Executive PA Magazine Awards 2016

I could barely believe my ears when strolling down Putney High Street on a chilly day in September; I got a phone call from the Executive PA Magazine saying I was a finalist in their 2016 awards. Seriously?! Had they phoned the right person?! But sure enough, an e-mail soon popped into my inbox with details of the event.

I was glad to have been selected, not only for the fun of dolling myself up for a fancy meal on the night, but because of the whole journey I’d undertaken getting to that moment. When I received the phone call, I had enjoyed working as a PA at Nando’s for the five previous months; but this nomination gave me a boost to find out more about the industry, and the information I gathered got me hooked.

My favourite part of the process was the interviews. Don’t get me wrong, it sure was nerve-racking (partly because the room where the interviews were held seemed to be hidden through inconspicuous doors, up flights of stairs and round unexpected corners). But I was looking forward to having some good conversations with a group of people who felt passionate about the PA profession, just as I did.  Moreover, I reminded myself I had the support of my Nando’s team behind me and above all, that of my boss – and that meant a lot to me.

Now on to the fun part - the evening.  At my college in Durham, our ‘formal dinners’ were ironically named because they were anything but formal (we flounced around as characters from Alice in Wonderland and had lost any ounce of refinement by the time we stood on chairs to chant our favourite college songs). The Executive PA Awards were something else. Women floated around in elegant black dresses and the men looked smart in black tie as they sat down to a delicious meal that was served to us in style. But aside from the fun aspect of the ceremony, it also highlighted the closeness of the people in the PA industry. For the majority of the guests, it was obvious that the event provided them with a chance to reconnect with friends and colleagues. During the meal I was able to meet some of these seasoned PA’s, and it was interesting chatting to people with plenty of experience of the industry.

Although I did not win in my category, I was far from disheartened by the experience. I felt it an achievement to get down to the final 6 and enjoyed having an insight into the PA world.

I would strongly recommend any aspiring PA’s to get involved in the Executive PA awards. Whether you win or not, the process makes you think back on the work you’ve achieved and the contribution you’re making to the industry and that on it’s own is cause for celebration.  

By Sophie Roche 

Visit the Executive PA Magazine Facebook page to see photos from the event.