Vivien is EA to Executive Vice President Europe at Astra Zeneca.
How did you become an EA?
I worked my way up in the organisation starting out as a receptionist, 18 years ago, worked my way up by starting with my first VP for HR Learning and Development, continuing my learning of the role and areas of the organisation by working with different Directors/VPs in various departments/functions. The EA opportunity arose when my current EVP relocated from Singapore 5 years ago to take up a regional VP role, I continued with him when he was promoted to the Executive VP role
What do you enjoy about your role as EA?
Providing proactive/efficient professional support to my EVP, the variation of the role, the fast pace, being the decision maker, gate keeper, PA ambassador and role model, experiencing different cultures, being at the heart and centre of what goes in our business
What has been the most challenging aspect of your career so far?
People’s perceptions of a PA. We are valuable and important members of the teams/organisations, we should be treated as such. PAs contribute so much with our skills/capabilities/commitment and we should be given an opportunity to showcase the additional skills that we have.
What is the highlight of your career?
Becoming an EA is a highlight in itself, proving that with hard work, dedication and commitment – you can succeed. Ensuring first and foremost that my EVP has everything he needs to reach his objectives for the day. Working and learning from my EVP, it has been such a learning curve, the role has been a roller-coaster but I have loved every minute of it, being asked to become a mentor, becoming a role model for the other PAs in the organisation, being asked to share my experiences and learnings. Project lead and owner for logistics our European conference for 200+ people, implementing a lunch, development & learn session for the PAs to further improve their knowledge of our organisation/brands.
What personality traits do you feel you need to be a good PA / EA?
Strong inter-personal skills, self-confidence, strong listening skills, emotional intelligence, empathy, high-energy, good sense of humour, good manners and curtesy, positive mind-set
What key skills do you think all great PAs need?
Great personality, must be proactive & efficient, excellent time and task management skills, intuition, exceptional organisation skills, proficient IT skills & social media skills, resourceful, gate keeper, adaptability and flexibility
What advice would you give to PAs starting out in their career?
Have a positive mind-set, ask questions, listen and learn from others, ensure you take responsibility for your development, be confident in your ability and enjoy your role