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Victoria Darragh is an award winning Executive Assistant with over 10 years' experience working in the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors. A Fellow member of the Association of Personal Assistants as well as a member of the Institute of Professional Administrators, EUMA and the Global PA Network, Victoria regularly presents at conferences and companies across the UK and Ireland, Europe and internationally. Victoria recently won an award at the Mayfair PA Awards for 'Outstanding Contribution to the PA Profession' and has a wealth of experience in creating internal and external PA networks and  working with top companies in the UK helping them to achieve this.
Victoria is extremely passionate about the role of the PA and actively encourages it as a truly fantastic career choice.
Lucy Brazier is CEO of Marcham Publishing, specialist publishers of Executive Secretary and The VA Magazine - global training magazines dedicated to the professional development needs of senior and aspiring administrative professionals. As editor of the magazines, Lucy works with some of the best trainers of Executive Assistants in the world to deliver the most up to date and current training in the market. Lucy runs a LinkedIn group for assistants which currently has over 11,500 international members who share information, network and learn. A sought after trainer in her own right, Lucy regularly speaks at and chairs conferences & webinars all over the world.
She collaborates with trainers including Susie Barron-Stubley, Sue France, Julie Perrine, Melba Duncan, Dewoun Hayes, Eth Lloyd, Dr.
Outside of work Nicky enjoys all aspects of the Barcelona sunshine but when it gets slightly too hot you can find her at the cinema or in the shops. She has worked as a Legal PA for the past 15 years in a variety of Entertainment companies including Sony Music (PA to Director of Business Affairs), MTV Networks Europe (PA to SVP Business Affairs) and the BBC (PA to Head of Independent Drama).
Alison took a year-long career sabbatical in 2006 to live and work in Oslo, Norway as an English teacher and in her spare time is writing her first novel. Katie’s role working for Jacqueline is quite extensive and has grown in recent years to include people management, business project management and also the leadership of the (small but mighty!) Ann Summers internal PA network. Laura began her career in marketing, and was lucky enough to work on a number of Britain's best loved brands, including Wall's Ice Cream, Flora margarine and everyone's favourite spicy snack- Peperami! Her active involvement on a range of company-wide initiatives earned her the promotion of EA to the CEO. Having worked in various administrative roles for 11 years and being raised in a family run guest house, Sherien brings a wealth of knowledge and adaptable skills to the PA role. Sherien is an award winning PA whose achievements include being awarded PA Newcomer of the Year.
Allan has built a network of very talented and successful partnerships across Europe, along with running his own consulting & coaching business in the last 10 years, with Innermetrix being at the forefront of this Journey. A dynamic Training & Development Consulting specialist with extensive Management experience working with leading bluechip Companies. Ability to communicate effectively at all levels of an organisation has been pivotal to success. Gilly gained practical management experience in finance, sales, marketing and training in a variety of roles at Midland Bank, Mars Confectionery and Kettle Foods. A lively, approachable and impactful presentation style makes Gilly a popular and sought after speaker. Mel Sherwood is a pitch and presentation specialist who prepares ambitious entrepreneurs and business professionals to take centre stage, embrace the spotlight and present with more confidence, credibility and conviction. Few people understand the importance of looking after high-profile figures than Joan Serafini. I am very involved with the tech community in California, and as such host, organize, and attend numerous industry events, dinners, and functions. There is no question that most attendees are quite intelligent, educated, successful, and articulate. Operators are skilled in running companies, and are always looking to find better ways to accomplish what they need to. Leaders, and there are few of them, have the ability to listen actively and engage in meaningful dialogue.
Leaders will try to help, guide, advise, mentor, and make introductions if and when they can. Developing such skills, and level of confidence is no easy task, and requires both talent and effort. I know far too many successful, bright executives with poor interpersonal skills who are disliked, and are only tolerated only because of their positions.



About Ivan NikkhooIvan Nikkhoo is an experienced tech entrepeneur, investment banker, and venture capitalist focused on emerging technology companies. With access to the most forward thinking, passionate and knowledgeable trainers in the world as well as personally meeting and speaking to literally thousands of PAs over the last two years, Lucy’s knowledge of the market and what Assistants all over the world are facing on a day to day basis are second to none.
She also launched adminchat in January last year – a weekly free training session presented on Twitter and hosted by a different world class trainer every week. This year alone she will have delivered training in the US, Canada, South Africa, Moscow, Milan and of course the UK. Monica Seeley, Marsha Egan and Bonnie Low Kramen as well as organisations including Pitman, OfficeTeam & Hays. Lucy has previously worked as a Publishing Director for Wilmington PLC, and has managed a team based in Singapore, New York, Germany & London responsible for 13 magazines, 12 international conferences, awards, trade show attendance and marketing for EMAP. Nicky blogs about her experiences and knowledge which has grown over the last decade working her way up from a Junior Administrator through to an Executive Assistant and Marketing Manager at a global events company. Aspects of her PA roles have included drafting record deals for world-famous bands and working on the annual MTV Europe Music Awards. Within three months she had been promoted to PA to the Chairman, CEO and CFO, and in addition to her PA duties was appointed to a number of projects and forums. As the most senior assistant in her company, Laura now manages her own assistant and works to expand and promote the roles of other PAs within ELEXON. Since winning she has really enjoyed presenting to PAs at numerous conferences and events in both the UK and internationally.
Sherien currently works as a PA to four directors, the Chief Executive and provides secretariat support to the Board of Trustees of a charity organisation. This has brought with it a vast amount of opportunities which she has taken full advantage of, networking and encouraging Scotland based PA’s to go for awards, connect with each other and share ideas. Certified Professional Behaviour Analyst, Professional Values analyst Attribute Index Analyst. With a strong business background and interpersonal skills, Gilly is an enthusiastic and knowledgeable trainer and developer of people. With speeches full of helpful tips and practical suggestions that audiences love for their immediate benefits, Gilly’s approach is enjoyable, frank and very memorable.
She is a multi-award winning speaker, trainer and coach and the founder of Grow Your Potential, which specialises in supporting individuals and organisations to design and deliver winning pitches and presentations. The first was providing technical support for physiology and neurosciences departments in further and higher education, across Edinburgh. For the first time in their history, Assistants are starting to get the recognition that they deserve as strategic business partners and not just as a support mechanism. Such events provide an opportunity to meet new people, spot trends, and gain insights into the markets. What is immediately and clearly obvious is the distinction between self promoters, operators, bean counters, and of course, the leaders, and it is all in their communication and interpersonal skills. Their egos supersede their skills, they only take meetings that have a direct benefit to them, and treat people according to what the direct impact they can offer.
They like other operators, smart people, and often think more tactically than strategically.
For this small group of people, the difference is in their approach to dealing with other people, and their ability to communicate and connect with others. They are more interested in building relationships, a communities, echo systems, and creating a better environment for everyone.
As Jim Rohn said, “Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know.” I remember taking a communication class in business school, but it focused on writing skills, not relationship building, active listening, or being inquisitive. Out of ignorance, or lack of interest, they do not see any value in showing any interest in others, except for when it is profitable for them to do so.
He is an Adjunct Professor at the USC Marshall School of Business and is a very active investor.
Other companies worked for include The Times, The Independent, Centaur Communications and Glass's Guide. Nicky has experience working in a variety of industries including accountancy, banking, insurance and in the public sector.
Laura is also a passionate member of several different PA organisations and is very proud to be a Board Director of the Association of Personal Assistants.


Laura is always keen to connect with assistants that also share her love of the PA profession and she feels that the highlight of winning PA of the Year has been the opportunities it has provided to meet and learn from so many different PAs from around the world. Previous to this Sherien worked in such roles as Secretary to a group of Consultants, Marketing Assistant for an Architect firm, Facilities Coordinator for a construction company and Purchase Ledger for NHS Legal department just to name a few. In addition, Gilly has developed and grown Priority Management in Glasgow with year on year growth; her high standards and expectations throughout the business from administration to delivering training have resulted in a significant market presence. By introducing people to new working processes and by leveraging existing IT, productivity and performance improvements are immediate, tangible and measurable. Her concept of an event management company seemed to fit in well as another arm of the organisation.The success has come from spotting the possibilities of business events and trips, to and from Scotland. This involved designing and developing practical teaching materials at a time where technology was developing. They are also a fascinating venue to observe the different styles and skill sets of the attendees, which generally consist of successful entrepreneurs, super angels, VCs, and industry executives.
As John Powell said, “Communication works for those who work at it.” This is what differentiates everyone. Their interpersonal and communication skills are their differentiation, and are not dependent on the “who”s and “what”s. Ivan has run and been an advisor to tehnology companies for over thirty years, and has helped many companies through their growth and lifecycle challenges. She has worked for a number of high profile organisations and Executives in both London and Barcelona. Sherien realised that she wanted to be a PA early on in her career but knew she had a long way to go before being considered for such a role and natural progression in hand with determination and hard work would get her there. History of successful delivery of a wide range of training solutions within blue chip organisations.
Gilly now has a first class team working with her to deliver the Priority Management programmes. She has to organise possibly the most glamorous event ever to hit Scotland.She was the Scottish co-ordinator of the Braveheart film premiere in Stirling, liaising with BAFTA, 20th Century Fox and essential services, such as local police, to ensure the evening for the event went smoothly. She has worked on computer aided learning for both Medical and Veterinary graduates and developed interactive practical programmes using video technology. They celebrate and recognise the role and its importance while encouraging Assistants to take control of their personal development, and drive their own career agendas.
I usually prefer in person meetings if possible, because as Charles Dickens said, “Electric communication will never be a substitute for the face of someone who with their soul encourages another person to be brave and true.
Nicky plays an active part in the Assistant community and has written many articles for high level industry publications, presented at events, webinars and trade shows. As well as several science qualifications she has the Training for Trainers Certificate and joined the Institute of Trainers in 1993. Since then she has gained a Certificate in Social Science, with a special interest in Scottish Politics, Equalities and Scottish Law. In 2002 she became a Quality Scotland accredited EFQM assessor and a Fellow of the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufacturers & Commerce (RSA). This move was planned, having found she spent a great deal of time volunteering, training and developing youth organisations. She worked for the National Bible Society for Scotland, developing teaching programmes for schools across Scotland – including remote rural communiites. This work involved high-tech computer simulations and often travelling back in time 2000 years, 3 times a day! This company has expanded in 2007 and focuses on Training trainers and organisational development. For the last 7 years, Sheila has worked for the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), and now works part time for them assisting the sector access rural funding.



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