The PA Forum was founded by Daniel Skermer on 5th November 2016. Birmingham had been very quiet for a number of years, offering very few events for Executive and Personal Assistants, and it was time for change. Following a very exciting meeting with 15 business support professionals from a wide variety of sectors and experience across the city, it was clear there was a want and need to launch a forum that would bring together Personal, Executive and Virtual Assistants, Office Managers and Admin Support teams to be able to learn from each other’s experiences, share best practice and ideas, and help each other with better ways of working. The PA Forum was born.
Over the past 4 years, we have continued to offer a range of events, mainly free of charge, ranging from educational seminars during lunch times and evenings to an array of social events across the city. Each event, on average, has attracted 80-100 guests, who have supported us throughout our journey. With this support, we were able to launch the inaugural Birmingham PA Awards which has grown and evolved to the now West Midlands PA Awards, bringing together over 1000 admin professionals to celebrate the achievements of over 100 finalists and 25 winners over the past three years.
As interest and engagement quickly grew, and with more and more businesses offering their support, it became clear that in the neighbouring regions of Coventry and Warwickshire and Wolverhampton and The Black Country there was a real desire for similar opportunities and so we launched 2 additional forums in this regions in 2019/2020
We delivered our inaugural Learning and Development Conference in February 2019, joined and supported by national and international organisations such as Executive Secretary Magazine, the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM) and International Management Assistants (IMA). We have now run three conferences in over the past 3 years welcoming over 600 guests. All of which are CPD certified, supported by IAM and packed full of a range of motivational and inspirational speakers, industry expert panel discussions and skill-developing seminars. We are really looking forward to developing our event offering for our membership for the future.
In 2020 we completely adapted to the challenging climate we all faced and took everything online. This opened up channels for us to connect with audiences not only in our region but across the country and beyond. We delivered 75 webinars, presented the West Midlands PA Awards and our annual L&D conference online and launched the PA Forum Mentoring initiative and the Virtual Assistant Forum. We look forward to continuing our online presence in 2021 and as such have developed the new and exciting PA Forum membership portal, which is the one stop shop for all PA forum related information. The portal is packed full of information, including useful resources, job opportunities, forthcoming events, special offers and a full membership directory, allowing you to network and grow your contacts with industry peers.
Central to the Forum’s organisation are the PA Forum committees, comprising business support professionals from across the West Midlands. The L&D, Awards, Regional, VA, and Next Gen Committees work together collectively to engage with our members at every opportunity and look at creative, new, inspiring and enjoyable ways to share the Forum’s aims. We were so proud to win External PA Network of the Year in 2018 at the Manchester PA Awards and we will continue, together, to strive to deliver excellence for you, our members, centred around our core values: to deliver inspirational, aspirational, educational and social events that celebrate the business support community across the West Midlands. We are really excited to share this journey with you and can’t wait to see what the future brings.