Last Friday we held our third Assist Conference at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. I can’t quite believe I’m saying our third conference as we have been on quite the journey since our first conference. Back in 2015 we had just over 50 assistants attend and this year we sold out (for the second year in a row) with 125 attendees! Looking out at all of the different faces, some familiar and others completely new, I felt pretty chuffed that so many wanted to spend the day with us.

A review of the Assist Conference 2017

The theme of this year’s conference was The Assistant Toolkit. During the sessions we looked at how we could enhance the unique skills and qualities each assistant needs to further their role and career. The role of the assistant continues to change at a rapid pace and I wanted to make sure that each attendee identified the skills that they already have and others that they can develop to cope with this very demanding role!

A review of the Assist Conference 2017

As with all of the Assist Events we wanted to make things a little different. We had our unusual badges and gifts and a group of speakers that knew the audience inside and out with many of them working as Assistants currently or at some point in their career.

The speakers presented on different topics, but we made sure they touched on our key themes:

  1. Identify your strengths and weaknesses: Your tool kit is packed full of unique skills and competencies. During Assist we will help you identify your strengths and areas for improvement.
  2. Adding value within your organisation: How does your tool kit support your Executive and your organisation? We will show you the areas that you can add value.
  3. What is in the tool kit of the future: We will look at the fundamental skills assistants will require in the next five years.
  4. Sharing best practice for assistants: Through best practice assistants can learn, grow and add new skills to their tool kits. We will share best practice throughout the day.

A review of the Assist Conference 2017

The keynote speakers – Heather, Mark, Rebecca and Jenny went down an absolute storm with brilliant sessions on NLP, LinkedIn, entrepreneurship and building confidence. We also had the wonderful Simone White speaking about her incredible journey setting up the internal network at BlackRock. She really is an inspiration and I know many of the attendees found her session invaluable.
During our refreshment breaks, we held a number of networking roundtables, which were a great place for the attendees to have a more informal chat with each other while enjoying a break from the conference.
A review of the Assist Conference 2017
The afternoon was dedicated to our workshops which were designed to give attendees some new skills and brush up on some existing ones. We had workshops dedicated to event management, presentation design and document management. We also had sessions following up on our PA Big Questions workshops from last summer… More on that to follow next month!
Along with our workshops we held a number of panel sessions focusing on discretion, working environments and career development. I was really looking forward to picking the brains of our group of assistants and the different topics got everyone talking.
A review of the Assist Conference 2017
As the day drew to a close I noticed that everyone was happily chatting away with each other. Everyone had moved around the room and were comfortable asking our speakers and panellists questions. The atmosphere was relaxed and I felt that everyone was having fun while learning some very practical tips that they could take back to their offices.
A review of the Assist Conference 2017

I absolutely loved chairing the conference again this year (and the first year not doing it pregnant certainly helped!) It is such a huge privilege to have so many wonderful assistants take the time to come along to our events. I personally will never take that for granted and I hope those that came along enjoyed the day and felt it was worth their time (which is so very precious).

So far the feedback has been positive and I already have ideas and plans in place for Assist 2018. We already have the dates in the diary – 8th and 9th February 2018. That’s right, we are going to extend next year’s conference over two days. We will have loads more information later this year. As the saying goes… watch this space!

A review of the Assist Conference 2017

Thanks again to the wonderful speakers and panellists. You all did a fab job. I have to give a massive thank you to William from Gallus Events for keeping the wheels rolling throughout the day. And, last but not least to the attendees for coming along, getting involved and making the day so very special.

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