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Banking/Financial Sector PA Conference

EPAA Banking/Finance Sector PA Conference 2017 

Hosted by Royal Bank of Scotland, 250 Bishopsgate, London

EPAA is delighted to open registration for the FIRST EVER conference dedicated to EAs, PAs and Secretaries across the UK banking and financial sector.

The financial sector has undergone huge change over the last decade and faced unprecedented challenges through this period, with more to come.  It’s no surprise to learn the financial sector is a key driver of the UK economy, accounting for 12% of our output as well as employing approximately 2.2 million people.  

The UK banking and financial sector has thousands of Assistants working across a multitude of organisations within fast paced and high pressured environments.

Our conference is put together with those Assistants in mind and aims to inspire, empower and promote the concept of preparing and embracing change with confidence.  We will also look at key developments within the sector and opportunities for growth, as well as practical solutions and resources for you to take forward in your career as a banking/financial sector Assistant. 

Not yet a PA in this sector but interested in making the move across?  You are welcome to join the conference.

Keynote Speaker

Michael McGrath
Inspirational Speaker | Change Agent | Polar Adventurer | CEO of The Muscle Help Foundation
Adam Fidler
Principal and Founder, Adept Executive Consulting | Consultant Lecturer, Pitman Training Group
Vanessa Vallely
International Motivational Speaker | Managing Director of WeAreTheCity
Claire Grace
EA to the Chief Operating Officer for Retail & Business Banking and the Director for the Universities Division at Santander
Heather White
Speaker | Coach | Trainer | Facilitator | Connector | Author
Sara Brewer
EA to Group Chairman - HSBC Bank
Simone White
Personal Assistant - Blackrock
Debra Jacobs
PA to Senior Learning & Development Partner | The Royal Bank of Scotland
Neil Shah
International Speaker | Stress Management expert | Management consultant | Executive Coach | Master Trainer
Jane Brazzill
Personal Assistant - People & Organisation, PwC


To find out what is happening throughout the day, simply click on a time slot…

08:30 – 09:00 | Registration opens

09:00 – 09:10 | Welcome & Conference Open – Victoria Darragh.

09:10 – 10:10 | Excellence Under Pressure – Neil Shah.

In the ‘Excelling Under Pressure’ workshop, participants will learn what stress is, how it affects their
daily lives, when it is beneficial and when it is harmful. In the session, we will explore some of the
flawed strategies that people commonly use to deal with stress and provide practical exercises and
techniques designed to de-stress at work and at home.
‘Excelling Under Pressure’ will cover 3 key areas:
  • Understanding stress – giving employees the skills to recognise the signs, symptoms, causes and effects of stress
  • Creating and maintaining a healthy work-work balance – these practical techniques and strategies will include time and prioritisation management
  • Increasing personal resilience – these practical techniques and strategies include relaxation techniques and breathing exercises

Neil Shah, The Stress Management Society.

10:10 – 10:30 | Break

10:30 – 11:15 | Managing Your Career – Vanessa Vallely.

This interactive session is aimed at injecting the “va va voom” back into participants’ views of their careers, and makes the point that careers are no longer to be purely left in the hands of line managers – if individuals want to achieve success, they should drive their own career plans and seek the right opportunities to drive careers forward.

The workshop focuses on why and how individuals should create a career strategy and plan in order to unlock their potential and get themselves onto the path to success.   This session is not about theory, science or blue sky thinking, it is about a realistic look at what individuals want to achieve and what actions they should take in order to get where they want to go.

Session includes:

  • Reflecting on your 2015 achievements and lessons learned
  • Understanding the importance of career planning
  • Writing your career strategy and associated plan
  • Reviewing your network – who can help you?
  • Keeping yourself on track through time management
  • Strategies to avoid procrastination

Participants will leave this session with the start of a career plan that they can build out.  This event is ideal for organisations who want empower staff at any level to be engaged and take ownership of their own career development, but works particularly well with graduates and junior staff who are less familiar with career development concepts.

11:15 – 12:00 | How to stop saying ”I’m just a PA” – Heather White.

What to say instead…

I know you are JUST a PA!! If only I had a penny every time I heard a PA describe themselves as JUST a PA. But what do you replace that statement with instead? This workshop will look at how to find the right words to use and when to use them. I will focus on what makes a simple, memorable and portable message / personal brand that your colleague can hear and respect. That can be used when seeking new opportunities. 

Heather White, CEO of Smarter Networking

12:00 – 12:30 | A View from the top; the journey so far – Sara Brewer.

Sara will be sharing in a candid talk her career journey as Secretary to EA within the financial sector – culminating in her current role as EA to the Chairman of one of the world’s biggest banks. She will also be presenting her wider thoughts on continuing to develop the role of EA/PA and what the future could hold.

Sara Brewer, EA to Group Chairman HSBC.

12:30 – 13:30 | Lunch.

13:30 – 14:45 | ‘It’s time for a change; the staid role of the banking PA’ – Adam Fidler.

In this inspirational and thought- provoking session, Adam Fidler highlights and discusses some of the issues with the more traditional PA role, with particular emphasis on the role as used in financial services, and gives PAs and their employers alike reasons why it’s time for a rethink about the job description of the PA.  His talk covers the following:

  • The traditional role of the PA as diary manager and why today’s new-breed of PAs/EAs are crying out for more content.
  • Black box versus red box activities and how Executives can get more value from their PAs by allowing them to transition into meatier and more involved roles.
  • Traditional and new models of support for financial services leaders: the ‘triumvirate of the Executive, Chief of Staff and PA’, versus the new ‘Executive and EA partnership’.  
  • Why financial services organisations will need to radically adapt their job descriptions for PAs if they are to retain and attract the best talent going forwards.
  • A case in point – the changing need of one Banking Executive – and the impact on the role of ‘support’ generally.    
  • Key messages for banking PAs if they want to develop their role, earn more money and realise their full potential.
  • The evolution of the PA role – considerations for the future.

Adam Fidler, Principal and Founder, Adept Executive Consulting | Consultant Lecturer, Pitman Training group.

14:45 – 15:00 | Break

15:00 – 15:45 | Group Panel Session – Simone White, Debra Jacobs, Claire Grace & Jane Brazzill.

Our Panel will look at the unique challenges of working as an EA or PA in the banking and financial sector. Following on from earlier presentations we will further explore the future – what to expect, prepare and plan for and how to tackle the challenges within the profession.

Simone White (Blackrock), Debra Jacobs (RBS), Claire Grace (Santander) & Jane Brazzill (PwC).

15:45 – 16:45 | Ice, Slice & Adrenaline – Michael McGrath.

A daily occurrence for Michael McGrath ; in his view, it builds personal resilience and character. Every difficulty we successfully confront in life serves to strengthen our will, our confidence and our ability to face head-on, process and conquer future challenges.

Michael’s remarkable life story is one of consistently overcoming incredible odds. British born with a cocktail of Irish and Brazilian blood and educated by the Jesuits, Michael describes himself as the adventurous black sheep of his family, a catalyst for change and a champion of difference; most of his family are in medicine. Michael made history in January 2004 by becoming the only disabled person in the world to have reached both the North and South Poles ~ by any standards, an extraordinary example of determination, courage and singular achievement.

16:45 | Conference close – Victoria Darragh.



For assistance with the booking process please contact Georgina Farley – generalenquiries@epaa.org.uk


Not yet a member? Sign up for membership today and receive 30% off your membership grade and in addition to this your free place at the conference.

Please email Georgina Farley for further information.

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