Once again the quality of nominations received for Super Achievers PA of the Year 2014 award has been outstanding. There is some amazing PA’s out there showing a resolute dedication to their career and the role of the PA and whittling the entries down to just 3 finalists was extremely tough. Let’s meet the final three…

Dalya Bernstein

Dalya Bernstein stepped in to an administrative role to give herself a sensible backup plan just in case her dream career as a musician did not work out, overcoming challenges through night school, she now manages assets in excess of £65million and is top PA to an entrepreneur. Dalya proves how career dreams can change and with hard work and perseverance new ones can be achieved.

Dalya remembers initially struggling to switch the computer on in her very first admin role! To overcome her lack of experience she attended evening classes to develop practical skills and obtained qualifications to make her more efficient and knowledgeable in her role. Her hard work paid off and Dalya was soon promoted.

Working for a surveying company as a booking coordinator, Dalya continued to study and gain yet more qualifications and before long her dedication proved itself when she secured a role as an internal PA and gained great job satisfaction amongst continuous praise from her director at the time.

In order to continue progressing and developing herself professionally Dalya soon found an exciting new PA opportunity, but unfortunately the company entered into administration and she was made redundant not long after. Quickly realising that the economic crisis and a fast paced and competitive PA industry meant there was a real challenge ahead, Dalya felt her CV lacked up to date PA credentials and would struggle to secure a good role in the industry. Fate, resilience and determination, however, allowed Dalya to land a fantastic role as a Travelling PA for an entrepreneur; a role which has continued to provide great experiences for her in both a professional and personal capacity.

Dalya thrives in her role as a PA, and has embarked on further training to ensure she is constantly developing and evolving her skills. She currently manages assets in excess of ‘£65M, and her role also includes organising the Directors work schedule with Engage; a not-for-profit organisation challenging Islamophobia within politics and media, amongst many other responsibilities.

Dalya recently achieved PA of the Year – Executive PA Magazine/ Hays PA 1st runner up award and is regularly requested to present her story and achievements to other PA’ s countrywide. Dalya says she is truly passionate about her career and hopes to inspire other PA’s to set and achieve their career goals. Dalya really feels she has achieved so much, but her desire to always be a better PA will continue to keep her motivated and strive for continuous improvement.

Anel Martin

Anel Martin fell into her profession rather accidentally. It was a question of being at the right place, at the right time with the ideal personality and desire to learn new things. Now fully immersed in her career and the industry alike, Anel is at the forefront of several initiatives which aim to develop PA’s and revolutionise the face of the profession.

Anel Martin says; ‘Being a PA is something that comes naturally to me, I am wired for this profession. I did not choose my career, it chose me!’

Although Anel had no formal training as a PA she managed to secure a job in a large multinational company very early in her career. This proved a very steep learning curve as she was expected to work on the same level as PAs with decades of experience. She explored ways of developing herself and in the process was able to create an online platform within her company to assist new PAs and those who wanted to brush up on their skills or get tips on how to progress in the role.
Anel considers herself to be very focussed and disciplined and finds that keeping motivated has never really been difficult for her. Being a creative person who loves social interactions has given her a great deal of opportunities within her profession, all of which she has fully embraced.

Anel was approached to enter the National Office Professional of the Year competition in 2009 and made it into the top five. In 2011 Anel was the title bearer of PA of the Year in South Africa and had the privilege of serving as the Head of the Academy of Excellence; she is now currently working as the PAFSA (Professional Association for Secretaries and Administrative Assistants) President. Anel feels these opportunities have greatly enhanced her life.

Anel said; ‘the main thing I’ve learnt during the last five years is that you need to take big leaps of faith. Take on opportunities that scare you, they are often the most worthwhile and rewarding.

Being able to serve in her profession and help other admin professionals not only motivates Anel but helps maintain focus when things get tough. Anel is involved in International Year of the Secretary and Administrative Assistant 2014 (IYOTSA), and feels truly blessed to be part of the PAFSA initiative which is taking the world by storm and set to change the face of the profession forever.

Anel hopes that in the future she has more opportunities to travel and present on PA matters in other countries. Developing other office professionals is definitely very close to Anel’s heart, and she feels blessed to have had the opportunity to present in Kuala Lumpur and London in 2013, and very excited to be presenting in Paris this year. AneI also aims to complete her first book in 2014 called ‘PA 2.0 ‘ “Upgrade Yourself’.

Teely Webb

Teely Webb had built up a bank of transferable administrative skills and excellent customer service knowledge which she felt was an ideal grounding to becoming a successful PA. Overcoming personal and financial hurdles whilst climbing the career ladder and striving to improve her prospects, Teely was determined to succeed and, although quite new to the profession, with hard work and professional training is now a successful PA for a university.

Being divorced early on in her career, meant Teely had an extra incentive to succeed, as she wanted to fund her daughters’ education and be a good role model for her girls so they could understand the value of hard work and perseverance. She credits this as her main motivation.

Teely says she continuously doubted herself and her ability to have a successful career, having underachieved at school and the doubt was present every time she put herself forward for a role.

Her current role as a PA at the University of Surrey brings many challenges and Teely notes that some of the biggest professional challenges to date she has faced include working on the creation of the Centre administration, working on a three-day international seminar for high profile academics and executives, and a VIP Launch Event, as well as co-writing the Centre’s Health and Safety strategy. Teely wholeheartedly embraced these projects alongside her main roles and responsibilities as a PA and Centre Administrator. She said “I want to be the best Personal Assistant possible for my manager, and for myself. I have an eye for detail and design, crucial skills for a modern PA where presentations, events and office management all require flair and thought. Being a PA today is where I can bring these qualities together to make my job rewarding and interesting”.

For the future, Teely is aiming to become an EA and eventually work abroad and now has a mentor who she believes will help her achieve her career goals. She recently passed an accredited Certificate in Professional Administration programme and strives to continue developing herself by networking with motivating and talented professionals in the industry. Teely feels other professionals in the industry have inspired her and shown her what great accomplishments can be achieved, and she herself hopes to inspiration others too.

Teely whole-heartedly believes that PA’s and EA’s bring huge benefit and value to their employers and organisations and wishes to continue supporting her manager in the best possible way, whilst seeking ways to push herself and her career forward.

Teely won the prestigious ‘Newcomer of the Year 2013’ award at the Executive PA magazine / Hays Awards, having only been a PA for 9 months. Teely said ‘It was an honour to be awarded, and at the same time, very humbling to be ranked among the finest in the profession.’