Title, Company, and Location
Administrative Assistant for Academic Affairs, Biomedical Sciences, and Department of Research, Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine, Provo, Utah
# Years as an Admin+ professional
Not only did Analane lead a group of local students in crafting “Angel Pockets” to donate to a Provo Hospital, but she also put together a 21-minute YouTube video demonstrating how to make them for anyone who wants to learn.
Editor’s Note: OfficeNinjas All-Star Awards is part of Admin+ Month (April 4–29, 2022), a fully virtual celebration of captivating learning, global recognition, and joyful connection.
Many admirable adjectives can be used to describe Analane Powell. The one that comes first to mind after getting to know her? “Heart.” This purple-loving, people-pleasing career Admin+ professional puts abundant love, care, and attention into everything she does. The respect and results she garners for her extraordinary contributions speak for themselves.
From the students and faculty she supports at the Noorda College of Osteopathic Medicine (Noorda-COM) to her charity that makes burial gowns for stillborn, preemie, and miscarried babies, Analane’s commitment to serving others is one of her greatest passions.
She also manages to have plenty of fun along the way. That includes organizing Noorda-COM’s inaugural Academic Decathlon, which culminated with the awarding of a House Trophy and winners’ photoshoot, during which the traditional “cheese” smile-prompt was swapped with “We love Analane!”
In her interview, Analane shared one of her favorite quotes with us. It speaks beautifully to how she views the Admin+ profession: “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” This is absolutely true of Analane. In both her personal and professional life, she’s a beacon of positivity and reliability for everyone around her.
In getting to know her better, however, we’re reminded of a few other famous words: “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” Analane spreads light both ways, and it couldn’t give us more pleasure to celebrate her as a 2022 OfficeNinjas All-Star Award winner.
After reading this up-close-and-personal feature interview, we challenge you NOT to feel inspired by Analane Powell — a true force of nature and a force for good in the world.
How long have you worked as an Admin+ professional? What path led you to this career, and what makes it a good fit for you?
I have been an Admin+ professional for 25+ years, and the majority of my working career has been in higher education.
As a youth, I had the opportunity to shadow one of my church community leaders, who was the Executive Assistant to the president of the company. She gave me the full tour of her office building, and I got to sit in on meetings with her. As I shadowed her, I saw how critical her role was to the company’s success.
The sun beamed in through the window on her fancy furniture, and I vividly remember knowing I’d have an office like that someday. I’d also taken a typing class in junior high, which I enjoyed and was good at. Imagine my delight when I saw HER fancy electric typewriter! (Computers came out a few years later.) I felt so confident that I could do what she was doing. That very day, I set a goal to be an Admin+ professional.
My parents noticed my interest and could see my potential. They started giving me Administrative responsibilities in their property management company. After graduating from high school, I went to college, got my degree, and have worked as Admin+ professional ever since.
Where does your drive come from? What keeps you motivated?
I find joy in using the unique set of Administrative tools in my toolbox to assist the groundbreaking research projects of Noorda-COM students and faculty. My drive comes from keeping these projects flowing in a direction that will better the lives of both our brilliant student doctors as they move through their education and the future patients they will help.
These projects will address critical needs in healthcare, and what our company is working on will have a lasting impact on our world. I am responsible for making sure that no stone is left unturned and nothing is missed. To quote legendary theater practitioner Konstantin Stanislavski, “There are no small parts, only small actors.”
”Analane gives her all to each project that she is involved with. I would say that her ability to manage and anticipate things is her superpower. She looks ahead and tries to identify things that may be problematic on projects and find workable solutions before they escalate.” — David Sorensen, People Operations/HR, Noorda-COM
What are you most proud of outside of work?
I have two things that I am very proud of outside of work and they are intertwined.
First and foremost are my family relationships — siblings, nieces, nephews, bonus children, friends, and people I’ve mentored. I am THE favorite aunt.
My siblings, nieces, nephews, and I have created a 4H club in which we teach different skills, such as STEM, sewing, cooking, building Home Depot projects, photography, and so much more. Each year, the kids enter items into the Utah County 4H Fair. Not only am I a co-leader of our family’s club, but I serve on the Utah County 4H Leaders Council which plans activities for youth in our county. In March of 2020, I received the Utah County New Leader of the Year Award. This prize recognizes 4H leaders of 3 years or less who’ve made significant contributions to the 4H Program.
The second thing I am most proud of is Angel Gowns By Analane. Angel Gowns are burial gowns for stillborn, preemie, and miscarried babies. I taught my nieces to sew, and they assist me with this.
People hear about me by word of mouth, give me wedding dresses they no longer want, and we repurpose them into our Angel Gowns. We have given these gowns to hospitals and bereavement foundations throughout Utah and in our travels. My nieces and I also put together a tutorial video to teach teenagers in Utah County 4H how to make Angel Pockets, which are for babies that are too small or fragile for clothing.
On December 11, 2020, we were featured on the front page of the Utah County Daily Herald newspaper for our service and our donation of Angel Pockets made by Utah County 4H youth to Utah Valley Hospital.
I am also thrilled to report that Angel Gowns by Analane has gone international as of this year! We have donated gowns to St. John’s Hospital on the beautiful Caribbean island of Antigua as well as Cavan County General Hospital just outside of Dublin, Ireland.
“Analane has a heart of gold. She truly cares about other people first. She cares about her relationships and making sure those in her circle know they are supported and cared about. One thing that sets Analane apart is her volunteer service outside of work. Her Angel Gowns charity is truly a labor of love. I think this speaks more about who she is and how special she is to even think about doing something like this for strangers and people she has never met.” — Janna Featherstone, Department Secretary/Administrative Assistant, Brigham Young University
Can you provide additional information on the professional development group you formed among the Admins at Noorda? What inspired you to take the initiative to start this group? What has it accomplished?
At Noorda-COM, I am the “go-to” person in the office. Our team members know I have their backs on a personal and professional level. I have worked to cultivate a culture of inclusiveness, engender mutual respect, and create a strong, cohesive, and committed team of Administrative Assistants. I accomplished this by scheduling regular lunch activities off campus just for the Administrative assistants. This provides an environment for people to get to know each other on a more personal level. From time to time, we also invite Associate and Assistant Deans from different departments to join us. This helps Noorda Admins who may not work directly with the respective deans get to know who they are and feel comfortable around them.
I also create opportunities to teach our Admins valuable administrative skills. I have held training sessions on how to use different software products and technology so that we are cross-trained across departments. This not only instills competency across our organization, but also builds lasting friendships. Our Admin+ group has become close, and some even spend time outside of work together. When someone is out of town, there is someone to cover for them without skipping a beat. This has become a very collaborative group that helps each other out during high-pressure and demanding times so that one person isn’t carrying the whole load. We’ve learned firsthand that when we help each other with the small things, greater things happen.
For example, when we were short-staffed in the fall semester of 2021, we needed to find a solution to cover the front check-in desk in a different building. Each Administrative Assistant took two shifts a week to manage that desk. One of the shifts started at 5:30am, which was outside of our normal responsibilities. Because of our friendships and desire to succeed together, we were able to make it work until a person was hired to fill that role.
Many of your nominations referenced your profound impact while managing Noorda’s recent switch to a virtual model following a rise in COVID infections. What strategies and resources were most valuable to you in this complex and challenging situation? And how did you maintain “grace under fire” through it all?
I’ve built a strong community with our Admin+ group so I knew I could count on my team to assist throughout the process. After I created the virtual learning platform, I trained the entire Admin+ group on how the system worked, and delegated responsibilities to each person. Because I knew their strengths and weaknesses, I could tailor their skills to the areas I needed.
When the alarm buzzed at 5am and it was go-time that first morning, everyone joined in to watch the launch because they were invested in its success. It was a profound moment because we are all in it together. It brought tears to my eyes!
I worked SO hard with countless people to make sure the transition was a good experience for our students. Having everyone’s support was KEY, and every one of the virtual folks helped me maintain grace under fire. If I didn’t have each one of them, it would not have gone as smoothly as it did.
During that time, my Admin+ colleagues checked in with me regularly to make sure I was getting my sleep and taking care of myself. That helped me stay calm and get the job done. I also had great support from my siblings. I feel truly blessed to have such a strong bond and relationship with them.
“Our students learn their content in pods, and after another COVID surge, we had to go virtual overnight. The system is new to the school and Analane had to learn quick steps to make this happen. She would be awake at 5am to get ready for her day and allow the students to log in at 5:45am to be put in their virtual pods. She would send out links for the afternoon for each pod so the students could be in their prospective pods. She is a powerhouse and accepts any challenge that is given to her.” — Denise Cordero, HR Specialist, Noorda-COM
Your positive attitude comes up again and again in your nominations. How do you maintain a positive attitude — even in less-than-positive situations?
Having lived through some difficult things in my personal life and now seeing them in my rearview mirror, I’ve developed an internal sense of peace. I know that difficult situations will always work out, and it’s never as bad as we think it is. Having that internal dialogue in my head helps fuel my positive attitude. I have tasted the bitter, but now it’s time to make a tall pitcher of the sweet — and there is always enough to go around!
“Analane Powell is the human equivalent of the color yellow. She gets along with EVERYONE, effortlessly. Her smile lights up a room and she just has everything under control. All the time. She cares about her people. She goes the extra mile with a smile. Her dedication is palpable. She just can get it done. Everyone knows that if Analane has a task, you need not worry about a single thing. She is the backbone to this entire school.” — Sarah Worlton, Senior Curriculum Coordinator, Noorda-COM
Tell us about the craziest day you’ve ever experienced in your role.
One of my craziest work days occurred at a luncheon I organized years ago. I’d arranged for donors to come listen to popular figures in the community speak. The donors paid money to attend, and I’d scheduled food to be delivered at a particular time. However, the food vendor was late, and our distinguished guests were getting anxious. I finally got a phone call and learned what was going on. Come to find out, the food vendor had driven a larger van than normal to the luncheon venue. As it pulled into the underground parking structure, the van got caught on the fire sprinkling system, which burst the pipes causing water to spill out everywhere. The van drove so far into the parking garage that it ended up breaking several pipelines and setting off the alarm system. It eventually got stuck and was completely unable to move.
My boss and I ended up going down to the parking garage and walking all the food from the stuck van all the way up to the 13 floor of the building so that our guests could have lunch. It was a day I will never forget!
“I worked with Analane at [Brigham Young University] (BYU) for about 6 years and knew her well. She was in charge of talking to elite donors for BYU Athletics as well as coordinating events for the Cougar Club for Football games. She had many high-pressure situations, but handled them with grace and professionalism. She was the first contact for donors, and needed to know a vast amount of information, and to be able to handle some difficult donors with professionalism. She went above and beyond her job title on a daily basis.” — Collette Shaw, NCAA Financial Aid Counselor, Brigham Young University
How do your employer and team members help you succeed?
One of our core values at Noorda-COM is employee wellness and development. The company provides a lot of opportunities for self-care and personal development. Each week, I have a 1:1 meeting with the Associate Dean. This is my time with her to talk about anything that I want. It ranges from work projects, personal things, health and wellness, and professional development. She holds space for honest conversation, where I can openly share my desires, dreams, and goals. She always asks me what I need to be successful in my job and always tries to support me by giving it to me.
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How do you help your employer and team members succeed?
A big part of supporting the success of my employer and team members is understanding what’s going on. There are a lot of moving parts at a new college and many people look to me for guidance and information, so I seek out opportunities to learn about their projects.
For example, I work with a lot of researchers, and I have taken time to go to their respective labs and have them explain to me what they are doing. I have attended symposiums with them so that I get a feel for the science world as well as a better understanding of their processes.
I also look for opportunities to go the extra mile for them. We have several faculty members who live out of state. I go above and beyond by collecting swag from our activities to mail to them so they feel connected to us. We are currently building a new campus, and I have taken the initiative to snap pictures of the construction to email to them so that they can see what is happening.
“What surprises us most about Analane is her leadership skills and her perseverance in making things happen. In fact, we call her ‘everyone’s boss’ because she is always involved in making events occur and does not think about it in terms of whether it fulfills her role. Instead, she takes the leadership inherent to the assigned responsibility.” — Carlos Angulo, Faculty in Anatomy, Noorda-COM
What’s your greatest professional achievement?
Next to this OfficeNinjas All-Star Award, my greatest professional achievement is having created the Noorda-COM Academic Decathlon. Last spring, as we were planning for the upcoming year, the Associate Dean of Research shared with me his dreams for what he would like to see happen with the students. One of them was an academic decathlon. I rolled up my sleeves and got to work.
As students are accepted and enrolled into Noorda-COM, they are assigned to one of four research houses — kind of like the sorting hat ceremony at Hogwarts. These research houses offer academic and social support through various activities, service projects, and study time. We organized the Academic Decathlon as a competition between the four houses, with the entire student body of Noorda-COM participating. This was a minute-to-win-it, multi-leveled, interactive, do-or-die competition where 90 highly competitive first-year medical students fought to out-smart their peers — all in the name of preparing for their upcoming finals! The winning house would take home the House Trophy, AKA “the Golden Microscope.”
I took the initiative to coordinate many meetings and delegate assignments, such as each house designing their own t-shirts and colors, trivia games, and much more. I also created and wrote the awards ceremony, which included recordings of faculty members doing some of the practicum portions. This was so fun for the students to see their faculty members competing in the very same challenges.
The decathlon became a 4-hour activity with 3 different events: Jeopardy, a four-part practicum, and a Kahoots game. I created a scoring system with different points for different events; the house with the most points would win it all.
We invited our investors and namesake to attend and participate in the Decathlon, as well. It was so amazing! But it came to a wonderful culmination at the end when we were taking the school photo.
I was in the photo surrounded by students wearing their house t-shirts. The photographer announced, “On the count of three everyone one say, ‘We love Analane!’” I almost cried. I love these students so much. I know all of them, and they know me. We are in this together. The event was a smashing success and it had no issues — which is unusual for events like this. My joy was so strong, I could feel my spirit glowing inside.
Tell us about a specific time you found success in failure. What factors influenced your ability to bounce back and be resilient?
When I was preparing for my epic trip to Ireland, I was searching for a hospital where I could donate my Angel Gowns. I scoured the internet, Facebook groups, and message boards looking for a contact. But when I reached out to folks to tell them what I was doing, I got multiple rejections, such as, “We don’t have use for these in our hospital,” or, “We don’t have room for these at our facility.” Above all, there was a lot of radio silence. It was so frustrating, and made me start worrying that people didn’t want what I had so carefully put together.
But I trusted that the universe was constantly shifting, moving, and orchestrating things in my favor, and I knew it would work out somehow. I just had to just keep moving forward. Three days before I was leaving for Ireland, I came in contact with the clinical nurse at a maternity hospital outside of Dublin, and she was thrilled to accept them. Yay!
Upon arriving in Ireland, the stars further aligned and she and I met. It was such a wonderful experience, and I knew that my offering was being warmly received. It was a true sign that the steady string of “No” was really a, “Just wait, something great is in the works.”
What’s one thing you’ve done that’s been the most impactful in advancing your career? Did you know at the time the significance of that move? Were there any risks involved?
Without a doubt and without hesitation, I can say that changing employers has been the biggest thing that has propelled me forward in my career. It’s so easy to stay put in something. We get so comfortable and our growth becomes stagnant. It’s like the old analogy of the frog boiling in the pot of warm water. While he’s cozy in there, the heat gets turned up just slowly enough that he doesn’t really notice that the water is getting hotter. By the time he realizes that it’s boiling…it’s too late. Frog Soup! Through twists and turns of fate, I got out before I hit my boiling point.
Leaving my last job meant busting out a nice crisp map and paving a brand-new course for myself — one that I had never thought of, dreamed of, or saw coming. The map led me to Noorda, a place where I could let my skills — my glittery, purple-infused skills — shine! My map is still being charted, and I have no fear of where it will take me next.
What’s the one thing that’s ALWAYS on your desk?
There are THREE things always found on my desk:
- Picture blocks of my family and friends. They give me great support and I draw so much love and energy from them.
- A lighthouse. I used to live on the coast of Washington and it reminds me of that lovely place. Novelist Anne Lamott said, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” As Admin Assistants, our job isn’t to run around, causing drama and stressful situations. By standing firmly on the ground and shining our talents and positive attitudes, we can do much more.
- The color purple. It’s my favorite color, and it brightens up the space and makes me happy.
When it comes to a can-do attitude, positive outlook, and pure heart, no one does it better than Analane Powell. These qualities make her a unique and inspiring 2022 OfficeNinjas All-Star!
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