Episode Twelve: Puichi Hau, EA at Our Future Health

Episode Twenty: Purvi Shah, Executive Assistant to the Executive Team at PA Media Group

Episode description

We are thrilled to have Purvi Shah as the next guest on The EA Campus Podcast. Purvi is an established Assistant who has worked across many industries, including media, wine & spirits and financial services. We discussed her start in the Assistant sector, what it is like working in a fast-paced news organisation and supporting multiple c-suite level Executives.

Show notes


Podcast Purvi Shah
Thu, Mar 09, 2023 11:26AM • 39:13
role, executives, organisation, pa, assistants, business, minutes, challenges, day, morning, career, trust, relationship, support, nice, news, ea, people, called, work

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the next episode of the EA campus Podcast. I'm absolutely delighted to be joined by prophy. Sharp today. Thank you so much for joining us. Hi, Nicky. Thank you. I'm delighted to be here. It's such a pleasure to have you with us. And I'm really excited to talk about your career today, because you've done lots of different and interesting things. Before we dive into all of the tactics and tricks that I know that you have to share with our audience today. Why don't we start by you telling us a little bit about your career to date. Of course, I have been an EA for the best part of the last nine years. But it wasn't a career I'd ever thought I'd forge out for myself by background. I'm a first generation born British Asian who went to university and gained a degree in biology. My parents were born in Kenya, but through the East African migration, they decided to move to the UK to ensure that me and my brother had the opportunities that they did, and education was one of them. In fact, it was a non negotiable, they really believed the value, and opportunities from a good education would set us up well later on in life. Now, as much as I challenged them on this when I was a teenager, I am internally grateful to them for it now because as a result of that, I've been able to carry a lot of the skills and values with me through life and also apply it to my career such as self discipline, meeting deadlines, teamwork, focus, building relationships, accountability, cetera. And not many people know this, but I am more creatively wired. So I was always drawn to art, travel photography, cooking. When I was 16 years old, I was faced with that decision that you have to make what you want to be when you're older. At that time, my career aspiration was to work in fashion, so much. So when it came to work experience, I actually wrote a letter to the magazine seeking an opportunity to do a placement there. But unfortunately, they weren't able to offer me a placement until I turned 18 years old. But they encouraged me to get back in touch if I was still interested. And I still kept that letter today. At the same time, my parents weren't persuaded it would be a career that would provide financial stability and encouraged me down the world of science. So if we fast forward to university now, I decided to do an undergrad and a graduate degree in biology. Because I enjoyed the subject I was good at it. And it was just a happy colleague provided my parents with some comfort. I wasn't drawn to training as a doctor, dentist, optometrist or anything in that medical professional field. And I still didn't know what I wanted to do as a career, but I wasn't worried. So I took up an opportunity to do yours Industry Placement in microbiology Research Laboratory, and quickly realised that I didn't want a career in the science profession. So I was super keen to get out in the corporate world. The only problem was I had very little work experience. And so I didn't know what I wanted to do. So very conscious of that second point, I thought the best way to get a well rounded experience of business was through Office admin, because it provides such great exposure to various parts of the business. Now I promised myself, I not use the famous I fell into being a PA line on this podcast, but I did and it was the start of my journey as becoming a career EA. So my first role was a great business called Liberty where I supported the MD who was one of the founders of the business. And alongside that role, I was also office manager. And the only way I can describe this role is it was a baptism of fire. I had no hand over no experience as a PA and I had to hit the ground running was being as resourceful as I can, and also to quickly learn the role. So I learned on the job and it gave me my first taste of what it entails to be a PA. The beauty of that role was it smashed through every misconception I had attached to being a PA slash EA. And I think that largely was due to how progressive the business was in terms of culture, workplace organisation, etc. I also call those two years as my formative years as a PA. And as a result, I realised that I really enjoyed the role and that is what I want to be doing long term.

After two years at Liberty wines, I then moved into my role at pa Media Group, where I currently am for those who don't know who pa Media Group are. We were formerly known as The Press Association. They're the national news agency of UK and Ireland. Now the group has grown We are a diverse portfolio of specialists, media companies with ta media, known as a Press Association, being our flagship a good example of what we would do is most people would remember that last image that was taken of the late Monique that was taken by one of our very talented staff photographers, and the company is steeped in rich history and it's one of the many

reasons why I love working here. So at pa Media Group, I support the CEO, CFO, and maternity cover for the MD of LME, which is our stock imagery. I've been here for a total of six years. But within those years, I went travelling to South and Central America for six months, went to work for a VC company and a property tech startup company for a short while. But I always find myself returning back to PA mediagroup. In between all of this, I'm also a volunteer to re writer for an online publication called Bio news. And I am currently a volunteer board secretary slash EA for a nonprofit organisation called Doctors of the World UK, whereby it provides support to the Board of Trustees and take minutes for their monthly board meetings. This I guess that would be a nutshell of what my career history is. So far, we've done a lot in such a short space of time, I have to say it's very impressive, and there is a lot that we can unpick for sure. So before we do that, I'd really like to get kind of flavour of what the main aspects are here a media or as you said, for people who don't know the rebranding The Press Association. So it looks like you work for quite a few different executives, and you also have a maternity cover that you're doing at the moment, can you let us know some of the kind of main aspects of the role that you do there? Yeah, aside from the main tasks such as diary management, travel organisation, expenses, board meeting, coordination, minute taking, it's also just ensuring that the executive office is operating smoothly and effectively. And it's also just balancing and perfecting that gatekeeper gateway role, as important as it is to protect your executives time and supporting them. It's also ensuring that their time is being used effectively and is aligned with their priorities. But also, there's a degree of flexibility, that also needs to be allowed. And of course, there will be seasons where the rhythm of the business, businesses focus changes, but it's ensuring that I continue to work on all of the things I've mentioned, to help be that gateway as much as I am a gatekeeper. And I also need to ensure that I have a good posture of approachability. And I continue to work hard to build and maintain the relationships that I have within my colleagues across the business and also just applying my EQ as much as it is task based. There's also that element of relationships, EQ, just providing a bit of continuity and stability when especially when chaos ensues in terms of schedules going out the window, they need to be rearrange, or travel chaos ensues flights and Miss delays to meetings. So it's just it is about just providing stability, being that calm, being a calm voice, isn't it a calm voice?

Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So I've got a question for you if it's okay. Because I would imagine working for a company like the Press Association is very, it must very beat dependent on what's happening outside of the business, because it's so outside focus is their points where the schedules of your executives are very much determined by what's happening in the world in the news, and then you have to react to it, or is it not so much the case with your executives? No, sometimes. So if there's a if there's a major national news event, or international news around, I guess, the best example is the passing of the late monitor. It does set the tone for the week and the day because obviously that's what everyone rallies around, but predominantly is just is the newsroom newsroom and a commercial and marketing team. But it does it sets the tone for the day in the week. Because there's so much going on around it operationally strategically as well. But it is not it doesn't really float up too much to the executive level, their schedule still remain relatively stable and it's business as usual. Like any organisation, you've got that top level of executives who should really no matter what is going on, within the rest of the organisation should can can continue on an even keel.

If that is the same in a news organisation as it would be in a in any other type of organisation. Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Yeah, like you've perfectly, executives will day, but at the same time, this is the core of the core of the group the agency is what we're trusted to do is actually great to see the newsroom in such moments when major news events are happening. Just the sheer effort and time and work that goes into it really makes you proud to work at pm Media Group. So yeah, no, it does. It does set the tone and the day and the week but it doesn't impact

the executive office too much.

Mentos in my role

I do support the editor in chief where I can like the example of the passing of the late monitor. He actually he asked if I could help support him in booking travel for the reporters. And I said, Of course, I even stayed back till about 10 o'clock, I got them pizzas, make sure they were well fed, because obviously they're going to be working through

all hours of the night, early morning. So in terms of my support, yes, it does impact when there's a nice major news event or news breaking, just because I can offer the support that the newsroom might need. But for my executives time, not so much, not so much. It must be a nice balance, that you get that kind of rush of excitement when there's something that's happening out there in the world. But also, then you've got the more stable aspects of it, where it's the schedules are in place. And you're not just running around reacting to whatever's happening, but must be a nice balance, you get a rush of excitement, but not all the time. Yeah, no, it's great, because you really get to see what goes on behind the news desk operation. And it's just not it's not just news, it's it's pictures and videos and how it all comes together. And I see how these how our reporters and our photographers, video journalists, a social media team, how they work through these events. And it's just it's mind blowing. And because you're constantly you're trying to have all this output of content, but at the same time you are, you're in the middle of this whole news event. So it's just yeah, it's, I feel very honoured to be working part of an organisation where like you said, you have, what can be very exciting to see how it all unfolds. But also, there's a element of stability as well, I could talk to you all day about news because I'm, I've watched way too much of it. I really should be working. But you know, that's not what the podcast is about. So let's turn to what life is like for you as the executive assistant. So I always like to kind of get a sense of what your days like also, and your life is like outside of work. And I always think the best place to start is in the morning. So why don't you talk to us a little bit about how you get started for the day. And also be good to get an understanding of how much you're in the office, if there's a hybrid system in place and how your day is comes about now post pandemic, how that's all structured. So why don't you let us know a little bit about that. Yeah, my morning routine actually starts the night before. We're an early bedtime. I like that. I like hearing the birds chirping. So it's quite a slow, thoughtful morning, I normally wake up between 530 and six o'clock in the morning, shower, eat breakfast, check the news and emails. And then I'm on the train by 730 at my desk by 830, sometimes earlier just depending on what the day entails. And our offices are located on the canal in Paddington through that short walk from the station along that canal. It's just I really enjoy that moment of quietness, the stillness of the water ducts, wading through, the barges are waking up. And sometimes you can smell the burning the word or the coal. And it just really, it's just such a lovely moment because you're like, Yes, I'm ready for the day. And also, I'm just, I'm more productive and energised in the morning, because it's just quiet and free of distraction. And it adds more hours to my day, I'm yeah, I'm at my desk by 830. That extra half an hour before nine o'clock, I'm looking through my inbox, I really checked my inbox in the morning on the way to work, but really setting myself up for the day. And I go in five days a week, Monday to Friday, purely because I just love being around people. I also like the boundary that it creates between work and home. Because once I leave the office, I leave the office, I don't take work home with me not to say that I don't keep an eye on emails or on my phone, the nature of the EAA roll. It's just I like to stay on top of everything. And but yeah, it creates a nice boundary that as soon as you leave work behind, and you can just that also that commute, it's just nice wind down and reflect on the day and process it and then as soon as you get home, you're not taking work home with you. You're there. You're president. So I go in five days a week. And actually the executives come in mostly five days a week. They're not travelling, and we do have we have a hybrid working arrangement here. But again, it's it's quite nicely balanced. I think before the pandemic, our recent news deaths operation, the report is the videographers due to the nature of their roles. They'll be out and about anyway, though. It's,

it's, I think we've got a good balance here. And slowly, people are wondering, they're wanting to come back to the office and more and more. And it's nice to be around around your colleagues because you can bounce off ideas and it's just those conversations that you have in between between calls meeting when you're grabbing a coffee, or when you come in on a Monday morning. How's your weekend?

So I really think that's crucial to maintaining relationships. I'm a strong believer in face to face interaction. So yeah, I do come in, I come in five days a week purely out of preference. And because I enjoy it, I love being around my colleagues. So yeah. And then I want to podcast that if anybody can see the beautiful background that you've got there, and the wonderful view of London you've got, you can understand why listening to you speak there makes me really miss.

I can completely

understand why you do that I used to be the same when I worked in the city, I used to try and get in early. Because for me, which was through Lebanon market, and just nice and quiet before the city kind of just went into here. So yeah, it was a really lovely way of framing your day. And then the community and a commute home was like a nice bookend for how you operated. So yeah, that's how I used to like going in and out of the office as well. So I can completely picture that, in my mind how nice that must be. So I'd like to move on to some of the aspects of the day. And again, I know I always say this on the podcast, I know it's difficult for assistants to give us an overview of what an average day looks like. But if you could kind of talk us through some of the tasks that you do and what you spend most of your time on, that would be really helpful. I think, I'm sure a lot of PAs and EAS can relate to this. But there is no such thing as an average day. And the same day is never repeated, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It's never a dull moment. And it can be very fast paced. However, whatever the pace, I always have my priority is ready for the day. Even if it does meet, even if it does become unrecognisable by mid morning. I'll check my inbox, my whatsapp teams first thing in the morning for anything urgent that may come in overnight, or that morning, and that normally sets the tone for the day. But yeah, I would say there is no average day it just it depends. It depends on what happens on the day and what happens overnight, actually.

But I do like to have anchor points. Like I said in the morning, I like to check emails teams, just to see if there's anything urgent that comes in and anything that I need to action as soon as I get in. But otherwise, it's just business as usual, making sure that executives are staying to schedule if anything needs to be rearranged. And then in the afternoon is where I like to do a bit of more of the proactive elements to my role. So at the moment, I'm in the process of just setting the corporate calendar for next year. So we have our main group board meeting. But then we've also got our subsidiary board meetings that also sitting around all of that I'm also thinking about budgets already for next year, when that might take place and the quarterly financial reviews.

I've already asked our executives as if you have an annual leave plan for next year, so I can make sure I've protected that time. So yeah, I tend to do most of the reactor stuff in the morning, most probably because as I said before, a more productive morning. And then I leave the more proactive stuff to the afternoon, because that's always a bit of a slow burn, you've got that ticking away in the background. So I guess that's what an average day looks like. But I've never had an average day.

I think that's very true. I think most people listening will be nodding away. Because yeah, I know. I know. That's a tough question. But I like what you said then, because you really thinking about when you're at your best. And actually what works best for you kind of your energy level. So you can probably handle the stuff where you need to react and put out the fires and eat the frogs and all those kinds of activities in the morning. And then in the afternoon, when things quiet down a bit, you can use that time to be more reflective. And actually your energy levels work well with that as well. So I love that you've consciously thought about how to structure a day when really there is no structure. So I think that's super helpful for people. Just something that as you said, you have those anchor points over a day. Yeah, and I think if I'm I need to be effective. So my executives can be effective. If that makes sense. I can get all that reactive stuff done as early as I can in the morning, and leave my afternoon to do writing up the minutes or forward planning. But if there are some reactive moments in the afternoon, I've still got I still can react on them. I just I do feel like the the energy that use an EIU give out it does affect the mood and the tone of the office. Sometimes it sets the pace almost because if you're not, if you're not fast paced, and you're feeling a bit sluggish that day, what I found is actually the

I'm a bit sluggish in my approach to everything then. So I really try to make sure my mornings are really energised because I know I am the most productive at that point. And that actually sets the tone for the day actually, that stops me from being sluggish and it keeps the pace up. But not to say I do have moments where I do have slower days than usual. But I think that's just all part of being human.

lately is such a good point, I remember an executive saying to me once, when you come in, and maybe you're feeling a little bit down, or you've something bad has happened at home, and you've brought that into the office, you change the mood of the office. And at the time, I was quite offended by it in a way, because I thought that I don't have that much power, and everybody has bad days. But looking back, it was really true. Because she said to me, you're the heart and soul of the office, you're the executive assistant when it comes to you for things. So when you are putting out maybe an energy that you don't normally people, really people see it, and then they realise it. And actually they react to it as well. And it kind of makes you realise how important the assistant role is, in ways that you don't really think about. So I think what you said there is, I think that will resonate, I think that's true, and maybe assistants don't quite appreciate how much value that brings in and of itself. Yeah, because something that you are the ambassador of your executive executive, you are the extension of that executive. And it's just really important to look after you as much as you need to look after you executive, you need to also look after yourself and know at what points in the day that you work best. How you work best is I think the key to it is really understanding yourself, and how would you like to work? In what manner Do you work best? And also communicating that to your executives? So they understand. So yeah, it's quite important because it can be felt it can be seen. So yeah, yeah, I agree. We won't be too negative moving on.


I do want to get a sense of areas that you find challenging, because we all have challenges in the role. So what areas do you find challenges? So I wouldn't say that there are challenging parts anymore, as I've just been able to understand them over time and recognise them when they occur. So I tried to manage them effectively when they do inevitably happen. And I guess that's just, that's just the process of working up here. mediagroup through at six years, so I understand the organisation. Well, I know my executives, I know my colleagues quite well. But I'd say if there is a challenges with time, I just feel like there's never enough of it. But I always ensure that I've actioned everything I can, rather than leave it to the next day. And by that I've done everything in my power for that action. And if I am waiting on someone else, that's fine, that can be left to the next day. But as long as I've done my part, I've actually done what I can I've done my best I that kind of that. That helps me I think but I guess time is the most challenging part of the day, because there's never an end, there's never

enough of it. You can't get time pack as well. Yeah, I'd say time it's so turn, I think it's really good to actually hear when assistants have been in a role. In your case, for as long as you have that actually, the job becomes easier, because that's one of the payoffs of being in an organisation for as you said, in your case, six years, you do start to know the job and you do start to know the rhythm of the business. So actually, if the job becomes easier, that's a good thing.


Function is one that's always going to be that. Yeah, and not to say that I don't face challenges I do. But I just feel like I've learned how to adapt. And I think that's really key, you know, changes or anything that's thrown your way, it will really help you because then you don't feel overwhelmed. But you just you take a moment, and you're like, Okay, how do I approach this? What can I do here? What do I need? So I think and I think it just because

when you first start out as a PA,

I definitely faced a lot of challenges in my first couple of years purely because I've never been a PA before. I didn't know what to expect. And it's just through learning through through the years through your career, you've become well versed in how to face challenges. So yeah, I think the key is you just you learn to adapt, I think more than anything. So you're well armed when a challenges thrown at you. And you're like, okay, yeah, I got this, I can handle this.

So what's the most enjoyable part of your day, I'd say it's a lovely exposure and visibility I have around the business, especially as EA to the CEO, the CFO, and the CFO and also maternity cover to the MD, you just have great visibility, you know what's going through the various businesses, and I just love how varied the role is, but most importantly, my colleagues, I love my quad. I love working with my colleagues, I love working with my executives, I think that really plays a really important part of my role, because it's just such a nice harmony, and I really enjoy it. I think that's the most enjoyable part of my role, just being able to work with them. It's an incredible role when you work at that senior level. And you get I don't know if you find this but I used to work for that kind of group of senior executives as well and I used to really enjoy dipping in and out of the different functions.

So sometimes a day would be spent with the finance team. And then another day would be operations. And then you'd have the CEO suite, that high level aspect, as you find that, just having that combination of overview, I find it very helpful. Because when say someone from the senior leadership team approaches me about a project or something that's going on in the business, I will know about it in some way or another just because I have great, I just have this exposure to the business, I sit in all the subsidiary board meetings and take the minutes for them. So that's about 24. Board meetings a year. And I'm so grateful, because what it allows me to do is I know where each business is, I know what the actions are. And it just, I can be that sort of

intermediate sort of role. If someone from the senior leadership team needs to know something, and the executives are too busy. They probably asked me if I had the answer, great. If not, I can just be like, let's see if let's see if they've got time we can scheduled some meetings, and if not, I'll raise it with the executive and then the executive will fill me in. So I think it's such a great role, because you just you learn about the business.

And you just have great oversight of it, you have that helicopter view, but at the same time you're in there, you're deep in the deep in the business, you kind of know what's going on. So yeah, it's I think it's such the EAA role is such a unique role, because you're, you're close to the business. And you're not too far from the business, you're just in the right place. And you just get gain a great understanding, though. Yeah. Yeah. And you're kind of bridging the gaps, aren't you, between the staff and the senior level? So yeah, you're exactly as you said, you're able to sit there and offer advice, give people what they need in terms of information? Or if not, then you can go to the senior executive team, get it from them, and then pass it on. Yeah, I think you're absolutely right. In terms of the flow of information, you're in the exact right, I have to ask you, if you take a lot of minutes, I've got to ask a quick tip, because I know people be like, How'd you write 2424 sets of minutes. But just any advice that you can give for people because I know there are a lot of people who will be listening who don't enjoy writing minutes. So if you've got any tips, of course, so I actually really honed in on the skill, I had to first take minutes in my first role. And it's quite easy to note down everything, because there's that fear of oh, wait five, miss something. And I really struggled with the language. And this is where I actually came in contact with your platform, Nicky, because you have a great document of language to use during minute taking and T date, I still refer to it because it's helped me so much. But what I've learned over the years is read the board packs, we the board packs, because what normally happens is an overview is provided in the board meeting. And you'll start jotting down that overview for context. But actually, you don't need to you just listen out for discussion points, action points, and read back on your minutes and have the board pack next to it. And if there's anything that overlaps quite a lot, then it's not needed. And just be very concise with the language. I know it's very hard to do, but just be very concise with it. And yeah, it's just it's taken years of practice. I was not I was not great at taking minutes, but through a lot of AIDS and one of them in the document that I found through your platform. I see I've mastered it, but I have not mastered it. There's so there's always room for improvement. And even and it's funny I say that because I mentioned that I volunteer for a not for profit organisation where I take more minutes for them monthly board meetings. And I think that was great is a great way for me to gain confidence in my minute taking because it was outside of the business that I work in. They had confidence and trust in me that my output is actually it's fine. Volunteering is a really great way of getting confidence in skills. There's no pressure. Yeah, exactly. Yeah, exactly. That's, you've put it you put it exactly as I would say it actually Yeah, it really it was at the confidence, like you said without that pressure. So yeah, I'd say stick with it. It's it can be daunting at first, but also be ruthless and read the board packs.

I think that sums it up very well. I couldn't have said it better myself. Also having written a lot of minutes over the years. Yeah, you've got to be ruthless.

Going back to what life is like for you outside of work, you said you you finish work, you don't take it home with you. The commute gives you that separation. So I wonder when you get home, what do you get up to? What do you enjoy doing? I've mentioned that mornings are the most productive time for me, it turns out evenings, especially during the week are the most unproductive time. And that's usually a bone of contention with my husband because he's such a night out and that's when he has the most energy so when I get home I'm just so normally tired from the day and it's normally a quiet, quiet evening make dinner clean up and it's an early bedtime although at the

moment we are in the thick of it with House renovations. So lately it's been, oh, what shade of white? Shall we paint the walls and this type of decision? That yeah, it just because I'm such an early riser. So by the time the evening comes, I'm ready to wind down but not to say there are, if I've got enough energy and light to go out for dinner, I've seen my friends, or I'll, I love to read I'm a bookworm. So if I can muster it, and there's an hour or dig into whatever become reading at the time, but otherwise, it's just a winding down having an early bedtime, and just having a quiet evening, because I know, the day ahead is it will be pretty full on against.

You sound very similar to me very similar into France. I also like an early night, because I get up quite early as well. And my other half is the exact opposite. So there's quite often a conversation. Do you fancy doing something tonight? And the answer is often no.

Well, that's yeah, as I said, that's very similar. I wonder if there's one piece of advice that you can give to assistants that are may be new into the assistant role, or they've just started if there's any advice you can give to them. So I guess, I guess the one thing I wish I knew before I became an assistant is that it is not Devil Wears Prada or madmen is definitely not a thankless job. The EAA role has come such a long way, those myths are just they're just now myths. And I certainly not experienced it in any of my roles. And if I'd known that before, I think I would have embraced it a little bit more better and openly.

So I'd say it's definitely not Devil Wears Prada. And it's such a unique position. Like I said, You're so close to the business, you're working with the leadership team privy to a lot of information. There's a lot of trust in you. So I guess

the key piece of advice I have is always be forward thinking and put yourself in your exact shoes, what do they need leverage technology and social media platforms? Be as resourceful as you can. But most importantly, just trust your gut instinct. I've learned many lessons from not trusting my gut instinct, but it's it when something doesn't feel right. And your gut is telling you no or yes. Go with your gut. Because I can guarantee you it's right is always right.

Yeah, that's such good advice, particularly for new assistants. And I love what you said there about it, the myths around the role they've changed that absolutely have. And if you do find yourself in a position where you aren't being appreciated for the value that you bring, there will always be another executive another role where you are thanks. So you don't have to put up with that behaviour anymore if you are finding it, because it's it's it's few and far between these days, why don't you let us know a little bit around some of the boundaries that may be that you have experienced in the role and how you've overcome any of those challenges? Again, probably not the most helpful answer because honestly, I've been fortunate enough in my career, where I've never felt like I've had to change any boundaries I've worked with. Across my career, I've worked with great executives and great businesses that just, they just support you, you support them. There's never been, I've never felt like I've had to challenge a boundary. But I think a lot of that comes down to the relationship you have with your executive and the chemistry. So I think what's really important is our interview point, you know, when you're when you're speaking to the executive that you're going to support, and there is a niggling doubt, you feel like this relationship might not work. And again, listen to your gut instinct, then because this is just my personal opinion, I do believe yes, a lot of the role is you got your you got your tasks, a good pa can do that. But if I do believe that at least 60 to 75% of the role is relationship. If you do not have that relationship, if it does become challenging, difficult, it does make your role

challenging, and again, then your boundaries become a challenge. So I do think it goes back to that interview point. Wherever you interviewing whoever you're going to be supporting. Make sure you can, you will know instantly if you'll be able to work with them and vice versa. But yeah, fortunately, I've not been in that position where I've ever felt like I've had to challenge a boundary just because I think I'm also quite conscious of the fact that a lot the role is relationship based. You have to build up that trust. And once once you have that relationship established, there shouldn't really be any need to challenge any boundaries, because there should be a mutual understanding from both sides of what's expected, I think. Yeah, and I think it touches exactly what you said on there touches really well with what you said right at the beginning of the podcast, in terms of you worked at the Press Association, then you left or went into some other things and you came back again.

I think there must be absolute testament to the relationships that you built there that you went off and you could do other things. And then you came back again, I think that really actually challenges the boundaries, and maybe misconceptions of the role that you have to be there all the time. You have to stick there, you can't go for maybe travel or take a sabbatical or try something else. But yeah, you've got those relationships in place, then you potentially can always come back to a role so that I think that's real testaments your relationship building. Yeah, exactly. And it's just not internally, it's also externally because you work with the industry. And again, that's just that's through just hard work, not hard work. But I guess, just really building nurturing, maintaining that relationship. And

trust trust is such a crucial element to a PA role. If we go back to the question about advice, I'd say, don't do anything that would break that trust with your executive. Don't just it's such an important part. And it's both ways as well. But I'd say if the trust isn't there, again, it's like with any relationship, friendship or personal relationships, if you're if the trust is not there, it's it's the relationship and a bit of a it's been becomes challenging, doesn't it? So I think the same sort of applies in the workplace as well. Yeah, it's an interesting point, because I completely 100% agree with you. I think you've got to do everything with purpose. And with an understanding that you're, the interest of the executive and the interests of the company are at the centre of everything that you do. But it doesn't mean you can't make mistakes. And you can go out and try and extend your skills. And maybe you don't get everything right. And it's not completely perfect, but that's not going to stop the trust, because you're doing everything with the best intentions. And I think sometimes assistants can confuse those two things, I won't push myself or challenge myself, because then if I make a mistake, my boss won't or executive run, trust me anymore. That's not going to happen. That's not where the trust breaking confidentiality, but also the boundaries, executives bank, that's where the trust is going to be broken, going out and trying something new, that's not going to be detrimental to the relationship. Before we finish up. We always like to spread the love. And I like to get a sense of some of the things that have helped you in your career. So if there's any technology that you use, or events you've been to, or books or publications you can recommend, I'd love to hear some of those resources that have been invaluable to you. Yeah, technology wise, it's nothing revolutionary. But I say Google, Google has been my best friend since I started my EA journey. And office 365 Just because it's become so intuitive for me, and it just works really well for me. And in terms of platforms, they're perfectly perfect pa platform. Honestly, I cannot tell you how much it has helped me especially at the beginning of my career. And like I said, I still refer back to the minute taking document the EAA campus. And there are some great books out there. There's one by John Jones called the CEO secret weapon, and one by Jeremy burrows called the leadership assistant. And also just just researching about great assistants and in the past Richard Branson's ex pa penny, and was it Ronald Reagan or Nixon's pa that also does great things. But there's just so many. There's so many assistant role models out there from the past that you can also just, if you read up on their history, what they've done, it still applies to today. There's so many great resources out there. It's just knowing where to look and finding them and seeking them out. That's such a great list. And we'll make sure to include all of the links in the show notes so that anybody that wants to follow up on any of your recommendations can do so. I think that's one of the questions that I've got for you. We've covered so much ground. So just thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today and sharing your thoughts. It's been a real pleasure. Oh, no, thank you, Nicky, thank you so much. I've had it's been absolutely delightful and I've had the best time doing it.

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