#MondayMotivation @JoanneManville

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What Motivated you to become a PA?

“I started my working career after leaving further education in 1998, and began with roles in administration in estate agency/financial services, becoming a Mortgage Consultant.”

“In 2005, I decided that I wanted a change of direction and recognised that my success in previous roles had been due to my administrative strengths, and took a role as an Administration Manager for a local charity.  This naturally led into a role as a Personal Assistant in 2006 and I have been a PA/EA/VA ever since.”

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Joanne Manville,  Founder of Joanne Manville Virtual Assistant

Joanne has worked an an Executive Personal Assistant to MDs, CEOs and Chairmen for the last 9 years, in both the public and private sectors. These roles have also included line management and responsibilities as a member of the senior management team, Secretary to the Board of Directors and Office Manager duties.  In 2015, she decided that the time was right to put all of this experience to good use, helping other business owners to deliver the best service possible to their customers and in October 2015 she launched her own Virtual Assistant business ‘Joanne Manville Virtual Assistance’.

Why being a PA is a career and not a job

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(PA/EA – The forgotten profession?)
By Jennifer Corcoran

Jennifer Corcoran

Jennifer Corcoran is the Office Manager to Managing Directors within Ship Finance at Crédit Agricole CIB based in London. She joined EUMA in 2014 and considers herself to be a champion of the PA Profession.  She was awarded the title of “Networking PA of the Year” at The London PA Awards 2015 and was elected as the National Public Relations Officer for EUMA UK.  She was a finalist for Pitman’s SuperAchiever PA and SecsintheCity’s Social Media PA of the Year 2015. 
The results of the National PA Survey 2015 were announced at office* on National PA Day.  62% of Personal Assistants feel a strong sense of loyalty to their bosses. 
CRLSv7eW8AAgsF1Unfortunately, not all Assistants feel this level of loyalty or respect is reciprocated.Personal Assistants are a little like housewives with few fully appreciating the sheer scale of their remit until they are absent from their workplace. Some important questions to ask yourself.
  • Is your job description up to date or is it an inherited generic job spec full of clichés?
  • Is this job spec used as an appraisal tool for measuring progression or performance?
  • Does your boss and company view your role as a career with a valid pathway?
  • If not, have you spoken up and how are you driving the professionalism of your role?

If we find it difficult to articulate our role how can we expect others to fully grasp its complexities.  At the end of the day Managers want to hear about bottom lines and how you successfully planned and smoothly executed your teams’ success in achieving annual targets and ultimately ROI. There is so much more to us than tea and typing. Modern EAs and PAs are leaders and not helpers. We expand productivity and are brand ambassadors for our bosses, company and profession. The role we fulfil comes with accountability and responsibility and we are in effect the manager of our managers when it comes to time keeping. 

Young tired businesswoman with tons of documents calling phone

Unfortunately some managers don’t appreciate the competence, talents, and skills of their PAs. They don’t trust them enough to delegate the important but time-consuming tasks that take them off mission.  They are stuck in an old-school submissive secretary paradigm. It is up to you to professionalise your role. 
I reached a stage where I was fed up with the perception of my role.  I realised that if others were to take me seriously that I needed to act like other executives within my company. I put in a request for business cards, specific PA training (conferences/seminars) and also requested that my company pay my subscription to various PA magazine publications and my membership for networking PA Club associations. After all if you don’t ask, you don’t get.I entered several PA awards.  I wanted to highlight and reinforce to colleagues, friends and family that we take our roles seriously and deserve accolades like any other profession. 
The long-time goal for me is for PAs and EAs to get the respect and recognition they ultimately deserve in the work force. It would be great if people could acknowledge that for some of us we consider it a valid career choice and not just a job or a stepping stone on to greater things. There are some fantastic Assistants out there – some of them highly educated with degrees, masters and/or multi-lingual skills. Donna Karen started out as a PA and the world would not have known Elvis if it was not for PA Marion Keisker.  Being a PA is a valid career choice for any woman or man. 
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I would encourage all Assistants to get on LinkedIn.  As Executive Assistants, our general knowledge and administrative expertise transcends all industries and our collaborative way of working stands us in good stead to bring value to any networking group.Poor communication, delegation skills and lack of information can hamper an Assistants overall ability to succeed.  The truth is that a PA is really a full partner in achieving business goals.   

7 Key Skills PA Masterclass

I believe that Bonnie Low-Kramen said it best in her article: ‘The Top 10 Career Practices to Learn from Administrative Assistants’.“They are relentlessly adaptable. They love a challenge. They underplay their power. Making people happy is their goal. They read minds. They love to put out fires and bring order to chaos. They are master jugglers. They are hungry to learn. They are connected. They yearn to make a difference.”

Meet EA Eleanor Marshall, this evening’s Guest Speaker

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Eleanor Marshall will be giving a talk on her ‘Career Journey’ at this evening’s members’ event at The Clubhouse Mayfair.

04fa8f6Eleanor is an EA at Facebook and has ten years’ experience working as an Executive Assistant and event planner. She is also an award winning PA who won the title of PA of the Year in 2013 and Social Networking PA of the Year in 2014 at the SecsintheCity PA of the Year Awards.

She began her career the City, where she managed a large term of secretaries within the Lloyd’s of London risk market. She eventually made the leap into media in 2008,  where she began supporting the Manager Director (and running events) for a small TV company within ITV.

A few years later came the world of radio, when she moved on to support Clive Dickens, the co-founder of Absolute Radio. It was here that she cut her teeth working on large-scale music events, working at venues such as Abbey Road, the Isle of Wight Festival as well as at the Rolling Stones’ successful 2012 Huge Park gigs.

In late 2012 she won Secs in The City’s inaugural “PA of the Year” award, after which she started contributing to various industry blogs (and was profiled in a front page article in PA Life magazine). In 2013 she travelled to Malaysia to train a delegation of assistants on skills such as Time Management and Work/Life Balance.

Since 2013 Eleanor has been working for Facebook, originally supporting the Chief Creative Officer, Mark D’Arcy, during his secondment in London. She now supports Rob Newlan (Director, Creative, EMEA) and runsglobal events for Facebook’s Creative Shop team.

Eleanor is a life-long east Londoner, where she still lives with her husband & their two dogs and beloved cat.

‘Raising your Game into Management’ PA Masterclass

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‘Raising your Game into Management’ PA Masterclass

  • Date: 21st January 2016
  • Time: 9:30am – 4:45pm
  • Venue: De Vere Venues, West One or Holborn, London.

The Masterclass will cost £395 and discounts are available for public sector, not for profit and personal payment.

Places are limited so REGISTER TODAY!

Contact us at : enquiries@globalpa-association.com / +44 (0)800 043 0258

The acrobatic lifestyle of a PA/EA

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….Juggling work, study, and family

By Rebeka Adamson

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Rebeka is the Personal Assistant to the Operations Director at Enable New Zealand, and is passionate about administration as a career path.  She is a member of the Association of Administrative Professionals New Zealand Inc (AAPNZ), and currently serves on the Manawatu Group Management Team.  Having won the prestigious 2015 AAPNZ Administrative Professional Award, Rebeka is now taking on the role of being New Zealand’s ambassador for the profession.

I really enjoy studying, which is quite remarkable I think considering I was raised in a family where education was not a priority. I had to leave school at the age of 16 in order to assist financially and so I didn’t get the opportunity to achieve a School Certificate or study at a university. So, I was understandably super excited when I won my first scholarship in 2008.

I began my studies a month before I married my husband.  We both worked full time and I spent most evenings studying, so in hindsight our first two years of marriage was probably lacklustre; however I did manage to find some creative ways to spend time with my family. One example which springs to mind is when I joined my husband and mother-in-law on numerous occasions at the beach, drafting my assignments in the back of the car while they fished for whitebait at dawn.

It took me two years to achieve my Diploma and it was exhausting. Little did I know that it would be nothing in comparison to raising a family whilst working and studying.

The itch to study returned in 2015 when I succeeded in obtaining another scholarship; however this time around I discovered that finding time to study was not so easy.  I had an energetic toddler to raise, a loving husband to appreciate, and a career that needed attention.

In order to achieve everything, my husband and I developed a routine where one of us would cook dinner and go through the bed-time routine with our son on alternating nights so that we each had a night to rest or work on any projects we had in place. This meant I didn’t miss out on spending time with my family and was still able to dedicate time towards my study.

I thought I had the balance right until I received my first C-grade on an assignment – this was a difficult result to accept as I am a proud over-achiever. I thought I had prepared myself mentally to appreciate any passing result, but it became clear that I expected much more from myself. This meant I had to find more time during the remaining weeks to make improvements, so I had to decide what I was ready to sacrifice; my grades, family time, or sleep.

It was tough; there were a few early mornings and many more late nights, however a final grade of a B was worth it.  The lack of sleep was temporary, but I have already starting applying what I have learnt towards my career so it has all been worth it.

Juggling work, study, and family can be brutal and is not for the faint hearted.  It’s probably not for perfectionists either as the results may disappoint you (even when you pass!).  But, if you have a good support network at home and at work, and know what you’re willing to compromise, you are on a stable path towards an acrobatic lifestyle. Enjoy the circus!

Does your life involve a lot of juggling? How do you cope? Let us know in the comments section below