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Behind every successful executive is a hardworking PA

Suzanna Locke has written an article titled, ‘Behind every successful executive is a hardworking personal assistant’ for The National. In it she interviews Helen Clarke, the personal assistant for Sir Richard Branson, the founder of the Virgin Group.


Below is a snippet of the Q&A:

What’s the most important skill to have in your job?

It’s important to have a sense of humour, especially at work in a hectic environment. Work hard, be flexible, have fun and laugh at least once a day. If you know your job, everything else will fall into place.

What are your most common duties?

Going through and answering all of Richard’s emails with him. He gets a ton every day and he likes to keep on top of them as much as possible; he likes everyone to get a response.

Do you have to travel much?

The logistics for our hectic schedule – I travel with him constantly – are ongoing and changing most days. Organising this is a joint effort between myself, Richard and the various teams we have around the world.

Do you help organise his personal life, sports and hobbies too?

His personal life is mixed in with his business life so, yes, I organise that with him as well.

Delegating is often hard when you are a manager – how good are you?

Richard is a good delegator and I like to think I’ve got better at it. I’m always learning.


*The original interview and article are by Suzanna Locke. Read the full feature here: