London Montage

Lead in a Changing World – Network with BlackRock

By Anne Marks, Chairman, London PA Network

I am delighted to be taking part in a panel session in the City on July 1st hosted by BlackRock.   BlackRock’s Assistant Network (ACE – Assistant Community EMEA) are continuing their series of events under the ACE Connects banner. The ACE Connects initiative was launched with the aim of engaging and fostering relationships between BlackRock’s assistant community and their counterparts across business industries.

The event will focus on reward and recognition in the administrative space.  Over the decades the role of assistants has evolved to encompass the full spectrum of administration.  Many assistants have a remit beyond the standard perception of an assistant and yet recognition has not evolved at the same rate as the role itself.   The event will focus on how assistants and administrators can Lead the Way to change this perception – starting with ourselves.

I will be joined by special guest speakers Leeanne Graham, Bethany Fovargue, Sean Steel and Sally Freeman.

With over 75 assistants registered, representing 30 companies discussions should be lively!

This initiative was inspired by a London PA Network Member.

ACE Connects(4)

PA Club Events

Date & Time: Thursday 2nd July 6PM – 8:30PM.

Venue:  Hotel Motel One London Tower Hill, 24-26 Minories, EC3N 1BQ

The  PA  Club networking event hosted by Hotel Motel One London Tower Hill. RSVP or more information


 Date & Time: Wednesday 29th July 4PM – 9PM.

Venue:  Sandown Park Racecourse, Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey KT10 9AJ.PA Club Logo main

An evening of thrilling horse racing and networking. Hosted by The Jockey Club, drinks and canapés. Boyzone, will perform live after the races! RSVP or more information


Date & Time: Friday 18th  September 12PM – 6PM.

Venue:  De Vere Venues West One, 9-10 Portland Place, W1B 1PR

The PA Club Away Day is an informal and relaxed day for you to network, meet useful suppliers and have a fabulous Friday afternoon out of the office. More information and apply for your place



Becoming a smarter PA – 3 Simple Steps

Being a PA requires a strong, proactive individual. A great PA must have the ability to keep calm in difficult situations and will need to be resilient. Your mind will need to be in the zone, you cannot let anything slip. Your job is to make your boss’s job that little bit easier – by keeping on the ball and demonstrating a positive mental attitude, you will be able to work to your full potential. You will be a smarter PA!

Step 1 – Positive Mental Attitude Your boss does not want a negative member of staff getting everybody else down. Make sure you are giving off great energy to those around you and be the person they could not imagine losing. Never let yourself get wound up or upset by others or even by situations. When a stressful or difficult situation arises, take a deep breath and conquer it head on. One thing that will get you down is by putting a 800 x 600 pixel Tiger logo (3)situation off. Allocate time to take on a situation. Break down the task to ensure that you are covering everything required. Always be prepared for the worst case scenario. Have the ‘what if’ thought in the back of your mind. This way you will be able to take on any problem quickly and effectively. Do try to keep your desk clear and clean. This will enable you to stay focused, avoid stress and most importantly, you will not lose any important documentation that you may require.

Step 2 – Over Time Do not be afraid to work out of your contracted hours. Make the effort to work late. By doing this you will avoid any potential stress which may incur the following day. Most companies supply their employees with a work phone. Make sure you use it! Check your emails in the evenings and on the weekends and if you can do anything out of the office, do it. It will lessen your work load when you next walk into the office. By spending ten minutes going through emails, you will be constantly ahead of the game and will keep you in the know. As a PA, you need to be steps ahead of your boss. By giving a little extra in the way of over time, you will be able to provide your boss with answers without a second thought.

Step 3 – Relax  A hard working Personal Assistant should allow find to breathe. Make time to relax and do the things you enjoy most. No matter how much of a workaholic you are, never exhaust yourself. By having some ‘me time’, believe it or not, you will be more relaxed in the work place and will be able to work more effectively. Give yourself something to look forward to. Book days off or even a holiday. This way you will have something to work towards and to look forward to. Ensure you allow time to get early nights. Settle down early, read a book, and most importantly let your mind rest.

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Awe Inspiring ‘Super Saturday’ at London 2012 – The Athletics

I was one of those lucky enough to be successful in the first ballot for Olympics tickets.  I couldn’t believe my luck when the email arrived telling me that I had two tickets for the evening session at the Athletics on Saturday 4 August.

It seemed as though the day was never going to arrive but eventually it did.  My friend and I decided to treat ourselves to travelling to Stratford by boat.  We boarded at Tottenham Hale and disembarked a few hundred metres to the entrance to the Olympic Park.  Having gone through security at the entrance followed by quite a long walk, we arrived at the main part of the Olympic Park.

The Saturday 4 August evening session has been called ‘Super Saturday’ and I can confirm that description.  To see the inside of the stadium for the first time was awe-inspiring.  Our seats were at the Olympic Flame end and near to the Olympic Flag and Union Flag.  We had the perfect view for both field and track events.

During the evening we were privileged to see three gold medals won by Team GB.  We saw Jessica Ennis win the 800 metres to get her gold for the Heptathlon, Greg Rutherford get the gold for Long Jump and Mo Farah, the gold for the men’s 1000 metres.

The atmosphere in the stadium throughout the evening was incredible. I am certainly calling it the experience of a life-time.

Brenda Barwick

Journey to London Team Ambassador

With five days to go until London 2012 Closing Ceremony –  a view of the journey to Team London Ambassador.

When Boris Johnson announced The Team London Ambassadors’ scheme in July 2010, people were encouraged to register their interest by the end of that year.  Of the 33,000 who did so, 22,000 completed the application form by the deadline of 31 March 2011; subsequently, 16,000 applicants were shortlisted and invited to recruitment events which were held in 10 London Volunteer Centres between April-August 2011.  By October, offers were made to over 8,000 successful applicants.  During this Olympic Games year, volunteers have attended three training sessions, the first held locally; the second at Stratford International station (where the large video screen wafted disconcertingly in the breeze created by the high-speed trains passing nearby!) and finally at the venues where the Team London Ambassadors will be located for their shifts.  The sessions covered ‘London at Games Time’, a range of customer services (which included films on “how not to act” in certain situations, followed by “how TO act” – and the opportunity to act out some probable scenarios).  The venue training gave further insights into the specific locations e.g. public access, travel and amenities.

As you will have seen the Team London scheme has followed a similar pattern to the Olympics Games Makers scheme (albeit on a slightly more manageable scale), with a selection of events and 3 compulsory training sessions.  These involved volunteers taking in their local venues, Stratford International Station and City Hall where we collected various items of uniform, including the ubiquitous trilby hat.  This time, the uniforms were delivered (albeit in a slightly battered cardboard box!).  The dark pink/purple colours (not sure of the technical descriptions of the shades) bear some similarity to the Games Makers’ uniforms but are in a different, less formal, design and there’s considerably less of it; lacking the high visibility jacket.  Needless to say the trousers are too long for shorter people like me; but the trilby is too big.

To end on a quote (mentioned at the end of the second training session) from Maya Angelou: “I have learned that people will forget what you said and will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”.

So, keeping this and all other positive thinking acronyms and tips in mind.

A further blog will folow on the ‘inside experience’ of a London Team Ambassador.