April Pardoe

April Pardoe | Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust

April Pardoe

I am currently Executive PA to the CEO, Chairman and Director of Finance which involves a lot of diary and meeting management as these individuals work very hard, our Chairman is also chairman to a neighbouring hospital which necessitates a lot of coordination between me and his PA at the other Trust to ensure he meets all his obligations for both trusts.

My CEO operates an open door policy and likes to speak to staff at all levels regularly which means a lot of juggling around shift patterns etc. This is a highly confidential role and I am a valued part of the Executive team.

I supervise the executive team PAs which means I coordinate annual leave and cover. I am working hard to make the team work smarter not harder, collaborate more and support each other. I am a PHE trained Loggist for major incidents and am very proud to be a Mental Health First Aider for the Trust.

Over the course of my career I have always worked in either the public sector or the charity sector, both of which have been equally interesting and valuable. I have worked my way up from Administration Assistant to C Suite PA and now have over 10 years experience at this level. 1 am very proud of what I have achieved - the majority of my CPD and training has been self-funded; I am a member of EPAA and have been since the Association was founded and in June 2019 I became one of the first cohort to be awarded Practitioner status to reflect my commitment to the role and the CPD required to stay at the top of my game. I am passionate about the difference a good PA can make to an executive - you should be a second pair of eyes, ears and hands, a second brain, a confidante, a sounding board and a supporter. You can enable your exec to be the best they can be and allow them to lead while you manage.

I love my job because every day is different, I cover a lot of meetings and diary management but alongside that I can be dealing with research, projects, compliments coming into the trust, complaints and visitors ranging from patients to politicians and everything in between. As a PA you have to be 2 steps ahead and anticipate the needs of your execs as an NHS PA you have to be ready to deal with anything from lost property in the hospital to, complaints about parking and patients and visitors who have got lost on their way somewhere! I have also been involved in organising major events including AGMs, conferences and award ceremonies.

I work hard and I love my job - I like helping people and using my skills to help them be their best, I am a completer finisher which means I like to see a project through to the end and the impact it has.


Hayley Cole

Hayley Cole | BlackRock

Hayley Cole

Originally my aim was to be a performer on the west end stage.

But, after a suffering a severe back injury that put a stop my training . I had to rethink my career path. I had always loved organising things even as a child. My first event being a Blue Peter bring and buy sale for my school. After recognising my love of organisation I decided on a career as an assistant in the finance industry. In the summer of 2000 I secured a role at what is now Thomson Reuters and my 20 year administrative journey began.

I now provide EA support to the EII EMEA Product Development and Product Engineering Leadership Teams at BlackRock

My teams are responsible for EMEA BlackRock ETF's, Indexing and Investments (EII), which includes innovation & research, product launches, commercialisation activities, strategy for key product segments (Smart Beta, Sustainable and Thematic) and the product engineering and launching of new products.

My service dates back to 2008 when I was Executive Assistant to the Head of EMEA iShares and provided business support to the Executive Committee. Following this in 2012 I moved on to work with the recently relocated Head of EMEA Capital Markets. Upon returning from maternity leave in 2014 with the support of BlackRock and their flexible working policies I joined the EII Product Development team.

Prior to joining BlackRock I worked in the Energy M&A team at Credit Suisse's supporting the Head of Chemicals, Head of Renewable Energy and The Head of Utilities.

I have a extensive experience across all the major banks supporting various management teams.

I am the Co-Chair of GAIN EMEA which is the professional network providing support and advocating for the administrative professionals at BlackRock.
I also sit on the Inclusion and Diversity Committee for our business. Our focus in 2019 was around fostering belonging with in our business and our focus for 2020 is around inclusion dialogues and the conversation around flexible working for all.

I am a Fellow of EPAA (Executive & Personal Assistant Association).


Kelly McAulay

Kelly McAulay | William Grant & Sons Limited

Kelly McAulay

Having left school to study law, Kelly quickly decided to change career when she secured a work placement with a law firm before university, favouring the role of the Assistant as opposed to the role of the Solicitor.

Since then, Kelly has gathered a wealth of experience as both a Personal and Executive Assistant, spaning almost 20 years, and now has a wide range of responsibilities including people and project management. Having joined William Grant & Sons in 2006 she currently supports the Chairman and members of the Supervisory & Executive Board.

A passionate advocate for the PA & EA profession, Kelly is an Ambassador for the Scottish PA Network and former EPAA Advisory Board member. Kelly also dedicates a lot of her personal time to mentoring other Assistants, both inside and outside of her organisation. She also founded, and continues to lead, the William Grant & Sons Business Support Network, now in its fourth year.

Kelly holds a Diploma in Personal Assistance and was voted Scottish PA of the Year at their inaugural awards event in 2015. Since then she has received a further accolade in 2019 for Outstanding Contribution to the PA Profession from the Scottish PA Network and Hays PA & Secretarial.

Outside of work Kelly is Mum to two growing boys and spends most of her free time supporting them from the football sidelines.


Laura Blower-Harris

Laura Blower-Harris | Accenture

Laura Blower-Harris

Laura is an Executive Assistant with 15+ years’ experience gained across the public, private and third sectors.

A graduate of Imperial College London, Laura’s EA career started at Haringey Council before she moved on to the charity World Villages for Children, next to Cancer Research UK and then to Accenture, where she is currently in her ninth year with the company.

She provides all aspects of EA support to the UKI Products Business Lead - a Senior Managing Director – along with two other MDs across Consumer Goods and Life Sciences clients.

In addition to the daily job requirements, Laura finds time to add value to the wider EA community. She aims to lead by example and find opportunities outside her core role. She was instrumental in developing and delivering EA training days held at Accenture UK & Ireland offices (London, Manchester, Newcastle and Dublin) to inform and educate the EA community across a range of topics. The events brought over 150 EAs together and delivered unified sessions across each site and helped Laura build her networks across the entire EA UKI Community.

With community being so important to Laura, she is also part of a small team who organise and encourage networking across the London EA teams to bring otherwise siloed areas together and to encourage face to face interactions to counteract the e-mail heavy culture.

Another added responsibility Laura has taken on - with great enthusiasm - being made a mentor to acquisition EAs, to guide them through systems and processes once acquired by Accenture. All these events feed into Laura’s passion for growing her networks, not just with EAs but also including developing deep working relations across many teams including: marketing, finance, HR, customer services, catering, facilities, local tech support and the reception team - to name but a few! Having the right contacts allows for faster solutions and the ability to deliver greater value in the EA role. The importance of collaboration and wide reaching networks are self evident so this is something she works hard to continue developing.

Laura is a positive role model within the community who leads by example. She tries to inspire others in the way she acts and is always happy to share best-practice ideas with peers. She aims to be a positive influence and if she sees an opportunity to improve a process or system, she will then pursue the necessary steps to implement the change and make it happen. Laura has made several suggestions around making Accenture a more sustainable and responsible company, and more than one of these has been implemented.

For two years Laura was the departmental Pride Lead, and successfully increased Ally numbers as well as engagement of LGBT+ issues across the workplace. This again provided an opportunity to build further networks across every department at Accenture, due to regular Pride Network meetings and events.

Laura’s proudest achievement during her time at Accenture has been interviewing against strong internal competition and gaining promotion. This was based on her self-increased responsibilities and also Laura having developed and grown in the role since joining in 2012 and now operating at a more advanced level, having sought out her own opportunities for growth and development in addition to her EA role.


Catherine Diment

Catherine Diment | Alcumus

Catherine Diment

Catherine Diment is an Executive Assistant with over a decade of experience supporting at C Suite level, in Financial Services and Tech-lead companies.

Catherine specialises in Board/Committee support and event management, is a member of EPAA and regularly attends training sessions and conferences to further develop her skills as an assistant and learn new rules in corporate governance. A strong believer in self-development Catherine is studying to become a Chartered Secretary. Catherine enjoys watching her young son play football with the local team and also gets out about usually participating in half marathons and marathons.


Esther Dawson

Esther Dawson | Ridgeview Wine Estate

Esther Dawson

Having been promoted in most of the businesses I've worked in, due to management or Directors recognising my skills, I've been lucky enough to now be combining my hobby and my work life.

I remember as a young teen, seeing Sly Lovegren as JR’s secretary in Dallas and I commented to my mum that I’d love a job like hers one day. I’m certainly not in an oil baron’s high-rised office block in the US, but I can’t believe that even at such a young age, I wanted this role of supporting an individual with their business needs.

My career started as an office junior administrator in a recruitment company in the petro-chemical/oil & gas industries would you believe. When the family that owned the business sold it to an American company based in Slough, I temped locally for a few weeks, gaining the experience of working with leased cars & office management. I was offered an admin role in Slough and moved there when I’d just turned 21. During those two years, I was promoted from Administrator, to Office Manager to then PA to the Directors. At one point I held the grand title of European Manager of Administrator at the age of 23 …and I did manage all the European offices!

After two years I decided to move back to Sussex and took a role working at Ericsson Telecom. The department I worked in was TUPE’d over to a much smaller company and it was there that I took the role of Office Manager & PA to the Directors. I gained a lot of Employment Law experience. After five happy years, the owners decided to sell-up so I moved into the legal sector and was Practice Manager & PA to the Partners at a local Law Firm which specialised in Employment & Personal Injury Law. I gained a huge amount of Employment Law knowledge and was keen to develop and utilise this more.

Again, after two years the partners decided to close the law firm, so I moved to a local company called Icon Live. Icon produced customer jewellery for high street stores, department stores & supermarkets. With my Employment Law knowledge, I moved into the HR department, heading up the management of all the Head Office staff. This was just 90 when I joined but increased to 360 over three years! In total the business had 2,000 employees all over the UK, ROI and Eastern Europe. I spent five years in the HR department and was then “stolen” by the Directors to become their Executive Assistant. During my time as their assistant I was responsible for a £1m annual travel budget and a £350k budget for their big three-day annual conference for around 350 members of staff.

I have always been keen to learn about wine and studied WSET Level 2 qualification and the opportunity came up to combine my passion for wine and doing a job I feel I’m very good at. I have been with Ridgeview five years and everyday there is something new to learn which I love about this job. In this last year I have won a number of awards, all the details are below. I have also set-up the Sussex PA Network and spent a lot of my own time volunteering.


Claudine Martin

Claudine Martin | British Army

Claudine Martin

Sergeant Claudine Martin is a serving Soldier in the British Army for the past 13 years.

She is the winner of PA life PA of the Year 2019 and was shorlisted for Rising Star of the Year with Miss Jones PA. She was featured in PA Life Magazine in summer 2019 sharing her experiences as a Soldier and PA.

Claudine joined the Army in 2006 when her son was just a year old and deployed to Iraq 6 months later. She has served with the 1st Battalion Irish Guards in Aldershot, a foot guards Regiment responsible for guarding the Queen. Prior to her assignment at the Ministry of Defence, she worked as the Chief HR Administrator at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst within New College. Claudine also worked as a service steward at the London 2012 Olympics and Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship in 2014/15. In addition to her role as a PA, she was appointed Events Lead for the Chronic conditions and Disabilty in Defence Network in October 2019.

She is passionate about encouraging and inspiring PA’s to maximise their full potential. She is a keen advocate for the Lupus UK charity and actively does charity runs to raise the awareness about Lupus.


Michaela Collins

Michaela Collins | Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation

Michaela Collins

After obtaining a diploma in Architecture and the Building Arts from the Prince of Wales Institute of Architecture, I went on to gain a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from the Byam Shaw School of Art (now part of St Martin's, University of Arts, London).

I’ve also acquired various professional certifications and have enjoyed working for award-winning international companies, such as Westfield & Grimshaw Architects. I’m currently working as an Executive Assistant at Old Oak and Park Royal Development Corporation, part of the Greater London Authority, and London’s largest regeneration project.

Due to my strong organisational, interpersonal skill and interest in people, I’m an active member of various steering groups and professional networking groups. In November 2018, I was appointed as Vice-Chair of the Women's Network at the Greater London Authority, supporting women in their career development, celebrating their achievement, and creating a safe, supportive forum organising and chairing networking events.

As Vice-Chair of the Women's Network, I’ve been instrumental in helping to bridge the gap between the organisations two sites. Through developing essential links with senior management, who have recognised the contribution I’ve made in supporting the Women's Network, as well as supporting other staff networks, I’ve encouraged greater collaboration. My passion for promoting greater diversity and inclusion, means that I have worked hard to ensure that this is embedded in all network activities and that employee's voices are heard.

In my spare time, I also volunteer in schools and am also currently completing the Mayor of London’s initiative, Our Time: Supporting Future Leaders programme.


Michelle Gibson

Michelle Gibson | Exec Angels

Michelle Gibson

Michelle has worked as a C-Suite Executive Assistant for the past 20 years, most recently in the sports and media industry.

With a BA (Hons) degree in Business Management and a Higher Diploma in Business Administration, this vital role enabled her to learn every aspect of the running of a business. From there, Michelle took on a Chartered Secretary qualification through the ICSA, which led to a role as Company Secretary of the Rugby League World Cup 2021.

In the summer of 2017, Michelle began to think about how to bring together other like-minded people in the administration profession, with an online hub that was accessible to everyone worldwide, inspirational and ensured those in this crucial profession felt valued.

Exec Angels was launched in December 2017 through https://www.execangels.org and social media, attracting thousands of global followers. The Angels Members Club was launched in October 2019, offering online training, support and mentorship to administrators.

Today Michelle lives in Yorkshire with her partner Ryan and their four girls.


Julie Burns

Julie Burns | Glasgow Caledonian University

Julie Burns

Julie is a highly skilled C-Suite Executive Assistant with over 30 years’ administration experience across both private and public sectors, including 8 years in higher education and 12 years working in the NHS.

Julie started her career as an Office Junior with a small local supplier of electrical goods at age 16 and knew that she had found her niche to work in administration relishing the challenge of high organisation and communication skills. She was always seeking to improve her experience across a variety of organisations and in 1990 moved to work with J&E Shepherd, Chartered Surveyors where she soon became Office Manager. Following an enjoyable 4 years, Julie then moved on to the Scottish Prison Service at HMP & Young Offenders Institution in Dumfries in administration working with the Secretary to the Management Team and later as an HR Administrator. She took up employment with NHS Dumfries and Galloway in 1999 firstly within the Department of Public Health providing PA support to a Consultant in Public Health and latterly working for 8 years as Executive Assistant with the Chief Operating Officer. Due to family relocation, Julie moved to Glasgow and started working at Glasgow Caledonian University in 2012.

Julie is a Fellow Practitioner with EPAA and is extremely passionate about the role of the Assistant championing the benefits at every available opportunity. Following completion of her MSc in Human Resource Management in 2016, Julie is now an Associate of the CIPD and proud People Manager, leading and mentoring her team of 10 assistants across the University to providing strategic business support to the Leadership Team. She has created a cohesive, motivated and eager team of business support professionals within the University leading them to win the Employer of the Year Award at the 2018 Scottish PA Awards. Julie joined GCU in 2012 as the Senior Executive PA to the Vice-Chancellor and since then her role has expanded and in 2018 she was appointed as Head of the Vice-Chancellor’s Office.