I have worked at LINLEY since August 2013, initially as an Office Manager and then moving into the EA role in January this year when Anna took over the running of the business. Prior to this I worked for a large International Marketing Agency organising events and promotions for one of the UKs biggest retailers. LINLEY, the British luxury brand founded by David Linley in 1985, aims to design and manufacture furniture of the highest quality. Anna joined LINLEY in 2013, initially as CFO before assuming the role of Chief Executive in January 2014. Prior to joining LINLEY Anna served on the executive board of Hedge Fund Arunvill Capital as CFO, and prior to that was CFO for Exotix Ltd, a frontier market investment bank.
What are the main aspects of your role?
I have a very varied role and in essence I do pretty much everything that our CEO needs on a day to day basis which could be anything from recruitment to implementing new office procedures, HR issues, attending board meetings, preparing for meetings, managing her travel and diary, assisting with presentations, reviewing reports and much much more. It can be very fast past and thus I need to be flexible and ready to change my plans depending on how the day pans out and what the business may throw our way.
What is your morning routine before you get in to the office?
I have a relatively short commute by London standards with it only taking me about 20-30 minutes to get to work so I like to watch the news and chat to my husband who works from home before I leave.
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
This can vary depending on what my CEO needs, at times it can be early starts or later evenings if there are events however I am lucky in that most days it’s 9am to 6pm. I am lucky though that my boss is flexible if I need time to go to an appointment or for something special I can make up the time but I try not to take advantage of this as we work well together.
What does an average day look like?
Golly there is no average day. I usually review Anna’s diary first thing so I can be aware of meetings she has going on, then I make sure that the office is running well and keep an eye on who is in and out. Then I set about my tasks for the day as mentioned earlier. I work lunch and leaving times around my boss as I need to be prepared to change plans if she has an unexpected meeting or if she needs my assistance.
What do you have for lunch?
I like to have salad or vegetables with chicken for lunch or sandwich, fairly boring I know but they keep me going for the day so I don’t snack in the afternoons!
What is the hardest part of your day?
I don’t really have a hard part of the day, I used to work in marketing for a large agency and that was gruelling so I appreciate the nice work environment and work life balance I currently have. I do cover reception and I am the office manager, so in the afternoons making sure I am in the right place at the right time can be a challenge especially if there is a lot going on.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I enjoy the variety of tasks and projects I work on and the people I get to meet. Working in luxury has been a big eye opener, a complete change of industry which I have really loved. I am lucky that my boss gives me lots of interesting things to work on and research which is not your typical EA / PA type stuff. I am always working on interesting things like salary surveys, working with different industry consultants, researching training and resources for the business, these are the tasks I enjoy most as well as the independence I have to manage my time.
What has been your career highlight?
Moving from Office Manager to EA after only being at LINLEY for 3 months and just after coming back from my honeymoon! So that was a great start to married life!
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
I like to go to the gym a couple of times a week; I also catch up with friends after work. My husband and I also like to try new places and restaurants so often we have something planned. We also have recently got Netflix at home so I am hooked on House of Cards and Orange is the New Black!
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Be flexible, your boss is likely to be someone very in demand, be ready to adapt as the need arises. I would also add that its critical to maintain confidentiality, people you work with can be inquisitive and want to know about the people leading the business, ensure you never give anything away part of your job is to uphold your bosses confidentially.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
I would love to be a wedding planner, I think I could adapt well to this after organising events in my previous role and having to be organised in my current role. I also planned my own wedding, everyone loves a good wedding!