Well, it’s been a week since I launched our new event and here is some news on the Practically Perfect PA Virtual Summit. I must say, I’m totally blown away by the reaction from you lot. As you know, I decided to crowdfund for the summit and I set a target of 100 attendees by the 1st June. With just a week of crowdfunding we have already reached just over 40% of our target! This is incredible! Thank you to everyone that has pledged their £50 so far!
Today I am very, very excited to be writing this blog post. Today I am launching the Practically Perfect PA Virtual Summit. Hurrah, some of you might be thinking, ‘whhhhaaaattt???’ some of you might be saying, and some of you might be asking ‘what the hell is a virtual summit??’ Well, let me fill you in! But first a little background.
Recently, the OpenMeet team had the pleasure of participating in the annual Practically Perfect PA Assist Conference 2017, where we ran a few workshops on career development for assistants: 5 common problems and how to solve them. This is the second of three blogs that we are producing based on all the great information and feedback we got from our workshop participants. Read the first one, on what to look for in an event supplier, and watch out for the third and final blog, on how to ensure organisations value PA work!
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.
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!
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- What is in the tool kit of the future: We will look at the fundamental skills assistants will require in the next five years.
- 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.
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!
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.
Over the years I’ve had some wonderful feedback from readers that I tuck away and come back to when I need a little confidence boost but I never share the messages with other readers. Well, today is a new day, folks. This week I received a wonderful email from an assistant and reader of Practically Perfect PA who attended the Assist Conference last year. The email brought me to tears (which, I must admit is not difficult these days – a five month old baby and raging hormones will do that to you!) and I really wanted to share the powerful message with all of the readers.
Thank you to everyone who entered the Assist Conference giveaway! Originally we could only give one free place away, but thanks to our wonderful sponsors, we can now pick five winners!! I can announce the winners are… drum roll please…
Congratulations…! We will contact you to get your details and we will see you at the Assist Conference! We had over 200 assistants enter the competition this year. Unfortunately, we can only pick five winners, but there are still a small number of places available for the conference. Please do visit the Assist Conference website to register.
You’ve got an event coming up and your boss suggests that you meet and travel together. You know that this is a great opportunity to have one to one time with her, but are not sure if you have anything in common. You start to imagine hours of uncomfortable silence, like a bad date, but one where you have to the see the person again. This could be the longest and most career-annihilating journey of your life.