Kelsea is currently an EA to two VPs and is lucky enough to love her job! She is also a mummy to a 1 year old daughter, who is constantly keeping her on her toes! In her spare time (what’s spare time, I hear you cry!?) she likes to write articles and opinion pieces on a variety of topics, as well as attend networking events, spend time with her family and veg on the sofa in front of a good box set!
What’s your Name?
Where do you work?
American Express Global Business Travel
Describe your job in 3 words:
Hectic, Rewarding, Busy!5
How did you first become a Personal Assistant?
I actually never planned on being an EA; I was working as a manager in a private health club and one of the regular members was HRBP at my current work place. Fast forward a couple of years and I was a customer service manager in the railway industry looking for a new role, and the HRBP approached me saying she thought I would be a great EA. Three years later and I still absolutely love being an EA and feel like it is the role I was always looking for (thank you to the lovely HRBP!)6
Was there one particular moment that you remember that this was the career path for you?
There isn’t a particular moment I can think of, but I know this is the career path for me because my general personality matches the role; I am a control freak and I really believe it helps me be the best EA I can be! I thrive off of the pressure and problem solving and I really can’t picture the skills I have learnt in my working life being suited to any role better.7
What’s the best part about your job?
When you solve what felt like an impossible task, like last minute, complex travel plans, or a multi-time zone meeting with a strict deadline, or ordering that specific type of champagne for same day in a different continent!8
And the worst?
Trying to juggle with my other full time job of being a mother. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming but I am lucky to work within a supportive and flexible environment 🙂9
Describe a typical day; what work does it entail, what hours do you work, what problems do you face?
My day pretty much starts as soon as I wake up (6am); I will have a quick glance at my phone for any urgent emails and delete anything instantly not needed (like meeting responses) and then will get my daughter and I ready for the day! I will work on emails on my commute to work so by the time I get to the office (8.45am) my inbox looks a bit tidier and I can get straight on with tasks for the day! The structure of my day after that varies depending on where my VPs are, what their plans are for the week etc, so no two days are the same. As one of my VPs works in a global role mostly with the USA, my day really ramps up after lunch time which means I try and get any other administrative tasks done in the morning, as I know ad hoc requests will come through in the afternoon! I leave the office at 5pm sharp so I can get home in time to pick up my daughter from the childminder, then I am usually back online at 8pm from home finishing up any loose ends!1
If I wanted to be a PA, what experience would you suggest I get?
Excellent communication skills both verbal and non verbal. You also need to be able to prioritise your workload and work well under pressure. These come with general life experience but you can improve things like communication skills by attending networking events and putting yourself slightly out of your comfort zone, speaking to people from all walks of life!1
What’s one of the most difficult situations you’ve faced whilst working?
Conflict with other EAs; the industry is driven mostly by females which can bring about a catty, clique style mentality which I cannot stand. It is easy to get sucked into the drama but it is so important to remember why you go to work, who it is you work for and what your responsibilities are.1
Without revealing too much detail, what is the wackiest request you’ve ever been asked to do?
I couldn’t say exactly, but there have been some very odd personal requests!1
How do you find a healthy work/life balance?
Turning off my work emails at weekends, making personal plans and sticking to them regardless of how my working day is panning out, flexible working so that I get to spend more time with my daughter!1
If money were no object, what career would you be in and why?
Probably the career I am in now, or start my own consultancy of PA/EAs!1
What are your go to websites/resources that help you with your day to day tasks?
What key skills/courses would you recommend for other PAs looking to progress in their careers?
There are lots of great business admin courses out there for all levels; but I personally feel on the job training beats them all! However, I’d definitely look for some short courses if you want to separate yourself from the crowd; a quick Google search will help you find a vast array of courses! I’d also strongly recommend attending networking events like the ones Miss Jones Group arrange, so you can meet with other PAs and share knowledge and skills.1
Finally, any other advice?
Make sure you take time out for YOU and YOUR hobbies so you don’t wear yourself down into the ground. Taking time out will in fact make you a better, more efficient PA! 🙂