EPAA Back to Basics EA Conference

Please note this conference is now fully booked! If you are an EPAA member who wishes to attend please email generalenquiries@epaa.org.uk to join the wait list. 

EPAA is delighted to offer this second free annual ‘members only’ conference, with a clear focus on the basic skills and behaviours required to successfully perform Business Support roles. 

Whether you come from an experienced background or have recently joined the profession, this conference will offer something for everyone. 

For the more experienced, it never serves to become complacent in any aspect of the role and events such as these can be utilised as a reminder and a refresher. For the recently new members of the profession, it provides a strong foundation block of which you can build a highly successful career. 

Whilst anyone in any profession is prone to making mistakes, getting the basics wrong in this profession can indeed be very costly for UK business.  The ‘basics’ are not just about technical skills and the ability to command Microsoft Office, indeed equally important is the ability to understand professional standards and behaviours, in order to provide an all encompassing business support service. 

This conference has been put together and led as a result of direct feedback from employers and executives from across the UK.  


  • Learn key behaviours and professional standards 
  • Dynamic, provocative and relevant sessions on trends influencing the future of the Business Support Profession in the UK
  • Gain greater confidence in how to move your career along to the next stage
  • Add greater and more meaningful impact with the support service you provide
  • Dedicated networking opportunities with EPAA members
  • No selling, no partners, no trade show!


  • Electronic certificate of attendance
  • 10 EPAA CPD credits awarded to members on CPD programme
  • Drinks refreshments (please note lunch is NOT included and at own cost)



Registration Open – Networking 


Welcomes, Conference Open & EPAA Update

Victoria Wratten, Founder 


Raising your visibility on LinkedIn

Jennifer Corcoran, My Super Connector

In this session Jennifer will help you quickly understand the power of raising your visibility on LinkedIn.

You will understand the importance of taking action and being visible if you want to move forward and elevate your career.

Jennifer will concentrate on:

  • Why you should be on LinkedIn and the benefits of using it for career success
  • Your personal brand and how to optimise your LinkedIn profile
  • Connection and engagement tips as well as how to measure your activity

Thanks to the digital age each one of us is now in control of the content we write, the messages we send out into the world and the image we create for ourselves. After this session you will be able to maximise the time that you spend on LinkedIn and have a LinkedIn profile that will work for you 24/7.




Stand Up, Speak Up, Stand Out

Ronke Kokoruwe LLM, Director of iVerbalize 

We each have a voice that is worthy of being heard so why is it that Executive and Personal Assistants are much more likely to say no to speaking opportunities and retreat from putting forward their thoughts.

The lack of EAs and PAs voices across various realms means that we’re not hearing some of the brightest ideas which exist, often because they are buried beneath layers of fear and doubt.

The need is urgent for us all to step up and ensure that our voices are indeed being heard through public speaking – the power of our spoken words.

This engaging session will equip the participants with the tools and techniques needed to do just that!

Learning Outline will include: 

• Learn how to make the shift from ‘from spectator to speaker’

• Understand how your body language can be a game changer when you speak

• Appreciate the power of your stories

• Become more visible


Elevating your EA Career

Melanie Richardson, Bettys & Taylors Group 

In this session, Melanie will focus on the key attributes required to unleash your full potential and to elevate your career to operate at the highest level.  She will highlight the crucial ‘leaderful’ behaviours and characteristics she has had to develop in herself to enable her to be an influential member of the Executive Leadership Team in the business in which she works.  Melanie will share with you some of her own personal ‘light bulb’ moments and practical tips, the things that have worked for her in finding her own authentic voice and the challenges she’s faced along the way.



Lunch is at own cost – an abundance of eateries can be found in Tottenham Court Road. 


The Power of Networking  

Chantal Sneijkers, Senior Management Support at SBS Belgium & Executive Vice Chairman of IMA (International Management Assistants)

Forget about who you know. Ask yourself who should know you

Networking is one of the most important competences of an executive assistant. However, most of us don’t really know how to deal with it. Chantal tells you all about how to network efficiently and professionally and how in the end, it can change your life




UK Executive Assistant Panel

We are delighted to be joined by top performing UK EAs from within the EPAA membership.

There is no-one better to learn from than your peers – experienced professionals who have worked across sectors and with a multitude of different Executives. They will share their thoughts, feelings on the respective roles, and how they have overcome challenges during their careers. More importantly what they believe sets the tone to be successful as an EA in the UK today. 

  • Veronica Richards FEPAA – Senior EA & Founder of VLR Associates
  • Mark Edwards FEPAA – PA to Product Director, SSE plc
  • Elizabeth Benjamin FEPAA – Senior EA, YouView & EPAA Board Member 
  • Sara Pratt FEPAA, PA to MD of Rhodar Limited (CEO of Lexia Solutions Group) 

Career Planning & Goals for 2020 Executive Assistants 

Victoria Wratten, Founder 

It is clear we need to take a more futurist approach with planning careers for UK Executive and Personal Assistants.  There is no doubt about it, that many EA careers have stagnated and taken a step back to ‘admin based roles’ during the global recession and with the stagnation that has occurred during the last three years. 

With all this negativity around us, how can we charge forward? Do we now need to be more realistic about where the role is now sitting from the employer perspective vs what EAs see the role as?  You could be looking for a new role in 2020, recently put at risk of redundancy, or have hit an ‘EA plateau’ and not really sure how to make the changes you need to make and how to take your career to the next level? We know some EAs are thinking of leaving the profession entirely! 

Victoria will help you create and navigate a plan for 2020 – in order to help you make more informed and greater choices. 

Learning outline will include: 

Current trends for UK EAs

Upskilling and what is actually going to drive your career forward 

How to identify your learning plan

How to move across sectors 

Identify your motivational drivers 

Easy to use career goal and planning templates 


Conference Close

Victoria Wratten
Conference Chair & Speaker

Victoria is a multi-award winning Executive Assistant from the United Kingdom.
She is extremely passionate about the role of the Assistant and actively encourages it as a truly fantastic career choice, after experiencing an extraordinary career journey herself.

Victoria spent the first five years of her career, from the age of sixteen, working her way up the secretarial career ladder. She commenced her career as an Office Junior for a car leasing firm, before moving to a junior Personal Assistant role at her next company. She then became a Secretary, until receiving her first Executive Assistant position at the age of 21, this was for Susan Scott-Parker OBE, CEO of the Business Disability Forum.

Victoria then went onto to join one of the world’s leading specialist recruitment firms as an Executive Assistant and shortly after joining, went on to set up an award winning ‘Internal PA Network’ in November 2009.  

In 2008 Victoria was a Finalist in the Hays/Times PA of the Year and in October 2011 Victoria received ‘Outstanding Contribution to the PA Profession’ at the Mayfair PA Magazine awards. 
Victoria has appeared as a judge on many prestigious awards for Assistants, most recently Wearethecity.com ‘Rising Star Awards’

Victoria contributes to industry press on a regular basis and has appeared on the BBC Breakfast Show, BBC Radio 5 and in newspapers/magazines such as The Times, The Daily Mail, London Business Matters, People Management Magazine (CIPD), and Management Magazine to name but just a few.
In 2015 Victoria was placed into the City AM Newspapers ‘Women in the City Power List’ and was placed in the top 30. She was the first Executive Assistant to be recognised in a list such as this.

Victoria regularly presents and trains Assistants at events and conferences across the UK and in the past spoke internationally including; Belgium, Dubai, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, South Africa and the USA. Currently her focus is on UK initiatives only.

Jennifer Corcoran
My Super Connector

Jennifer Corcoran is the CEO and Founder of My Super Connector, an award-winning social media consultancy. Awarded the title of ‘Social Media Influencer’, Jennifer holds regional, national and global titles as a result of her love of online connection, communication and collaboration.

With a career built and spent in the corporate world as an Award Winning EA, Jennifer is now committed to helping ambitious professionals and entrepreneurs to polish up their LinkedIn profiles and connect with finesse in order to achieve business and career success.

Website: https://mysuperconnector.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennifercorcoran1/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mysuperconnector/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/superconnector

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mysuperconnector/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/superconnector/

Ronke Kokoruwe LLM

Ronke Kokoruwe was born and grew up in Nigeria before moving to the UK to attend university.

She trained as a barrister and then qualified as a solicitor after obtaining a Masters in International Environmental Law from the London School of Economics.

She is an executive coach and the founder of iVerbalize, a public speaking training and coaching business.

Her purpose is to encourage, equip, and empower women from all walks of life, to take the steps ‘from spectator to speaker’ and to express themselves with greater courage, clarity and confidence.

She also mentors young women in the developing world to become future leaders. Running, baking and singing are all part and parcel of her world and laughter is essential to her soul.

Veronica Richards FEPAA
Senior Executive Assistant & Founder of VLR Associates

Veronica Richards is a Senior Executive Assistant with a diverse career spanning three decades. She started out as an Office Junior/Team Secretary and progessed to Senior PA/Office Manager/Team Leader, undertaking vocational training and development courses.

Armed with a range of transferable skills and commercial awareness, Veronica provided C-suite and equivalent-level assistance in the Property, Banking, Legal, Financial Services, Consulting, Retail and Public sectors.
Veronica is the Founder of VLR Associates, a Coaching and Business Support Consulting company, helping people at a life and career crossroads, alongside the provision of business advisory services from an Assistant’s perspective.

Veronica is a Fellow of EPAA with Practitioner status, following successful completion of EPAA’s CPD Programme. She is a member of the CIPD with a keen interest in People, HR and the future of work.

Website: www.vlrassociates.co.uk

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/veronica-l-richards

Elizabeth Benjamin FEPAA
Executive Assistant, YouView & EPAA Board Member

For over 9 years Elizabeth has been at the heart of legal, charity and tech organisations working in close collaboration with Executives / C level Executives and has a proven track record of indispensable skills that have aided the productivity of many senior team members.

Currently working at one of the UK’s leading TV tech companies, YouView, her experience goes beyond simple administration and includes overseeing the successful events management of and including Christmas parties to company-wide offsites.

Driven by an ambition to promote collaborative working, Elizabeth has created regular networking opportunities with other assistants in the industry to empower PAs to network and ensure great working relationships.

Elizabeth also manages fellow PAs within YouView.

Elizabeth graduated in 2004 from the University of Bristol with a BSc Hons in Social Policy. She lives in Hertfordshire with her Husband and two young children.

Mark Edwards FEPAA
Personal Assistant - SSE plc

Mark has been a PA for over 15 years with experience in Financial Services, the Third Sector and he currently works for SSE as the Executive PA to the Product Director.

Starting his career as an insurance claims assessor with the Prudential, Mark moved to Lloyds TSB in 1999 in their Customer Care team dealing with customer complaints. After a promotion to the Financial Ombudsman Complaint assessment team Mark was approached by the Customer Service Director to take over as his PA as “you look like you’re organised!”.

Since his first PA role Mark worked for a number of key directors within Lloyds Banking Group’s Retail & Group Marketing functions. After a stint working for a Welsh cancer charity Mark was lured back to the Corporate world and joined SSE in his current role in 2015.
Providing Executive PA support, Mark organises the day to day running of his Director and the leadership team and enjoys the challenge of managing a busy director’s office!

Mark lives in Cardiff Bay with his partner and is a keen baker after a busy day.

Melanie Richardson FEPAA
Senior Executive Assistant - Bettys & Taylors Group

Melanie’s career has spanned over 35 years and in 2016 she was awarded the accolade of Yorkshire PA of the Year.

She is currently Executive Assistant to the Managing Director of Taylors of Harrogate, part of the Bettys & Taylors Group, where she is also a member of the Taylors Leadership Team. In addition, Melanie acts as an experienced and qualified one-to-one developer and coach within the business.

Melanie is a Fellow of EPAA and a member of The PA Hub network in Yorkshire.

Follow Melanie on Twitter at @MelYorksPA2016

Sarah Pratt FEPAA
PA to MD of Rhodar Limited (CEO of Lexia Solutions Group)

Sarah is a professional and discreet experienced PA winning the accolade title of The PA Hub ‘Yorkshire PA of the Year’ in 2018, also a finalist for best organised event.

Sarah has worked in various administration and PA roles over the last 20 years and is comfortable working at all levels.

Sarah is a firm supporter of the PA role and its evolving value and increasing importance in supporting senior management. Also prides herself on her ability to handle highly confidential and intricate information. Always remaining positive under pressure and a believer in self-development and learning.

Chantal Sneikers
SBS Belgium & IMA

Chantal Sneijkers is a senior management support at SBS Belgium, one of the most successful commercial television stations in the Flemish speaking part of Belgium.

She provides support to 3 executives: the CEO, the program director and the legal counsel. A very busy schedule but she manages it perfectly.

After graduating with a degree in office management in 1987, she started her career at the public television station in Belgium where she worked at the radio, the sports and the news department. When the new channel of SBS Belgium was released, she was headhunted to the role she has today.

In her free time, Chantal is the Executive Vice Chairman of IMA – International Management Assistants, the only international network for management support professionals. In her role she is responsible for the international events, the creation of the new groups and the training & development.

Twitter: @chantalsneijker
LinkedIn: Chantal Sneijkers
Email: chantal.sneijkers@sbsbelgium.be


Please note this conference is restricted to paying members of EPAA only.  Please also note, you need to be a paying member for the six months prior to the conference date to be eligible for a place. 

You will need to supply a valid membership number to ensure confirmation of booking. This conference is being offered as part of our new membership packages and prices for 2019 and is offered free or charge for our members. 

We offer a set amount of places available on a first come, first serve basis to our membership. Once the places have been confirmed, we will then operate a wait list. 

We reserve the right to cancel a delegate place, whereby membership renewal is overdue or remains unpaid or you do not meet the criteria above. 

Places cancelled within one calendar month of the conference date will incur a £50.00 charge to cover lost time of the Association and its staff and volunteers.  Please do read our full cancellation terms upon your booking being confirmed. 


Please note your place is not confirmed until you receive an email from the EPAA Team and you return terms and condition fully signed.  The form below must be completed in order to commence this process. 


CILIP – Chartered Institute of Library Professionals 

Ridgmount Street

If you need recommendations for budget hotels in the local area, please contact the EPAA team here.

As we are delivering this conference to our membership free of charge, we are asking each delegate to bring £1 each with them to the conference.  A food order will be made and sent to a Trussell Trust Food Bank within the UK  

To find out more about the work of The Trussell Trust please visit – https://www.trusselltrust.org/

Please note EPAA Members who are part of our optional CPD programme, will receive 10 CPD credits as part of your attendance on this day. 

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