What are the main aspects of your role?
Supporting three Heads of Legal & Business Affairs at ITV. I give PA support to each boss including diary management, booking international travel, preparing contracts, documents and papers. I have to prepare signature copies of agreements and maintain the status all of the contracts coming in and out of our department. I maintain extensive status sheets for all our programmes so I always know what is going on. I also manage and mentor our team’s Apprentice, who is an invaluable help for various admin tasks.
What is your morning routine before you get in to the office?
I like to get up at about 7am and spend five minute doing some yoga stretches. I live 2.5 miles from work so I walk to and from the office every day. It is a fabulous walk along the Thames to our offices on the Southbank and the walk is my favourite part of the day, not only is it great exercise, but you don’t have the stress of a tube journey before you arrive at work!
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
08.45 – 18.00. I like to get to work 45mins before the normal 09.30 start time. This is my ‘golden time’ (with my coffee!) to prepare for the day ahead before my boss’s arrive. Being able to prepare as much as possible in advance is essential – I like to have tasks done before my boss’s have to ask me to do them.
What does an average day look like?
Busy! My average day is spent making sure each of my boss’s get to the right meeting, at the right time/place and with all the paperwork they may need. There is a lot of diary management with my role. I will usually have a couple of foreign trips that I am working on too. I then have to manage and process all of the contracts that our team generates. No two days have been the same in seven years in my role.
What do you have for lunch?
I know it is bad, but I do eat my lunch at my desk – I have been trying to break this habit for years! Sometimes I’ll bring my own lunch in, but at ITV we have a fantastic canteen so I can get something from there and at least it means I get to stretch my legs, even if it is for just 15 minutes. We are very lucky to be located on the Southbank so at lunchtimes in the summer you can go and sit in the park by the river, or have a stroll through the Christmas Market in December.
What is the hardest part of your day?
Managing the sheer volume of contracts and documents that our team can generate. It is also an on-going task to make sure that I am balancing my PA support equally across all three of my boss’s while making sure they always feel that they are getting a 1:1 support role from me, even though I am a shared PA.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love the variety of different programmes that we work on at ITV from Jeremy Kyle, This Morning, Downton Abbey and the Football World Cup. I love working for a creative and forward thinking company that has let me really develop my PA role into a solid and diverse job.
What has been your career highlight?
Working on the MTV Europe Music Awards. I was PA to the SVP of Legal & Business Affairs at MTV and got to work on the annual awards show. I went to work on-site at the awards, getting contracts signed by some of the world’s most famous artists and singers. It was an extraordinary experience and one of the hardest and most exhausting weeks of my professional life. I was also awarded runner up in the Hays Executive PA Magazine 2012 PA of the Year Award – this was a huge achievement for me and it changed my life, making me realise my potential and encouraged me to keep pushing myself forwards.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
I have been working on my first novel for the past seven years so I try to do a little writing in the evenings. I still have to do a lot of on-going research for my novel, so I love spending time in the reading rooms of the British Library. I am obsessed with learning and history (I did my degree in English & History) so at least once a week I can be found attending a lecture/talk at a bookshop, art gallery or British Museum. I also get around the country attending and speaking at various PA networking events and conferences. Living and working in central London means that there is always something interesting to do – because I walk everywhere, it also means I can build my exercise into the day/evening without having to be a slave to the gym!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Don’t be afraid to see opportunities and take them. Don’t be afraid to ask ‘can I have a go?’ – if you don’t ask, you don’t get! The worst thing that your boss can say is ‘no’. Take chances and have the confidence to push yourself forward.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
Writing is my passion in life and hopefully one day I can make the transition from PA to full-time novel writer!