We caught up with last year's PA of the Year, Stuart Martin, to discuss the PA of the Year Awards and his career as a PA.
Tell us about your experience of the 2014 PA of the Year Awards.
The experience was so exciting, right from the word go. One of my colleagues nudged me to enter and when I got the email asking to meet with me, I couldn't quite believe it. Working in a creative industry, you don't necessarily wear a suit to work so my first worry was what to wear to the panel interview! I remember walking into the room and still not being entirely sure what I was going to say. All I knew was I was going to honest about how amusing life as a PA can be and put across how much I really love my job. All PA jobs are pretty unique and I thought by describing some of the things that I do day to day, it would give them a good insight into my work-life. My favourite part of the experience was being invited to The Ivy for the dinner - still at that point, nobody knew who was going to win. I arrived thinking it would just be a nice networking opportunity and a posh dinner, with no expectation of winning.
What do you think the judges were looking for in the PA of the Year?
I think the judges were looking for someone who isn't necessarily text book. They want to see you have strong people skills, that you can think outside the box and most importantly, the modern day PA goes above and beyond their job description.
What have you been able to take away from the Awards process?
Confidence. Confidence in knowing that I am doing something right. I have been a PA for eight years now and more often than not, you don't really have the development structure that you have with other roles. You have to seek out your own training and identify your own strengths and weaknesses and strive to improve. It's also opened doors in a manner of speaking. I have had some fabulous job offers over the past year!
Was it your goal to become a PA, or is it something that happened by 'accident'?
Admittedly it was completely accidental. My first ever job was working as a Receptionist for a marketing agency in Brighton. I remember going to the interview and thinking "These people are super cool, I would love to work here". After a short time on Reception, they identified that I go out of my way to make people happy and asked me how i would feel about supporting two of the directors. They basically realised my skill-set before I did and nudged me in the right direction.
Given the high pressure environment that you work in, how do you manage your workload?
I always ensure I am one step ahead of the people I work for. For example, booking them transport between meetings without them having to ask, noticing that perhaps they are going for a dinner with friends over the weekend and emailing them a couple of suggestions of where to go because you know they would be have been too busy to even think about it yet. Ultimately, just go that little bit further for them.
What is your favourite part of supporting an executive?
Making their life easier. The amount of pressure at an executive level is incredible so just taking some of that worry away or making sure their day is planned well enough so they can get home at a reasonable time to see their family is incredibly important to me. Secretly I'm an IT geek and love fixing their mobile phones and computers when they have issues too but shhhh don't tell anyone.
Enter our PA of the Year Awards today
We're searching for talented PAs to enter SecsintheCity's PA of the Year Awards 2015.
The Awards recognise the professionalism of PAs and acknowledge their contribution to the organizations they work for. Winners will be announced at a prestigious Awards ceremony, held at The Ivy in November. This year, the PA of the Year will a two night stay for two in a track-facing suite at Brooklands Hotel, Surrey.
Winning PA of the Year 2015 can transform your career; raising your profile across the profession and making your name really stand out.
Make 2015 your year, by submitting a nomination for PA of the Year today.