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.