Finalists have been announced this week for the second annual Yorkshire PA Awards, which will highlight talent across the Yorkshire. The event, taking place on 30 June at The Pavilion, Leeds United Football Ground, will be headlined by May Pang, former Assistant to the late Beatles star John Lennon.
May will join Yorkshire-based network The PA Hub, who have showcased their well-connected PA community at events across the North over the last three years to celebrate rising star talent and lifetime achievements for Yorkshire PAs, with past speakers including Frieda Kelly (The Beatles Secretary), Donna Coulling, PA to many stars including Helena Bonham Carter and Rachel Weisz and Howard Webb, World Cup Referee.
The PA Hub has been presenting the region with show-stopping speakers and international figureheads for a specialist – and often overlooked industry – at events solely in the North, taking the industry out of its southern comfort zone, and for the first time building a Yorkshire network of peer-to-peer support and vocational development.
Support for the PA industry is growing, as too is recognition by businesses across the North. Internal training and acknowledgement of the specialist skillset of this sector are coming to the forefront and it is these elements that will be the focus of the awards as the winners are revealed later this month.
Beginning her career as an Assistant to one of the world’s most infamous musicians, May was working for Apple Records in New York when she was asked to work with John and Yoko on their short-stay projects in December 1970. From there, her life changed – a typical day could be anything from 13 to 24-hour shifts, sometimes seven days a week.
On presenting at the awards, May comments: “I’m honoured to be addressing such an incredible audience of highly talented, powerful business women who strive to develop their careers personally and to support the business goals of their employers; it’s what being an Assistant is all about.
“Whether you have a high-profile employer or are part of a start-up, your role is the same; you have to apply common sense, logic and be quick at thinking on your feet to assist in making things work for your company or boss. It’s a difficult industry as no two days, jobs, or people are the same, but rewarding in seeing businesses and the people you support grow – it definitely was during my time spent with John.”
Marion Lowrence, Director of The PA Hub – organiser of the Yorkshire PA Awards – says: “The level of talent, expertise, success and hard work is overwhelming, as were the number of entries for this years’ awards. I’m in awe of so many talented men and women across the region, who really are flying the flag – not just for their role as an Assistant, but for Yorkshire business, which is stronger now than it has been for some time.
“PAs are the backbone of many companies and it is about time that companies and bosses really recognise the skills required to just ‘make things happen’. PAs work hard behind the scenes, so very often difficult issues and potential risks have been eliminated before there is something to sort out – because that is what the role is all about – supporting and assisting for success.”
This year’s top award winner ‘Yorkshire PA of the Year’ will be presented with two Aer Lingus return flights to New York from Leeds Bradford Airport as part of their prize.
Marion continued: “More often than not, PAs put the hard work into managing executive travel and all of the last-minute requests and changes that occur based on the requirements of their executives – this enables executives to be where they need to be and therefore helping their businesses to grow. No doubt a challenging role. We’re pleased to be able to provide some R&R time to Yorkshire’s PA of the Year.”
The Yorkshire PA Awards glittering black tie event promises to be a fantastic celebration that will recognise the best in the Yorkshire business scene. To enquire about table bookings and to attend the event, please visit thepahub.co.uk/yorkshire-pa-awards-2016/tickets/.