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Enhance Your Chance

 

Last week I had the honour of joining one of our Business Executive Academy (BEA) afternoon sessions – focussing on Career Strategies. The class went over several ways in which the delegates could progress their careers and take ownership of their profession – lessons that are hugely applicable to anyone looking for a new role.

The BEA is a fantastic resource that Angela Mortimer offer in partnership with Winmark. Unlike many courses which focus on traditional PA duties and how to complete them, the BEA was originally designed in line with Winmark's hit: “One Day MBA” for C Suite Executives and is targeted at EAs & PAs to help them become a better Business Executive, supporting companies with understanding of business decisions and motives.

Having worked alongside Leonora for several months now her passion for the BEA is truly inspiring. I have had no trouble in discussing the Academy with several of my clients and candidates, and having now experienced a master class I understand why she is so passionate!

The best measure of how good the BEA is, was the inclusive and supportive nature of the group during the session; I was welcomed in and joined discussions with the whole group. Delegates had the opportunity to talk over issues they faced in the workplace, working under 'Chatham House' rules where nothing they say is repeated outside of the room. Everyone joined in to provide insight, guidance or advice and there was a real sense of a community bond between these women.

Emma, who ran the Master Class, kept the day structured but allowed the delegates to engage with the lessons – there was more than one ‘lightbulb’ moment as delegates applied what they were taught to their own circumstances and gained personal insight.

We also had the opportunity to hear from guest speaker Donna Coulling, a celebrity PA, who talked us through her career with such self-deprecating humour and energy that the room buzzed.

The lesson of the day was this: you cannot get to where you want to be, or work out where that is, unless you truly know who and where you are today. A simple lesson but one often missed. Looking at CVs we discussed the difference between the duties you do for your job vs the value you offer; this is integral to how the BEA and Angela Mortimer view the PA position.

Gone are the days where a PA’s value comes from their typing speed and ability to take minutes! This generation add true value to their company by helping those that they support to do the best job possible. EA roles now often include project management, marketing, research, report writing, client liaison and relationship management – furthermore they are undervalued for their business development capabilities, often having better networks than many C Suite Executives.

Delegates were encouraged to re frame their CVs to show what they are capable of and, most importantly, what that means for their companies. By knowing yourself and your intrinsic value, you are much better placed to market yourself to others, either internally or externally. To further this from a recruitment perspective, those candidates who are confident in their abilities and show ambition are much easier to put forward for a role that is more senior than their last as they present themselves as less of a risk for the company by showing how they will step up.

Alex Aldhous

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