Sneak Peek At The Book

“As you become more clear about who you really are, you’ll be better able to decide what is best for you – the first time around.” – Oprah Winfrey

Sitting on a File Cabinet, Naked, With a Gun is a book about a small group of women who wield an enormous amount of power—the executive assistants to the CEOs of Silicon Valley, California. If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the closed doors of the executive suite in the high-tech capital of the world, we will tell you. Some of the most powerful men and women are represented in these stories, as executive assistants spill the beans about their CEOs.

This is a book for all business managers, not just administrative professionals. It will ring as true for the “newbie admin” as the seasoned assistant who’s been around more years than she would care to admit. Managers at all levels will come away with a better understanding of the intricacies of the CEO’s office and how to interact with it.

Executive assistants are arguably the most influential people on a chief executive’s staff . They are historically a “secret weapon” — typically, not even recognized for their ability to influence the CEO. Too often, they are written off as “just a secretary.” Beware of making that outdated mistake! Today’s CEO executive assistants are engaged in all aspects of the business. They leverage their CEOs’ highly valuable time so they can devote their total energies to making the major strategic decisions for their companies. These assistants continually seek out ways to make their jobs more enriching, more efficient, and more empowering.

Readers will hear the tale of an assistant who saved a CEO’s life, another who kept her CEO from being turned away from the White House, and one who even finessed a major deal for the company. Sitting on a File Cabinet, Naked, With a Gun is especially useful for anyone who has his or her eye on a spot reporting to a CEO one day.

After each slice-of-life anecdote, there are informative “Points of Wisdom,” or “POW!,” which are a useful guide for anyone who comes in contact with the CEO’s office. Unlike other books addressed to all levels of administrative assistants, the true value in Sitting on a File Cabinet is our first-hand understanding of what it takes to be the assistant to the CEO of a billion-dollar corporation.

In addition, we have filled the book with a feast of funny, occasionally shocking, sometimes moving, but, we hope, always entertaining stories about the real human beings “at the top.” These stories reveal how we and our peers became key influencers of some of the world’s top CEOs, and how we manage to keep our cool (or occasionally don’t) as we navigate high-pressure situations on an hourly basis.

About The Authors

Joanne Linden has a background that spans more than 30 years as an Executive Assistant. With the majority of her career in Silicon Valley, she has worked with and has been part of both successful start-ups and billion-dollar corporations. A true activist for professional administrators, she instructs at UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley’s Administrative and Executive Assistant Certificate Program and is on the advisory board for that program. Joanne is a current member of Silicon Valley Catalysts Association (SVCA) and past President of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP), San Jose and Crossroads Chapters. She is President and Master Trainer at AdminUniverse™, which provides consulting and training for administrative professionals. Joanne currently holds the title of Chief Executive Assistant at Synopsys.

Linda McFarland has spent over 30 years mastering her “never-panic-under-fire” demeanor. She has held CEO Assistant positions with a variety of Fortune listed companies, spanning the high-technology, legal, and medical industries. With a passion for developing and training, Linda is a co-founder and member of the Silicon Valley Catalysts Association (SVCA) which is a group of CEO Assistants. She serves on the advisory board of the Administrative and Executive Assistant Certificate Program for UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley, and is a master instructor for that program. Linda has delivered training programs to multinational companies and has been an invited speaker at administrative and event planner conferences.

Sharon Turnoy has been an editor, speechwriter, ghostwriter, communications manager, and executive assistant to a Silicon Valley CEO. She welcomes comments at


Joanne Linden is an incredible source of professional inspiration. Since attending her Star Achievement courses, I have gone from zero interest in career development to facilitating Administrative Professional trainings. - Monica E.

Joanne kept the class lively, fun and right on target with the needs of the group. She was well-prepared and a wonderful teacher. I highly recommend this class to all admins who want to improve themselves! - Janie B.

Joanne, after taking the Star Achievement® course, my assistant came back with a renewed commitment to quality and excellence, and was inspired to take on challenges beyond her scope and outside her comfort zone. - Michael J.

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