Matthew is the PA to Lucy Brazier, the CEO of Marcham Publishing which produces the amazing Executive Secretary Magazine. For any of us that have heard Lucy speak, we will know that Matthew is the person that keeps the wheels rolling at Executive Secretary Magazine while Lucy travels around the world promoting the industry. Matthew also has a key role in organising the Exec Sec Live events which take place in London, Dubai, South Africa and New Zealand. On top of all of that Matthew will be speaking at Assist Travel this September in London, more details can be found at the end of the blog post. In other words, Matthew is one seriously busy PA…
What are the main aspects of your role?
I have many responsibilities in my role, but I would say the main ones are:
- Working in a fast paced environment, giving full administrative support to the CEO. Involved in the day to day organisation of the magazine and conferences.
- Organising and maintaining multiple email inboxes. Including corresponding on behalf of the CEO when required.
- Diary management and maintenance. Arranging meetings and speaking engagements
- Arranging travel (including training expenses), visas and accommodation and occasionally, travelling with the CEO to provide general assistance.
- Meeting and greeting visitors, liaising with clients, suppliers and other staff in a professional manner. Taking phone calls, enquiries and general requests, handling all queries.
- Devising and maintaining office systems, including data management, CRM system and filing.
- Website maintenance, organising marketing emails and social media posts using mail chimp and Hootsuite.
- Using several social media platforms for marketing and advertising purposes. Including using interacting with customers, and suppliers.
- Organising the schedule, liaising with trainers and regularly hosting the free online training Executive Secretary offers via twitter weekly
- Helping within all areas of the business including administration, sales, marketing and subscriptions.
- Event logistics, organising conferences, first point of contact for delegates and speakers.
- Running all key administrative aspects of the conferences both prior and through the event.
- Helping to gain additional sales prior to the conferences, both from delegates and sponsors.
What is your morning routine before you get into the office?
Normally I start my day by getting up about 6:30 a.m. Once I’m up I make sure all the dishes and laundry are done and then start to get ready for the day ahead. My must have is a clean space; I find I focus better that way.
Luckily our office is quite close to where I live, so the commute is normally only 10 minutes’ maximum. As Lucy is travelling a lot, I do tend to work at home a bit and then we all meet as a team once a week or so to go through anything that needs dealing with.
What time do you get into the office and what time do you leave?
An average working day for me will start at around 9:00/9:30 and finish about 5:00/5:30; it all depends what is happening at the time as some days can be longer than others. When we are planning the conferences it can be longer. And of course, when we are conducting the conferences I’m in “work mode” throughout the whole three-day process.
What does an average day look like?
On an average day I would tend to be dealing with admin around subscriptions, sales for the conferences, Lucy’s travel arrangements and organising our weekly #adminchat. I also help manage the running of our website – www.executivesecretary.com – along with helping to organise Lucy when she needs it. These are just a few of the many tasks I do on a day to day basis.
What do you have for lunch?
We tend to take it in turns to cook lunch, most of the time Lucy cooks but we all chip in. I always make sure I have lunch away from my laptop with the rest of the team when we are all together, it is important that you bond as a team not just when you are working.
What is the hardest part of your day?
I would say currently it’s the balancing act between every aspect of Executive Secretary. I am actively involved in most areas of the business so it’s difficult at times to decide what is the most important aspect of the business to focus on. This is especially challenging when we are on the run up to a conference. Even though a conference is on its way, the rest of the business still needs to function as smoothly as possible. Subscriptions still need to go out on time, customer calls need to be answered and Lucy’s diary still needs to be managed.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love that no two days are the same; every day we deal with different people regarding either the magazine or our conferences. We are quite lucky in the fact that we get to attend a lot of events not just in the UK, but worldwide. The PAs we get to meet at these events really show us why we thrive to inspire the role of the assistant globally.
What has been your career highlight?
Back in 2014 Lucy received an email asking her if she would like to speak at Buckingham Palace. When I started to email the organisers of the event and build a relationship with them, they emailed and asked if I would like to come along with Lucy, without any hesitation I of course said yes. This for me will always stand out as a career highlight.
What do you do in the evening with your spare time?
For anyone who knows me or follows me on social media you will know I’m a bit of a geek. I love a good sci-fi TV show or film, such as Doctor Who or Star Wars. I like to make that once I am home I get everything completed that needs to be done and then I can relax. As it is now starting to get lighter in the evenings I often like to go for a walk just to clear my mind from the day.
What is the one piece of advice you would give to other assistants?
Always make sure that you don’t try and run before you can walk. When I first started working with Lucy, I really wanted to be like other aspiring assistants I met, but I soon learnt that they had once been where I was and that only by being patient and learning what the role fully entails would I be able to reach that level.
What would you do if you were not an assistant?
That’s a tricky one, but if I had to pick any one job I think it would be to design new sets for Lego. Ever since I was a kid, I have loved Lego, playing with it, pulling it apart and then building something completely new. It really stretches the mind in so many different ways, I love the diversity of it and the fact that no matter what you build it’s never wrong.