On Friday 26th February we held our second Assist Conference and what a day we had! With a few days to spare we sold out which meant we had just over 100 assistants attending the conference. As I said in my opening presentation – I was hoping for 100 assistants to come along but I never quite expected it to happen! Looking out at all of the different faces, some familiar and others completely new, I felt pretty overwhelmed. Luckily, I had 9-5 by Dolly Parton playing in the background which gave me the confidence boost to start talking to everyone. Thank God for Dolly!
The subject of this year’s conference was The Future Assistant and during all of the sessions we looked at the skills and qualities required of assistants in the next 5 years. The role of the assistant is changing pretty rapidly these days and I wanted to make sure the attendees had everything they needed to cope with the changes coming their way.
As with all of the Assist Events we wanted to make things a little different so we once again had the conference in a different kind of venue – The Forge in Camden. We had our unusual badges and personalised mugs 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
- Benchmarking: During the course of the conference attendees will benchmark their current work environment, tasks and work-life balance.
- Preparing for the future: We will give practical tips on how attendees can future proof their role and we will look specifically at the fundamental skills assistants will require in the next five years.
- Dealing with change: The role is changing, there is no doubt about it. All of our sessions will give you the tools to deal with the evolution of the modern assistant and how you can ensure your Executive takes the journey with you.
- Adding value: How attendees can deliver more value to their organisations.
The afternoon was dedicated to our panel sessions. I was really looking forward to picking the brains of our group of Assistants and interviewing Bonnie from Hailo and her boss. The work/life balance session caused a big stir when the panellists told us about the long hours they work. Some of the attendees could completely relate to the amount of time they dedicate to work and other’s thought they we crazy! The session certainly got people talking!
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 panelist 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. The Twitter #assistconf feed was constantly in use and we had lots of assistants following the days activities via social media.
I absolutely loved chairing this year’s conference. 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 2017. As the saying goes… watch this space!
Thanks again to the wonderful speakers, panellists and those hosting the roundtables. 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.