"We are honoured to be able to highlight such incredible stories, across a really varied set of professions and showcase those who are striving to achieve."
Finalists in the PA of the Year category of Pitman Training’s SuperAchievers awards have been announced, after hundreds of nominations from across the globe were submitted to the business superbrand.
The UK’s leading independent training provider, Pitman Training launched the SuperAchievers Awards to show anything is possible and to help reward people committed to driving their careers forward in a bid to inspire more of the British workforce to strive for more. The ‘PA of the Year’ award is for someone who perfectly showcases the dedication required to achieve a high level of excellence in their field.
Gemma Walton from Leeds was delighted to find out that she is one of the 2019 PA of the Year Finalists. Gemma became a PA after graduating in 2006, taking inspiration from her mum who was an Assistant for over 25 years.
For Gemma, being a PA allows her to combine her organisational and administrative skills with a love of providing support to others.
However, her career has not been without its challenges. In 2009 and still relatively new to her career she was made redundant from her role, which prompted her to consider changing career, as during the recession, PA positions were difficult to find, and she had become somewhat disenchanted with the profession.
Gemma showcased her tenacity and gave herself six weeks to find a new PA role before considering other avenues, treating her search like a full-time job, working from 8am to 5pm every day on applications, CVs and, interviews. In week five, she secured a position as PA to the Directors at Yorkshire Water and over the coming years was fortunate enough to fall back in love with her job and achieve things within her roles she never thought possible. She recognises now that had she changed career when she was tempted to do so, she would never have started down her current path, had so many amazing experiences, and worked with so many fantastic people along the way.
In 2015, she took the decision to pursue her long-held ambition to own her own business, and there began Portfolio PA, her Virtual Assistant service.
That she is making a success of the business is testament in the nomination received from one of her clients, Andrea, who said of Gemma; "For Gemma, good enough is never enough. She strives to be and give of her best. She is supremely organised, focussed and she cares about doing things well to her own exacting standards. She 'eats' work and her turnaround time is simply phenomenal."
Andrea also said "As her client I think she's a hero and I couldn't do without her. I wish we could clone her."
The hard work and dedication that Gemma has put into her career has received recognition. In 2018 she won Yorkshire VA of the Year, and she won Best PA in Business in both 2016 and 2017 at the Yorkshire PA of the Year Awards. Now, as she continues to set herself new goals and she will be launching 'VA Academy' this year, a coaching and mentoring programme for aspiring VAs.
Andrea completed her nomination by saying "Gemma's story shows what is possible with drive, determination and disciplined application of talent. As a high achiever Gemma has personal credibility within the PA/VA World. She has a phenomenal track record and through her training business she is positioned as a thought-leader in the VA space. I know she will use this platform to responsibly inspire and influence the next generation of PAs about how to run successful businesses, maximise their value and contribution to the success of the client businesses they become embedded in, whilst also achieving the holy grail of optimal work life balance. A tall order and she'll do it!"
When asked why she would like to win this award, Gemma said; "I am honoured to have been shortlisted for this award, and would love to win as I am truly passionate about being both a PA and VA, and about providing the most efficient, proactive and conscientious service possible to the individuals and businesses I work with, to enable them to be their best. I feel that the role of the modern Assistant goes far beyond 'tea and typing' - the opportunities are endless, and with the right attitude and approach, the ability of Assistants to add value in their organisations is uncapped. As I grow my VA business and training further through 2019, I hope to encourage and enable other PAs to move the benchmark even further for our wonderful profession!"
Claire Lister, Managing Director at Pitman Training Group, said: “We are honoured to be able to highlight such incredible stories, across a really varied set of professions and showcase those who are striving to achieve. Each year, I look at the entries submitted, and it inspires me to see what people are achieving in their careers through hard work and ambition.”
Voting online via Pitman’s website is now open for all finalists (http://superachievers.pitman-training.com/index.php) Public vote closes: Friday 22nd March and the winners will then be announced on Friday 29th March.
Winners of the SuperAchievers Awards will not only gain international recognition of being a SuperAchievers Award Winner, they will also receive an engraved award and a cheque for £500 and a voucher for a distance learning course of their choice.
Pitman Training offers flexible, tailor-made courses and qualifications with one-on-one student support in subjects including Office, IT, Administration, Finance and Business, which are recognised by employers. The team also offer free career clinics and CV advice.