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    Lindsay Taylor gears up for PA Life Training Day

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    Lindsay Taylor, Senior Training Partner with the IAM and Director of Your Excellency, will be delivering two interactive and informative sessions at the next PA Life Training Day, which takes place on 14 November at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. We recently caught up with Lindsay to get her opinion on the PA industry and what attendees can expect to learn during her seminars.

    • What led you to become a PA/EA?

    I went through my school life not really knowing what I wanted to be “when I grew up”.

    My ideas changed with the seasons! In the spring of ‘82 (aged nine) I wanted to be a nurse – I loved to help people and make them feel better. But then I realised that I became quite faint at the sight of too much blood, so that wasn’t really going to work was it?!

    In the summer of ’85 I considered a life in the forces (my father was in the RAF) – but (rather ridiculously and dare I say, incredibly shallow) I changed my mind when I saw the clompy shoes that were part of a female officer’s uniform (how embarrassing to admit such a thing). My love of non-clompy shoes continues…
    Ideas of being a speech or occupational therapist followed in the autumn of ’89 – but I was put off by the length of time it would take me to study and become qualified. At age 18 I was fiercely independent (I still am!). I wanted to be out there earning my own money so I ignored my teachers’ advice to sit the Oxbridge entrance and chose to study a Secretarial Diploma at Oxford.

    Growing up in a forces family where we moved every two years meant I had developed a knack for having to quickly create rapport with people and I was mature and confident at communicating. I believed I already had the foundations of skills that I needed to be a great PA and I secured a fabulous PA to the MD position fresh out of college.

    • Tell us about yourself and your background.

    My PA career lasted 12 years. My love of travel (born from my forces upbringing) continued and I was privileged to be relocated to Chicago in the US as a PA for a couple of years. I have also lived in the Loire Valley in France, where I developed a love of wine, champagne and chateau (I dream of living in a castle complete with turret and doing a “Rapunzel Rapunzel let down your hair”-esque re-enactment one day!).

    I have two children. My son is 18 and an aspiring golfer. He is taking a year out of education to help us in the business before winging his way to the US on a golfing scholarship in 2018. My daughter is 10 and an absolute rainbow whirlwind of energy (genetics has a lot to answer for I tell you!).

    I have one soul mate of a husband whom I met at 18 and married at 20. Our household in the beautiful Bedfordshire countryside also consists of five chickens who delight me with fresh eggs every day.

    In 2007 my husband and I set up Your Excellency and I specialise in delivering training and coaching to PAs across the world. My background as a PA means I have first-hand experience of the diversity of the role and the inevitable challenges faced by the profession.

    • Can you give us a glimpse of what you’ll cover in your talk?

    I’m delighted to be sharing two 45-minute sessions on behalf of The IAM. As one of their Senior Training Partners I have spent the last few months developing materials for the IQ/IAM Level 3 and 4 PA qualifications that will be delivered from early 2017.

    The sessions: “The Problem-Solving PA” and “Decision Making Made Easy” are, in essence, extracts from these qualifications. My style of delivery is fun and down-to-earth. I aim to deliver learning that is practical and instantly useable, so once you’ve got the new skills and know-how you can put them into practice with immediate benefit.

    • In your opinion, what are the current three most important challenges a PA/EA faces?
    1. People – they can be a challenge – particularly some of the strong-willed management team members you are likely to be working with! A great PA is able to create and maintain rapport with everyone they meet and work with – they need to communicate effectively, with discretion and tact, and recognise that one way of working with one exec may not necessarily work with another. Of course, being able to switch from working one way to another within the space of a few minutes can be exhausting, so resilience and a sense of humour are vital I believe!
    2. Workload – many of my PA clients are juggling the demands of more than one executive. They need to be adept at prioritising workload, able to maintain boundaries and say “no” professionally, remain calm under pressure, apply problem-solving techniques and make decisions quickly and effectively.
    3. Dispelling the misconceptions of what a PA does and educating the world as to the value we are adding – see below!
    • Where do you see the job going in the short term? Longer term?

    I think we are in a period of change; there are huge misconceptions and preconceived notions about what a PA does or doesn’t do. The PA is in a hugely influential and privileged position – working alongside senior management they are privy to confidential information and are leaders in their own rights.

    As a community, we need to do all we can to dispel the misconceptions of the profession and educate everyone about what we are doing and how brilliantly we are doing it! Continue to do this and I believe organisations will recognise the value a PA contributes to the success of their business. As organisations invest in PAs, we may see a shift from PAs working with multiple executives to more PAs working in true partnership one-to-one with a single executive. And truly working one-to-one means you can become more of a strategic business partner.

    • Why is an event like PA Life Training Day important?

    Any event that pulls together PAs under one roof to learn from each other, to share best practice, to network and to reflect on their profession is always going to be of huge benefit and importance. PAs are going to leave the event with fresh ideas, motivation and inspiration.

    • What advice would you give to PAs/EAs?

    Recognise the value you are adding to your organisations and be proud of your profession!

    • Which associations and professional bodies are you a member of?

    I am a member of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM) and a Senior Training Partner with them.
    I am also a member of the Association for Coaching.

    • Tell us about your new book.

    I wrote my first book A-Z Pearls of Wisdom for Executive PAs at the end of 2016 – that’s something I’m really proud of, as it’s receiving high acclaim from the both the business and PA community.

    PA Life Training Day takes place on 14 November at the Grange Tower Bridge Hotel. A full day of sessions costs £295 + VAT, or you can book a half day for just £175 + VAT. PA Life Club members are entitled to a 50% discount on a full day of training. Places are limited, so book soon to avoid disappointment. To find out more or to book your place, visit palife.co.uk/training-day

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    Molly Dyson

    Former Editor – PA Life

    All stories by: Molly Dyson