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Linda Kaplan Thaler, CEO and chief creative officer of Kaplan Thaler Group, has worked with her assistant, Fran Marzano, for 26 years. Their long-standing relationship, which is highlighted in a recent Forbes feature on high-powered women and their assistants, has supported Ms. Thaler through marriage, two children and the Aflac duck, among other endeavors. Ms. Thaler's secret to keeping to keeping Ms. Marzano? Lots of "pleases" and "thank yous."
"The perfect relationship with an assistant has to be a long-term plan, not a short-term tactic, so that they never feel beaten down," she said. But then even the best long-term plan presents its own obstacles. Asked what she'll do once Ms. Marzano retires, Ms. Thaler responded: "I dare not think about it. When she retires, I retire."