Born and educated in Swansea, Sally moved to Edinburgh in 2004 where she started her career as an Administrative Assistant at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. Her first formal role as a PA was to the MD of the newly opened Harvey Nash Scotland offices where her responsibilities included setting up a new office and its procedures. In 2009, Sally landed her key development role as PA/EA to the Chie Executive of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival. Under the acclaimed Chief Executive, Kath M Mainland CBE, Sally gained important senior level and Board experience as well as valuable charity understanding. After 6 amazing years at the Edinburgh Fringe, Sally took on the newly created role as Assistant to Jamie Coleman at CodeBase, the UK’s largest tech incubator.
As well as her professional work, Sally recently qualified as a Microsoft Office Specialist and runs the Edinburgh PA Network. She is also the Secretary of her local Community Council. In her spare time Sally is an avid yogi and practices meditation daily. She also loves to read and is an active participant of a local book group and a regular cinema goer.
Karen started her career in the Public Sector in Yorkshire, and soon moved into the private sector in search of new challenges and a faster pace.
Karen spent 7 years working for a large multi-national company within the food industry and supported the Executive office through a large merger. She spent time working in fabric design, engineering and then moved into technology with BACG Ltd, a software company in the grocery retail sector. Initially for the CFO and later became a key member of the Executive team, managing a capital raise process with a private equity investor. She then moved to Dell Computers as PA to the EMEA CFO before moving to South Africa where she spent time playing golf and hosting family and friends.
Karen returned to the UK in 2008 and joined Hutchison 3G UK Ltd, initially working for the Finance Director and then the CFO. For 3½ years she has worked for Dave Dyson the CEO, managing the CEO Office team.
Karen lives in Maidenhead, is married with 2 step-daughters and enjoys co-running the Berks & North Hants PA network.
Originally brought up in the Isle of Man, where after a secretarial course she had roles as an office junior and shorthand typist, Gill moved to London to work for the Ministry of Defence as a PA in 1983. After a variety of roles including 4 overseas postings to British diplomatic missions she was promoted to Executive Assistant working for senior military and civilian personnel. Her current role as EA to the Defence Senior Adviser Middle East and Security Envoy to the Kurdistan Region of Iraq is her fourth at this level and she has an additional responsibility as Assistant Head of Profession (Secretarial). In 2013, Gill Co founded Network PA SW1 in London alongside Catherine Butler – something she is particularly proud of as it has brought together PA’s from a wide variety of sectors in the SW1 postcode, founded a strong community and assisted with the growth of the profession with its developmental events.
Gill is honoured to have been asked to serve on the EPAA Regional Board and is excited about taking an active part in an organisation developed specifically for those in the Assistant profession to enhance and develop it throughout the UK at all levels.
Marion is the Founder and Director of The PA Hub which is a professional membership network for Assistants in Leeds, York and Liverpool. Marion is a multi-award winning former PA and has worked in various administration roles over the past 30 years. In her last role, Marion was PA to CEO at Yorkshire Universities where she was also Office Manager and Secretariat to the Board of Directors’ for over 9 years. Marion founded the internal network for PAs in Yorkshire’s universities which led her to set up The PA Hub continuing to promote the profession with a big emphasis on networking and development.
In addition, Marion works with various clients around the UK and is a public speaker. She enjoys sharing her knowledge with PAs all over the UK and beyond. She is passionate about promoting the profession and highlighting the PA role as a career. Marion mentors 6 PAs around the UK and is truly motivated by helping others achieve their full potential
After graduating in 2003 with a BA Hons degree in Corporate Communications from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, Lorna embarked on a career in marketing, PR and events management in local and international recruitment firms based in Belfast and Edinburgh. She further honed her marketing skills with post graduate diplomas in both management and marketing.
Lorna’s career path changed in 2009 when she joined Visit Belfast (then Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau), the official destination marketing management organisation for the City of Belfast, first as Receptionist, then Executive Assistant and most recently as Office Manager (PA to the Chief Executive). This is a varied role that sees her providing comprehensive executive support services to the Chief Executive, Chairman and Board of Directors, key stakeholders, senior management team and the wider organisation.
As co-founder of the fledgling Belfast PA Network, Lorna has been featured on several PA blogs (Exceptional EA, Practically Perfect PA and NI Jobs). She looks forward to developing the network through her involvement with EPAA.
Outside of work, Lorna is treasurer and social media coordinator for a community choir and a registered volunteer with Volunteer Now, and particularly enjoy volunteering at cultural events and festivals.
Helen Rees has been PA to the Chief Executive at Marwell Wildlife since March 2011. A music graduate of Southampton University, Helen began her career in 1994 as an Arts Administrator working in local authorities and arts centres in Hampshire before securing a PA role at Southern Arts (the regional arts funding body) where she spent 4 years supporting the Local Authorities and Education teams. She then became Project Manager at Portsmouth-based Music Fusion, one of the first lottery-funded Youth Music Action Zones in the country.
Taking a couple of breaks to look after her young family, Helen returned to work part-time as PA to the Head of Health at the Audit Commission for 6 years, before the full-time Marwell role enticed her away from the public sector into the charity sector (not to mention the zoo industry!) for the first time.
Helen’s role at Marwell includes providing all aspects of PA support to the Chief Executive, Finance Director and Director of Conservation, as well as to the Chairman and Board of Trustees (including several sub-committees). She is part of the 5-strong intranet project team and also co-ordinates the workplace choir which has been running since 2012. In 2015 Helen founded the South Hampshire PA Network, a cross-sector informal network of PAs, EAs, VAs and Office Managers from across the southern half of the county; the network organises events through which members can gain knowledge and tips from top speakers, share best practice, collaborate and contribute to their own professional development.
In October 2015 Helen was selected as one of just 6 finalists in Executive PA Magazine’s PA of the Year Awards, and in November she won SecsintheCity’s Social Media PA of the Year Award. These accolades have also led to Helen being asked to write blog articles and take part in online interviews for various PA industry websites and magazines. Helen is also the Southern region’s representative on the Regional Advisory Board of the newly-launched Executive and Personal Assistants Association (EPAA).
In her ‘spare’ time, Helen is a Trustee for young people’s music charity Winnall Rock School in Winchester, and also enjoys singing in choirs, playing the piano, tending her allotment and spending time with husband Gareth and children Daniel (11) and Erin (9).
Kim is Assistant to the Managing Partner at Michelmores LLP, having joined the firm in 1996 as a legal secretary in the Corporate/Commercial Department. Her role is to provide a comprehensive, executive assistant level support function to the Managing Partner, provide a secretarial support function at core management meetings, including the Executive Board and to play an active role in strategic projects as determined by the Managing Partner/Executive Board; a recent example being supporting the launch of the first Chinese-owned UK-regulated law firm, YangTze Law.
Previously, as part of a dual role in addition to supporting the Managing Partner, Kim was Head of Professional Support and worked alongside the team of Departmental Support Team Leaders to manage their secretarial resources (c80) across their three offices. This included undertaking a review of their working practices, which led to a restructure of the support function.
Prior to joining Michelmores and having qualified at secretarial college, Kim spent 6 years working in the motor trade, holding a variety of roles including Sales Administration, Quality Assurance, Database Management and Secretary to the MD.
She is the Founder of the Exeter PA Network, which launched in June 2012, and now has c500 members, with monthly breakfast meetings, and two formal events a year, attracting c70 attendees.
When not at work, Kim enjoys life on the coast, and can be found walking the dogs or enjoying a cocktail or two!
I started my career as a chef. When I qualified at the age of 17 I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I wanted a 9-5 job like my friends had. I was offered a receptionist job by the people I was working for part time as part of my college course, and accepted it. I really enjoyed the role, but after a few years I was offered a job in finance for one of the Big 4 Accountancy Firms.
4 ½ years later I was asked to join another finance firm; they were willing to support me through my HR qualification so I accepted the role. During my time there I took the first PA qualification in Guernsey and also qualified as a Legal PA. The company then closed its Guernsey office, and I decided not to move to Southampton with them. I took a job at a local accountancy firm, then a few years later moved to my current role with another Big 4 Accountancy Firm, where I have been for the last 3 years. In my current role I look after a Partner, a Director and a growing team, currently of 15.
In my spare time I mentor for The Hub in Guernsey, which is part of Barnardo’s. We mentor young adults who need someone to talk to about any issue that they are having in their lives. This is very rewarding, and I’m proud to be a small part of this amazing charity.
In February 2015 I decided to launch a local PA network in Guernsey called “Guernsey PA Connect”, as PA networks in other places were getting really popular but we had nothing like that here and I believed it was time we had one too. One of my oldest friends came on board and we have gone from strength to strength. We now have nearly 200 members and are still growing. We have got the Guernsey name out there and people in Guernsey are now talking about PAs and how important we are – the feedback has been immense and the sleepless nights about launching are a distant memory. It’s definitely #PAPower, and we shall ensure that we continue to get the PAs of Guernsey taken seriously.
I was nominated and went on to win a “We are the City – Rising Star Award” in the Personal Assistant / Executive Assistance category in 2015. This was the first time that the UK awards had run. There were over 300 nominations in the 10 categories, so to get to the final 10 and then the final 5 was very special. I went to the Bloomberg offices for the first part of the award, then to the House of Commons for the award presentation.
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