I hoped to be able to go into companies around the North West of England, where I am based (and maybe even London) and help PAs, EAs and administrators to find ways to excel in their roles … I had no idea how things would turn out.
17 years later and I travel all over the UK and the Channel Islands, for the last 12 years I have been regularly working around the Middle East and since a couple of years after that in the Far East. I have now also made 4 trips to Australia and am invited back later this year, I visited South Africa in February 2016 and have been invited to Auckland, New Zealand and Washington DC in the USA this year. I have had 3 books published and created a speedwriting system. What a wonderful job!
However, besides my blessings, what is particularly wonderful is how the role of the PA is now perceived….
When I started, I constantly heard tales of bullying and managers taking advantage; now, it is very different, sadly the bullying still exists, but things are so much better.
Office Professionals are benefitting from the rise in exceptional trainers around the world who help them build their confidence, value their contribution and encourage their development. Of course, I have to mention in particular the fantastic Lucy Brazier, founder of Executive Secretary Magazine, who has taken PA power to new heights. Executive Secretary LIVE events are held worldwide to enormous acclaim.
We now see PA networks around the world, within organisations or national, international and local areas. IMA (formerley EUMA), chaired by Elizabeth Wakeling in the UK, Maria Marsh at the University of Manchester, Wendy Rapana of the Association of Administrative Professionals in New Zealand, Rosemary McLennan at the Scottish PA Network, Warsha Joshi’s Platinum PA Club in Dubai, Amanda Hargreaves and team at the Manchester PA Network and Marion Lowrence of the Yorkshire PA Hub and many more (see a full list). Victoria Darragh, a former award-winning PA, has now established the Executive & Personal Assistants Association to empower the profession. I am delighted to be involved with these groups.
Happily, we are now reaching a point where organisations have started to value the role of administration and understand the need for relevant and high quality training (this article tells you more). This includes training from people who do not have a PA background but whose specialisms are now extremely relevant to PAs.
Office Professionals themselves appreciate the steps they have to take to excel in their roles and ensure a successful career path. Learning and development is encouraged and enjoyed.
People are proud to be a part of this vital profession.