Wendy Rhodes & Donna Paulsen...real or fictitious characters


It happens often, you meet someone new and they say, “You remind me of someone.”  The impression comes to mind because of similarities and it’s either a real or factitious person that prompts the comment.  It’s not uncommon either for someone to express, “You look a lot like someone I know,” or as I like to say, “You have a doppelganger out there.” Of these two comments, the first is spoken more often, and to me it’s like a suspense scene in a movie, you are (im)patiently waiting for the information to be shared, and will you agree?  It’s always neat to learn how people view you through their lenses, and what you do and how you respond to the identifier is key.

During my career journey, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting many wonderful executives both in the spotlight and behind the scenes.  My experiences have been alongside powerful people, and the roles I’ve filled naturally developed into being a gatekeeper, right-hand, and influencer for each executive regardless of industry or gender.  Most recently, I’ve been blessed with some amazing opportunities that presented new connections and relationships making for interesting discussions and new-found knowledge.  It’s during these interactions the first comment happens almost every.single.time.  The comment, “You remind me of someone,” either happens in the first 5-minutes of meeting or at the close of our discussion and it doesn’t matter if it’s in-person or over the phone.  I’m touched when connecting with people and asked, “Do you watch the USA series Suits?” or “There’s a Showtime series called ‘Billions’, have you seen it?” Considering real-life doesn’t offer much down time to enjoy a good series, from time to time, I do make an effort to enjoy the good ones. My answer is always, “Yes, I do watch it and thoroughly enjoy it!”  It’s then the impression identifier is shared, “You must know then you are very much like Donna!” or “Your insight to the world reminds me so much of Wendy and how she muses Axe and his team.”  It’s these statements that make me blush and smile.  It’s very fun to collaborate with people about factitious characters and how they present new ways of looking at things.

When it comes to an Executive Assistant, the character Donna portrays in the show seems to many as an unobtainable realism.  I disagree each time.  There are ‘Donna’s’ out there, and I know it because you are the company you keep, and I’ve been able to find, connect, and work with many of them.  The days of a secretary are long gone.  A properly fitted assistant with an executive and organization is instrumental and when matched correctly, everyone benefits.

For Wendy…well, the character portrays a “professional coach” which is the characters true title but it’s a cover-up for the label, Muse.  She inspires people’s thinking, twisting the human thought process in an unconventional way aiding in self-discovery which then empowers the individual.  Letting people think ‘they’ thought of the solution on their own is all-around rewarding.  Conversation with self-discovery is very powerful.  It’s an indirect way of teaching and guiding people to think on their own; a lost art.

To be a fan of these two series’ and be regarded as the real-life versions is flattering.  Helping people, Donna, and inspiring people, Wendy, are two of my favorite qualities - #MyPurpose