How did you get your career started as a PA?
Initially, I moved to London as music and events were my passion and the idea was to work for musicians or for festivals like Glastonbury.
I ended up nannying on the side before I started any roles in London and it seemed that every client I nannied for wanted me as their EA for private and business lives. They would recommend me by word of mouth to fellow HNWI’s or celebrities and that's how it all started. They called me firecracker because I was very fast, got things done and never said no so I realised this was something I was good at.
What was your experience of finding your first PA role?
It was quite easy.
I am extremely proactive and fast when it comes to work or any aspect of finding jobs and I was lucky to have a handful of celebrities offer roles to me so was able to choose which one suited best.
How does it differ from previous jobs?
It's tough. I would say it has its perks. I love varied days and each day in this job is different or a different location. I'm not someone to sit at in an office all day until 5 o'clock waiting to leave. I like to be busy, running around, with different people so it suits my temperament well. You need to be able to juggle things well though as everyone can pull you in different directions at any time so prioritising is key! Also, there's not really a 9-5 job so if you find it hard to be on call its definitely not the job for you.
Who has been your most inspirational boss and why?
They are all different. I respected every boss for different reasons.
The king of Qatar had an amazing aura about him and such a concise and clear manner that was enjoyable to work with. Many names I can’t reveal have been extremely fun to work with and we have become friends after my work ended as they really trust and value me in their lives after you prove it. Proving it can be long and hard but its all worth it.
Biggest achievement as a PA?
Setting up my own freelance company to look after HNWI’s and celebrities.
Biggest hurdle you have had to overcome as a PA?
Finding mandarin scented pillowcases at midnight in Paris for a wife to sleep on.
Doing an undercover security measure on a superyacht to reveal who wasn't capable of maintaining confidentiality and the correct behaviour for clients and running a whole reshuffle on the fleet of yachts.
Dealing with divorces and maintaining good relationships with all family members.
Stepping in to do a last-minute presentation on something I knew nothing about as my boss hadn’t shown up was pretty challenging.
Do you feel valued as a PA? Do you think PAs get enough recognition?
I think it's down to how much respect you have for yourself. If you are willing to graft, to really push yourself by working 24/7, and going over and beyond then they will trust you and that's an amazing feeling...when it happens.
I think until there is trust and approval of your work then it's hard to feel valued. You need to forget you are working alongside these types of people, you aren't living their life, you are working for them so being humble and hardworking is key to being valued.
What advice would you give to candidates finding their first job in a support role in London?
Have a thick skin. Find solutions not problems. Never say no. Take any job in the industry and just start to graft and graft. Don't think its a 9-5 job, work till all the jobs are done and then more.
Get on with it attitude- There are times when this is a very odd industry. Requests are late at night, things you don't know how to fix, problems left right and centre. Not complaining and getting on with the job shows great stamina and something I have had to do for a long time to get where I am now.
What three attributes do you think make a good PA?
Initiative - think ahead of what could happen, what may arise, problems that could pop out of nowhere and just be aware of all of this even if it doesn’t actually occur. Better to be ready for any changes.
Personability - As much as these people tend to have big egos nothing has been more of a driving force for my longevity in these roles as being easy to be around. They are human so don't be shy or scared, make a joke, make them know you. That doesn’t mean tell them everything or your life problems, but being relatable/ malleable to all sorts of personalities is key, because you come across some interesting types that’s for sure.
Get on with it attitude - there are times when this is a very odd industry. Requests are late at night, things you don't know how to fix, problems left, right and centre. Not complaining and getting on with the job shows great stamina and something I have had to do for a long time to get where I am now.
What makes your day easier and what or who couldn’t you live without?
I take an hour out of my day usually instead of lunch to workout. Working out keeps me sane and is a great way for me to clear my head. I honestly couldn't live without working out!
Also, having balance is key. Do something every weekend you love. For me its a spa treatment or massage where I invest in ME time.
Working all week for someone else can let you forget about your needs and your life so it's important to have that time for you.
What are you most proud of?
Moving to London at 21. Working my way up and having a black book of such amazing contacts and colleagues that really make life easy now.
When you’re not being one of London’s top PAs, what do you enjoy doing?
Travelling is where all my savings go. I have been to over 82 countries in my life and could do it all over again. I just love it. I just did 8 months around the world so now its time to work.
Socialising, music festivals, friends, family, working out and spa days are what I’m doing when I am not working, which isn't very often :)