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February 19th, 2015

  • 1.Tell me about yourself.
  • I trained as a barrister before working as a private secretary to two cabinet ministers. I then moved into the private sector working for high-profile people. Outside of work, I am a PADI scuba diving instructor and my favourite hobby is cycling. I am also a British Cycling commissaire.

  • 2.What made you pursue a career as a PA?
  • It happened by accident when I discovered that I enjoyed being a private secretary. I was able to replicate this role to a certain extent by becoming a PA in the private sector. I enjoy being the right-hand person that is relied upon to solve problems, offer advice and make things happen.

  • 3.Describe a day in the life of a Personal Assistant.
  • You must be ready for anything and everything! Juggling lots of issues, running errands, organising itineraries and ensuring you have everything covered. Every day I think of new ways to say no without saying no.

  • 4.What do you think makes a good PA?
  • A good PA is someone who can remain calm under extreme pressure and when faced with a seemingly impossible request. They should have the ability to deal with people at all levels. Absolute discretion, diplomacy and a willingness to put the needs of your principle before you own are essential. In addition to all of this a good sense of humour helps!

  • 5.Why did you choose Quintessentially People to help you find a role?
  • I chose Quintessentially People mainly due to the reputation of the company. I liked how I was treated as a candidate. They don’t just match you with any position available. All of my skills, experience and career goals were considered when putting me forward for roles.

  • 6.What are the most important skills & qualities for a PA to have?
  • Excellent organisational skills are absolutely vital for a PA. They should portray a composed manner and demonstrate their ability to work under pressure. Be polite - being nice to people gets you a long way when you are making extraordinary requests!

  • 7.Is being a PA what you expected it to be?
  • Yes. Even now each role brings new challenges and experiences. There are always opportunities to learn new skills and enhance existing ones.

  • 8.What is your favourite part of your job?
  • Devising strategies to solve seemingly impossible problems is one of my favourite parts of the job. The sense of achievement afterwards is very rewarding.

  • 9.What is the most challenging part of your job?
  • Making the impossible possible.

  • 10.What advice would you offer to others considering becoming a PA?
  • Don’t think it’s glamorous – it’s not. Be prepared to put your life second to someone else’s.

  • 11.What is your career highlight to date?
  • I have been lucky enough to have some incredible experiences during my career. My highlight to date was going to the United Nations.

  • 12.How important is the relationship between a PA and their boss?
  • A good relationship is vital – I cannot stress that enough.

  • 13.What is the key to being the best PA?
  • Always be prepared to go the extra mile.

  • 14.What is the most bizarre request you have had to deal with?
  • Getting a pair of shoes from London to a principle in the USA – then identifying the right pair of shoes out of a few hundred in the London residence.

  • 15.How do you separate work- life and personal life?
  • This can be difficult. I have always tried to protect my Friday evenings. Apart from that, I have always been willing to work as necessary – very often late at night or at the weekends.

  • 16.What are your future aspirations?
  • I’m still working this out! I have identified that I enjoy roles that provide me with an intellectual challenge and I enjoy working for people that inspire me. At some point, it would be nice to have my own amazing PA!