On Wednesday 25 April 2012, I attended the MacKay Hannah Executive Secretaries and PAs in Scotland 5th Annual Conference.
It was, for the most part an enjoyable day and as it seems to be difficult to find things aimed at the PA (which is why I started this blog in the first place!) I thought it would be good to write a brief review. In short – parts of the conference were completely excellent, whilst others not so good.
A PA can be a solitary job, and I certainly felt that way when I arrived at Murrayfield to register. However, I quickly found a new pal (whilst rummaging through my goodybag!) and settled down for the morning’s session.
The morning covered off probably the most interesting topics and covered sessions on leadership, communication and assertiveness, being indispensable and social media.
I particularly enjoyed the session on communication and assertiveness by Isobel McEwan (Innovation and Creativity Consultant, THINK global innovation management) as she had started off her career in 1977 as a PA and could relate how her experience as a PA had helped shape the business woman she is today. One phrase that stuck with me was that “growing old was mandatory but growing up was optional”! It really struck a chord with me as I’ve been feeling my age a bit recently!
I also REALLY enjoyed the social media session by Martin Jordan (Marketing Director, Equator). I must admit that working in social media from my job I was really sceptical about how much I could learn from this session but it really opened my eyes. I guess I’ve been working on my output of social media for a while and this session was all about THE output of social media and how the PA can use it in everyday work scenarios. I hadn’t really thought about that before – and although I do use social media a lot, I never really do things like Twitter searches to find out information – this is something I’m going to change and use more to assist me in my PA role.
Lunch was lovely – the conference had organised an exhibition which whilst ridiculously girlie (soap, cupcakes, nails etc) kept the break nice and light. Whilst chatting with my colleague we both noted that our bosses could have attended the morning session and learnt something.
The afternoon sessions were the let down of the day. One session from Stevenson college on Office Management – which seemed very much to be a lesson for a 16 year old learning to work in an office (at one point the speaker suggested we kept a task list to keep organised!) and one *relaxation* session. Whilst I understand the intentions of the organisers, these sessions were far too basic and actually slightly patronising. With the morning session so strong - it was a real shame and something I’ll be passing on to the organisers as feedback
All in all though, I loved the day! It was a welcome break from the office and I really felt like I learned things and reminded myself of others:
- I may be alone in the office but I’m not alone – there are lots of lovely PAs out there
- Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional
- If you don’t use your training, you’ll lose it
- Social media is not just about you and your circles – it’s everywhere and is valuable research information
- Always have a Plan B.
If you went, and have comments, or have any questions about the day, please do comment below.