Networking is really important. How many times have you heard that? Loads of times I would imagine. Most of us know it is important but most of us also know it is a scary prospect and not something that comes naturally, particularly for assistants. We are behind the scenes specialists, we are not encouraged to put ourselves out there and even if we did want to get involved in a networking event we are often too busy to leave the office.
The problem is networking is really important. It is really really important for assistants. We work in a fairly isolated environment and we need to interact with other PAs to feel like we are not alone. We need to meet each other, emphasise and support each other’s concerns. We don’t have many career advancing opportunities and networking can help us learn from each other. Assistants that are good at networking are also a real benefit to their organisation. Take for example an assistant who has a fantastic relationship with a client’s PA, they see each other outside of work and are able to phone each other for favours. That relationship is going to do nothing but benefit the organisation and its Executives.
During our Assist Conference, which takes place in February 2015, one of our sessions will be solely dedicated to networking and learning best practices from some of the UK’s foremost movers and shakers! Almost every event you will attend uses the phrase “unique networking opportunities”, this rings a bell doesn’t it? Where the Assist Conference differs is that we will have a really practical session on networking as well as structuring the entire conference to support networking: don’t just expect to network during the lunch break. By the time you leave the assist conference you will know everyone in the room.
With the support of our five superhero PA networkers we will help delegates get the most out of networking on the day and back at the office. Our networking session will focus on:
- Building the confidence you need to network
- Top tips on networking for the beginner and for the advanced networker
- The benefits of setting up an internal networking group within in your organisation
- Which networking events to attend
- Why networking is vital to your career
Our networking stars will be with you on your tables, sitting next to you giving you their practical advice. Here is a little more about out networking gurus
The UK’s best PA networkers at the Assist Conference, 27th Feb 2015
Leeanne Graham – @Specialee
You probably recognise Leeanne as she won last year’s PA of the Year Award here in the UK and she has been networking her butt off ever since. She is not only a fantastic public speaker, having recently presented at the Office Show 2014 but she also understands what can hold assistants back and how to overcome our own fears. Leeanne has recently set up the Charity PA Network and continues to go from strength to strength! She also has one of the coolest twitter photos I have ever seen!
Catherine Thomas – @
We have another awarding winning PA on our networking panel. Catherine has most recently won PA Contributor of the Year 2014 along with her 2009 PA of the year runner up award and she was also a finalist in the South Wales Business Awards Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2014. So why all of these amazing accolades? Well Catherine has been an absolute pioneer in the PA networking world, having set up the NHS PAs for Excellence Network back in 2008. The network now has over 250 members, an annual conference and hosts the NHS PA of the Year award. She is a busy lady and we are really lucky to have her at the Assist Conference.
Amanda Barlow – @
Amanda knows how to make networking fun. If you have ever been to one of the Manchester PA Networking events you will know this, if you have only seen pictures from their events you probably feel like you’ve missed out! Along with three other PAs, Amanda set up the network in 2011 with the aim of providing networking opportunities for Manchester based PAs. The network is a not-for-profit body, with all the event proceeds going to The Christie. Amanda is really passionate about networking and we can’t wait to hear what she has to say!
Bethany Fovargue – @
Bethany has been a PA since 2011. This fact blows my mind. If you know Bethany and are aware of her achievements you will have a similar feeling. Since beginning her career Bethany has been awarded the runner up PA Newcomer of the Year award 2012. She has established herself as a prominent speaker and she co-founded the Peterborough PA Network. Bethany has demonstrated how networking can be used to further your own career while helping your organisation reach their business objectives. This surely sums up the power of great networking. She is seriously impressive and we are delighted to have her on the panel.
Simone is one of those PAs that makes you wonder how they find the time to fit so much into their day! She works in a pretty demanding role at BlackRock but she is also the Founder and Chair of Assistant Community EMEA (ACE) which is the assistant network for the EMEA region at BlackRock. The network is unique in that all of the members are asked to bring an assistant from one of BlackRock’s clients to the networking event. If you don’t bring an external PA you don’t get in! It is a brilliant idea and really does encourage the BlackRock assistants to use their networking skills to enhance the relationship with their organisation’s clients. I am thrilled that Simone has agreed to share her expertise and ideas with our delegates.