Corina Dumitrascu had finished studying Law in her home country of Romania when she made the snap decision to follow some of her family to the UK. Using many transferable skills (organisation and diplomacy, for starters), she has forged a career as a PA, rising to her current role as Senior PA & Head of the PA team at Clarion Events…
How did you come to be a Personal Assistant?
After obtaining a Law degree I was not able to get into that profession due to nepotism / corruption in my home country and I drifted into administrative / secretarial then support work for the local authority director. I found the work pleasant enough and when I relocated to the UK, I was fortunate to pick up a PA role for two lovely directors in a facilities maintenance company and progressed over the years to where I am now.
Was it something you had always wanted to do?
I initially wanted to naturally go into the arena of Law, having studied it for four years. However when I became a PA I realised that I got on well with people and I was adept at organising and juggling multiple activities.
What advice would you give to someone looking to forge a career as a PA or EA?
Have the beliefs and aspirations that you will succeed and start somewhere on the ladder so you can begin climbing to your chosen path. No matter who you meet on that path, be content in the knowledge that you won’t always be with them as you move on.
What do you think are the peculiarities of working as a PA for an events company?
Whilst we work in events, the tasks are very varied – as it is with any other PAs working at this level. My role includes arranging meetings with Clarion’s Board, and high profile individuals, sellers and brokers – plus complex and extensive worldwide travel. There is, however, a benefit to working at an events company – that we can visit our own shows and events. The London International Horse Show is a fantastic example of us at our best.
I initially wanted to go into Law, having studied it for four years. However, when I became a PA I realised I got on well with people and that I was adept at organising, as well as juggling multiple activities
Describe a typical day for you.
I am up early and scan my messages for anything urgent that has arisen overnight. I prep myself and start my commute, planning my activities and what the team has on the agenda.
Working for Simon Kimble, the Executive Chairman who is leading Clarion’s business development, my day can change as easy as the flick of a switch – where I have to leave the traditional work and turn my attention to letters of intent, non-disclosure agreements and bid deadlines.
What are the most challenging aspects of your job?
At times there are so many demands coming in on my Directors time, coupled with confirming global travel, only for another priority to arise – and I have to re-do the jigsaw and get everything meshed again.
And what are the most enjoyable aspects?
Once your Directors have confidence in you and your decision-making process, and you have established a good working relationship, you are generally free to manage your workload. It also helps having a great boss and company too, which in 2017 was voted ‘the most respected company of the year’ and in 2018 ‘the most influential company over the last 25 years’ by the Association of Events Organisers.
What piece of technology, or service, could you not live without?
Technology has evolved greatly and I’m like many people, I’m sure, who would say that their smartphone is the one thing that they would miss the most. It’s a direct communication device, a camera, diary, and access to knowledge available on the worldwide web.
Plus it’s pretty handy for checking out your next pair of heels!
The industry is heavily weighted in favour of the female gender and we should be opening up the area to men too – similar to how air cabin crew have changed.
If you weren’t a PA, what would you be?
When I was young I thought about being an air hostess then I realised I did not like flying, so I guess I would have been a lawyer or something in the legal field. Not as exciting as my current life.
Are you a member of the PA Life Club and/or any other PA groups? And if so, what are the benefits, in your opinion?
Yes, I’m a proud member of the PA Life Club and getting to meet other PAs gives me an insight of the work required in different sectors, widening my horizons and learning industry best practices.
What do you think the PA community needs to do more of as a collective?
The industry is heavily weighted in favour of the female gender and we should be opening up this area to the male sector too – similar to how air cabin crew have changed.
In this issue of PA Life, we’re looking at all things to do with Christmas. Give us your top three tips for organising the office Xmas party.
• The venue and entertainment are the key here, as a place without any soul does not get the party off to a good start.
• Timely notice for everyone to make their arrangements as it is always a very busy period.
• What food and drink is there and what space is there for mingling?
How do you relax after a busy day in the office?
I like to listen to a bit of music to clear my mind as I jog around the lake, followed by browsing and catching up with the world news before finally falling asleep with a good book.
With thanks to Europa International for styling this photo shoot!
Creatively Crackers Customer Service Connoisseurs = the Europa International team. The ‘go to’ events industry furniture hire firm of choice since 1961; with 30,000 items in stock, they can deliver what you want, whenever and wherever you need it!
Photography: Dave Willis