LaGrange Park firm offers on call assistance
Claudia Byrne of LaGrange Park is president of Gal Friday, an administrative service team providing office support such as bookkeeping, administrative, clerical and secretarial tasks. | Ryan Pagelow~Sun-Times Media
In the files
Name: Gal Friday
Owner: LaGrange Park resident Claudia A. Byrne
Phone: (708) 354-8008
Updated: March 8, 2013 6:02AM
LAGRANGE PARK — When 90-year-old George M. Burditt reduced his work hours 10 years ago as a lawyer specializing in food, drug and medical device law, he also reduced his need for a full-time secretary.
Still, as a part-time lawyer who works almost exclusively from his LaGrange Park home rather than his Lake Forest office, Burditt needed someone to transcribe notes he takes on a tape recorder, send out mass emails and do some filing.
He went to his computer and found a part-time administrative assistant through Gal Friday. He also takes advantage of Gal Friday’s tax preparation services.
“I just need someone to keep me current on things,” he said. “It’s very convenient for both of us because she drives over here in two minutes.”
Burditt is one of about a dozen regular clients and hundreds of walk-ins Claudia A. Byrne has helped with ongoing needs and short-term projects since she took over Gal Friday five years ago.
Byrne said the company was started more than three decades ago by a girlfriend. After finding herself between jobs, Byrne approached her friend to learn the ropes of her business.
“As it turned out, she was ready to get out of the business, so I got her phone number and Yellow Pages listing,” she said.
Though she does get some referrals online, Byrne said the Yellow Pages listing was key because most of her clients are older and still find their services the old-fashioned way.
Her first client was the restaurant from which she was laid off. The new owner decided he preferred to do most of the administrative work himself. One task he wasn’t so keen on was the bookkeeping, which Byrne took over.
“People can’t handle everything in a small business. That’s where I come in,” she said.
An independent consultant in the financial services industry, Byrne’s husband, Gerald, received fewer and fewer assignments because of the recession. He now works for Gal Friday, often helping clients who want to self-publish.
“I do the word processing, and he does the e-publishing,” Byrne said.
Byrne said most of her clients are self-employed lawyers and other small business owners.
“They usually work out of their homes with small or no support staffs,” she said.
Byrne also is a virtual assistant to a former Chicago-based client who now works out of Washington, D.C.
At 61, Byrne said she has no plans for slowing down.
“I don’t look towards retirement at all. In fact, I’m looking toward expanding he business,” she said.
Byrne said she would like to grow her business to the point that she handles just marketing and billing and employees fulfill the service contracts.