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    EXECSec Summit delegates have their say

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    Participants at this year’s two-day EXECSec Summit have spoken to media partner PA Life about how useful they found the event. Mandy Brown from DHL International describes the set-up of pre-arranged appointments with suppliers as “much better [than the traditional trade show approach], as you’re not just milling around.


    “It also avoids getting into an awkward conversation with anyone, when you realise it’s not what you’re looking for,” she adds.


    Leanne Graham from ACEVO, the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, was looking for stationery and travel suppliers and Penny Martin of Johnson Matthey wanted to source venues for conferences and was also interested in corporate gift providers.

    Bethany Fovargue was seeking providers of “things that are that little bit different” and enjoyed a chat about a white-water rafting activity; she was also keen to hear from venues outside of London, as her company, Data Interchange, is based in Peterborough. “I’m enjoying the fact that I get to sit still and they [the suppliers] have to come to me”, says Crossrail’s Kathleen Drum with a smile.

    Folami Prehaye of the Milestones Trust comments on the educational nature of the summit: “It’s very informative… I’ve spoken to a lot of people and they say they’re finding it really interesting.” In a nice twist, Folami had originally booked the two days off as annual leave, but when her boss realised what type of event she would be attending, she was happy for Folami to take the time off for training purposes instead.

    The participants were full of praise for the seminar programme that ran concurrently with the pre-scheduled appointments, with Abigail Sangster from Instant noting that the presentation on Excel given by Pitman’s Shilpa Wymer was full of tips of which she wasn’t previously aware. Meanwhile, Claire Sinclair-Stedman, who works at law firm Ashfords LLP, commented on the talk given by Deborah Shaw of the Association of Celebrity Assistants and said how interesting it was to hear Deborah’s story of how she had got to the career position that she holds today.

    The forum also gave participants an ideal chance to network as a peer group and that’s vitally important, according to Hoare Lea’s Claire Harrington, as “often we don’t have a support network in our own offices and it’s good to deal with like-minded individuals.”

    One thing all the delegates agreed on whole-heartedly is the fact that the event is such a hugely worthwhile use of a PA’s time out of the office. “It’s invaluable [given] all the knowledge I’ve gained and the contacts I’ve made,” remarks Teely Webb from the University of Surrey/BP, adding that she can’t wait to take all of this new-found information back to the office.

    Watch the video for yourself at forumevents.co.uk/forum/ExecSec-Summit/upcoming-events-execsec-summit.html

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson