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11-05-2020

PAs’ Proudest Achievements

“What has been your proudest achievement?” It’s a favourite survey question but one that PAs can find difficult to answer.

PAs at any level have a tremendous amount of influence and can make a significant difference within their organisation. But, as a group, PAs are a modest bunch, preferring to help and support their boss/team/department and hide their own light under a bushel. We think this needs to change!

So, as part of Today’s PA Survey, we asked respondents to tell us about their proudest achievement. The answers reflect the changing role of the PA and the broader range of projects they are now taking on.

Event organisation

PAs are now finding themselves organising a vast range of occasions, from high-profile celebrations to industry exhibitions. Running any event, regardless of the size, takes a huge amount of organisation and attention to detail to ensure the whole thing runs smoothly – something any PA should be proud of.

Project management

Whether initiating the work, being on board from the start, or “inheriting” it from someone else, PAs are taking on responsibility for everything from scheduling to bringing successful projects in on time and on budget.

Types of projects undertaken include:

  • Streamlining processes.
  • Launching new websites.
  • Budget management.
  • Data analysis and reporting.
  • Presenting or speaking at events.
  • Roll-out of major systems/migration to cloud-based working.
  • Achieving Accreditation/ Compliance (ISO, IIP, GDPR, etc)

 Office relocation/refurbishment

Disruption, upheaval, endless decisions to be made, distributing information, respecting different needs, and drawing up timescales for the work … projects of this kind can be a logistical nightmare. But never let it be said that PAs are not up for the challenge! 

Managing manager/building working relationships

Building and maintaining good working relationships within the organisation and beyond (with clients and suppliers) is an achievement in itself. Developing a working partnership with your manager, one built on trust and respect, is essential. As one PA commented, “It makes everything else work.”

Community/charity involvement

In this year’s survey, it seems that many more PAs have been involved in charity or community initiatives within their organisation. This is reflected in PAs’ proudest achievements, which ranged from:

  • Recognition for outstanding contribution to industry charity.
  • Involvement in a refugee-related project.
  • Working with a team raising £65k for charity.
  • Becoming Mental Health Ambassador.
  • Training as a Mental Health Champion.
  • Launching successful community engagement project.
  • Enabling diversity within the department.
  • Setting up Wellbeing program.

Being promoted/work being recognised

Having your hard work recognised, either formally (gaining promotion, pay rise) or informally (acknowledgement by boss, colleagues, or even clients) is definitely a top achievement. 

Winning/being nominated for award

When your boss or a colleague has nominated you for an award, it’s huge compliment and shows that you’re doing something right!   

Gaining qualifications

Gaining professional qualifications not only improves your career prospects and gives your self-confidence a boost, it also requires excellent time management skills to juggle work, family, and studying.  For our PAs, all of this added up to a fantastic personal achievement. 

Career to date/progression

More than a few of our respondents said that their proudest achievement was getting their current job, growing into the role, and developing it to meet the changing needs of the business.

Career highlights for PAs also included:

  • Managing and mentoring others.
  • Moving into a leadership role.
  • Taking pride in department being centre of excellence.
  • Maintaining a successful life/work balance.
  • Successfully dealing with personal issues within the workplace.
  • Ensuring boss(es) can work to the best of ability.
  • Dealing with a million unexpected challenges each day.

And …

  • Showing others how PAs can make a difference throughout the organisation.

All of this provides proof – if proof where needed – that PAs are a highly-talented and resourceful group; constantly dealing with stressful workloads and demanding bosses whilst still making a valuable contribution to the business. This in itself is an achievement that PAs should shout from the rooftops.

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