PA Life Editor Amelia Walker took the stage this morning with a panel of established PAs from around the world to discuss “The PA Job Title: What’s in a name?” in front of a packed Keynote Theatre at office*, which takes place today and tomorrow at ExCeL London.
The panel featured Amy Marsden, EA to the CEO at Earthport; Heather Baker, international Trainer Heather Baker from Baker Thompson Associates; Executive Coach Libby Moore, former Chief of Staff and EA for Oprah Winfrey; and Janice Anderson, EA at Odgers Berndtson.
Some excellent points were brought up during the session, such as the varying job titles for assistants within organisations and in different countries. Amy, who has worked for a largely American company, has found that the US has different names for assistants than the UK, while Janice, who is from Australia, says she has noticed variations on job titles as well.
Even with so many different ways of calling someone an assistant, the age-old perception of them as “just secretaries” who sit around waiting to take notes is still prevalent. All of the panellists agreed that changing the way people see assistants starts from within the community. PAs around the world need to stand up for themselves and speak up about the kind of work they actually do, which is often more aligned with a management role.
A full write-up of the discussion will be published in the May/June issue of PA Life, so keep an eye out for your copy if you missed the eye-opening session.