I get to plan and organise and get paid. Amazing! Seriously, I feel assistants are so important to any business, and they add real value. I honestly feel that I make a difference and make things easier for others every day, which is a really nice feeling.
Having worked at a Zoo for 17 years, the list is endless, but not many I can share I’m afraid!! In 2019 Chester Zoo was heavily involved in introducing some Black Rhinos into the wild in Rwanda. It was a complex project with parties from various countries involved. I was fortunate to play a part in that, behind the scenes of course, but still very much involved. When talking about my job I always say I could be working in any sector, so the fact I get to be the EA at Chester Zoo is a real privilege.
I’m the EA to the CEO, supporting him day to day but also involved in the bigger picture stuff, like delivering the Zoo’s Strategic Development Plan and our Conservation Masterplan. It’s an exciting time at Chester Zoo; we have lots planned. I also support our Chair and Board of Trustees, who govern Chester Zoo, as a registered Charity.
I consider myself an empath, with emotional intelligence, which I feel is a vital skill. I’m very solution focused and like to get things done and ticked off. I also like to think I give balanced views and opinions on situations, which my boss appreciates (most of the time!).
Network, network and network some more. Having people in similar roles who you can check in with and bounce things off is really helpful. The best way to create those contacts is by networking. It may sound scary, but just know everyone feels the same when starting out. Take the leap, you won’t regret it.
I have reminders for pretty much everything. It’s basic but it works. We also use rolling business cycles for all our Board and Committee meetings, to ensure nothing is missed. I constantly update these, as things change and develop, which I feel really helps.
Honestly, I think we all struggle with this. Assistants are involved in so much, a lot of which is changeable at very short notice. My plan for the day very rarely pans out. I’ve made the decision not to give myself a hard time about it. Being adaptable is a key skill.
Goes without saying that it is incredibly important. I’ve been exceptionally lucky and had excellent relationships with all the Exec’s I have supported, however not two relationships are the same, and they all need work.
When working with a new Exec, I always start by explaining that I can only add value if I know what’s going on, what the priorities are, what issues need to be dealt with. I need to know the short and longer term plans. It’s vital that information is shared. I feel if I have an insight in to the bigger picture and the goals, then I can help and support.
I genuinely was over the moon. I was thankful to be recognised.
I guess the first word that comes to mind is proud! I take real pride in my work and like to feel that I go the extra mile a lot of the time (just like most assistants). I consider myself really privileged to work for Chester Zoo, representing the Charity Sector.
I’m fortunate to have an incredibly supportive team, so they were all delighted for me. Can’t wait to have my award sitting on a shelf in my office ☺.
That’s an easy one – the people! There are so many wonderful members in The PA Hub, so to be able to meet and chat with them at events and also on social media is great; they are a real support. There are also some real characters who make me laugh so much.
We have a newly formed Business Support Team at the zoo, made up of some incredible PAs and Assistants which I now manage. I’m really looking forward us all working together to develop our skills.
Meet our Merseyside PA of the Year Runner-up