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Learning and Development Conference 2024 @ Millennium Point

Join us for the 8th annual PA Forum Learning & Development Conference, bringing together the Executive & Business Support Community for a full day of inspirational, motivational aspirational and educational learning.

As we reach the halfway point of the year, our conference is a chance to take a pause, check in, reset, and feel ready to take on the remainder of the year with lots of learning to take back to the office and implement individually or with your colleagues as one team.

We are once again back at Millennium Point in the centre of Birmingham and you can buy your tickets for our day on Wednesday 5 June on our Eventbrite page here.  Refreshments and lunch will be provided throughout the day and are included in the price plus you can take advantage of our early bird discount if you buy your tickets before 30 April 2024.

 

Lucy Brazier

We are pleased to welcome back our partner and host Lucy Brazier, CEO of Executive Support Media who will be our Master of Ceremonies for the day and she will also be sharing her insights and experience with us all whilst introducing our speakers to the stage.

The current line up of speakers confirmed for the day are as follows but keep checking back for updates, more details and new additions to our fantastic line up.  Plus don’t forget you can take advantage of our early bird price up until 30 April by buying your tickets here.

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Speakers And Sessions

Professor Corinne Hoisington, Artifical Intelligence (AI) Keynote Speaker

Corinne promises to make you love AI!

Corinne Hoisington is a full-time Professor of Information Systems Technology at Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg, VA training our future Executive Assistants, Personal Assistants, and Admins.

Corinne has travelled to over 70 worldwide cities providing keynote motivational topics and training to corporations, small businesses, admin conferences for such customers as the Microsoft Corporation, Executive Assistant Live London/Johannesburg/Sydney/Wellington, Prague World Economic Forum, Cengage Learning, the international South by Southwest event, APC Conference, Capital One World Admins day and many others.

Professor Hoisington is the recipient of the Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Business and Computing.

Corinne has authored over thirty textbooks with Cengage Learning/National Geographic such as the Microsoft Outlook 365, Office 365, Windows 11, Technology Now, and Visual Basic.

Session and Keynote: In the Blink of an AI: Productivity New Superpowers

 

Unlock the potential of AI-driven innovation with Generative AI and Art AI!

Join our interactive workshop to explore the cutting-edge capabilities of AI and CoPilot — discover how it can revolutionise your automation of the tasks that are NOT our favourite in the office.

In this AI session, you’ll learn how to harness the power of AI to boost productivity, enhance creativity, and streamline your daily tasks. Understand how AI and Copilot can speed up the innovation process by automating repetitive tasks, allowing you to focus on creative problem-solving. Let’s kick up our superpowers!

Experience Professor Hoisington’s session and our other speakers by buying your tickets here.

 

Nick Elston

Nick Elston is one of the highest-profile and leading inspirational speakers onthe Lived Experience of Mental Health. In life, we can either let our adversities, our challenges, define us negatively for the rest of our lives…or…we can choose for it to forge something beautiful, something powerful – something that never would have existed without you going through your ‘stuff’ in the first place.

Described as a ‘BIG man, BIG heart, BIG story & BRUTAL honesty!’, ‘Utterly inspirational, absolutely engaging!’ and ’10/10 –a Speaking Masterclass!’ – Nick shares his experiences of Mental Illness, Mental Ill-Health & Breakdown worldwide –through his powerful, inspiring, engaging & emotional talks.

Most importantly, Nick shares his ‘Lived Experience’ through insights, tools, tips and techniques on how to manage Anxiety in Life, in Business – to implement immediately. In his own words, Nick says ‘I see Lived Experience as the vehicle that takes individuals and organisations from the problem to the solution – but it’s NOT the solution.

So, what does Nick bring to the table? Engagement.

You can have all the well-being & mental health initiatives you like – but unless you get engagement in them – absolutely nothing changes. ’For Nick – his talks are where mental health meets personal development – focusing not just on what anxiety is – but what anxiety does – how it keeps us in a comfort zone, stops us from living life on our terms & ultimately how it affects our success – by our own definition.

Nick is regularly featured in the global media, the BBC, industry shows and publications – his talks are delivered to stages, events, boardrooms, businesses, factories, government organisations, schools, universities, prisons & establishments WORLDWIDE!

SESSION AND KEYNOTE: Find Your Voice – How To Truly Be Heard in Life & Business!

 

Speaking is more than just standing on stage.

Speaking is life, Speaking is business, Speaking is education – it’s YOUR ability to deliver any message to any one with clarity, power & emotion – to truly be heard.

In my years of working in the PA, EA & VA communities, this has proven to be the most impactful, empowering & inspiring topic yet isn’t covered enough to support your community.

So, this is what you will get from me – taken from my flagship, global training programme ‘Find Your Voice!’:

    • Confidence around public speaking
    • Confidence to go networking
    • Confidence to deal with difficult situations and challenging conversations
    • Support with leadership skills
    • Build Better relationships with your manager and perhaps the SMT, Board and Stakeholders
    • Confidence to suggest and perhaps instigate and/or deal with change

These are unique, ego-free insights into the world of Professional Speaking that will help you to thrive in your role, to amplify the support to your executive & give you the platform to truly ‘step up’ in every aspect!

To see Nick as well as all of the other speakers on the day, buy your tickets here.

 

Rebecca Mander FInstLM, GuruYou

Hi there! I am Rebecca Mander and I am the founder of GuruYou® Coaching. I am thrilled to be working with the PA forum, sharing our Bounce Forward Programme over 2024 and equipping members with tools and techniques to help you all Bounce Forward in your careers and make the role your own…or bounce in to a new one!

We specialise in coaching leaders through professional and personal setbacks and we do this because, at the age of 33, whilst being in a Sales Director role, we lost our little boy Charlie suddenly, and then a year later my lovely Mum! It was a hideous time – on top of the tragedies, I was invited to the role of MD, during an economic crisis, and with a new baby in tow! My experience shaped who I am today and how we run GuruYou®. I learned what it was like for a leader who is wanting to look the part when actually they are falling apart and these experiences helped us create our award winning Bounce Forward Programme.

I am delighted to be invited back to one of the most successful PA conferences in the UK where I will be sharing my journey from victim to victor. I hope my story shares struggles and many rewarding moments that inspire and encourage others to “Bounce Forward” out of our comfort zone and into success! I will be sharing a tool that is super close to my heart to help you forward through tough decisions, life moments and crises of confidence.

SESSION & KEYNOTE: You will leave Rebecca’s talk, inspired and ready for action!

 

    • Learn the path from victim to victor
    • Know what resilience is and is not
    • Have tools to help you move forward when you feel you don’t have a choice
    • Feel encouraged to move outside of your comfort zone!

To see Rebecca and our line up of fabulous speakers, buy your tickets here.

 

John Bullock, Solutions Focused

Here at Solution Focused we are passionate about developing individuals and teams, equipping them with skills and behaviours that enable them to produce improved sustainable results. We create organisational improvement by enabling people to transform their thinking in regards to their current and future personal and organisational challenges. We know that an individual’s thinking will directly influence the way they feel and dictate the choice of actions they take, which in turn, impacts on the speed, quality and consistency of results.

This session will be delivered with a mix of education, interaction and application. Delegates will learn new tools and techniques that are applicable to work and home life in any given situation. The programme will be delivered in a personal, pragmatic and down to earth way to ensure the best possible output for every individual, and for the organisation. Our programme design ensures that your key areas will be covered in a measurable and sustainable way.

John is one of the lead trainers for Advanced Certificate for the Executive Assistant: ACEA®, the groundbreaking globally recognised certification for the modern-day executive assistant!

BREAKOUT SESSION: Governance & Effective Decision Making

 

People & Mindset:

    • Understanding how conditioning effects Behaviour and Decision Making

Process:

    • Understanding the big picture
    • Gathering Information
    • Collaborating
    • Rick Assessment and Response
    • Prioritisation Management
    • Technology Integration (AI)
    • Learning & Apply

During this session, delegates will firstly be able to understand how our personal conditioning and self concept either helps or hinders us in effective decision making and more importantly how to change this to maximum success (Personally and organisationally)

Delegates will also understand and be able to apply a clear process or routeway to ensure effective decision making and governance of those decisions.

This session will simply enhance your decision making skills and confidence in make those decisions.

Please come prepared to learn and enjoy!

Buy your tickets for John’s session and more now.

 

Afshan Baksh, Transformation Space

Afshan has 25 years of experience as an educator and leader. She has successfully delivered projects in the UK and across 33 countries, working with governments and organisations such as the British Council, World Bank, colleges, universities, and businesses such as NHS, Dyson, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Transformation Space offers learning and development solutions to a range of diverse clients. “Success isn’t just about following the rules. It’s about challenging your thinking, pushing beyond your limits, and daring to dream bigger. I believe in the power of creativity, curiosity, and innovation. I help you and your teams break free from the status quo and confidently embrace change and uncertainty. Together, we’ll explore new possibilities, learn from our failures, and unlock the potential for greatness within us all.” Afshan Baksh

Afshan is also an active advocate for women’s development, gender equity, diversity, and inclusion and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

BREAKOUT SESSION: Embrace Innovation: Lego® Serious Play® & The Future-Ready PA

 

Join Transformation Space for a stimulating Lego® Serious Play® (LSP) workshop.

Introduction

In a world where AI and automation are redefining the landscape, the Personal Assistant role is poised for transformation.

This workshop is not just about building with bricks but building your future. Your facilitator, Afshan Baksh, will lead you on a journey through the heart of innovation and creative problem-solving. Afshan will guide you through engaging activities, inspiring you to imagine and build solutions that potentially future-proof your role as a PA.

Workshop Highlights:

Explore Your Challenges: Learn how to use Lego® to build models that represent your challenges in the evolving workplace. This powerful method, developed by Lego to save their business, will clarify complex scenarios and enable you to explore your challenges.

Feel the Impact: Through hands-on activities, you’ll share your feelings and perspectives about the upcoming changes in your profession. It’s a safe space to acknowledge and transform concerns into creative energy.

Collaborate for the Moon-shot: Designed to tap into your imagination and creativity, your collaborative mission will be to set up an office on the lunar surface…yes on the Moon. While the scenario is fun, the insights you’ll gain have real-world value, offering innovative approaches to your current role.

Takeaways:

    • Engage with fellow PAs, expand your network, and merge minds to uncover unique solutions to shared challenges.
    • Stimulate your creative thinking and problem-solving skills, which are crucial for staying ahead in the rapidly evolving professional environment.
    • Find inspiration in the collective wisdom of the group and leverage it to redefine the future role of a PA.

Call to Action:

Are you ready to play a part in shaping the future of your profession? Sign up for the Lego® Serious Play® workshop. We look forward to meeting you.

Experience Afshan’s session and our other speakers by buying your tickets here.

 

Claudine Martin, Senior Executive Assistant to Head of Pershing EMEA

Claudine is currently employed as the Executive assistant to Head of Pershing EMEA at BNY Mellon in London. Before this, she proudly served nearly 17 years in the British army’s Adjutant General Corps, gaining a wealth of experience and passion to her endeavours. Transitioning to civilian life, Claudine gained experience in finance through an internship at Goldman Sachs followed by project management role with the Metropolitan Police, demonstrating her ability to thrive in fast-paced and demanding environments. Claudine is an Alumni of University of Lincoln where she attained a bachelor’s degree in human resource management.

She previously served as an Executive Assistant to the army Director of Engagement and Communications at the Ministry of Defence. In this capacity, she played a key role in the planning and execution of key events and initiatives. Her exceptional contributions were recognised in 2019 when she was bestowed with the prestigious title of PA of the Year. Claudine is also public speaker and an advocate for the EA profession.

Beyond her military career, she is an advocate for personal growth and resilience. She proudly represented the UK at the Invictus Games 2023, showcasing her unwavering determination and unwavering spirit. In her spare time, Claudine enjoys park run and writing poems.

BREAKOUT SESSION: THE POWER OF ADAPTABILITYYou will leave Claudine’s talk, inspired, motivated and empowered!

 

By the end of 45 minutes session, you will:

    • Learn strategies for becoming more adaptable.
    • Understand the connection between adaptability and resilience.
    • Be motivated to overcome personal setbacks.
    • Learn how to overcome fear and resistance to change.
    • Feel encouraged to move outside of your comfort zone!

See Claudine and our line up of speakers by purchasing your tickets here.

 

Lindsay Taylor, Your Excellency Limited

Director and Founder of Your Excellency Limited, Lindsay Taylor is an award-winning author, trainer and speaker.

A former EA herself, Lindsay is renowned for her high-energy sessions that provide practical and instantly usable skills and learning.

Your Excellency have 17 years’ expertise as learning and development specialists supporting the EA, PA and Business Supporting Professional and pride themselves on providing an extensive portfolio of premium offerings to include:

  • A Mini MBA for Senior & EAs (accredited Programme or On Demand),
  • Accredited 1 and 2 day training courses, Essential PA Programme (inc. an Ofqual regulated qualification),
  • Bespoke training,
  • A-Z Digital training course,
  • Lunch n Learn LIVE sessions,
  • The Learning Passport monthly subscription service,
  • EA/PA Chataway monthly podcast,
  • Weekly Lunch n Learn emails and blog pages containing articles and learning archives

BREAKOUT SESSION: SMARTER GOAL SETTING

 

At this high energy and interactive Session, you will

    • Learn to make your goals SMARTER
    • Recognise the value of applying Towards Thinking and language to motivate yourself and others when objective setting
    • Harness the power of creative visualisation
    • Use a proven technique to ensure successful achievement of personal and professional goals
    • Attendees will take away a Template to use for future goal setting

See Lindsay now by buying your tickets here.

 

PANEL DISCUSSION: IS THERE TRULY A CAREER PATHWAY FOR PAs, EAs & BUSINESS SUPPORT PROFESSIONALS?

Wendy Bullard, Business Support Manager, EY

With over 30 years’ experience in business support; 20 years’ in the professional services environment. Wendy Bullard over the past 10 years has built and developed a team of Executive Assistant professionals who provide EA support remotely from their Business Leaders based across the UK. Wendy is passionate about the role all business support professionals.

EAs often demonstrate self-less commitment and professionalism to those they support to ensure they are the best they can be and deliver on their business commitments. EAs do not always appreciate their value in the business and put their own development needs low down their priority list.

The role of the EA/PA has evolved significantly over the past 20 years where shorthand/typing, audio, faxing and filing skills were the fundamentals of the role. The role has now evolved to encompass much move value-add skills of project management, event organisation, diary management, client relationship building and networking.

The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) will further evolve the role of the EA in ways we are not yet fully able to articulate. However, EAs will be ready to enhance/evolve their roles with more strategic thinking, planning and organisation with the support of AI.

The career path for EAs is not always clearly defined in organisations.

It is sometimes seen as developing from supporting groups of Senior Managers/Directors to supporting Business Leaders, such as CEOs/COOs/CFOs. EAs now possess highly transferrable skills and should consider where these skills can support their own development within an organisation.

Sarah Maddox, Associate Director, WSP

 

Sarah Maddox began her professional journey as a

receptionist at Arup, where she honed her organisational and communication skills. Despite having just one GCSE in Typewriting Skills, she quickly demonstrated her dedication and adaptability.

Driven by a passion for safety and quality, Sarah pursued further education and obtained a Nebosh Certificate in health and safety. Her commitment to excellence led her to achieve a degree in Quality Management, equipping her with the knowledge and expertise to uphold rigorous standards.

Sarah’s career trajectory took her to HS2 Ltd, where she served as a Quality Manager for Phase 2b (Crewe to Manchester). Her meticulous approach ensured that projects met the highest quality benchmarks. Her contributions were invaluable to the organisation’s success.

Currently, Sarah holds the esteemed position of Associate Director at WSP. Her leadership skills and strategic vision have elevated her to this role, where she oversees critical projects. Notably, she is currently serving as a Project Director on a significant £4 million rail project.

Sarah Maddox exemplifies dedication, expertise, and a relentless pursuit of excellence in her professional journey. Her impact on the field of quality management and project leadership is commendable.

 

Amy Malin, Project Facilitator, DPD UK

I started my career as a PA Apprentice back in September 2018, straight from college with no experience or qualifications as a PA. I worked closely with the Senior Leadership Team PAs and within 6 months of working in the business, I worked for the Director of International Operations, proving my ability to keep up with the fast-paced environment. I was then asked to take on the role as PA to the CEO of the company as maternity cover. I stepped out of my comfort zone, took on the responsibility and took it in my stride. I continued my education during this time and completed a Level 3 and Level 4 NVQ in Business Administration. During this time, I was nominated and a finalist for Newcomer of the Year in the West Midlands PA Awards. I then started a new role as PA to the Director of UK Operations which meant I had a new insight into the operational side of the company. In this role, I was nominated and a finalist for PA of the Year in the West Midlands PA Awards. The role also gave me insight into the company’s operational projects, which then sparked my interest. I was keen to get involved in helping manage and facilitate these projects. This leads me to my current position as a Project Facilitator in the IT Department focusing on the operational projects of the business, which I started at the beginning of this year.

As a PA, I gained invaluable organisation, communication and administrative skills that are transferable in so many different career paths. This, alongside being positioned with a birds-eye view of the company enabled me to see how different departments work and hone in on what my interests were, which led me to my new role as a Project Facilitator. My journey champions the idea that there truly is a career path for PAs and EAs.

Rhiannon Hopcroft, Executive PA to CEO, Windsor Academy Trust

Rhiannon embarked on her administrative career in 2007, fresh out of university, unsure of her next steps. Drawn to the diverse opportunities within administration despite limited office experience, she embraced various roles over the course of her 18-year journey. From finance administration and HR to office management and executive support, each position contributed to her professional growth and versatility, moulding her into the professional she is today.

For the past 4 and a half years, Rhiannon has served as the Executive PA to the CEO at Windsor Academy Trust, a role she describes as the highlight of her career. Empowered to enact change and entrusted with strategic oversight of the administration function, she finds immense joy and privilege in her responsibilities. Working within the educational sector provides Rhiannon with daily opportunities to inspire and be inspired, collaborating strategically with an exceptional executive team.

Passionate about championing the administrative profession in all its facets, Rhiannon is dedicated to leading and empowering through continuous professional development, coaching, mentoring, and leadership. She thrives on overcoming challenges and barriers to career progression, both personally and professionally, and believes in leveraging resources and talent for collective growth.

Within Windsor Academy Trust, Rhiannon has spearheaded the development and implementation of a comprehensive career pathway for administrative professionals. This initiative encompasses a variety of inspirational and empowering resources, including recommended reading, skills audits, training days, and professional qualifications, designed to support individuals in realising their full potential.

Committed to inspiring future generations to consider administration as a rewarding career choice, Rhiannon is working with Daniel,  Sarah James and the PA forum to develop a schools programme aimed at igniting interest in the field. 

She is thrilled to join this panel of professionals to share insights on administrative pathways and celebrate the endless possibilities of this career choice.