How did you become a PA?
I studied a PA Diploma and A/levels at college, after which I became a legal secretary at a major London law firm. After this role, I was lucky enough to be recruited as a PA to a Chairman of a London surveyors.
What’s great about your job at The Law Society?
I work for the Director of Strategic Relationships who is responsible for the Society’s strategic relationships in the UK and worldwide. This means I get to meet and liaise with a lot of important people from all over the world which I really enjoy. The job can be pressurised, however, the Law Society is a wonderful building to work in and I work with a great team of PAs/EAs who all support and understand each other.
The judges said that one of the reasons you won the award is because you saved a school from being closed down. Can you tell us more?
Of course it wasn’t just me who saved the school! Whilst raising my children, I worked as a Clerk to Governors for an inclusive secondary school which was very family orientated and had a wonderful department for children with SEN, learning difficulties and disabilities.
In a nutshell, the County Council tried to shut the school, after initially promising funding for a rebuild. This was a heart-breaking decision not only for the students and staff, but for the community as well.
I was behind the creation of a ‘Save our School’ campaign which went on for a gruelling nine months and included numerous protests and public meetings. Eventually the decision went to adjudication and was overturned. The school is now thriving.
What’s your secret to being organised and juggling lots of priorities?
Being calm, making ‘to do’ lists and always trying to be one step ahead. Being a Mum of three children, I am well used to juggling lots of priorities which is why I am all in favour of women returning to work after raising a family.
How did you find the interview for PA of the Year?
It was a big surprise for me to be nominated by a fellow PA and I was deeply flattered. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview. I will not lie, I was nervous, and I didn’t know what to expect, but I remained ‘myself’ and the interview turned out to be relaxed and good fun.
Tell me about the night itself?
I had always wanted to dine at The Ivy, having read about it in lots of magazines. I bought a new dress and shoes(!) and was so excited!
My Manager accompanied me and when we entered the restaurant, I was blown away by its décor and ambience. All the PAs were made to feel completely VIP with a champagne reception, special gifts at our tables, wonderful food and wine.
I made lots of new friends who I have already connected with on LinkedIn. It was probably the closest I will ever get to the Oscars, it truly was an evening I will never forget.
How did your colleagues react, and has anything changed since you won the award?
My colleagues were ‘over the moon’ for me and my award was mentioned in our weekly staff article. I received many emails of congratulations, some from external organisations who had read the article in the Daily Mirror.
Everyone made me feel extremely special and I celebrated with some of my fellow PAs at work over evening cocktails, all of whom were pleased to see our hard work recognised. Winning this award has not only given my confidence a real boost, but truly is my ultimate career accolade. All my hard work has been worthwhile!
What piece of advice would you give others for achieving success as a PA or EA?
Keep your eyes and ears open, keep up with new technology and network, network, network! Never be rude to anyone and support your fellow PAs/EAs remembering we are all gatekeepers to important diaries and you just never know when you might need to make an appointment. At the end of the day, we are all doing the same job, just in different places!