After the 2020 PA of the Year Awards – which was held virtually for the first time ever – we asked each finalist to take part in a Q&A about their career and their experience of the Awards.
One of the questions we asked was “Do you have any funny or interesting stories from your time as an Assistant?” and the answers did not disappoint! Here’s 8 insider tales from last year’s PA of the Year finalists – whether they are hilarious or horrifying is for you to decide.
Looking for the 2021 PA of the Year Awards nomination form? Hit the button below to submit a nomination for yourself or a colleague.
Sarah Kingdom, Office Manager at ghd and Office Manager of the Year Award Winner
“Last year, Kate and I managed to catch a mouse that had made a home in the London office. It was coordinated teamwork the likes of which have never been seen before! We made her comfortable in the box, then carried her to a nice part of Soho Square to be released back into the wilds of Westminster. I can now add ‘mouse-catching’ to my CV.”
Claudine Martin, PA at the Ministry of Defence and PA of the Year Award Finalist
“I was given 3 hours’ notice to read a poem at a charity concert that was attended by some members of the Royal Family and other high-profile guests. I was so nervous, but I went to the concert and read the poem as if I knew months ago that I was doing it. After the concert the Prince asked to see me and congratulated me personally for my great recitation of the poem. I was over the moon!”
Emma Wilkinson, EA at Conduit Capital Partners and PA of the Year Award Finalist
“Last year I was asked to drop off a Board Pack to a member at their personal residence. I arrived, checked in with reception and was gestured to a lift. I hopped in not thinking twice and when the lift reached the destination floor, I stepped out thinking I would step out into a hallway, knock on a door, and drop off the board pack. But no! I stepped out of the lift (which I now know was a private lift) into the board member’s living room and stood awkwardly for about 15 seconds whilst I thought about what I’d say should they walk into the room. In true The Devil Wears Prada style, I left the board pack on the table with the flowers and rushed out as fast as I could. On my walk back to the office I couldn’t help but laugh at how I hadn’t realised I would be stepping out into their private residence. I can confirm – until now – the board member was under the impression the concierge delivered the pack.”
Gemma Hughes, PA at Salford City Academy and Outstanding Achievement Award Winner
“I’ve had many stories – many funny ones in the corporate role, from arranging Oli Murs to appear at a party with his mammoth ‘rider list’ to totally different stories in the school environment – including replacing Chris’ chair one day with a doll house sized chair… we love to have some fun at work!”
Izzy Kitts, Office Manager at Principal Global Investors and Office Manager of the Year Finalist
“One of my recent wins (and I am going to out myself here by writing this down) was after hearing that some people weren’t impressed with the coffee in the office. I decided to put this to the test and trial some different coffees and have the team rate them on different criteria. So, over a period of time we trialled new coffee and one particular coffee bean seemed to be a clear winner and the overall feedback was that it was a lot nicer than the coffee we have been getting… Small confession: it was the same coffee bean that we have been getting all along, I just made up a name to give the illusion it was one of the trial ones which to this day, unless they read this, people are still unaware of and think that we changed to the ‘new’ and ‘better’ coffee bean and not that the one they chose as the winner was the one they had said they weren’t impressed with!”
Jenna Brown, Office Manager at Ensurance and Office Manager of the Year Finalist
“During our office fit out, getting stuck to the flooring and our contractors having to help remove me is one thing I will never forget. One pair of shoes down from the collection, but thankfully they were able to remove them otherwise we would have had to incorporate them into our brand somehow!?”
Tanya Jennings, PA at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Legal PA of the Year Award Winner
“It’s too unfair to ask me that because I’ll screw myself over by sharing something I shouldn’t… So, on that note, I am happy for you to contact me for verbal stories only so that I do not leave a paper-trail of evidence that will lead directly to my P45. Hey, I work for lawyers, surely you expected nothing less!”
Bethany Burns, PA at BrewDog and PA of the Year Award Winner
“I will say that one of my first tasks at BrewDog was to get costumes for James’ and Martin’s version of the Queen’s Speech. Shopping for mother-of-the bride outfits in a charity shop and holding up each garment for an honest assessment – ‘Will this shade of pale blue go with his eyes, or do we go with a brighter teal here?’ – was something else!”
The nomination deadline for the 2021 PA of the Year Awards is next Friday 10th September, so if you have not submitted yours yet, what are you waiting for? Click the button below to start a nomination for yourself or a colleague today.