Real Careers: Proud Moments 4

Celebrating Admin. Professionals’ Accomplishments

This week, we’re shining additional light on career accomplishments in which Real Careers alumni take pride. Here’s our fourth installment, with a range of accomplishments to applaud and celebrate. 

Blanchette, NIcole - CanadaNicole Blanchette, Canada:  I’m proud to have reached the level of President and Board office operations. I really enjoy the work and the relationships I have made. I’m also particularly proud of achieving my CAP-OM (Certified Administrative Professional, with a specialisation in Organisational Management) certification with the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). I wear my credentials proudly.

Cookson, Bonnie - EnglandBonnie Cookson, London, England: I was a finalist in Executive PA Magazine’s PA of The Year annual award. These awards are great recognition for all of the hard working EAs and PAs across the UK, so getting to the final six was a career highlight for me!


Debbie Grimshaw, Audenshaw, England:  I helped to drive a £2.7M project refurbishing a building of 45,000 square feet. The project involved the creation of an innovative, sustainable and inspiring office interior, a new server room, conversion of a warehouse into office space, and the construction of a 100 seat conference centre and bistro area.

Following the 2011 tsunami and earthquake disaster, I was a member of a working group who organised “Japan Day”, a fundraising event. We engaged our business partners in the sponsorship of a commemorative book for presentation to our company President in Japan.  Ccontributions raised from the fundraising efforts amounted to a total of 96,000 Euros, which was donated to the Japanese Red Cross and assisted the people of Japan.


Koark, Sofie - SwedenSofie Koark, Stockholm, Sweden: At my old job as Executive Assistant at a large retail company, I had the idea of getting the license for theHello Kitty brand (trendy at the time) and designing Hello Kitty watches. I pitched it to my CEO and ended up being the Product Manager for the brand (I said yes), along with my role as EA, with sales in own retail chains and export in 12 countries – which brought in big profits. I learned a lot.

In my current job, I am very proud of the fact that we are now hiring Executive Assistants to our Managing Directors and Branch Managers, which shows that I have proven the value of the role to the company.


Le Poidevin, Helen - GuernseyHelen Le Poidevin, Guernsey, England: In July this year I was promoted to a Senior PA role, which was an achievement for me as it proves how far I have come over the past six years working for PwC. I am proud of this, as I worked hard to get to where I am today. My colleagues were very supportive of my ambition to be promoted and gave me some great advice and feedback. My confidence has grown since my promotion, and I am enjoying my role.

I have completed a Level 3 Certificate in PA & Administration course, which I found relevant to my role and very helpful. This has led me to continue my studies, and I have just started a Pitman Executive diploma which has 12 different modules.


Marshall, Catherine - USACatherine Marshall, Marathon, Wisconsin, USA: One career accomplishment I am proud of is that I have reached my goal of being an Executive Administrative Assistant. This was realistically the next step for me once I graduated from college, and I thought I would be searching for a longer period of time or need more experience. Instead, I was sought out for the position I am currently in. It felt great to finally hit what I had been working towards for years. It felt surreal, and it was an adjustment from other positions I had been in.

The second accomplishment I am proud of is that I have created a network of like-minded, career driven, and supportive individuals. Essentially, I developed a network of mentors to help me along my career path and give me good advice. The challenging part of this was listening when sometimes I wanted to do things my own way, and trying to see the bigger picture. Once I was able to see the bigger picture, taking and following good advice was a benefit in my career.


Moeser, Cindy - CanadaCindy Moeser, Ajax, Canada: When I look back, I’m most proud of the fact that I took risks in my career. When I was starting out in administration, I learned that many of the EA positions required five to seven years of experience; I had worked in similar roles but needed a break in order to get my first EA job. I was working at a mutual fund company as a Regional Sales Coordinator, and in that role, I was performing all of the typical EA responsibilities (travel, calendar management, expenses, events, etc.). Unfortunately, it was not recognised as formal experience when applying for EA positions.

I started to look for roles that would give me other skills and started working as an Office Coordinator for a media company. This was a leap of faith and it paid off. About a year into this role, they required an EA for their VP of Corporate Sales and I got the job! They told me they could see the passion and eagerness I had for this opportunity. I think you need to take risks to get what you really want in this life.


Painter, Rosy - Devon, UKRosy Painter, Exeter, England: I have been asked to mentor one of my PA contacts, which is a privilege.  I’m pleased to know that someone values my opinion, and to be able to put everything I have learnt to good use.  It is also a good excuse for me to reflect on what I have achieved personally.



Angela ParkerAngela Parker, Ludwigshafen, Germany: I originally completed an apprenticeship as a hotel clerk, and worked a year before moving to the US with my husband. Upon our return to Germany and 18 months after the birth of our first child, I got my start as an assistant through temping. On my first assignment I walked into the interview and told the HR Director of the company that I had little to no experience. I got the assignment anyway and, at the end of my three months there, my manager wanted to keep me for good. Since the works council of the company did not consent, I moved on to my next assignment.

As I had lived in GA for two years with my husband, I was instrumental in selecting the location for the new US sales office of a former employer of mine. I did all the research, recommended a suitable location in South Carolina, established contact with the local chamber of commerce and other agencies. The new location turned out to be a great success. Since my job requires me to deal with a lot of legal matters, I recently attended a three-day-seminar on international contracts. I was the only participant without a law degree, but I held my own and at the end of the seminar, the professor who gave the seminar complimented me on my insight and pointed remarks. 


Pinchin, ChristabellChristabell Pinchin, Dartmouth, Canada: There are a couple. I had a vision of moving to a Paperless Board Model and made it happen. It was a project that I started shortly after joining the College, and it unfortunately didn’t get much lift off. A few years later, I tried again and despite being told by a number of people that it wasn’t going to work, I persevered. We are now in our fourth year of being paperless and it continues to be going strong.

In December 2014, I was asked to work closely with the Executive Director, Corporate Relations (my boss) to create a Risk Management Framework for the College. The Board had given the College four months to report back with this work. A small team was formed and we worked day and night to develop a Framework, Policy and Crisis Communication Plan. The feedback from the Board was overwhelming. The work continues, and is guided by the Framework that was developed.


Sheehy, Melanie- EnglandMelanie Sheehy, Cheshire, England:  For me, just being a working mum and seeing that I am achieving my goals at work but also seeing that my boys are happy is an accomplishment. The other accomplishment is seeing how far theManchester PA Network has come in five years – and to finally say we can recognise PAs in Manchester with the Manchester PA of the Year awards.


Thwaits, MicheleMichele Thwaits, Johannesburg, South Africa: I have more than two (if I may share). I matriculated top of my class as Duxe Scholar. Very proud of that achievement. Becoming a finalist in Office Professional of the Year in 2006. Finalist in PA of the Year 2013, getting to being PA to CEO of a company (this was on my goal list for many years and I finally got there in 2004), becoming chairperson of the Career Committee for PAFSA (Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants), member of the Academy of Excellence, working on the IYOTSA team in 2014, being a part of a team working on the new Blueprint that’s in draft form at the moment. Getting my coaching certificate and recently getting my certificate, through my company, for Project Management Essentials. All very proud moments for me, and I keep pushing and driving myself to do better.

As a result of reaching finalist status for OPSA and PAOTY, speaking engagements, training engagements, facilitation of seminars/conferences and chairing conferences now form part of my extra services I provide over and above my daily work. Writing articles has now also become another one of my goals.


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