Tell us about what you do?
I am Executive Assistant to a HNW Entrepreneur, based on a small but historical estate near Reading. As with many PA/EA roles, I wear many hats! Business EA, Personal PA, Estate Manager, HR, Accounts Admin, Office Manager, Garden Tour Guide.
How did you get your career started as a PA?
Oxford Media and Business School, a college for anyone who isn’t quite sure what to take as the next step.
University never appealed to me, and after a gap year riding polo ponies in New Zealand, I attended the college for one year, gaining invaluable skills and contacts. I always say to people who don’t know what to do after school, even if you do not wish to be an assistant long-term, it is a fantastic entry into a company or industry where you aren’t required to have a degree or further education. It is a foot in the door to start your journey to your dream job!
What was your experience of finding your first PA role?
I was very lucky. Whilst attending OMBS, the Royal Household were in contact with two vacancies. The whole interview process was petrifying but somehow, I muddled though to land an incredible role to start as soon as I graduated from OMBS. Sometimes a little bit of luck is helpful!
What person, place or thing changed the direction of your life?
Firstly OMBS, without stumbling across the college, I am not sure which direction I would have taken after school. The opportunities that were created there were life-changing for me. Not to mention, the friends I made whilst being there!
Secondly the opportunity to travel to Australia in late 2022. My boyfriend had the opportunity to work abroad for 6-months in rural Australia, and having been in my Property Management role in London for 18-months, and with a closing tenancy agreement – I knew that if I hadn’t taken the chance to travel, I would have regretted it.
What has been your most challenging PA role to date and why?
My current role, being 3-months in, I still feel like there is a lot to learn. There are many aspects that I haven’t been responsible before in roles. However, I am really enjoying the speed of development and learning.
What about your role do you like most?
No two days are the same – a bit of a cliché, but so true. I am very active and love the fact that some days I may be walking around the garden with an arborist, discussing the 800-year-old oak tree in my wellies, then racing into London to meet a builder at my Principal’s London property. The next day may be spent attending a school event or even picking apples for the estate’s own apple juice. Often, I am relieved to have half a day in the office to catch up on admin tasks!
What’s your biggest achievement as a PA?
I do feel very proud to have the Royal Household on my CV. I still often pinch myself that I really worked for the family and am incredibly grateful for the experiences and friends that were made in that role. I consider landing that job my biggest achievement, as I am not sure much can top it!
What’s the biggest hurdle you have had to overcome as a PA?
Recently, I have found the transition into a slightly more managerial role quite challenging, especially when working with much older employees! Being 24, I have found it hard to navigate the new position. However, I have found that it brings a new level of satisfaction when an event goes well, or a large project finally wraps up.
If you could pick up a new skill what would it be?
Languages! I am in awe of people who can speak more than one language. I hate calling restaurants or hotels in Europe and asking if they can speak English for me!
What advice would you give to candidates finding their first job in a support role in London?
Speak to other PAs, if you are in solitary role without a team around you, perhaps create a group chat with other PAs you have met. Occasionally you may need a contact or quick verification and google isn’t always your friend – talking to people and getting recommendations for contacts, services etc is often a more reassuring route.
That’s also where this fantastic platform Links, comes in to play. You can be sure that any service has been used and approved, taking away some of the stress of working with a new contractor.
What makes your day easier/what or who couldn’t you live without?
Having recently moved out of London, to Marlborough, I am ensuring I get outside and do some exercise before work, even if it is just a short dog walk. It makes a huge difference to my outlook and during those tricky weeks, sometimes prioritising your wellbeing can make a big difference.
What three attributes do you think make a good PA?
Complete loyalty, being able to read a situation quickly and discretely and being open to learning new skills.
What are you most proud of?
I have had five very different Assistant roles since I turned 20 – and they have all given me completely different skills and life experiences. I have genuinely said “Yes” to most opportunities, even if they have completely terrified me, and I have always leant something valuable.
What advice would you give to a young PA starting their career?
Stay open minded – look into every opportunity as it may actually turn out to be quite different from the face of it. And talk to people. Whilst agencies are very important to connect you to potential employers, you can also create opportunities by being interested in other people and networking.
How different do you think the role of EA/PA will differ in 10 years?
If teleportation could be invented that soon, I would appreciate not having to book travel! Otherwise, I think the role of EA/PA is always going to be important as it is mutually respectful relationship that provides the best support.
When you’re not being one of London’s top PAs, what do you enjoy doing?
At the moment, I am spending much of my time away from work exploring Wiltshire. Walking our dog to a pub for Sunday Lunch, clay shooting at Barbury or nipping back into London to see my friends. Having recently moved house, I am also spending a lot of my time in interiors shops and looking for good deals on eBay or marketplace!
What are you looking forward to professionally in the future?
Having jumped around a bit in the last few years with travel opportunities and the dreaded pandemic years, I am pleased to have ‘settled’ into this new position and look forward to developing my role and pooling my past experiences together! As for the long-term, who knows! I remain openminded.