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Newport PA scoops top title

A Newport PA is celebrating having been crowned this year’s Park Plaza Wales’ PA of the Year. Following an unprecedented level of entries from all

across Wales, seven finalists were shortlisted with the winner announced at a ceremony hosted at the four-star Park Plaza Hotel in Cardiff city centre. Forty-two year old Julie Monkley, from The Gaer, beat off

stiff competition to take the title and as well as the honour of being declared PA of the Year, also received prizes including the opportunity to study for the Executive Plus Diploma with a bespoke training package that would otherwise cost £5,500 to undertake; a trophy; a weekend break at any Park Plaza Hotel, along with one year’s free membership of the Institute of Professional Administrators (IPA). Julie, who has worked at Tredegar Park-based Lloyds

Banking Group General Insurance for the last 12 years – the past three and a half of which spent in the role of PA – said she was delighted to be honoured in this way. “I was both surprised and very flattered to be nominated

and even to make it to the final was already a great achievement for me so to be declared overall winner is absolutely fantastic. “I thoroughly enjoy supporting the financial director in his

role, and also the wider team. “Every day is different and I love the challenges that such

variety can bring. I’m delighted that the FD feels I am worthy of such an award and over the moon to have walked away with this prestigious title.” Sixty-two year-old Sue Langsford from Malpas, PA to South

Wales Fire and Rescue Service Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Rod Hammerton came highly commended in the category. In another Newport success, Kath Asson, of Newport-based

Acorn, one of the largest recruitment and training agencies in Wales, was highly commended in the Up and Coming PA category.

Laragh Cresswell, 37 from Bwlch, PA to Miriam Warner, founder

of Abergavenny-based Miracle Workers Agency, a live-in care provider

How long have you been in your job and how did you get here? I’ve been working with Miracle Workers Agency for almost two years. I came to the agency from a very different career in the television and film industry. I worked as a production coordinator for 12 years on dramas such as Monarch of the Glen, Tess of the D’urbervilles and Lark Rise to Candleford to name a few. I also managed the Beaufort Polo Club for a year when taking a little time out of film. I moved home to Wales and was looking for opportunities to occupy my time. My mother was at a drinks party with Miriam Warner, the company owner. That meeting resulted in a part-time position helping out in the office. After a week Miriam suggested she needed a full-time PA. I assumed she meant that she would like to advertise for one and it took me a day or so to realise that Miriam was actually offering me the role! I’ve been there ever since.

ability to organise and ‘fix’ where appropriate. Discretion and diplomacy are key skills – information being

dealt with by a PA will often be highly confidential so trust is a big issue. One of the main things we see in nominations put forward

by bosses when recommending their PAs for our award is that they really feel they couldn’t cope without the assistance their PA provides – knowing that things they don’t need to be bothered with will be dealt with efficiently. So, from drafting internal emails to organising the AGM

or an international conference, the role of a PA is certainly diverse and individual responsibilities will depend on the nature of the organisation – and the demands of the boss! Adaptability, professionalism, excellent people skills, the

ability to cope under pressure, organise, show initiative and generally get the job done with as little fuss as possible for maximum effect – that is what makes a good PA.

Best bit about your job? It is hard to choose a best bit. Every client is unique so no two days are the same.There is a massive amount of job satisfaction in providing a service that gives our clients back their independence and allows them to be cared for in their homes where they feel most comfortable. We have the opportunity to really enhance the lives of our clients, and I am proud to be a part of the company. It helps to work for a team that are all equally committed to providing a good service. I spend a lot of time with everyone as part of my job is to coordinate them and the office has a great feel to it.

Worst bit? Not having enough hours in the day!!

Strangest request from your boss? I often walk Mrs Warner’s dog Blackjack, who comes to work with Mrs Warner every day, which I suppose is not strictly typical in a PA role. I really enjoy the opportunity to leave the office and clear my head, plan things out and get some fresh air. I would never have been able to do that in my old job in London.

Three words which describe you in your role? Organised, discrete and active.

THEbusiness QUARTER 25

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