What is your title at Progeny and what does your role entail?
Executive Assistant (EA) to the CEO, Neil Moles. My role entails supporting Neil achieve his overall business strategy, in his day to day plans and logistics, and in business wide projects such as acquisitions, events, office moves and so on. I also lead the other PAs in the business who work underneath me to support the Directors that report into the Chief Executive.
How long have you worked in your field?
I have worked in my field since school. I used to do it part-time whilst at University, whilst working in my holidays and sometimes during term time to support a small business owner who owned a property business. I then graduated from the University of Nottingham and decided it was a career I wanted to pursue. I got a full-time job supporting a team and acting as PA to some of the company Directors at a business called Comply Direct. Following this I moved to a big corporate, Grant Thornton, and acted as PA to Partners and Directors there.
Why did you choose this profession?
I identified quite quickly that I have an altruistic nature and therefore knew I wanted to work in a profession in which I helped and supported people. I like being involved in lots of different things, I like understanding people, and the PA/EA role lent itself perfectly to that.
Have you always known (ie, since childhood, school) this was the area for you or did this develop over time?
I always thought I would work with people; I just did not know in what capacity. When I left University, I did consider the idea of becoming an Occupational Therapist, as I wanted to work to support high level professionals be the best versions of themselves, in whatever capacity that may be. When I started working as a PA I realised many of the same skill sets transferred and if I was supporting the right person, in the right organisation with the ability to truly build a valuable relationship, then a lot of the outcomes would be the same. I therefore decided it was the role for me and that I would be able to use my strongest skills, as well as developing and growing by being around such strong figures.
There is an element of challenge that comes from a role like this and I thrive on that. The ‘traditional’ PA role is deemed to be someone behind a desk, filing, answering calls etc, however that to me was not where the real value was and was not something I wanted to do. I wanted to work for a fast-paced and dynamic individual that would challenge me daily, value me, and allow me to grow and support them through their journey, by their side.
Tell us a bit about the education and qualifications you need to do your job.
You do not need any qualifications to do this job. Education, and your background and experience do help immensely though. Through my education and experience in different roles, I have worked and encountered a whole host of people and learnt how to support, handle, and deal with a range of people in differing environments. For me, that is the most important thing about this job as no two days, or two people, are the same and you have to be able to adapt yourself to that at a moment’s notice.
In addition to the qualifications, what further skills, experience and attributes do you think make for a good PA or EA?
For me, it is all about emotional intelligence and people skills. Of course, within a role like this organisation is paramount, however you can be an organised individual but if you are not in tune with the emotions of others, that would make this role very difficult.
It is not for everyone. Some people do not like to be relied on all the time, and not be able to truly plan their day because it could all change in a second. They may prefer to work quietly through things rather than engaging with people. I think someone who enjoys working with people, likes to understand people and can take initiative from that without always having to be led, thrives in this type of role.
What advice would you give to anyone wishing to follow in your career footsteps?
Take every opportunity given to you. Even if it is supporting that really tricky person or working on that really boring task. You’ll learn a lot from that, and it will always come in useful somewhere later down the line. I would also say: be kind. As a PA you often have to demand things of people at times, whether that’s changing plans at short notice or even getting a last minute booking at that popular restaurant. You never know when you may need someone, and similarly when they may need you, so I would always encourage anyone to treat people with respect and kindness because that person could be someone you really need help from further down the line.
What do you see as the next steps in your career?
I see myself continuing to support Neil and Progeny through future growth and implementation of the vision and continuing to grow a team beneath to support the other important individuals who help deliver that. Further to that, I do not know where my career may go. Maybe I will train to be an occupational therapist one day, or work for myself and grow my own business.
Any last words of wisdom you’d like to add?
In this industry, you cannot jump to the top, you must climb the ranks and learn along the way. I truly believe that if you are good at what you do and build valuable relationships this role can open so many doors and expose you to so many opportunities.