And The Winner is: Introducing Inspiring PA Award Winner Louise Hartley
Posted: 10th Mar 2016 | Share this Article:
Hot on the heels of the Oscars! It is currently film and TV awards season. Cornerstone42 felt it was only right to honour our talent in the PA and EA profession.
This is a great opportunity to read and learn from former PA award winners about their PA journeys past, present and future and the defining moment when they decided to enter for ‘that’ award.
Introducing Louise Hartley, Executive Assistant at AstraZeneca UK Marketing Company. Louise won the Executive PA Magazine’s PA of the Year award, an opportunity which she has used to help build her professional brand and to inspire and educate Assistants throughout the profession.
Tell us about your journey on becoming a PA?
I became a PA by chance while working as a team assistant in a Bank. The PA of the two Directors left and I was offered the opportunity. I wasn’t sure I could do the role but it turned out I loved it, I luckily sat next to a very experienced EA who took me under her wing, I learnt a lot from her. I haven’t looked back since and love my role supporting others.
What are your main responsibilities?
In my current role my main responsibility is to ensure I effectively manage the office of the Country President for UK & Ireland at AstraZeneca. This includes extensive diary management, workload prioritisation, query resolution, travel booking etc, I organise Leadership Team meetings including scheduling and agenda management. I also work closely with internal and external stakeholders to manage expectations and facilitate productive and efficient interactions with my boss.
Tell us about this particular award and why you were nominated?
I nominated myself, I was really pleased with my development in 2015. I also found I was always championing the role of an assistant in my interactions with others and I thought winning the award would give me a wider platform and plenty of opportunity to champion the profession
Describe to us the process what did it entail?
I filled out the application with the blessing of my HR director, I got a call a couple of months later to say I had been shortlisted, I was invited to a judging panel interview with 4 judges including last year’s winner followed by an awards dinner. The build up to the awards dinner was extraordinary, the social media activity with my fellow finalists was really great, and I made some really strong connections with some fantastic people.
Did you tell anyone you had entered, in particular any of your work colleagues, what was their reaction? – if your answer is no, why not?
I told my boss and my mentor when I had reached the finalist stage to me that felt like a win in itself. I didn’t tell anyone else until after I had won. My boss was thrilled and wished me luck on the day of the awards which was lovely. The reaction from my colleagues after I won was phenomenal, it was a whirlwind day in the office with a huge influx of congratulations.
And the winner is: talk us through those exciting moments when you heard your name being announced.
It’s a very hazy memory as I was so overwhelmed. I’m not sure how I got a speech out. I had my family, partner and mentor with me and I was just so happy I could share the moment with them. Ultimately they see me after a hard day but they also understand my dedication to my role and knew how much it meant to me to win.
Do you think winning this award has impacted on your career as a PA?
Definitely, I certainly have an increased confidence in myself and a real drive to make a difference in the profession I have a platform now to motivate others and share my energy, I’ve had a great year so far speaking at events with plenty more planned.
What do you enjoy most about being a PA?
I enjoy the relationship you have with your boss, it’s unprecedented. I like feeling trusted, empowered and knowing that the individual I’m supporting is confident that I ultimately work to lighten their burden and get the best for them from their workforce.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
Every day presents a different challenge, I think a consistent one is trying to educate people who don’t know how to utilise their directors PA to their full capacity. I spend a lot of time identifying opportunities to show people the value I can add to their interactions with my boss if they were to engage me.
What gets you out of bed in the morning what motivates you?
People. I’m very much a people person. The wide ranging interactions I have on a daily basis is a part of the role I love. I enjoy representing my boss when she is out of the office and leaving people feeling positive and supported.
You really are a champion and a voice of the PA industry, what do you see that others perhaps do not?
I think I see an opportunity for PAs to take charge. There is a lot of focus on the PA role being undervalued, I don’t feel undervalued in my role and I don’t want others to feel that way either. The PA industry is gaining voice in the workplace and I wanted to be a part of changing perceptions.
The PA awards industry seems to be booming, what advice would you give to a fellow PA who is considering entering for an award?
Just go for it, don’t wait to be nominated. You will be supported. It’s such an amazing experience I would recommend that even if you don’t want to be in the running for an award, then to attend the events because you come away elated and proud of your profession and what you do- and the networking is priceless.
How relevant is networking in our industry?
It’s hugely relevant, you should always be building great relationships with other assistants both internally and externally.
What’s next for you?
I have a lot of external PA speaking events this year which I’m really looking forward to, I would really like to look at the possibility of speaking to some leaders about how best to utilise their PA’s – watch this space.
Thank you Louise!
Keep in touch and follow us: You can follow Louise on twitter @louiseapril28
Cornerstone42 is a boutique Executive Assistant Talent Match Agency launching 1st April 2016. Founded by Executive Assistant Vivien Edwards further details at https://www.cornerstone42.com, email contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org and twitter: @cornerstone42_
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