly identify themselves as African Americans. It’s great because these women view this industry as an open opportunity to take control of their careers and become serious business owners."

 

Williams, a former federal employee, is a VA pioneer who started her business, The 24 Hour Secretary, long before the Internet Revolution. Specializing in digital dictation and transcription services, her company literally operates 24 hours per day. Utilizing the latest technology at her finger tips, she and her expert team of internationally-based Virtual Assistants handle the responsibilities busy and often overwhelmed executives and entrepreneurs dislike or lack time to complete. She is a Master Virtual Assistant, a certified Real Estate Virtual Assistant, a mentor and author of three books.

 

Virtual Assistants or VAs are independent entrepreneurs who work remotely and use the latest technology to deliver professional administrative, creative, managerial, technical, business back-office and/or personal support services to busy professionals. Clients only pay for the time actually spent working on projects and often retain a fixed amount of hours per month for service.

 

Typical services could include everything from general secretarial and word processing services to desktop publishing, website creation and marketing. Projects are often handled over the phone, by fax, e-mail and even instant messaging. Most attractive is the fact that VAs are also responsible for their own taxes, training, healthcare, insurance - overhead costs that make hiring an employee expensive.

 

With a 25 year career within the academia, healthcare and law, Becky Gregory of Virtual Administrative Services (VAS) operates her business from Baltimore, MD as well. Gregory uses her extensive administrative, technical and desktop support experience to serve busy, mobile professionals who need expert administrative assistance but don’t need an ‘employee’. Launched in 1992, VAS provides a wide range of business support services including complex document processing, information processing, desktop publishing and customer service management. A graduate of Virtual AssistanceU, one of the leading organizations designed to train aspiring virtual assistants, Gregory is also a Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP) and a Certified Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS).

 

Kirsten A. Womack, owner of Im-mack-ulate Impressions runs her company from Turtle Creek, PA, located just 10 miles outside of Pittsburgh. In addition to offering general administrative and HR support to business owners, her company specializes in interviewing, training guide development and PowerPoint presentations. Holding a series of management positions before starting her own firm, Womack is also a VirtualAssistanceU graduate, but holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Human Resource Management.

 

Since 1996 more than 5,000 professionals around the world have become VAs. More than 90 percent of them are highly-skilled working mothers who choose to start their own businesses in order to achieve a better work/life balance. According to a study conducted by Brenner Books in conjunction with A4VB in 2004, the United States accounts for the largest number of VAs followed by Canada, Australia and Great Britain.

 

Carolyn Moncel, a former marketing and PR manager, launched MotionTemps, LLC in July 2001. When her French husband, accepted a job offer in October 2002 and moved the family from their home in Chicago (her hometown) to Paris, Moncel decided to expand her company rather than close shop. Moncel, whose company specializes in working with English-speaking communications professionals to create training materials and web presentations, still works with her Chicago clients. Additionally, she now services clients in the UK and Canada as well. Like so many others throughout the industry, Moncel started a new career in order to spend more time with her oldest daughter who was in pre-school at the time. Ironically this year, IVAD and Moncel’s daughter’s ninth birthday will share the same date.

 

About Alliance for Virtual Businesses

Established in June 2003 the Alliance for Virtual Businesses™ is volunteer-directed organization, whose primary mission is to promote the growth of free enterprise between virtual assistants, entrepreneurs, small businesses, corporations, associations and other business entities. At the web site client-related case studies, industry-related demographics, and a wealth of other types of information are available to facilitate learning about our industry. Visit the website at www.allianceforvirtualbiz.com.

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