I watched a colleague get into a argument with the CEO's admin and wanted to remind him that she has more power than any VP in the company.
Actually, salespeople know that one of the golden rules is to treat admins with the same respect as the people they work for. They are really part of a two-person team that run that box on the org chart. And I don't know any CEO, EVP or other ranking executive who couldn't get through his week (or even to lunch time) without the support of their admin. She (and it is a she 99% of the time) controls his schedule, who gets into see him, can sign off for him on many documents, and has his ear when it comes time to promote and fire. It doesn't pay to get on this person's bad side.
In fact, I so closely link an admin and executive together that one time at a tradeshow reception I had to do a double-take when I was introduced to an executive's wife. I was expecting to be introduced to his admin and had to cover my surprise. My subconscious had so linked the executive and his receptionist as a "couple" that I had assumed that she would be the one with him at the event.