• Interview: Daniel Skermer on delivering a new conference for the North

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    Daniel Skermer, founder of the Birmingham PA Forum and Birmingham PA Awards, is back with a bang following the announcement of the upcoming Birmingham PA Forum Learning and Development Conference 2019. Here, he shares what the day will hold and why he strives to offers PAs new motivational and inspirational content to drive their ever-changing careers.

    Can you tell us a bit about the Birmingham conference you have launched?
    Following the success of our first ever PA awards in Birmingham and as the Forum continues to grow celebrating its second birthday, we wanted to further develop our offering for our members and the region by delivering a full day of educational content to further develop our ever-growing tool box.

    The role of a PA has changed so much over the years and we have built the content around our core values: inspiration, aspiration, motivation and celebration. We want our attendees to leave the day feeling inspired by our motivational speakers, engaged by our numerous educational seminars, and aspire to achieve more both personally and professionally throughout 2019.

    This marks the inaugural event – will it be an annual event the industry can look forward to?
    We would love to be able to make this event an annual event and have had such amazing feedback from our members, already with over 50 guests booked on and more provisional spaces reserved as excitement grows. The support we have had from industry bodies and influencers such as IMA, IAM and PA Life have been incredible. We will also be hosting a panel discussion on the day about the ever-changing role of a PA, and what the future holds.

    We are delighted to have been awarded the External PA Network of the year at this year’s Manchester PA Awards. We are truly on cloud nine and totally overwhelmed to have won. To be able to see the support and everybody come together in Manchester has inspired and motivated us even more to be able to continue to build on the foundations here in Birmingham.

    “It is safe to say that we have seen such a want and need for Birmingham to be put on the map, strengthening our partnerships locally with networks has meant that we have seen interest in the events we host sky rocket.”

    Where and when does the conference take place?
    The conference is due to take place on Wednesday, February 6, 2019 at Unique Venues Birmingham.

    What inspired you to launch this event for the industry?
    The Birmingham PA Forum since day one has a devoted and enthusiastic committee that spans most industries and sectors and boasts years of experience. The foundation of which we were built is all around development and recognition for support teams of all levels in Birmingham and the wider regions.

    We send our regular surveys to our members and it was clear by the results that this is something our PA community wanted. We took the results of the survey to identify the seminars included in the afternoon and would like to thank our members and the committee for their feedback; this day has been structured by you for you.

    Why is it so important to host this kind of conference in the North?
    Many events traditionally take place in London and further north. We are all time precious and workloads are heavier than they have ever been before, meaning our personal time is also precious and so we wanted to be able to deliver this event in the West Midlands.

    We have a huge community here and to be able to step outside your office or travel just 20 to 30 minutes and be able to have these take-aways to bring back to the office is really important. We appreciate that some of our guests may not be able to leave the office for a full day and as such have offered a half day ticket for either the morning or afternoon sessions.

    dan skermer

    What makes this conference stand out from others?
    London and the regions offer such amazing activities for their PA communities, and we have been inspired by all the work that has taken place to elevate the PA role since we have been offering our events over the last two years.

    It is safe to say that we have seen such a want and need for Birmingham to be put on the map, strengthening our partnerships locally with networks such as the PA Guide to Birmingham has meant that we have seen interest in the events we host sky rocket. I would say that that this is our motivation to be able to deliver such an event and if welcomed, hopefully more to come.

    Why should PAs visit – what will they gain?
    We have some great sessions planned each designed to ensure that those attending really have something tangible to take back and implement in the office, or share with colleagues. These include a Health and Nutrition workplace plan with Mel Wakeman (Wakeman Nutrition), Microsoft skills with the Microsoft guru Paul Pennant (Todays PA) and working with different personalities in the workplace Rachel James-Patch (Insights discovery), as well as project management and so much more

    How can PAs register to attend?
    Registration is now open and further details and information can be found here.

    “We are delighted to announce that the applications for the Birmingham PA Awards will open at the conference, and application forms will be available to complete or take away on the day.”

    Will the Birmingham PA Awards be returning in the New Year?
    We are delighted to announce that the applications for the Birmingham PA Awards will open at the conference, and application forms will be available to complete or take away on the day. We are also giving guests the opportunity to nominate an industry colleague on the day. We will also hear from Fay Gleeson (Birmingham PA of the Year) and Hannah Cowell (Newcomer of the Year), as well as release all the dates you need for your diary. Our awards committee will be on hand and very excited to get going – we cannot wait to give you more info.

    What’s next for you guys?
    We have just launched the Coventry and Warwickshire PA Forum, our first event in this region will be on January 17, 2019 and we can’t wait. We have had such a demand to deliver events in this region and we can’t wait to get stuck in

    Anything else you’d like to add?
    I would like to thank our members for their support since we started two years ago, along with our educational committee Alison Parker (Wesleyan Assurance), Fiona Boyd (J.W Hinks), Clare Noakes (Aston University), Kam Sangha (Mills and Reeve) and Lisa Neath (Sulzer). It has been a pleasure to be able to build this day with you and for you and we can’t wait to deliver it.

    Thank you so much to our speakers for committing to the day and our venue partners Unique Venue Birmingham and catering sponsors Amadeus. We are delighted the conference has been sponsored and supported by PA Life, ORS UK, The PA Show London, Hotelshop, CHS Group, Indigo Sky solutions and Scentered; thank you so much for your support.

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    AUTHOR

    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke