PA Forum Mentor and Mentee Initiative

We are delighted to offer additional support services to our members in the shape of the NEW PA Forum Mentor and Mentee initiative. Below are the details of a range of Personal and Executive Assistants based throughout the West Midlands who have kindly offered their time, help and support to those of you who would value a Mentor to talk to and support you through your career journey. If you are interested in the programme please email daniel@pa-forum.co.uk and we will forward an application form to you, we will then reach out to our mentors and encourage an initial meeting between yourselves to see if you both feel you can start a journey together.

Anita Southall

Executive Assistant
20+ Years

Areas of interest:

  • Diary Management
  • Commercial awareness and knowledge as a PA/EA
  • Building strategic partnerships with those we work alongside including managing upwards
  • Building networks to be more effective in the role
  • Time management tools and techniques to ensure focus especially for supporting strategic initiatives/key projects
  • Client relationship building – EA to EA

Profile:
Over 20 years experience within a senior PA/EA role working with senior executives across a variety of industries.  Currently working alongside a group of Directors and Partners who work within Business Development and Speciality Finance.  My role is remote which brings a greater focus to adopt and use technology to build the partnerships with each of them.  Over the last 2.5 years I have been heavily involved in working on a key strategic initiative for the business which has included event organisation and support, managing relationships across the business and increasing commercial understanding around the markets we are working in.  Working on this initiative has allowed me to use all my EA skills and push the boundaries to learn more which has been really exciting and rewarding.  I’m also a coach/mentor for Apprentice EA’s helping them to understand the business world and the importance the role of an EA can take on.  I have a keen interest in mental health and am an active member of my company’s mental health network in the West Midlands.

Anna Hopkins

Personal Assistant
20+ Years

Areas of interest:

  • Governance, compliance and board level support.
  • Effective meetings.
  • Working effectively and productively.
  • Time management.
  • Self-management and soft skills.
  • Setting boundaries and delegating upwards.
  • General admin including diary management and creating quality documents.

Profile:
I am a friendly and highly skilled PA with almost 30 years’ experience in a wide variety of sectors including charities. After a happy and successful three years at university, I spent a year training as a PA and built my career from office assistant, through to team secretary and finally to director/chief executive PA level. I am passionate about my chosen career and believe in the importance of balancing self-initiative with teamwork, forming a seamless team with your boss (or bosses), not being afraid when you get things wrong, and never ceasing to learn.

Claire Ralphs

Personal Assistant
10-15 years

Areas of interest:

  • Board Level Support
  • Project Management
  • Time and Diary Management
  • Working on goals and career progression

Profile:
I originally started my career as a radio broadcaster but changed to become a PA in my late twenties by upgrading my skills. I love being a PA, it has created lots of opportunities for me and I would like to use my experiences to help others. I am currently the PA to the CEO at Topps Tiles Plc but have worked for several CEOs during my career from different industries such as Retail, Construction and Media.
As a mentor I would like to be there to nurture your growth and development. Build a good relationship together which will hopefully encourage you to ask me for advice should you come across any difficult situations. I unfortunately experienced anxiety at a previous job and would be able to empathise and help you to find a solution if you are ever feeling burnout.

Claire Saltmarshe

Office Manager/PA
15+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Time Management
  • Project Management
  • Events Management
  • Health and Well-being

Profile:
I have over 15 years experience as a PA and Office Manager in both the charitable and commercial/small business sectors.  I’m currently an Office Manager and PA to the MD of a Midlands PR Agency. I have the dual role of being a PA with the traditional admin support, diary management and travel tasks but also managing the office, covering areas such as HR, Finance and Health & Safety.  I am a member of the management team and am involved in spearheading business improvement projects for the company. I am particularly interested in health and well-being and also developing sustainability within business.

Debbie Guest

Personal Assistant (Offsite)
20+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Professional Services
  • Hospitality
  • Event Management
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Virtual Assistant

Profile:
I worked in the hospitality industry for a short while after finishing my degree, then worked as a Training Co-ordinator at a law firm before finding my niche as a PA. I’ve been a PA for over 20 years, working in a wide variety of industries from legal firms, accountancy/finance firms to a small business and also the NHS. I have been working for PwC as a Virtual Assistant for 3 years based mainly at home and love it. I support a busy Partner and 3 Directors based in London and duties include: arranging meetings and events, extensive diary management – managing multiple complex diaries, international and UK travel, taking minutes at meetings, email management, expense management, writing correspondence and preparing reports. I am the Learning and Development Rep for our team of 12 and enjoy arranging a wide variety of learning sessions. “I have recently mentored colleagues and this is an area of passion that I would like to extend outside my own organisation too”

Fiona Burlow

Sustainability Co-ordinator, previously PA
5+years

Areas of interest:

  • International events
  • Global compliance
  • Project management
  • Administration and billing
  • Career development

Profile:
My career in professional administration began after I graduated in 2012 and I had experience of working in recruitment and the renewable energy industry before joining Eversheds Sutherland in 2016. I worked as a PA in the Corporate team for 4 years, supporting a variety of fee earners including the Senior Office Partner, and in 2019 I was awarded the title of PA of the Year by the Birmingham PA Forum. I am currently on secondment as a Sustainability Co-ordinator which has allowed me to further develop my skill set and pursue my passion for saving the planet!

Jeni Bartlett

Executive Assistant
25+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Board level administration
  • Gatekeeping
  • Project planning
  • Change and innovation
  • Delivering training and practical guidance to colleagues
  • Personal skills development

Profile:
I am an Executive Assistant to Chief Operating Officer, working alongside the Senior Management team providing support, advice and project planning. I have over 20 years’ experience as a PA/EA at a senior level, with a predominantly legal and property development background. I have held managerial roles and have experience of running my own freelance secretarial business and I have also studied through CILEx. Through networking with PA and administrative professionals, I actively support more diversity and professionalisation in the industry and seek greater recognition for admin roles. A life-long learner with a commitment to self-improvement, I am enthusiastic about developing others to achieve fulfilment in their careers.

Jo Turner

Personal Assistant
20+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Time management
  • Board level support, including recruitment & development programmes
  • Governance
  • Creating innovative & efficient systems
  • Project & events management
  • Leading projects & teams
  • Reframing difficult issues & challenging situations
  • Practical admin tips & techniques
  • Confidence building

Profile:
Over 20 years’ experience in administration, most recently in managerial & PA positions within charity & museum/cultural sectors. Currently PA to Chief Executive & support to Board of Trustees at Black Country Living Museum, Dudley. Experience includes project & events management; coordination of national leadership programme; liaison with high-level stakeholders; coordination of reports & presentations; data analysis; recruitment & induction; office, resource & budget management; supporting multi-functioning teams; and staff management.

Karen Allen

Personal Assistant
10 - 15 Years

Areas of interest:

  • Time Management
  • People Management
  • Stakeholder management

Profile:
I have been with Pinsent Masons since July 2018 and I am the Information Security Co-ordinator and PA to the CISO and his 4 direct reports who are Head of Engagement, Head of Technical Security, Head of Supply Chain Risk and Head of Governance. I’ve been a PA/EA for the last 15 years, with a career spanning different business sectors such as Construction, Highways, Facilities, Insurance and professional services. I am a Mental Health Champion, Security Agent, Purpose Ambassador a member of the Family Support Network, DWG, Starfish and also on the Right 2 Read Scheme.

Mel Bates

Executive Assistant
15+ Years

Areas of interest:

    • Project Management
    • Board level EA work
    • Managing business relationships including upwards
    • Overall business understanding

Profile:
I am an Executive Assistant with over 15 years’ experience in the legal sector. My current role is Executive Assistant to the CEO and Chairman of a large national law firm, a role that requires absolute trust and confidentiality. I also have managerial experience, having previously managed a team of 19 PA’s and administrators, and am also a professionally qualified Paralegal and Legal PA. With my own organisation skills, enthusiasm and eye for detail, and through my managerial role, I have developed a strong interest in coaching and guiding others to develop their skills and potential and meet their career challenges and am keen to share my knowledge and experience with others.

Oona MacDonald

Executive Assistant
20+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Time management
  • Diary management
  • Office management
  • Marketing
  • Digital marketing
  • Office moves

Profile:
Oona began her career as a temp receptionist at 3i plc and has since worked in various Administration, PA and Office Management roles in the financial sector. She is currently Executive Assistant to the Managing Director and Office Manager at a leading management consultancy firm in Birmingham. She also runs The PA Guide to Birmingham website and network in her spare time.

Paula Holland

Executive Personal Assistant
25+ Years

Areas of interest:

  • Stakeholder Management
  • Google Technology Driver including training others
  • Change and Innovation
  • Office Management

Profile:
I started my career as a Receptionist and then progressed to Office Management supporting an Executive Team before joining PwC as a PA almost 12 years ago.  My current role is Exec PA to the Risk Assurance Chief Operating Officer and Lead Google Technology Driver providing training and support to the secretarial community nationally.  Continually striving to embrace changes and share knowledge to colleagues and stakeholders to enhance their experience.

Sadie Ashton

Executive Assistant
10 - 15 Years

Areas of interest:

  • Business Improvement
  • Time management
  • Board level support
  • Stakeholder Management
  • Project & events management
  • Leading projects & teams
  • Time saving initiatives
  • Confidence building

Profile:
Highly professional and experienced Executive Assistant with great drive, energy and passion. 13 years’ experience of working at CEO, Managing Director and Board Level, within global FTSE 250 companies, mainly in Construction industry. Expert understanding of discretion and approachability and experienced working in a dynamic, fast paced and changing environment.

Currently in Business Improvement Management role after progressing within existing company.

Tracy Whitehouse

Executive Assistant
20+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Mentoring colleagues and others to achieve results and to be the best PA they can be
  • Equality and Diversity
  • A passion for Internal Communications
  • Organising large meetings and Conferences, creating fresh and innovative events
  • Compliance
  • Managing projects
  • Promoting and professionalising the role of the Admin professional

Profile:
A committed and loyal Executive Assistant who is always keen to underpin the success of her Executive. I am happy to step outside the realm of the general administration duties, which naturally comes with job, to create opportunities where I can add further value to business I support. I encourage more junior colleagues to step out of their comfort zone by promoting networking and forging good relationships which I believe is the key to success. I have worked in a number of different organisations and within differing sectors.

Victoria Luckett

Personal Assistant
20+ years

Areas of interest:

  • Time management
  • Stakeholder management
  • Conflict Management
  • Career progression
  • Change Management

Profile:
I am an efficient Executive Assistant with operations management, data analysis and project management experience. I have gained valuable leadership experience previously as Head of Operations in which I successfully led teams, managed change effectively and instilled company values.