“Technology will never superscede a first class PA,” says Hays – and last year’s Scottish PA of the Year agrees
‘Cyber assistants’ and apps that can talk back to you might have a place in today’s business world, but they will never replace the role of an experienced and loyal PA (personal assistant) or executive assistant (EA), says Scottish PA of the Year, Kelly McAulay.
Following a busy year of personal appearances throughout the UK, McAulay is quick to defend her role as EA to three senior executives at William Grant & Sons Distillers, as she gears up to be on the judging panel for this year’s award in Glasgow in May.
“There’s been quite a bit of press recently on the advance of apps and other technology taking the place of real people, but an app isn’t able to multi-task, quickly analyse situations and manage a team – which is what I do every day,” she says.
“In recent years the role of a PA has changed greatly. Today’s PAs take on much more than a support role, and are increasingly recognised as experts in their own right, providing senior level support and significant value to organisations.”
Originally from Motherwell, McAulay was chosen to win the award for her loyalty and passion, her proactive networking and for being a great ambassador, both for her company and for the PA profession.
Since winning the award, McAulay has been invited to speak at PA events all over the UK, on the judging panel for two national PA awards, and recently been asked to sit on the national advisory board for the UK’s Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA), a new organisation set up to support and advance the industry.
McAulay will also be a speaker at this year’s awards, which are part of the Scottish PA Network Conference in association with Hays, alongside keynote speaker Melba J Duncan, a New York-based international speaker and author, and founder of The Duncan Group.
“Entering the Scottish PA Network Award was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I would encourage anyone to do it, as it’s given me opportunities I’d never dreamt of.
“How far you want to take a role as a PA or EA is, I think, based on your ambition and the level of involvement you wish to have in an organisation. But it’s also very much about the quality of the relationships you have with the people you work with. I decided I wanted to get more involved and become more of a ‘business partner’ to my executives, not just a ‘business support’. So I took a greater interest in the company’s strategic objectives and was soon asked to take the lead on developing and implementing more high level tasks. It’s a fantastic career and every day is different.”
Roddy Adair, director for Hays PA & Secretarial in Scotland, points out that research from Hays shows that over nine in ten (93%) of PAs say their boss couldn’t do their role without them. “The role of a PA is now seen as an aspirational career path for graduates and new entrants into the profession. They can command competitive salaries and are often seen as an aide and a trusted advisor to their boss, managing their own teams of staff and projects. It’s very different from the stereotypical, purely administrative role of years gone by.”
This year’s Scottish PA Network Conference and Award takes place at the Glasgow Crowne Plaza Hotel on May 13 and will include a day of speakers, networking and workshops aimed at celebrating and recognising the invaluable role that PAs and EAs bring to the world of business.
PAs can nominate themselves for the award, or can be nominated by their employers. The award will be judged by a panel from the Scottish PA Network and Hays. The closing date for nominations is March 31, 2016.