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Secretaries and Administrators

Getting Fit and Turning 40…Ouch from Andrea Medd, PA to Kelly Holmes

By | Dame Kelly Holmes., Pitman Training EC2, Pitman Training international conference for PAs, Secretaries and Administrators | No Comments

How I became a very fit guinea pig starts with Kelly continuing her own training!

Kelly believes in continuous learning and never stops achieving so she jumped at the opportunity to gain her Level 3 Personal Training Certificate.  She was a Physical Trainer in the army and is still incredibly into fitness and this was the chance to gain a formal qualification.

We laughed at the fact she would need a guinea pig and then suddenly, I was that guinea pig and training commenced!

About to turn 40 in December this year, and having not prioritised my own exercise recently, I was keen.  But this was with Dame Kelly Holmes, elite athlete, so it also felt a bit daunting!   I reminded myself it was a good time to get more in shape and make a positive difference to my health, too!

Kelly had to complete the theory programme first and of course blitzed the exam with a 95% score so she was thrilled.

And so we began – we agreed to meet once a week at Kelly’s gym for a Personal Training session and then Kelly set me homework of at least 5 extra workouts a week.  These were mainly swimming, weights and treadmill, cross trainer and rowing workouts PLUS committing to my friend’s Boot Camp on a Friday morning.  Ouch!

Firstly Kelly assessed my fitness levels and took measurements.   I am your average 39 year old who hasn’t done that much exercise, so great for Kelly as a guinea pig but you can imagine how I felt!   Kelly set up a weekly programme at her gym using different equipment and different weights to keep the work outs varied.  I’ve never worked out as hard as I did in those sessions.

Great news though.  About half way through the programme I started to notice changes to my levels of fitness, I could run much further on the treadmill without stopping and I also noticed my figure was toning up and clothes felt looser.   This inspired me to keep up with the regime.   Kelly’s results also partly depended on me sticking to my side of the deal so I made sure I committed fully to the programme.

The key challenge was keeping up with the amount of work we had as well as sticking to the plan.  Kelly says the past six months have been the busiest of her career so I know Kelly found it challenging to fit in all the work to gain her qualification, too.

She introduced me to a really useful tool, though. She is an Ambassador for Garmin and she lent me one of her Garmin watches.  This helped me keep track of how hard I was working, how high my heart rate was and, a bonus from a PA point of view, it shows me texts, Whatsapp and phone calls as they come in – so I didn’t miss out on anything urgent!  On the negative side it meant all of my workouts were recorded and Kelly would know if I hadn’t pushed myself – so the benefit of a personal coach is that you achieve!

We often meet up once a week to catch up on work, and review her diary but for a few weeks our gym sessions took place of our catch-ups and we changed our routine and used e-mail and calls instead – this worked.

A typical day during the 12 weeks training would involve me dropping the girls at school, working at home for a few hours, going to the gym at lunch time, home again to eat and work before doing the school pick up.   More work until about 6 pm.

It was an intense 3 months trying to fit everything in, we had a lot going on, such as speaking engagements and awards ceremonies. But I’m pleased to say that it is now complete and Kelly was given a Double Merit for her practical assessments.  So both Kelly and guinea pig were successful.

Kelly is positively encouraging me to keep up the new regime so this week I was at the gym on Saturday and Sunday and am planning another two visits on Wednesday and Thursday.  I am hooked!

Introducing Dame Kelly’s PA Andrea Medd

By | Dame Kelly Holmes., Pitman Training EC2, Secretaries and Administrators | No Comments

You have probably heard about the Pitman Training international conference for PAs, Secretaries and Administrators: “Fresh Thinking to Empower you in a Changing World” happening on the 22 September. I am delighted to be involved and will be there on the day with my boss, Dame Kelly Holmes.

Ahead of the event, the team at Pitman Training EC2 and W1 have asked me to write a blog all about my experiences as Dame Kelly’s PA. To kick-it off I wanted to tell you a little bit about me and how I got to where I am today.

Briefly from the beginning – at school I did fairly well but I would say I was more creative than academic or sporty.  It may surprise those who knew me then who I work for now!  I have memories of standing at the back of a frosty hockey pitch chatting rather than charging up  the field and flicking the ball into the goal!

I am organised and hate being late, so even though I didn’t have a clear career path in mind whilst at school, administration and organisation came naturally which is why I probably chose the path I did.

I embarked on a Personal Assistant course and after successfully completing that I started at The National Magazine Company (now Hearst) as a team secretary for Esquire magazine.

I was delighted .The office was laid back, the staff were good fun and I loved learning about publishing. There was the added bonus of having Carnaby Street and Oxford Street on my doorstep.  Shops galore!

The town I grew up in is lovely but very small and now I was In the West End able to pop to a department store whenever I felt like it – what fun but tough on a starting salary!

Soon I was promoted to PA to the Publishing Director of Esquire and this is where I started managing diaries and organising client events.  I was at The National Magazine Company for 8 years during which time I worked for various editors and publishers across their portfolio as well as managing advertorial promotions for external clients. The variety of these jobs suited me and I relished being in control of my own projects – overseeing advertorial promotions from taking the client brief to helping with photo-shoots and sticking to tight budgets and deadlines.

Like many women, I took a career break when I had my two daughters (now 10 and 8).  When my youngest was in year 1, I felt ready to start looking for work.

Having been out of the workplace for about 8 years it was daunting looking for work again but I knew I had a good CV and a strong PA background. I approached Kelly as I heard she was opening a café in Hildenborough close to where I live and thought she might need some admin help.

It paid off – Kelly did need a PA and I started working for her the day after the interview!  And I work part-time from home – an added bonus for a working mum.

It is an exciting role and no two days are the same.  It is fast-paced as Kelly is so busy and has lots of ideas.  I am never bored!

As I type this the end of term is looming and combining working and 6-weeks of school holidays will be a bit of a juggling act.  On the plus side there will be no rushing out the door at 8.30 am to get the girls to school and having to remember sports kit, violin, swimming kit etc.

Every Friday I’ll be giving you a glimpse into my role and the work I do with Kelly. Stay tuned for an insight into how I juggle children and work and wear many hats, from fundraising to international travel logistics.