PA of the Year
At SecsintheCity, we are proud to champion Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants, Office Managers and all business support professionals. We have just celebrated our 12th annual PA of the Year Awards, a celebration of the essential support provided by those in PA jobs and EA jobs to the businesses and individuals they work for.
We thank everyone who nominated someone for the PA of the Year, the judges were overwhelmed with the exceptional calibre of finalists. We congratulate this years finalists, and this years fantastic winners.
If you're a PA, EA, Legal PA, or Office Manager, you could be the winner of one of these momentous accolades - stay tuned for PA of the Year 2024.
- What are the categories in the PA of the Year Awards?
- Why nominate for the PA of the Year Awards?
- When do nominations open and close?
- What happens if I am chosen as a finalist?
- Who judges and sponsors the PA of the Year Awards?
- What prizes are offer to the 2023 winners?
- Are there any costs associated with nominations or attendance at the PA of the Year Awards?
- Nominate your winner
- The 2023 Winners of the PA of the Year Awards
There are three main categories in the PA of the Year awards and our judging panel will interview a shortlist of finalists to select a winner in each of the following:
• PA of the Year
• Legal PA of the Year
• Office Manager of the Year
In addition, out of all of the finalists of the above categories, the judges will choose a winner for the ‘Outstanding Achievement Award’ – someone who has gone above and beyond in their role.
Winning a PA of the Year Award is the ultimate recognition of hard work and achievements as a business support professional.
Recognise the outstanding talent, skills and achievements of Personal Assistants, Executive Assistants and Office Managers with SecsintheCity. Our annual awards provide the opportunity to truly commemorate the exceptional individuals who have benefited and boosted their businesses, colleagues and team’s across a myriad of industries.
This year, our awards come at a time wherein recognising your employees’ and colleagues’ talent is more important than ever.
Deserving PA of the Year Award winners don’t necessarily need a boss or colleague to make a nomination on their behalf. At SecsintheCity, we strongly believe in the importance of knowing your self-worth and celebrating your own achievements and talents, which is why we want to encourage self-nominations too. Many of our previous finalists and winners nominated themselves to win the awards.
Bethany Burns, PA at BrewDog and the winner of the PA of the Year award, was just one of many talented Assistants who nominated themselves. We asked Bethany what advice she had for those of you toying with the idea of nominating yourselves for this year's Awards:
“Go for it! Know your value and put yourself out there. I think it is important to keep personally challenging yourself to evolve as an individual. I recommend you read interesting books (I read many of the books my boss reads), mix with brilliant people, take online courses (I’m just finishing a mini-MBA course!), do speaking events and above all, keep learning. Absorb the world around you.”
And as Gemma Bulut, our 2022 Office Manager of the Year stated, "be yourself and go for it. If you don’t take a risk, how will you know?".
Nominations are now closed for the 2023 PA of the Year Awards.
PA of the Year Award nominations closed on Friday 1st September. They will re-open for 2024 nominations next year.
All finalists are invited to an interview with our judges. Rest assured, the interview stage is not as daunting as it sounds, as Catherine Torrie, our 2022 PA of the Year, stated:
“I really enjoyed speaking with Sarah El-Doori and Susanna Tait, it felt like I was catching up with old friends.”
With hundreds of nominations reaching us for for the PA of the Year Awards each year, we turned to our esteemed judges to share their advice on how to stand out amongst the crowd:
• Be prepared to talk about your unique experiences: as Susanna Tait - one of our PA of the Year judges and Chief Executive at specialist PA recruitment consultancy Tay Associates who sponsor the Awards - highlights “the interviews give the shortlisted candidates the opportunity to express, in their own words, what they love about their role. We don’t want to catch anyone out, we want the individuals to bring to life their unique experiences.”
• Forget the formalities: we know the connotations of the word ‘interview’ but rest assured, shortlisted PAs, EAs and Office Managers won’t be subjected to a starchy, overly formal affair. Over the years many of our finalists and winners have praised the relaxed nature of the PA of the Year Awards interview. As Anna West, one of our PA of the Year 2022 Finalists stated, "I was extremely nervous at the start, an interview scenario always makes me feel anxious, but Sarah and Susanna were so friendly and made me feel relaxed straight away. It felt more like a conversation with friends."
• Be yourself: a key piece of advice from judges and past winners alike is to be yourself and show us what really makes you tick. “It’s about the unique experiences that nominees have encountered along the way,” affirms Susanna. “We want to meet the person behind the paper and learn about motivations, inspiration, challenges and achievements that are meaningful to them.”
Multi-award winning recruitment company Tay Associates specialise in PA, admin and support staff recruitment in Central London. TAY Associates have sponsored the PA of the Year Awards for many years and Suzanna Tait, Chief Executive of TAY Associates and judge of the Awards, highlights that the aim of the Awards “is to acknowledge the significant contributions that PAs and EAs make to the organisations they work for."
Our other judge is Sarah El-Doori, Marketing Director for Reach Work Ltd, a portfolio of market leading job sites including SecsintheCity (PAs and EAs), GAAPweb (Accountants) and TotallyLegal (Lawyers).
So, what are the judges after? When asked about the winning qualities she looks for in nominees, Susanna told us at the top of her list are “a genuine passion for the profession and someone who through the challenges, hurdles and problems to solve, genuinely loves what they do.”
Meanwhile, SecsintheCity Marketing Director and PA of the Year Awards judge Sarah EL-Doori highlighted, "this year especially, we know that many PAs, EAs and Office Managers have shown extraordinary commitment during this challenging time. If you work with a PA or Office Manager who deserves to be celebrated, we encourage you to nominate them.”
Our 2023 winners took home these luxurious prizes:
Legal PA of the Year - Set menu dining experience at Michelin-starred Lyle’s
Take in a daily changing set menu dining experience at Michelin-starred Lyle’s, located in the bustling streets of Shoreditch. Offering a highly seasonal modern British menu, you'll dine in the utmost luxury, accompanied by a wine list of bottles curated by low-intervention makers. This dinner for two is the perfect way to celebrate your win.
Office Manager of the Year - £200 Murano vouchers
Enjoy an evening of exemplary dining at Angela Hartnett’s Michelin starred restaurant in Mayfair. Covering four courses for two people, this voucher offers the chance to have a taste of culinary delight at Murano, combined with premium regional wines.
Outstanding Achievement Award - A La Carte Menu at PETRUS by Gordon Ramsay
Indulge in a sumptuous experience at Petrus by Gordon Ramsay. Featuring three courses from the award-winning seasonal à la carte menu, this dinner offers you the chance to unwind, and enjoy the seasonal, modern French cuisine at a leading Michelin star restaurant.
PA of the Year - Elystan Street six course menu
Dine at one of London's best restaurants. Dive into the Elystan's ethos of "pure, seasonal, ingredient led, gimmick free dishes which are full of vitality and flavour" - enjoy an evening of London's leading cuisine, and celebrate your esteemed accolade in the heart of South Kensington and Chelsea luxury.
Submitting a nomination for the PA of the Year Awards does not entail any costs and neither does attending the ceremony. The entire event is free of charge. Only finalists and their managers are invited to the awards ceremony, it’s not possible to purchase a ticket.
We thank those who have nominated themselves or a colleague for the chance to be crowned a winner at the 2023 PA of the Year Awards. We wish our nominees, whether they're currently in PA jobs, Legal PA jobs or Office Manager jobs, the best of luck in the interview stage.
PA of the Year - Jody Beard, EA to the Managing Director of Visionary Finance:
A self-nominee, Jody Beard is the Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of Visionary Finance, an independent specialist mortgage broker, based in Milton Keynes. Jody has conducted a unique career path, working for the likes of Peoples Bank, Carlsberg, Compass Group and Champneys.
Her current role at Visionary Finance, has allowed Jody to take on a very broad range of responsibilities - from project managing and training new CRM implementation, to accounts and IT work. Jody’s perseverance and confident yet humble attitude won over the judges. ‘I love my job. It's challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. I am so grateful to have been recognised for my accomplishments.’
‘Nominating myself for an award felt like stepping outside my comfort zone in front of an audience. But after reading the encouraging words from last year's winner, who said ‘just go for it,’ I thought, ‘why not?’. I was humbled and shocked to be invited for an interview. I'm so proud that I took that initial step and nominated myself and have the satisfaction of knowing that I gave it my all.’
As her nomination noted, ‘we really couldn’t run the company without her - she holds the business together.'
Legal PA of the Year - Lauren Sweeney, Legal PA and Team Leader at Eversheds Sutherland:
Working as a Legal PA and Team Leader at Eversheds Sutherland, Lauren has conducted a range of PA and EA roles. The judges were impressed with Lauren’s clear enthusiasm and championing of her team - with great work for their gender support committee, and many firm wide initiatives including the buddy support system for support staff returning from mat leave, helping bridge the gap between the traditional working environment and a side of the workforce often without a voice.
A glowing nomination from her Operations Director, who stated, 'I don't know what we would have done without her. She has set the bar very very high.'
Office Manager of the Year - Caroline Rees Williams, Operations Manager at The Valesco Group:
Caroline has been with global real estate management firm, The Valesco Group, for the past three years - where she works as joint Office / Operations Manager and EA to the CEO.
As Caroline stated, ‘‘Office Managers conduct the invisible role - no-one outside of our industry fully knows what an Office Manager does, as we often operate behind the scenes. The team arrive each day to a seamlessly functioning office, not necessarily aware of just how much happens in the background.'’ The judges were hugely impressed with the extensive impact that Caroline has had across the business, bringing an energetic, fresh and ambitious approach to the role - clearly an invaluable asset to the operation and an effortless nomination for Office Manager of the Year.
Outstanding Achievement Award - Victoria Gaston, Executive Assistant to Nick Gordon at NGJG Holdings:
Victoria has been a PA at NGJG Holdings for the past two years, a UK based entrepreneurial family business, currently running 15+ different operations. As Victoria stated, 'joining there was a baptism of fire, with tasks including getting the owner's boat from Tunisia to the UK!'.
'Victoria is a remarkable PA', stated her CEO - 'her unwavering dedication, even in the face of battling cancer, showcases her exceptional commitment to supporting both me and my family. Her resilience and tireless work ethic, combined with her advocacy for bowel cancer as an ambassador, not only make her an outstanding PA but also a source of inspiration and support for countless others.'
The judges were in complete agreement, blown away by Victoria’s professional abilities and unwavering enthusiasm to get the job done - a fantastic nomination and well-deserved finalist.
Read the 2022 PA of the Year winners interviews. 2023 interviews to come.