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London South Bank University PA Summit

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LSBU PA Summit: by Natalie Richardson, Executive Assistant at London South Bank University

As a C-suite EA currently supporting the Chief People Officer and four HR Directors at London South Bank University, I am always looking for ways to develop and enhance my role and to support others, so I wanted to create something for the internal PA Community. I am passionate about ensuring equality for the PA Network and giving them the same opportunities that make them feel valued. Voted ‘PA of the Year’ in 2018 for PA Life and a top 10 finalist for PA of the Year (Secs in the City) in 2021, I continue to be a member of many external PA Networks, gaining knowledge and insight from other organisations and share this back to the team at LSBU Group.

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LSBU PA Summit participants

I recently completed a ‘mini-MBA for Executive and Senior Assistants’ with Your Excellency, https://www.yourexcellency.co.uk/, where I wrote a business plan and created an Administration Strategy. This included a proposal to put on an event for the administration community within the LSBU Group.

I am pleased that the event became a reality on Friday 12 August 2022, where I designed and facilitated a dedicated PA Administration Day, the ‘LSBU PA Summit’. This was held at the LSBU Southwark Campus, for the PAs and Administrators across our Group. With a focused group of 12 attendees, it was a brilliant day of training and wellbeing, with an element on career development.

Lindsay Taylor from Your Excellency attended in the morning to deliver a session on managing time effectively and provided certificates for Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and a raffle prize. The afternoon consisted of presentations of some of the career development options available within LSBU, including Apprenticeships presented by Norma Gall, and the Behavioural Framework presented by Samantha White, both who work at the University. Case studies were also presented of Administrators who have progressed within the organisation from administrators and assistants to team managers and project managers.

This was a useful reminder of all the development opportunities available to the PA Network – work shadowing, coaching, mentoring, getting involved in projects and networking. A campus tour followed with an afternoon reception, to highlight a) the spaces at the University that can be booked internally for meetings and events, and b) the catering team who provided the refreshments throughout the day.

Alex Bush, Chief People Officer, confirmed that the Executive and Senior Management teams endorsed this event and added: “This is a really good example of someone who has taken the opportunity to develop themselves and, in the process, has given something fantastic back to the organisation which has benefited all admin staff and beyond. Natalie has shown great initiative and leadership in what should now be used as a model for “added value” learning and development”.

A testimonial from an attendee also said; “A well organised and eye-opening event which was helpful in gaining an understanding of other PA’s approach to the role.  Whilst we work together all the time it was nice to sit down and share best practice.”

With attendance from Lambeth College, Schools, Professional Service Groups, and new incoming staff, I endeavour to make this an annual event open to all Administrators across the LSBU Group and thank my Senior team and colleagues for all the support I have received in bringing this event to fruition.

natalie.richardson@lsbu.ac.uk