PA of the Year Finalist Q&A | Kelly Gethin
Kelly Gethin, EA to the International Director of Tax at Amazon, was one of the six PA of the Year Award finalists in 2018.
The judges were impressed with her exceptional organisational skills and adaptability, but most of all her ambition to succeed, which took her from an entry level administrator to working for one of the largest businesses in the world.
After starting out as admin assistant in the business services sector, she then moved into a variety of EA roles supporting the senior leadership team at an international design agency. From there, she moved to an EA role at the Victoria’s Secret UK Head Office before landing her current position as EA to the International Director of Tax at Amazon.
Find out more about Kelly’s experience of the PA of the Year Awards, as well as details of her impressive career in this Q&A.
How did you become an EA?
It all began nine years ago, starting in the corporate world as a Business Administrator and working my way up. I applied for a Legal PA role and within two years, I had completed my ILM Professional Qualification in PA & Administration. After gaining all my knowledge and skills, I was promoted four times within the company and made my way to the top as an EA / Ambassador for my executives.
What is great about your job at Amazon?
I have an incredible manager who supports and trusts me, which is necessary for any executive and EA to work well together. He gives me the freedom to make decisions and create new processes. All in all, a great manager is what makes my job easy and enjoyable. Working for one of the biggest companies in the world is a huge responsibility and one that I thrive on. I class this as one of my greatest achievements to date.
What’s your secret to being organised and juggling lots of priorities?
My secret to being organised and juggling lots of priorities consists of two tools:
- Colour code the Outlook calendar and keep a key to remind you of which colour represents what. This helps break down the calendar more clearly, e.g. highlight high priority meetings in red, 121’s in yellow, personal in orange, travel in blue. This is easy on the eyes, as we all know how crazy our executive’s calendars can get.
- Writing an epic ‘To Do List’ in a methodical way the night before! Prioritise, prioritise, prioritise. Write your top three priorities at the top and tackle these first based on a deadline. Section the rest of the list by hours, so you stick to your time slot throughout the day and leave the office feeling satisfied and stress free.
The judges were impressed by your adaptability and ambition to succeed from a standing start, which has led you to be part of one of the largest businesses in the world, can you tell us more?
I have always been an ambitious individual who thrives on success. When I have my mind set on something, I will keep pushing each day to get that little bit closer to the end result or goal. I am a great believer in the Law of Attraction: ‘’If you can think it, you can achieve it’’ I dreamt of being an EA for Victoria’s Secret when I saw the role advertised. I had four interviews over two months and dropped everything to put all of my focus into bagging the job. The next day I got the call saying ‘’The job’s yours!’’ Then I dreamed of being an EA for the world’s most renowned businesses Amazon! Seven interviews in total and four in one day to then being offered the position. Anything is achievable when you put your mind to it.
How did you find the application and interview process for PA of the Year?
The application took 10 minutes to complete with a few questions nothing too in depth. You automatically think you need to be nominated for this award by someone, which is not the case at all. I had seen many previous EAs who had won the award had put themselves forward for the running, so that is exactly what I did. My advice to any PA / EA who wants to take a shot at this year’s awards, go for it!
Honestly, I was nervous for the second part of the process, being interviewed by two well-respected business women in London. However, as soon as I walked through the door to two beaming smiles and a warm welcome, I felt right at home. I was asked questions on my career to date and by the end of it all I was shortlisted, and we were talking about what outfit we would all end up wearing on the evening of the event!
Tell me about the night itself.
The night itself was an incredible experience and one that I felt very honoured to be a part of. The night entailed champagne and introductions, followed by a three-course meal networking alongside other EAs / PAs from a multitude of industries. Watching the awards being presented to EAs / PAs was inspiring and great to see everyone receiving credit for their hard work and talent alongside their managers. This for me was a ‘pinch me’ moment.’’
How did your colleagues react?
I had only told my managers about being shortlisted for the awards, but when I posted details and pictures on LinkedIn making it to second place, my colleagues from Amazon were thrilled and very happy for me. I also had many congratulations from previous team members I had worked with who were so pleased to see me doing so well, as many have been on my journey since day one and have watched me grow and flourish.
What piece of advice would you give others for achieving success as a PA or EA?
Go for it! Give yourself time to learn the ropes and never stop learning and networking where you can. Trust me when I say this: all EAs / PAs are continuously learning new tips and tricks along the way. Your career path will be an incredible journey and once you get to where you dream of being, you will be thankful for all of the bumps and lessons in the road.
Friday 13th September is the closing date for the PA of the Year Awards 2019, so if you’ve not yet submitted a nomination, click here to fill out the online form: