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EPAA General Advisory Board

Katie McEwan

Katie McEwan has been Executive Assistant to Jacqueline Gold CBE, CEO of Ann Summers for 8 years.
Before taking the role for Jacqueline, Katie had quite a colourful career in television and film working her way up the ladder from production runner, to production assistant and finally production secretary. During her time in television and film, Katie was fortunate enough to work on a number of award-winning productions, including Waking the Dead and The Diary of Anne Frank for BBC 1 and the international box office success, Run Fat Boy Run starring Simon Pegg and directed by David Schwimmer.
Katie’s role working for Jacqueline is quite extensive and has grown in recent years to include people management, business project management and also the leadership of the (small but mighty!) Ann Summers Executive Support Team.
In the last two years, Katie has been incredibly fortunate to present at a number of conferences most recently including the Hays PA Network, the PA Hub, Manchester PA Network, ACE’s Scotland, and the Office Management and PA Conference, as well as proudly judging the Executive PA Magazine awards in 2012 and the Hays High Achieving PA of the Year award 2013. In 2014 Katie was awarded the SecsintheCity award for Social Networking PA of the Year and finally, in late 2015 Katie took up the post as Chair of the EPAA General Advisory Board – the best achievement yet!

Sean Steel
Deputy Chair

Sean Steel is Executive PA to the Head of Great Britain – Willis Towers Watson, with over 10 years’ experience in the PA industry. Sean plays a key role in the smooth running of the Executive office and provides personal support to the Head of Great Britain, which allows him to fulfil his role both effectively and efficiently.

Sean has previously worked at a number of companies including AIG, ABN Amro Bank, The Pensions Management Institute and Marks & Spencer.

Sean holds the RSA Diploma in Administrative & Secretarial Procedures and is Deputy Chair for EPAA. He is an advocate of the PA profession and has a huge passion for the benefits the role can bring to an organisation, as well as the qualities necessary to become a truly successful PA.

Sean was a finalist for the 2013 Executive PA Magazine | Hays PA of the Year award and has also featured in both The Times and Daily Mail newspapers. He also regularly speaks at PA events across the UK.

Debbie Grimshaw

Debbie Grimshaw is an award winning Executive Assistant at Brother UK, the Information,
Communication and Technology Company.

During a 28-year career with the business, she has provided Executive Support to the Senior Leadership teams of Brother UK/Brother International Europe and has been active in their corporate

responsibility and community engagement projects.

In her current role, Debbie manages the complex and demanding diary of Phil Jones MBE, one of the North West’s prominent business leaders and heads up the Brother UK Executive Support Team.

She is a huge ambassador of the Brother brand and in 2016 was awarded Manchester PA of the Year Brand Champion.

Debbie is an active member of the Manchester PA Network and a great advocate of networking,
encouraging others to appreciate the benefits of membership, to demonstrate how it has helped her to grow in her own career and given her a platform on which to build a professional profile. In September 2015 she won a WeAreTheCity Top 50 Rising Star Award recognising female talent in the pipeline and in November 2015 received the inaugural Manchester PA of the Year award.

Her passion to promote the EA/PA profession drives her to coach and mentor her peers at Brother, creating a strong sense of togetherness amongst a team. She shares best practice internally and within her professional network, aspiring to be a positive role model.

Outside of Brother UK, Debbie works alongside children’s charities in her community and a local
animal shelter.

Dalya Perry-Bernstein

Dalya is an award-winning PA with a wealth of experience within the PA industry. She has been Executive Assistant to a high profile/high net worth Entrepreneur for the past 6 years and has a wide range of skills including extensive diary management, corporate travel management, event planning, social media management and property management.

Dalya holds a Certificate in First Line Management and a Diploma in Personal Assistance. In 2013, she won 1st runner up in the Executive PA Magazine PA of the Year Awards and in 2014 won the Pitman Training Super Achievers PA of the Year Award.

This has allowed Dalya to be invited as a guest speaker for many networking events throughout the UK within the PA industry.

In 2014, Dalya raised over £9500 for charity by running 2 half marathons and successfully climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Kelly McAulay

Kelly joined William Grant & Sons in 2006 and currently supports the Chairman, Company Secretary and Group HR Director. The company employs 1800 people globally and is the owner of iconic brands such as Glenfiddich, the Balvenie and Hendrick’s Gin.

Kelly has a wealth of experience as both a Personal and Executive Assistant with a wide range of responsibilities from extensive diary and travel management to event planning and project management.

A passionate advocate for the PA profession, she is currently an Ambassador for the Scottish PA Network, founder of Lanarkshire PA Network as well as co-founder of William Grant & Sons Internal PA Network, launching an Admin Academy in 2017 to focus on training and development opportunities internally for those in admin roles. Kelly has a mission to inspire other PA professionals to succeed through networking, mentoring and continued professional development.

Kelly holds a Diploma in Personal Assistance and was voted Scottish PA of the Year 2015. This has afforded her opportunities to attend and speak at many PA events in the UK as well as judging the Scottish PA Awards & Yorkshire PA Awards in 2016.

Louise Whitehead

Louise is a senior level Executive PA with over 12 years’ experience, working across a wide variety of sectors and industries, including the NHS, Property and Financial Services. After graduating from University with a degree in English Literature, she worked in charity fundraising and recruitment before moving into the PA industry and has never looked back. Passionate about raising the profile of the PA industry, Louise enjoys networking and developing relationships with her fellow PAs and industry leaders around the country.

Louise always works to underpin and drive forward her Director’s strategic objectives, demonstrating emotional intelligence, tenacity and drive.

On top of her demanding PA role, Louise also manages the delivery of multiple cross service line projects, liaising with key clients on behalf of her Department and acting as support lead on two high profile initiatives in the North East. A highly organised and experienced event organiser, Louise particularly enjoys the process of planning, managing and delivering both internal and external events and is skilled in working with multiple, complex and challenging diary management.

Louise has travelled widely, spending extended periods of time in South and South East Asia. She credits her exposure to different people, places and cultures for honing her well-developed communication skills and helping her ability to adapt to different personalities; qualities which are invaluable for an Executive PA.

Melanie Sheehy

Melanie Sheehy is the co-founder of Manchester PA Network (www.manchesterpanetwork.co.uk), which was founded in 2011. She is also the EA to the CEO of a private equity backed company, Citation Ltd.

Melanie has 20 years experience as a PA where she has worked for companies such as AstraZeneca, Co-operative Bank, LateRooms.

Manchester PA Network is a non-for- profit organisation established to bring together like-minded PA’s, EA’s, Secretaries and Support staff to create and build long-lasting business relationships and friendships whilst raising money for The Christie. The Network has been an overwhelming success growing 100% year on year. This has culminated in orchestrating the inaugural Manchester PA Networks Awards in November 2015 Melanie’s passion is to support and mentor new PA’s coming into the business to help them achieve the best of their ability as well as raising the profile of PA’s across the UK. Her drive and enthusiasm to create fun events at beautiful locations has been a key feature in the growth and success of the Network.

Outside of work Melanie’s ‘real’ job is mum to her 4-year- old twin boys. She lives in Hale, Manchester with the boys, her husband, puppy Bonnie and their cat, Eric Cat-ona!

Craig Bryson

Craig is an award-winning executive assistant to Bob Benton at Bob & Co’s family of businesses. As well as the office manager, he is part of the support team for Duchess Street Productions, SUMS, Woodcut Media and Stitchcombe Productions. He deals with travel itineraries, diaries and theatrical events and first nights.

After four years at PwC, he joined Chantrey Vellacott DFK where he gave support to a team of accountants and thereafter he then joined the Bob & Co team in 2013.

In his spare time, Craig is a graphic designer and the Treasurer at Red Lion Square Tenants and Residence Association. Craig is a keen cook, and enjoys a little ballroom dancing; he also enjoys blogging about London restaurants and eateries.

Charlotte Wibberley
Founder, VIP VA

Charlotte set up her award-winning VA business after leaving a long blue chip corporate career following the birth of her son in 2012. She then went on to launch her online business management and strategy consultancy in early 2015. She passionately supports businesses and splits her time between working with female entrepreneurs on effective online business strategy, coaching new and existing business owners and spearheading a new and collaborative movement with

Charlotte launched VIP VA in January 2016 keen to support, nurture and champion the VA industry, and to create a safe space for high performing VA businesses to collaborate, knowledge share and continue their professional development. She supports aspiring and existing VAs as their coach, mentor and chief-cheerleader for their goals and ambitions. Founder and CEO of VIP VA, Charlotte is currently on a mission to improve industry standards and engage with VAs and business owners alike around the true value of the VA and worth that they bring. She is currently leading the #timetoeleVAte campaign to redefine the VA profession, change perceptions and improve how the industry is seen both by those inside and outside. Charlotte has also been quoted around the subject of women in self-employment on a number of occasions and was one of the key case studies for Dame Julie Deane’s Self-Employment Review early last year. Outside of work Charlotte is wife to fellow entrepreneur Andrew, and mum to Alex, 4 and Evie, 2 who keep her busy and out of trouble!

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