In the latest of our Q&As with PA Life Summit speakers, we sat down with PA and seasoned speaker Yvette Pearson to discuss her career path, industry trends and advice for aspiring PAs…
Tell us a little bit about your career to date and what your current professional focus is?
I started my career as an office assistant at age 18. I worked my way up in my next role at a global investment bank where I was for nearly 6 years. I left there having moved into a Business Manager role which saw me supporting the COO team on more operational things, rather than administrational. I left there because I wanted more of a work/life balance. I went to work in Asset Management and onwards from there to start-up.
I now work for a different start up, where I joined to help set up all of the operational processes and procedures about 4 years ago. As the company grew and changed, as did my role and I now run our Business Intelligence team. One of the things that I am responsible for is working out how we can use our data analytics to help improve the business. My experience at the company from the start has really helped me understand how it works and what implications my recommended changes will have on the rest of the company.
What do you believe are the benefits of attending the PA Life Summit?
It’s important to network with people with similar roles, and learn from those who have had different experiences. It’s incredibly valuable to know that there are other people out there who are going through the same things you are, and dealing with the same issues.
If you had not taken the career route to become a professional in this area, what would you be doing right now?
When I was at college, I was preparing myself for a career in law. I wanted to study law and I think I would have ended up as a solicitor or something like a barrister’s clerk. But seeing where I am now, I wouldn’t change it for anything and I’m really glad that I didn’t end up going down that route.
What topics do you believe will be trending within this industry over the next 6 months?
I think there will be even more emphasis on mental health and the importance of getting a work/life balance. I look forward to the day that calling in sick because of a mental-health reason becomes socially acceptable.
What are the biggest challenges facing the industry right now?
One of the biggest issues is the fact that we are all trying to pre-empt what the industry will look like. We are trying to “future-proof” our careers, when, in reality, this is impossible. We need to focus more on the present and less on what the future might look like – technology is moving so quickly that we don’t actually know what it is going to be like. All we know is that we need to be adaptable, and learn.
And what are the biggest opportunities?
With the explosion in start-ups, there are massive opportunities to get involved in high growth companies who are expanding. Roles will become available to us that traditionally we wouldn’t have the required experience for. However, being involved at the start, means that we understand how the company works much more then we have in the past, and therefore more job opportunities will become available, in areas that we never thought we would end up working.
What has been the highlight of your career so far?
Being given the opportunity to do the role that I have now. The management team all convinced me to move over into this role, despite me not having the confidence to do it. The fact that they believed in me enough to take a chance made me really proud.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
Understand how your company makes money. If you know that, you will be well on your way to understanding how the company works, and how your role impacts the company’s objectives.
And what advice would you give someone looking to forge a career in this industry?
I would recommend that anyone wanting to join this industry should meet and connect with as many people as possible, with the aim of getting a mentor or two. You don’t know what you don’t know, but there are plenty of people out there who do.
Yvette will be giving the opening keynote address, Body Language in the Office, at the PA Life Summit on September 30th, exploring how in an office environment, it’s incredibly valuable to understand some key body language signs when dealing with managers, subordinates, peers, colleagues or external clients.
The PA Life Summit is a must-attend event specifically designed for senior and board-level PAs who want to find solution providers and discover innovative opportunities to help respond to the daily challenges of their professional lives.
Register here to secure your place – If you book early, your registration, refreshments, lunch and seminars are completely free!
Are you an industry supplier? Those attending the PA Life Summit are senior and board-level corporate bookers, with considerable purchasing budgets and the authority to spend them.
These delegates are actively looking to make new connections whilst reviewing their current suppliers – You could meet up to 24 of them.
For more information, contact Charlotte Russell on 01992 374080 / firstname.lastname@example.org.