About Debbie

Passionate about sharing my knowledge and insights

The short version…
I am an advocate, teacher, and speaker with over 30 years of experience in the administrative profession. As the former Chief Executive Assistant to the CEO of Cisco, a Fortune 500 company based in Silicon Valley, I increased my CEO’s productivity by 40%.

Early in my career, I realized I had a knack for connecting the dots. I tapped into my intuition and built the courage to take risks that would take my role — my executive and my company — to the next level. I came up with creative solutions to improve communication and collaboration. As the Chief Executive Assistant, I designed career development training, recognition programs and oversaw over 1,000 assistants across the globe. I’m most proud of receiving the Colleen Barrett Award, which is the highest recognition given for administrative excellence by the Admin Awards of Silicon Valley.

After 26 years at Cisco, I retired at the same time as my CEO — a rarity these days. But I’m not done. I’m still very passionate about sharing my knowledge and insights into what it takes to create excellence in the administrative role. It’s a powerful position that should be highly valued and recognized by management the way my own executive valued me. I want every administrative professional to know how to serve as a strategic business partner. That’s why I teach and speak across the world.
The long version...
Debbie Gross knows that administrative excellence is about more than juggling schedules and taking notes. An intuitive leader, she offers a fresh approach to teaching administrative professionals how to upgrade their soft skills and build confidence. Whether on stage or in the classroom, she has an innate ability to transform staff into leaders, drawing out the inner “office rockstar.”

As the former Chief Executive Assistant to John Chambers, the past CEO of Cisco—a global corporation based in Silicon Valley—Debbie supported the company’s growth from a multimillion-dollar business to a multibillion-dollar enterprise. Known as John’s “right hand,” she increased his productivity by 40 percent. Debbie’s influence and responsibilities increased as her CEO’s responsibilities and the company’s footprint grew. She continued to develop creative solutions for admin professionals like her. Debbie spearheaded initiatives that helped transform Cisco’s global administrative community, launching its first Executive Assistant Roundtable. Eventually, she oversaw over 1,000 assistants across the company and designed long-standing reward and recognition programs.

Now, she’s using her 30 years of experience to help the next generation of administrative professionals transition from overwhelmed task managers to strategic business partners. As an advocate and teacher, Debbie is on a mission to transform administrative professionals into leaders who make substantive contributions to the success of their executives, and ultimately, their organizations.

A relatable and dynamic speaker, she has spoken globally and conducted interactive workshops and motivational talks at companies such as Cisco, Veritas, Facebook, Pinterest, Fenwick & West, and FedEx. As a master instructor of “The Administrative and Executive Assistant Program” at the University of California Santa Cruz Extension, she taught critical leadership skills and how to go above and beyond the basics. Debbie doesn’t just share information — she inspires and incites greatness. Her distinctive teaching style blends creativity, fun and new thought processes to help administrative professionals gain greater career satisfaction, promotions, and recognition.

For her passion and commitment to the profession, the Admin Awards of Silicon Valley presented her with the Colleen Barrett Award, the highest recognition given for administrative excellence. Top-tier media outlets such as CNBC have touted Debbie’s expertise and contributions. She recently published her first book, “The Office Rockstar Playbook,” which blends strategies, tips, and humorous anecdotes about her journey as a high performing executive assistant.

Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Debbie currently lives in Campbell, CA with her husband Cory.
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This video made to honor Debbie as a Colleen Barrett Award winner at the 2016 Silicon Valley Admin Awards speaks to why she’s such a great asset to the administrative profession.

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