A secretary, personal assistant, or administrative assistant is a person whose work consists of supporting management, including executives, using a variety of project management, communication, or organizational skills. These functions may be entirely carried out to assist one other employee or may be for the benefit of more than one. In other situations a secretary is an officer of a society or organization who deals with correspondence, admits new members, and organizes official meetings and events.
Duties and functions
A secretary has many administrative duties. Traditionally, these duties were mostly related to correspondence, such as the typing out of letters, maintaining files of paper documents, etc. The advent of word processing has significantly reduced the time that such duties require, with the result that many new tasks have come under the purview of the secretary. The duties may vary according to the nature and size of organization. These might include managing budgets and doing bookkeeping, attending telephone calls, handling visitors, maintaining websites, and making travel arrangements. Secretaries might manage all the administrative details of running a high-level conference or arrange the catering for a typical lunch meeting. Often executives will ask their assistant to take the minutes at meetings and prepare meeting documents for review. In addition to the minutes, the secretary may be responsible for keeping all of the records of an organization.
Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority, power, or importance in the organization. The term is derived from the Latin word secernere, "to distinguish" or "to set apart", the passive participle (secretum) meaning "having been set apart", with the eventual connotation of something private or confidential, as with the English word secret. A secretarius was a person, therefore, overseeing business confidentially, usually for a powerful individual (a king, pope, etc.).
The official title of the leader of most Communist and Socialist political parties is the "General Secretary of the Central Committee" or "First Secretary of the Central Committee". When a Communist party is in power, the General Secretary is usually the country's de facto leader (though sometimes this leader also holds state-level positions to monopolize power, such as a presidency or premiership in order to constitute de jure leadership of the state), such as China and Cuba.