Tell me a little bit about yourself:
I am 42 years old, married with two young children, 6 & 8. I have been working in the administration and business support field since I was 19 years old - my first role was as a Junior PA at the Bank of England and since then I’ve worked in Banking, Insurance and Recruitment supporting a range of Senior Managers, Directors and CEO’s. In my spare time I love travel, yoga, and playdates with the kids!
Why did you choose SmartPA?
There were a number of reasons a Partnership appealed to me. Firstly, flexibility. With young kids this is a must - I have tried juggling family and a career in the city and it is incredibly difficult so flexibility was really important. I also wanted to be my own boss. Taking control of my own career like I did was a big deal but one i’ve never regretted - I’m really proud of what I have so far achieved in two years and I’m very lucky - I have lovely clients! The last main attraction was saving serious money on childcare costs, plus I don’t miss out on any of those important early years.
What kind of work do you do for your clients?
Client work is really varied, but my day to day tasks tend to focus on diary management, travel management, expense processing and event planning. Then there are the additional ad-hoc tasks; organising couriers, holiday records, business card processing, creation of weekly meeting agendas and research. An interesting day was setting up with Westminster Council for rubbish collection!
What piece of advice would you give to your younger self?
Trust your instincts. If it feels right, don’t let anyone put you off. You are in charge of your own destiny – so take the risk!
Do you find it hard balancing a career with a family?
Yes but it’s completely worth it. I’m very proud of how far I’ve come in my career and the good thing about the Partnership is that my business model can change as the children grow and become more independent. In around 5 years I will become more of an Account Manager rather than a do-er, as I am now. However, I do love what I do, so who knows?!
What is the weirdest request you’ve ever had from a client?
The two weirdest things I’ve been asked are to source some missing shoes and a missing wallet. The shoes were left in a hotel in Paris and I needed to get a taxi to collect the shoes and take them to my client at a conference in another part of town. The missing wallet was real fun! My client left his wallet at security at London Heathrow – I was lucky they had it and arranged for my client to pick it up on his way back (thank goodness for Apple Pay during his trip!)
How does SmartPA support you?
Monica from Business Support is a true gem. She is my first port of call and often has the answers to everything I need. Then there are Noni and Jennifer – Noni was a tower of support throughout the training and when I was lucky enough to pitch for business [alas it wasn’t to be] recently, Jennifer held my hand throughout.
What was your best day as a SmartPA?
Getting my bonus client was a great day - apart from that, everyday! I feel really lucky to be a remote PA and a SmartPA. There are really tricky days when the juggling feels like it may get out of control but thankfully it doesn’t and no balls get dropped. I love a challenge – it’s healthy and it pushes you to keep going. I’m really happy right now and hope it continues that way!