How Office Bad Ass hit the ground running

Columbus CEO Magazine

One-time executive assistant Fatima Bouyer has harnessed 20 years of experience to launch her own virtual “Bad Ass” business.

Fatima Bouyer has been an executive assistant on and off since she was 21 years old.

From roles at L Brands and National Church Residences to the corporate offices of Bob Evans, Mimi’s Café and Darden Restaurants, she says she was given a lot of freedom; her bosses trusted her. “I’m a go-getter,” she says. “I can listen in on a situation or be a part of a meeting and know where to go from there.”

Originally from Cleveland, Bouyer, 43, was the first in her family to graduate from college, earning her business degree from Ohio University with a minor in communications. She also holds an associate degree in paralegal studies, and briefly interned at a law firm.

In 2018, she launched Office Bad Ass, offering services like email and calendar management, strategic planning sessions, board meeting action items and follow-through, small-level budget management, customer database management, event planning, team building and social media content creation.

“The idea popped into my head while I was at Darden [Restaurants],” Bouyer says. “When I really reflected about my business, I thought, I could be anywhere doing this work.” Later in her career, an L Brands colleague told her, “You can be the assistant and the boss.” She took that comment seriously.

Today, Office Bad Ass has 10 clients—all of which came to her by word of mouth—which range from small entrepreneurial outfits in New York to large franchise groups, plus artists, app developers and more.

Ron Jordan, CEO at Jordan Hospitality Group, relies on Bouyer’s skills. They met while she was having brunch at Hen Quarter, one of Jordan’s restaurants in Dublin. “She was talking about the things she does, and she mentioned her office administration business,” he says. “I’ve been through six admins over the years, so I shared that with her.”

Jordan took a chance. Several months later, from meeting notes, to Bouyer physically taking meetings in Jordan’s place, to her completing necessary certifications to move the business forward and more, Jordan has come to rely on Bouyer. “She anticipates the needs of me and the organization,” he says. “She’s been the best admin I’ve ever had.”

On the second level of her home, Bouyer created a meditation room. “I started actively meditating three years ago,” she says. “I go up there and read or put my headphones on and lay on the floor.”

Once a quarter, she also evaluates her skills, and keeps up with industry trends through LinkedIn and the Executive Assistants Organization. Her two contract employees help her keep it all straight, too. “It can be overwhelming, because so many new things are being introduced,” she says. “But I have to do my due diligence to make sure I [position] myself and my company to be the most efficient.”

Each year, Bouyer hosts “The Promise Experience,” a ticketed event to create an encouraging community of women who share successes and uplift each other. “Women do so much. Mother, wife, I’m running this company—the whole premise of the event is, how do you keep your personal promises when you have to show up as all of these different people in your life?”

Siobhan St. John, current assistant cheerleading coach at Ohio State University, one-time NBA dancer and author and cancer survivor, met Bouyer through a mutual friend and joined the most recent panel.

“The way she can bring people together is inspiring, and it’s an honor to speak and share my experiences with other women who are dealing with their own issues,” St. John says.

What’s next? For now, Bouyer is focusing on Office Bad Ass, with plans to build out other avenues of the business, from Gym Bad Ass (personal training) to recruiting services, and even mobile bartending for business events.

“When you’re passionate about something, you just do it,” she says. “It doesn’t feel like work.”

This story ran in Columbus CEO Magazine on February 2, 2021

Let's Chat!