By Sherri Eckworth
Sherri Eckworth has been a Senior Executive Assistant at TMW Unlimited since 2010. Sherri has worked across multiple industries and has been a PA at Board level for almost 20 years. Awarded SecsintheCity PA of the Year 2013 and shortlisted for Executive Magazine PA of the Year 2014. A regular top 30 member of Eventopedia’s PA Club Top 250 Power List and an enthusiastic supporter of the PA role.
A tough one to put in a few paragraphs but this is my take on a subject I feel very passionately about…the True Value of a PA/EA
Do you get maximum value from your PAs? Do you know how much additional value they can add to your business?
From a PA who’s been in the administrative support space for over twenty years, here’s a few reasons why I believe that we are a very valuable resource in business.
We make amazing Project Managers – it’s what we do best. Whether organizing an event or getting ‘impossibly difficult to pin down’ people in a room together, we make it happen. Our organisational skills give us a head start when it comes to managing projects from inception to completion. Our ability not to let anything drop ensures we’ll be ‘on it’ all the way through and because we’re used to changing environments, we won’t be phased if something needs to be rerouted.
We make great Facilitators – and I don’t just mean managing meetings to run on time! Yes we can take the notes, but we follow up on actions, understand the processes and know who the key stakeholders are. We’re enthusiastic and can create a healthy atmosphere around introducing change. For planning ‘away days’, we’ll also ensure you get the best venue at the best price too!
We are confidential sounding boards –people talk to us about their concerns and we know when to listen and when to feedback. We’re trusted by our colleagues as they know we deliver their messages in the right way.
We’re calm gatekeepers whilst being great ambassadors for our teams. We will never let anyone down. As much as we’d like to clone our bosses, we know we can’t, so we prioritise their time in a way that works best for all. Everyone needs to feel important and valued and understanding that is key.
We’re the best jugglers! From the minute we arrive in the office, we’re asked what feels like a hundred questions a minute. We’re fielding calls, managing multiple events, answering emails, making last minute changes to the diaries, checking out meeting rooms, liaising with other departments and normally all whilst preparing relevant paperwork for the day.
We’ve worked across many industries – we’ve shown curiosity about our surroundings and learned a lot about business. Transferable skills give us great advantages and crossing industries keeps us refreshed and enthused.
We’re ‘people’ people – we’re perceptive and knowledgeable when it comes to others. We often see potential issues before they become problematic and we know who may need a little extra help.
And of course there’s lots more – but I think that’s a great start. A ‘personal assistant’ is so much more than the title suggests, often working for more than one person, acting as a contact point for the wider business and generally being pulled in many directions at once. A reliable, trustworthy, grounded PA is well worth your time and investment – with development, training and encouragement, we can really demonstrate our true value.