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for administrative & office professionals

Volume 29 Issue 3

Could you be a risk taker

Interview with PA of the Year 2016

10 ways to get a pay raise The little jar of happiness PLUS Secretaries Day Pictorial Review

Communicate better with your boss


Contents 04 News and Reviews Updating you

06 Key Feature Are you a risk taker?

10 Interview

Spotlight on Cathy Harris

12 Tips

5 tips on how to be an excellent co-worker

14 Work Trends Reality Check

16 Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body The little jar of happiness

18 Life-time Achievement Award Presented to René Potgieter

21 PA of the Year Award Carine Daniels interview

26 Annual PA Summit Photo Review

33 Coaching Class Communicating with the boss

34 International Gurus Meet Angela Garry

36 Meet a Member Welcoming Kaylene Bell

38 Career Feature

10 of the best ways to get a pay raise

40 Last Page

Contributors Leigh-Ann Smith has been a Personal Assistant for almost 20 years and worked in 3 very different industries. Aviation, Security and now the Health Care sector. She loves her job, and more importantly she loves her role. The industries she has been involved in are mainly at High Executive Level. This means tons of pressure and very little room for error, but it happens.

Lauren Leon, counselling psychologist, graduated cum laude from the University of Pretoria (MA UP). She works as an associate at Psychologists Centurion, an independent private practice. She did her MA research on sport performance, focusing on athlete’s abilities to perform in discomfort. Since then her interest in performance has grown to all performance contexts – in relationships, in business, in academics, in sport. The topic of risk taking has many parallels to the theme of performance.

M i c h e l e Thwaits has many years of experience as a PA and has been actively involved in training and speaking engagements since 2007. Michele is very active on many forums within the PA profession, and regularly contributes articles to various magazines and online publications. HELEN REES's role at Marwell includes providing all aspects of PA support to the Chief Executive, Finance Director and Director of Conservation, as well as to the Chairman and Board of Trustees (including several subcommittees). She is part of the 5-strong intranet project team and also co-ordinates the workplace choir which has been running since 2012. In 2015 Helen founded the South Hampshire PA Network, a cross-sector informal network of PAs, EAs, VAs and Office Managers In October 2015 Helen was selected as one of just 6 finalists in Executive PA Magazine’s PA of the Year Awards, and in November she won SecsintheCity’s Social Media PA of the Year Award. Association (EPAA).

Test your wits

For contributor contact details please email anamaria@dictum.co.za

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Ed’s memo The profession that inspires! Let’s be honest – what other profession is as exciting right now than the secretarial/admin one? Known as secretaries, PAs, EAs, Admins – depending often on the country one lives, or the organisation – who better is on the cutting edge of what’s happening!!! Doing a worldwide search, it seems that events for this profession are getting better and better, and there is no better news than this. More people are waking up to the fact that PAs have long moved on from a passive role to a hands-on involved role alongside the decision-makers. That is why, this year PAFSA chose the theme for its major event of the year – the annual PA Summit in September – to be: Be the Game Changer. The time is spot on to highlight that PAs can feel empowered to introduce changes where these apply and are relevant.

Editorial Editor-in-chief Ana-Maria Valente anamaria@dictum.co.za Assistant Editor Susan Engelbrecht

Admin/Advertising Director Ornella Trinco ornella@dictum.co.za Advertising/Marketing 011 616 7401 careersuccess@dictum.co.za Head: Finance & HR Guida Morais finance@dictum.co.za

I think this repositioning of the PA as an active agent within an office is critical to changing perceptions around the profession.

Subscriptions & Client Liaison subs@dictum.co.za

This edition of Career Success is full of inspiration and really good brain fuel. A big thank you to my assistant editor, Susan Engelbrecht and all the contributors.

Graphic Design design@dictum.co.za

The Company

Enjoy it! Ana-maria

This edition’s FOCUS feature

CareerSuccess is published by Lazuli Communications (Pty) Ltd Gauteng, South Africa Tel: (011) 616 7401 Fax: (011) 616 3244 E-mail: careersuccess@dictum.co.za www.dictum.co.za Opinions expressed in any article do not necessarily reflect on the publishers. All submissions to CareerSuccess are subject to editorial change to suit the style of the magazine. The right of reproduction of any article or other matter published in CareerSuccess is expressly reserved.©

CareerSuccess is the official mouthpiece for PAFSA. www.pafsa.co.za

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


news and reviews

Have you heard of this book - Death by Meeting? Death by Meeting, by Patrick Lencioni focuses on a cure for the most painful yet underestimated problem: bad meetings! And what he suggests is both simple and revolutionary. Leoncini says we should be having four distinct meetings on a regular basis. These include: The Daily Check-in is an administrative meeting that should last no more than five or 10 minutes. The purpose is simply to keep team members aligned and to provide a daily forum for activity updates and scheduling. The Weekly Tactical is what most people have come to know as staff meetings. These should be approximately an hour in length, give or take 20 minutes, and should focus on the discussion and resolution of issues which effect near term objectives. Ironically, these work best if there is no pre-set agenda. Instead, the team should quickly review one another's priorities and the team's overall scorecard, and then decide on what to discuss during the remainder of the meeting. This will help them avoid wasting time on trivial issues and focus only on those issues that are truly relevant and critical. The key to making these tactical meetings work is having the discipline to identify and postpone the discussion of

more strategic topics, which brings us to the third kind of meeting. The Monthly Strategic is the most interesting kind of meeting for leaders, and the most important indicator of a company's strategic aptitude. It is the appropriate place for big topics, those that will have a long-term impact on the business. These issues require more time and a different setting, one in which participants can brainstorm, debate, present ideas and wrestle with one another in pursuit of the optimal longterm solution. Each strategic meeting should include no more than one or two topics, and should allow roughly two hours for each topic. The Quarterly Off-Site Review is an opportunity for team members to step away from the business, literally and figuratively, to reassess a variety of issues: the interpersonal performance of the team, the company's strategy, the performance of top-tier and bottomtier employees, morale, competitive threats and industry trends. These can last anywhere from the better part of a day to two full days Visit: http://www. tablegroup.com/books/ dbm for very useful info.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

Never practice selective hearing Some people - I guarantee you know people like this -- are incapable of hearing anything said by someone they feel is somehow beneath them.

and make all of us, regardless of our position or social status or "level," feel like we have something in common. Because we do. We're all human.

Sure, you speak to them, but that particular falling tree doesn't make a sound in the forest, because there's no one actually listening.

These two tips are extracted from an article: 10 Ways to Make a Great First Impression.

Listen closely to everyone,


Get people to answer your E-mails 5.

Write shorter emails – More than six lines? Split it up.

We all get a lot of email. If you want someone to respond quickly, don’t write a note that requires more than a few seconds to read. Yet some simple techniques can help massively improve your ability to get people to take action on your important emails. And they will appreciate it, too.

6. Multiple pieces of important information? Make a quick bulleted list.

Do not write in CAPITALS.

8. End with an action request.

7. Do not request delivery and read receipts.

1. Take care with abbreviations and emoticons.


2. Use a subject line strategically. 

This is a précis of an article written by Myriam Balerio, founder and writer of PA Privé.

3. Ensure you are spelling your contact’s names correctly. 4. Read the email before you send it.

Tell them if your request is urgent or timesensitive.



ensable in p s i d n i f l e s r u o y e k a How to m the workplace According to recent figures released by Statistics South Africa (Stats SA), South Africa’s formal sector shed 15 000 jobs in the first quarter of 2016. Gross earnings also declined by 4% during this time, dropping from over R545 million to just over R523 million. Based on these figures alone, it is perfectly clear that the unemployment rate in South Africa is not going to improve anytime soon if things continue as they are, which in

turn paints a dismal picture for South Africa’s economy. Tough economic times, coupled with organisations downsizing in an effort to “reduce costs”, has shown South Africans that it's more crucial now than ever to secure their income if they want to ensure a bright future. This is according to Kay Vittee, CEO of Quest Staffing Solutions, who highlights that if your goal is to secure your salary and your employment,

Be a team player: Always try to bring positive energy to the workplace. If you are not able to bring out the best in others, your boss may decide to replace you with someone who can. Perform every task to the best of your abilities. When you’re given a task, try to deliver it as best as you can. It’s often tempting to complete tasks with the least amount of effort just to take it off your to-do list. However, you never know who is watching. Learn from the best and get a mentor: In most organisations, there are top workers who everyone turns to for advice. They’re the ones who always get things done and meet client deadlines. These individuals enjoy greater job stability and are likely to earn a solid salary.

you will stand a better chance of not losing either if you’re viewed as indispensable. Vittee also refers to the quarterly statistics released by Stats SA, which show alarming figures such as the number of people employed shrinking by 0.2 as a result of the 15,000 job losses in the formal sector. Employment decreased across all sectors, with the exceptions of community services, electricity and

construction. “However, it all boils down to how you ensure that you’re not retrenched and the measures you take to sustain your current income.” Vittee shares a few points that South Africans should keep in mind while trying to secure their current employment, which will in turn secure their income: See tips below

to help themselves, is to network. Networking ensures that you stay in the loop and are visible, which in turn will make you more memorable and valuable. Never abuse your sick leave: It’s fine and acceptable to use your sick leave when you’re sick, but dependable and reliable presence in the workplace is a huge benefit for your long term job security. Be a leader when it’s needed: Be the person who helps people out when they’re under pressure, “dropping balls” or going through a work crisis. Most companies don’t pay overtime, but this should not discourage you from setting a good example. In time, you’ll find that people will simply come to you by default.

Identify and excel in areas where others seem to fall short. Make note of these areas and develop additional skills.

“A South African political party recently claimed that a total of 774 people become jobless in every 24 hour cycle in South Africa,” concludes Vittee. “Be the one of the few who are constantly coming up with new ideas, taking on new responsibilities and always volunteering for projects. This will solidify your position as indispensable.”


More info at www.quest.co.za

Upgrade your skills:

One of the most fundamental things individuals can do

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key feature This year’s annual PA Summit organised by PAFSA was pinned to the theme “Be the Game Changer”. In some cases to change the game, one needs to take risks, so psychologist Lauren Leon asks:

Are YOU a Risk Taker?

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

7 GROUP 2: Routine-based thinkers


isk taking occurs when a person moves out of their comfort zone. An extrovert cannot be regarded as taking a risk when mixing with a group of people. But an introvert doing this will be regarded as taking a risk. Did you know that risk taking is based around thinking preferences and how we comfortably view the world?

For those who have this as one thinking preference:

You can work within strict deadlines and meet deadlines without fail.

You like to gather all the details before starting a task so that you can plan accordingly.

You usually work out a step-by-step procedure to be followed that you can refer to when needed.

GROUP 3: Big picture thinkers For those who have this as one thinking preference: •

You are able to adapt to changing environments without much warning, therefore impromptu presentations or meetings do not upset you.

You prefer to work with few details and little direction.

In general, we can be grouped into four thinking preference groups (Neethling Brain Instrument, NBI) and if we act within our own comfort zone we are not taking any risks.

You are future-orientated and like to strategise and think about the future.

Our thinking preferences

GROUP 4: People-orientated thinkers

Can you identify yours?

For those who have this as one thinking preference:

1. Factual - logical, goal-orientated thinkers.

You are able to be considerate of each other’s feelings.

2. Organised - routine-based, methodical thinkers.

You enjoy working with people and in teams.

3. Spontaneous - big picture, strategic thinkers.

You are good with connecting with others and networking.

4. People-orientated - emotional thinkers. Do note this though! Although we do not solely belong to one group, we have preferences in each group, yet we usually fall within one or two dominant groups. These dominant groups usually influence our behaviour and thinking styles in most situations we encounter, meaning we all have certain preferences and thinking styles which help us approach situations in a familiar and comfortable way. This explains why certain behaviours are comfortable for some, and not for others.

Let’s unpack what they mean As you go through this information, you may find yourself not only getting a better grip on how you go about matters, but also identifying others around you, including your executive.

GROUP 1: Goal-orientated thinkers For those who have this as one thinking preference: •

You are comfortable with confrontations because you are able to look at the facts and remove emotion from it.

You tend to see no grey areas, there is either a right or wrong.

You are able to be direct and honest in your communication.

Risk taking is based around thinking preferences. What taking risks involves Looking at the groups above, you may notice that one or two of the groups’ behaviours relate to how you already prefer to do things, while the other group’s behaviours may not feel as comfortable to you, and you would prefer to not do things that way. We are all different and we all prefer to do things a certain way that is comfortable for us. This highlights that there will be situations, actions or circumstances that we feel more at ease compared to others and vice versa. What we decide to do in those uncomfortable moments has the potential to encourage risk taking behaviour. People who make decisions in their own dominant group are not risk takers, there is no risk in doing what is comfortable or preferred!

continued on next page careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

8 continued from previous page Risk takers are those who make decisions outside of their dominant group’s preferences. For example, a husband who is comfortable in group 1 where he can remove emotions from decision making may need to challenge himself to apologise to his wife to salvage his marriage. His ability to do what is uncomfortable and not preferred shows risk taking behaviour. Risk taking involves learning to be more flexible in borrowing skills from all four groups, when needed, even though it is uncomfortable.

The need for an incentive But why would we want to take risks and make decisions that make us uncomfortable? For us to step out of our comfort zone of preference there must be an incentive, there must be a reason. Whether that is because we want a job promotion or because we want to save our failing marriage, it requires us to step out of our comfortable thinking patterns and behave differently – if our comfortable way of doing it is not producing the results we desire. This requires risk taking because to achieve a goal whether personal or professional, discomfort may occur. The more one learns to be flexible and develop new skills in uncomfortable areas, the easier the risk taking becomes. The more flexible and receptive one is to developing and executing new skills, despite discomfort, the more attainable and realistic goal achievement becomes. It is important to highlight that we all take risks.

If we take risks in our professional realm we can better handle:

Our risk taking behaviour may not seem like it to others with different preferences, but that does not discount that we all take risks at times, for a purpose. Others take risks more often because they have seen the importance of learning how to be flexible to address situations differently. If we understand that each situation cannot be addressed the same way, we start realising the importance of flexibility and continual development. When we learn to step out of our comfortable thinking preferences and develop new skills, we can approach the same situation in different ways.

How to go about it Taking risks by learning how to be flexible and borrowing skills from all four groups is beneficial in almost every area of our lives, especially where we have personal or professional goals. If we function only using our preferences, we limit our skills and possibilities of approaching the same situation more effectively. However, learning and developing new skills from the other groups often comes with the price of discomfort – feeling uncomfortable, being vulnerable by leaving familiarity, increased awareness and the realisation that you can continually do it more effectively. Highlighted below are some of the areas where people can be assisted when it comes to risk-making it easier to approach the same situations differently, more effectively and more strategically:

If we take risks in our personal realm we can better handle:

Conflict management

Family conflict management


Social skills

Team work

Coping with in-laws

Corporate promotions

Marriage counselling


Effective communication

Decision making

Study skills

Climbing the corporate ladder

Career satisfaction


Conflict resolution


Moving away from isolation

Effective communication

Improved relationship satisfaction

Improved productivity


Job match

Decision making

So if you want to take risks, do things differently, you need to change your thinking cap, and view situations and people from different thinking preferences. The choice is yours for the taking. More info on Lauren – see Contributors page. careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016




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athy Harris, Executive PA to Kenny Rabson, CEO of Discovery Invest, was invited to present at the Executive Secretary LIVE London event in London last year.

This global event featuring eight of the world’s top secretarial trainers, handpicked for their exceptional content and delivery included the likes of Peggy Grande, the late Ronald Reagan’s Assistant, Bonnie Low-Kramen, Olympia and Michael Dukakis’ Assistant, Lauren Jiloty, EA to Bill Gates, Ann Hiatt, EA to Eric Schmidt of Google and Vickie SokolEvans from Microsoft, just to name a few.

We asked her to share the experience with us. “London was an amazing experience. Speaking to 350 Assistants from over 27 different countries was beyond fantastic, and a huge privilege. I was humbled by the positive energy and fantastic feedback I received. My topic was ‘The Power of Internal Networks’ which in part, showcased the Discovery PA Centre of Excellence as an example of how successful networks are managed and run by their PA communities. Discovery’s values, when you live them, become a part of who you are as a person, and this passion that drives me, also drives the need to be innovative in the way we, as PA’s can do things better, be trendsetters in the process of the innovation, and ensure we deliver exceptional support.

Spotlight on the

remarkable In this issue we meet Cathy Harris Background on Cathy For her, her role as a PA is not just a 9 to 5 job, but an opportunity to continue to learn, to embrace the changing environment office professionals find themselves in and to uplift the secretarial profession from typist status to that of strategist. “Our roles have changed considerably over the last 2 decades, we need to adapt more intelligently and become collaborative partners with our managers and their teams. Cathy was nominated SA’s National Secretary of the Year in 2006, representing Discovery, and has since committed herself to sharing her knowledge and

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“Over the years I have been invited to facilitate many strategy sessions to help other organisations get their internal networks up and running, and provide guidance as to how to maintain them to ensure longevity. The key contributors are always collaboration and teamwork. We are the managers managing global industry leaders. When a PA isolates herself off from her peer group, she is disadvantaging herself and her manager from the huge support and learning resources available through networking globally. If we can grow and develop ourselves on a continuous basis, we are better able to provide our managers with exceptional support as well. You can always spot the manager who has an ‘up-to-date’ PA and one who has a PA who just comes to work for a salary”.

skills with her peers, not only in Discovery where she hosts quarterly training workshops for the Health PA’s, but also nationally and internationally. She initiated the rebirth of the Discovery PA forum, now known as the Discovery PA Centre of Excellence, which is run by a peer group and co-managed by herself and Susan Engelbrecht; was key in initiating the PA Induction program 12 years ago; coordinated the first bespoke training for the Chartered PA program for Discovery PA’s as well as driving the National Certificate for Business Administration program. Cathy also headed up the SA National Office Professional Awards for over 10 years,

and was actively involved in the OPSA CPD and Designation certifications, a recognized SETA approved initiative. She has been invited to speak again at the internationally acclaimed Executive Secretary Live over the next four years in the USA, New Zealand, Dubai and South Africa. Cathy has written many articles for various secretarial magazines both locally and internationally; has compiled secretarial workbooks and bespoke mentoring programs for the secretarial profession, and has completed the first of 4 anecdotal administrative books namely Mobi-Jane: Self Development and Innovation which is available as an eBook on Amazon.


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tips on how to be an


We asked this year’s PA of the Year finalists to give their views


Alice van der Westhuizen's tip:

Improving working skills at the office go hand in hand with mutual respect for your co-workers; this will also include understanding your colleague’s cultural differences. Never forget each coworker’s efforts and dedication, and with positive interaction between members, they will realise the importance of the dependability on each other. Being supportive in your co-workers interests will give you the opportunity to learn and understand them better. Make an effort to promptly respond to emails or telephone calls; by doing that you are being an example and not only expect your co-workers to give their best, but be an inspiration for them.


Mastoora Ramiah’s tip: A good place to start is good office etiquette. Also, people love to be asked their opinion, so go out of your way to ask, “What do you think is missing from this report?” or “How do you think I should handle this situation with X?” Then give the advice-giver a sincere thank you, even if the ideas are less than helpful. Being someone who is liked, respected and appreciated is not too much to ask for from an individual.

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Tanya de Ponte's tip: To be an excellent co-worker means that you need to treat your co-workers the same way that you would like to be treated: With mutual respect, caring, consideration, helpfulness, collaboration, organisation and good sportsmanship to achieve set goals whilst adhering to the company culture, policies and procedures to meet the general and common purposes, mission and vision efficiently.


Tebogo Ngobese tip:

Avoid gossip, because gossip run amok and can be dangerous and destructive in the workplace. Always discourage negative talk change the subject or get back to work. If you don’t respond, the gossiper will move on and you’ll retain the trust and respect of your co-workers. Productivity is lost, as are good employees who do not want to work in a toxic work environment. Acknowledge people for their contributions and/or achievements to the success of the organisation no matter how small. Because too often, we focus on what people are doing wrong. An excellent co-worker should have a good attitude that should be demonstrated by making lemonade when life gives them lemons.


Tersia Pretorius’s tip: To improve on co-working skills at the office you need to reflect a professional working environment with a good work ethics and a corporate image! Do not gossip! Do not talk loudly while a co-worker is on the phone. Have discipline and respect for your co-workers privacy and for their personal space! Be a mentor and assist and help your other co-workers. But the golden rule will always be to treat people the way you want them to treat you! Be the game changer, because you can be!

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work trends


check We need to be adaptable and flexible to allow trends to flow up and down literally, and also be able to “go with the flow”, says Leigh-Ann Smith


orking trends are very important to identify and implement early – this we know! But what we may not know is that it’s equally important for Personal Assistants to have their own trends in order to have an effective and efficient working environment.

Your Executive needs YOU! Your Executives needs you to be smart, fast-working and totally focused on one of the most important things for them, their TIME. Their time, literally, is money. It must be handled and checked continuously to ensure maximum efficiency in time allocation so the Executive is productive. This can be a very daunting task and is it not always easy to keep abreast with the way technology changes. The key trends in the world right now

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

revolve mainly around technology. Just about everything is electronic and we need to be adaptable to any form of change. This will make working trends easy for your Executive to adjust to if you are on board. Embrace technology, it can only work in your favour. Nothing we do these days is old school style. Upskill yourself at every opportunity.

Become master juggler There will always be very hectic days, where the pace is go, go, go. And there will also be days where you can breathe normally. Your manager will expect you to manage this changing pace, and ensure that you master the busy times requirements. The secret to success here is to ensure that the executive’s time remains effectively used regardless of whether the day is hectic or business as usual.


individuals. Our main function is to run an office efficiently; running the work-life of executives so that they can achieve results.

What is an Effective Assistant? •

Someone who has built a strong working relationship with their Executive will be able to pre-empt their every move before it happens.

Be passionate. Deal with each person no matter the level, with the same enthusiasm. You will get noticed for being friendly and accommodating.

Own the position you’re in. Do everything you can to be on the top of your game, and if something goes wrong, as it does, be Accountable!

of you need to know what is expected. This enables you to be confident of what you need to deliver. Never leaving room for uncertainty.

So how do you achieve this? If you are serious about your role, then it’s quite easy.

In other words, feeling the ‘pulse’ and handling urgent, versus important, versus can-wait-till-tomorrow. It’s all a juggling act, and some days you might not get it spot on, but the aim is to be on top of it before it spirals out of control. You never want that!

The key trends in the world right now revolve mainly around technology Every assistant knows how important it is that everything runs smoothly. In a real world wouldn’t it be awesome if we could just start and end a project without any hiccups. Reality Check!!!! This is not always possible. We are all unique in our style, and it’s up to us, as PAs, to work on a sound working relationship with our executive. This creates a trust bond between PA and manager – which is the key. Both

Be focused

Be informed

Manage the day

Work smarter, be prepared and always be on the top of your game.

Never be afraid to ask a question; the more information you get, the better you are able to fulfil your role.

Keep up to speed with new systems and possible education opportunities that could boost your skills.

Be innovative. Stay in touch with the news, and not only news of the world, but also PA articles etc. Learn to read from your fellow peers experiences.

Build a team with your fellow PAs around you. Back each other. Team work is incredible and it can only benefit any organisation.

The Personal Assistant role has truly evolved. We are no longer just passive telephone-answering, message-taking,copy-typing

There will always be trends that determine certain aspects of your field of business i.e., financial, international event or tragedies etc. All the global type trends will play a role in how we have to adapt. There is always the possibility of outside influences that are beyond our control. We need to have our own coping mechanisms in place to weather the storm when the need arises. We need to be adaptable and flexible to allow trends to flow up and down literally and “go with the flow”.

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healthy mind in a healthy body

would describe myself as a very busy person. I have a full time job as PA to the Chief Executive of a UK conservation charity and zoological park. I support not only the Chief Executive but also the Finance Director, the Director of Conservation, the Chairman of the Board and around 12 other Trustees! I am also a mother of two (my children are now 12 and 10), and wife to a husband who works away from home (200 miles away) for four days a week on a regular basis. I run a regional PA network, and I am also the Trustee for a young people’s music charity in my local area. In my spare time (yes I know, that’s funny) I sing in two choirs (one workplace choir and one regionally acclaimed soul choir), I tend an allotment and somehow try to keep in touch with family and friends. Wow. That’s a lot when you write it down, isn’t it. But you know what? I’m not alone. Not by a long way. We’re all busy. We all try to cram so many things into our lives – and we very rarely stop long enough to think about why we do that, whether we can manage it all effectively without it all toppling over, and whether we are really living life to the full.

Living life to the full means… I’m not sure ‘living life to the full’ necessarily has to mean ‘do as many things as possible all at once’. We need to remember to take time, to really appreciate what we have, the love of people around us, and really enjoy what we do. I am very fortunate: I love my job, I have a very supportive boss and management team, and I have the pleasure of working with some fantastic people in an incredibly rich and rewarding environment. I love Mondays. And

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

The little jar of

Happiness Helen Rees shares her life and her coping mechanisms

Tuesdays. And especially Wednesdays (that’s when we have our workplace choir session)… you get the idea. My kids still recognise me when I come in from work (I get away with working full time because it’s at the zoo – which, even at their rapidly growing ages of 12 and 10 is still, thankfully, ‘cool’). I manage – just about – to remember all the school commitments, the nonuniform days, the school fairs and discos, deadlines (mind you, I do thank the concept of Facebook groups on a regular basis for this, they are my lifeline!). I am reasonably tech-savvy and I have an armoury of apps and tools at my fingertips to help keep me organised as far as possible. I’m not infallible – but I think that’s important to recognise actually – none of us is perfect. We strive for perfection all the time, we are trained and conditioned to succeed. But we must be kind to ourselves. I can get stressed – it only takes a few things – a couple of critical deadlines, an unexpected crisis, getting sick (I have been overheard saying things like “I haven’t got time to be ill!!” – sound familiar?), the car breaking down or one of the children having a meltdown five minutes before they’re supposed to head out in the morning to school (yes that still

happens even now – only occasionally) but that’s life, isn’t it?

Mindfulness I have been known to throw my toys out of the pram in these kinds of situations, but these days I am trying to learn to manage my stress more appropriately. I think it’s about mindfulness. I try to take a few minutes each day just to stop, slow down the pace, and appreciate what I have in my life. We are healthy, we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, car to drive around in, we have good jobs, the children are doing well at school and are growing into delightful, intelligent and engaging young people. We are safe. And yet sometimes it’s all just too much. Sometimes you can’t even put your finger on what’s caused you to feel out of control or that you can’t see a way out of a bad day. That’s stress.

The third place Someone once said to me: “Everyone needs a ‘third place’.” Let me explain – it’s like this: You have your home & family life (that’s one), you have your work life (that’s two), and then you have a third place. For me, that’s music – choirs, singing, orchestras, group music-making of all kinds. I’ve done it all my life. It’s my ‘happy place’. A total escape from everything else I do,

17 I don’t have to think about it, I just immerse myself in it and forget everything else. Your third place could be a hobby, a sport, creative activity – it might be running, yoga, painting, gardening, reading, knitting, you may have pets, it might be going to the theatre, cinema or music gigs, being a home baker or DIY. It might be belonging to a club, an association, organisation or faith group, running a community group or club, or just taking long walks in the countryside or rock climbing. The list is endless. But everyone should have something. The way it works is that your life establishes a kind of rhythm, between these three areas. They all have their part to play in nurturing you as a whole person – intellectually, physically, emotionally, spiritually. Most of the time, if you are ‘in balance’, your three ‘places’ will be ticking along just great – occasionally one of them might trip up (you might for example sustain an injury and not be able to take part in your favourite sport for a while), but as long as only one of the three ‘places’ is affected by this situation, the stability of the other two will keep you going and it’s highly likely you’ll manage to overcome that ‘bump in the road’ relatively easily. However if two out of your three ‘places’ are not going well at the same time, your stress levels can rise and you might feel overwhelmed or that everything is a struggle. Your mind and body could be trying to solve too many problems at once – and that’s difficult. It’s tough to find respite and relaxation if everything seems to be caving in at once. Recognising when things are not going well is an important step. Often we are rushing about not noticing how we are really feeling about our lives, and we miss the clues and signals. Our lives become a blur of activity and

we lose sight of the various elements that make up the whole. If we take time – really make time – to stop and check in with ourselves, just for a few minutes each day, and let our minds pause and take breath, that’s when we can start to take back control and get ourselves back on track. We can start to identify what’s going wrong, and even by addressing one element we can help gain a more positive frame of mind and turn things around. Our ‘third place’ can be a great help here – singing for me relaxes my mind, gives it a breather from work-related decisions and processes, and sometimes I get inspired or come up with a solution to something I hadn’t even considered. Simply identifying a problem that sits within one of those ‘three places’ already helps. Learning to accept what we can and can’t control is another important element of dealing with stress. We can absolutely control our own attitude and behaviours in the world, but the attitudes and behaviours of others are not in our control. Learning to separate these, and not get sucked into other people’s negative habits, is a great and very worthwhile skill. I am also reminded of this oftquoted saying…

Keeping fit I also make time to keep fit – either by walking or running (intermittently since a knee injury a few years ago but I do love to run). A healthy body is much better equipped to cope with the everyday stresses of modern life. If your stress levels become too high or last for a significant period of time without respite, your body begins to function less well – you become susceptible to those little colds or infections that go around, you encounter tiredness or fatigue, and it can exacerbate other conditions such as asthma, eczema or food intolerances. If left unattended, stress can also lead to anxiety and depression. I am no expert in these matters but I have witnessed family members and friends go through tough times and experience these conditions. Every intervention you can make to be kind to yourself, give yourself time, the space to think, heal and just ‘be’, to find something you enjoy and spend time doing it, however briefly, each week, is so important. I have a little jar on my desk – it’s my Little Jar of Happiness. Every time something great happens (a fabulous school report from one of my children, a thank you note from an appreciative colleague, or just the joy I feel when I’ve been to an uplifting choir session) – I write it down and pop it in the jar. On a down day, or during a period of hectic life or tiredness or stress, I sit down with a cup of tea and open the jar to read some of the notes inside. They remind me of joyful times and how important it is to appreciate the good things – however small, however fleeting, but so valuable – we are here but for a very short time on this planet, and we owe it to ourselves and those around us to appreciate that time and treasure it. More info on Helen Rees – see Contributors page.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


special award

Lifetime Achievement


presented on South Africa’s Secretaries day - Wednesday 7 September 2016 to René Potgieter in recognition of a lifetime of selfless service to the secretarial profession in South Africa


he Professional Association for Secretaries and PAs (PAFSA) presented René Potgieter a PA at First Rand, with the first Lifetime Achievement Award recognising selfless service to the secretarial profession. At a Gala Lunch, held at Emperors Palace on Secretaries Day, and in front of 200 peers, Rene Potgieter, was recognised and rewarded for her outstanding contribution to the enhancement of the secretarial profession spanning a period of 28 years. Ana-Maria Valente, head of PAFSA’s EXCO, said: “I have known René for two decades, and always in her capacity of serving or leading committees. She never turns away from an opportunity to contribute of her time or knowledge if it’s for the good of her peers. I have never seen her ask for anything in return, least of all, for recognition – and that is what makes her truly one of a kind. “René is always open to asking for help or advice when she herself needs, and always ready to give it when it is asked. PAFSA is honoured to have her as head of its PA of the Year Award, and honoured to count on her experience and expertise when needed. We salute her, and know that she is the best pioneer-recipient of this Lifetime Achievement Award in South Africa.” The Citation read on the presentation of the Award on adjacent page.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016




ené entered the profession in 1978 when she was 19 years of age and decided this was to her career.This is how her commitment to the profession and not just her career began.

And her role and commitment just kept rising.

In 1988, she saw an article in the newspaper regarding a meeting of the Secretary Club - ESCSA - which was to be held in Tygerberg , being a regional chapter of the Club.

The following year, to no-one’s surprise, she was elected President of the PSA (1999).

This caught her attention and she went to the meeting and met two great professionals, Estelle Engelbrecht and Penny Nel, who inspired her to join as a member. The next year, 1989 the Club’s name was to change to PSA - Professional Secretaries’ Association and she was part of this change. René worked in Grabouw and lived in Somerset West which did not make it easy to always attend the meetings which were mainly held in Bellville/Durbanville quite a distance away. Together with a peer, Magda de Kock, who worked for KWV in the Paarl area, she was instrumental in pioneering the opening of the Boland chapter for the PSA in 1990. During this time she also chaired the secretarial in-house forum at the company she worked at. As a new chapter, getting members was very important and René volunteered to be the membership officer of the first committee. Later, she was elected as vice-chairman of the chapter. It was during this time in the Boland Chapter - and now in the year in the year 1994 - that she got involved in the PSA’s Secretary of the Year competition at chapter level. The following year, in 1995, with her husband René relocated to Pretoria, but before she even left the Cape Region, she was elected as Vice-Chairman for the Pretoria chapter. The following year she was to return to the Cape, but in the capacity of representing the Pretoria Chapter as the PSA was hosting the International Summit for secretarial associations form world-over. This is where she met Ana-Maria Valente editor of CareerSuccess magazine who later founded PAFSA. This meeting was to eventually result in Career Success becoming the mouthpiece for PSA. In the year 1996, she was elected to the Secretary of the Year committee which organised the competition in conjunctions with all the chapters country wide. From committee member she was to be elected the Chair of the committee within one year (1997).

The following year, now in 1998 she was elected as VicePresident of the PSA as a whole.

Her slogan for her presidency was: “If you can dream it, you can do it” (Walt Disney) and this slogan has been her signature inspiration all through the years! In 1999 she was invited to be the guest speaker at the graduation ceremony of the Pretoria Technikon, and to sit on the Advisory Committee for the Office Management and Technology Department, which she was subsequently invited to chair. The same year, she attended the International Conventions and Education Forum in IAAP annual conference in Portland, USA in representing South Africa. She delivered a speech on the PSA before 2000 secretaries/Admin assistance from all over the world. Not surprisingly, she was elected the following year, in 2000, as Honorary Life Member of the PSA and was appointed to the financial committee of The PSA. In 2003, she had the honour of representing The PSA at the 5th International Secretarial Summit which was hosted by The Institute of Qualified Profession Secretaries (IQPS) in London. The summit was attended by 150 people from 18 countries. And her commitment to the profession continues to be outstanding to this day. Despite holding a full-time job all of this time, René contributes to various initiatives and projects. She was the chairman of the committee putting together a Secretary Helpmate She was involved in the writing of the Blueprint for Secretaries She has been a regular contributor for editorial/articles for the A to Z guides for Secretaries and Office Managers She was a member of the first advisory committees for SSETA on the secretarial profession From 2004 to 2006 was chair of the secretarial in-house forum where she worked. In 2006 PAFSA introduced the PA of the Year Award and she was invited to head up the team that organised the award. Subsequently, was officially appointed as Chair of the Award and as the Ombudsman of the Judging panel; positions she hold till today.

PAFSA EXCO careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

pa of the year award


PA at Clicks bags coveted

PA of the Year® Award


arine Daniels, Executive PA to Group HR Director at Clicks received the prestigious title of South Africa’s PA of the Year 2016 on Secretaries Day at a function organized by the Professional Association for Secretaries and Admin Assistants of South Africa (PAFSA) held at Emperors Convention Centre in Gauteng. Carine said: “I am humbled by this special moment of being honoured and awarded with this phenomenal title. A feeling of pride overwhelms my heart to be acknowledged as part of the incredible team of Finalists for 2016, such an outstanding and ambitious group of professionals; we are all winners – Congratulations! “The PA Summit 2016 was my very first interaction with PAFSA institute, its team and members; I was encouraged by the sense of camaraderie and care demonstrated by all. The tremendous sense of pride displayed towards our profession inspired me to build on the foundation of this magnificent empire of professional individuals. I am excited to embrace this amazing opportunity and am looking forward to being a PAFSA ambassador!” On hearing the news, her boss, Group HR Director for Clicks, Bertina Engelbrecht said: “The team and I are thrilled that Carine's value has been recognized by her peers and her professional association. Importantly, this accolade will spur many of our company's professional secretaries to personal excellence. On a personal note, Carine is a confidante in whom I place absolute trust. She manages my office superbly, finding just the right balance between assertiveness and supportiveness. Given my role, it is critical that whoever approaches my office, feels that they can have absolute trust in my PA and I know that Carine is trusted.” Organisers of the Award say that this recognition is critical both for the incumbents of any profession, as well as for the profession itself. Any profession, and the secretarial one is no different, enjoys and benefits of being recognized for the role it plays in the market space, but the professionals themselves benefit far more from the recognition and praise because they will ensure the survival of that profession and its evolution. In South Africa, the PA of the Year Award clearly sets standards; raises standards and elevates the excellence bar of the secretarial and admin profession. “For the past 11 years, we have witnessed the profession’s evolution first hand, and we have showcased the exemplars to the marketplace. This year’s six finalists are awesome PAs, boasting an impressive warehouse of skills. We congratulate all six and salute the titlebearer for 2016, Carine Daniels.” PAFSA thanks the various sponsors and prizegivers: African Extracts, AO Creations, Africa Automotive After Market Solutions, Amviral, Benefits Bidvest Steiner, Cosmetics, Chelene Venter, Faber-Castell, Honey Accessories, Hotel Amenities Supplies, Miglio Jewellery, Mockana, Skin Scripts Sunglasses, Swiss Chocolate Lady, The Linen Den, United Litho. And ultimately, Emperors Convention Centre and Bantex, as Platinum sponsors who made it all possible careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


pa of the year award


Carine daniels CS: Congrats – what does it feel like to have been nominated and then elected South Africa’s PA of the Year? CD: I’m truly not sure how to describe this feeling - I have not experienced such an overwhelming sense of humbleness before, yet I feel greatly dignified and honoured! At first the nomination came as an immense surprise, I was heartened by the trust and faith my team displayed in me and my work; to find it worthy of a nomination for such a phenomenal award. What a remarkable gesture of appreciation and recognition! Then being elected as South Africa’s PA of the Year, a feeling beyond words! It feels like I have been crowned.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016



CS: Who was the first person you told or called to say that you had received the Title? CD: My dear parents. They are my role models in life and have provided me with strong elements of knowledge and wisdom, which I use as a foundation to built my life and career.

CS: What did your boss say? CD: This brings a smile to my face, she said: “I am doing a jig!! I’m so proud of you and you deserve it”.

CS: Do you have a typical day? If so, what is a typical work day for you? CD: I’m sure most PAs will agree with me if I say that in our profession we don’t normally experience a typical work day


My main focus on a daily basis will be on the preparation to be done to have my boss equipped and organized for her obligations and schedule, ensuring that she is fully prepared and equipped for what is required from her. An important part of my “typical” day is managing her availability, being her face, her shadow and a pillar to lean on. No matter how busy we get, I love spoiling her with a good cup of tea – tea is the elixir of busy days.

CS: What aspects of your job do you enjoy the most? CD: There are countless joys in my work, but if I have to choose it will have to be the people element and the aspect of team work. To accomplish a goal as a team makes the celebration of success much more satisfying and sweet; it’s impossible to celebrate success on your own. One of my passions is to care for people and my role as a PA allows me the opportunity to provide support and care in many different ways – it fills my heart with so much joy.

CS: Why do you believe the secretarial/admin profession still remains relevant despite technological advances? CD: I believe it’s about the personal touch, the touch of care and availability to act without instruction – which is impossible to be delivered by technology. In the same breath though, I do see that advanced technology could be a threat for the continuity of our profession, in the sense that it can take the place of ordinary

tasks and services. Therefore, it is our responsibility as PAs to focus on delivering an extraordinary service. We have to do what it takes to be indispensable, but remember this requires resilience and sacrifice and commitment.

CS: What message do you have for PAs about staying relevant and proud of their profession? CD: Portray pride, respect and confidence in yourself and this will reflect the passion you have for your profession.

CS: What is your favourite inspirational quote? CD: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did but people will never forget how you made them feel” - Maya Angelou

CS: How do you de-stress CD: Running - to de-stress my mind and Gardening - to destress my soul.

CS: If you could have any five people in the world to have dinner with you, who would they be? CD: Sir David Attenborough - English broadcaster and Naturalist. Maya Angelou - poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist. Nick Vujicic - evangelist and motivational speaker born with no arms or legs - but he is unstoppable. Roald Dahl - British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. Alice in Wonderland - whimsical world traveller of Wonderland who travelled back in time to help the Mad Hatter.

The Judging panel

– every day is different. Being a PA is like shooting from the hip - you have to be fast, you have to be ready – expect the unexpected!

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016



careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

Sponsors congratulate Carine Daniels




An ancient civilization reborn, forgotten fantasies filled with classical sculptures and architectural masterpieces. Behold the wonder that is Emperors Palace. Welcome to the gateway of southern Africa. Conveniently located alongside O. R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, Emperors Palace Hotel Casino Convention and Entertainment Resort combines timeless classical elegance with sheer excitement. With luxurious and comfortable accommodation in four award-winning hotels, a glorious health and beauty spa, a magnificent casino with unparalleled gaming enjoyment, the finest in dining options, spectacular entertainment choices including a state-of-the-art cinema complex, world class conference facilities, and impeccable service, Emperors Palace has it all, in a safe and secure resort environment. Emperors Palace is the perfect first or last night stopover, no matter where you travel to or from in southern Africa. INTERNATIONAL SALES: Tel: +27 (0)11 928 1445 | Fax: +27 (0)11 463 5751 | E -m ai l : i nt sal es@ peer mo nt.co m CENTRAL RESERVATIONS: Tel: +27 (0)11 928 1928 | Fax: +27 (0)11 557 0888 | Book online at www.emperorspalace.com or Facebook careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


pa summit On 7 September 2016, Secretaries Day, PAFSA held its annual PA Summit, at Emperors Convention Centre in Gauteng and the theme was "Be the Game Changer"

PA SUMMIT PICTORIAL REVIEW Keynote speakers were: Tertia Borgelt, Tumi Frasier, Morgan Beatbox and Ryan Stramrood. The six finalists of the PA of the YearÂŽ, Alice Van der Westhuizen, Carine Daniels, Mastoora Ramiah, Tanya de Ponte, Tersia Pretorius and Tebogo Ngobese, also made brief presentations. Platinum sponsors were Bantex and Emperors.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


pa summit

Secretaries Day Lunch

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

at Emperors organised by pafsa


careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


pa summit An Award for frequent Summit attendees

Crystal Award

Angie Orsmond

The intent of the exclusive PA summits is to have emerge a community of committed PAs united by asense of responsibility to review and address emerging trends in their field, Eligibility for Award A participant who has attended four annual PA Summits has clearly shown commitment to thinking and idea exchange about her/his profession.

Charlene Dale

Feroza Sader

Jacqui Brodie

Mariam Shah

Marlene Strydom

Natalia Nicolaides careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

Pertunia Radebe

Danielle McCusker

Luisa Saladino

Mastoora Ramiah

Stacey van den Heever


careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016



Coaching by Michele Thwaits



If communication is so critical to being an assistant, why isn’t there enough effective communication taking place between you and your boss?


This is a very good question. I would respond with another question – How well do you know your boss? How well do you know your boss? 10 questions to test yourself! 1. Do you and your boss share all sorts of information i.e. stories, tasks, etc?

and direct language when you communicate with them. Each boss has his/her own style and to be an effective communicator you must realise that communication is always about the other person – never about you. So to improve your communication with your boss, pay attention to his/her preferred communication method. Ask if he/she prefers face-to-face meetings or whether to communicate by email or telephone. Make an effort to find out and understand whether he/ she prefers detailed communication or just key points. And remember, when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask. Three key principles: Listen well! Keep to the point! Don’t get emotional. •

Listening The first good principle of communication is to be an active listener. Instead of worrying about what you want to say next in your face-to-face meeting, pay attention and listen. Good listening skills help you understand and anticipate your boss’ needs. Take notes if you have to - especially when your boss gives you direction. By taking notes, you will remember more of the conversation. 

Keep it short and sweet Your boss’ time is valuable. Pay attention to his/her schedule and avoid trying to inform on something or asking about something If the boss is trying to meet a deadline or dealing with something urgent. If what you have to say is crucial to a particular project then make it concise and to the point. If you want to discuss something important to you, make an appointment.

Avoid getting emotional Make a point of keeping emotions out of your discussions. Keep an even and professional tone of voice. If you need to speak to your boss about a personal problem or problem with a colleague or anything else that causes you to get emotional, wait until you are clear-headed and the emotion has passed and then attempt to communicate.

2. Do you feel like you are playing on the same team? 3. Do you have a joint interest in the goals you are trying to achieve? 4. Do you have a solid alignment when it comes to how you are going to achieve those goals? 5. Are you comfortable in your boss’s company at an informal setting? 6. Do you “know where you stand with your boss”? 7. Do you work well together? 8. Do you trust your boss? 9. And does your boss trust you? 10. Would you say that you are currently partnering well as a team with your boss?

These are all important questions to ask yourself just to see where you stand in the line of communication with your boss. Laurie Reeves of Studio D says that the key to a positive work environment is a good employee-boss relationship and successful relationships are built on foundations that start with good communication skills. The best way to communicate with your boss is using the method they prefer. Whether it be verbal or written instructions – use it. Make sure you use clear, concise

continued on page 35

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


international gurus

Meet Angela Garry We heard that you are a global PA trainer, you run your own company and are the CEO/ Editor at NAHPA magazine. Tell us more...how did all this come about? Oooh, that’s a long story! The short version is: I trained to be a teacher but didn’t enjoy disciplining children so went to work in administration instead. Twenty-something years later, I started offering networking and training events for fellow PAs. This grew and I was featured in several PA magazines – one of which invited me to write regularly for them, then I become its editor. I set up my training company, then became quite ill meaning I needed to create a new career where I could work part-time – and here we are, I own my training company Pica Aurum, and took over ownership of the magazine last year.

With 24 years' experience in admin and PA roles, Angela Garry is passionate about helping members of the admin community achieve their goals and reach their full potential. After leaving her most recent PA role in early 2014, Angela is now self-employed and concentrates her efforts in three areas of work: •

she is CEO of Pica Aurum, a training company, where she has provided training, mentoring and coaching for more than 3,700 Personal Assistants and Executive Assistants in 32 countries worldwide;

she is the author of "The PA & EA Circus" (for staff in any industry) and "Brave PAs" (for those working in education), plus a growing number of fiction books for children and self-help / personal development books for adults under her publishing brand Pica Books; and

she is editor / CEO of a magazine for PAs and admins working in education.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016

How did you feel when you started it? I set the company up mainly for tax purposes whilst I was still working full-time in my previous job, so didn’t really think much of it. It was only when I needed to leave the job and “make it on my own” that the nerves kicked in: “Who will pay the mortgage if I fail?” was a big question in my mind. I’m really proud that my hard work and efforts have paid off – I’ve been self-employed for 2½ years and I’m absolutely loving it, even more than I loved my previous PA roles.

What kind of message do you think this sends out? That we all have an inner resilience that we can call upon at difficult times. I was too ill to be able to continue working as a PA for 10 or 12 hours per day, and so I just knew that I had to make it work. I’ve always said though, that PAs working for top management should find running their own companies relatively easier than some fellow employees, as they have been working directly

35 with someone who is doing just that – being a PA is the perfect learning space!

Now let’s focus on you: Tell us the most interesting thing about you.

Coaching by Michele Thwaits class

Hmmm, a difficult question: It all depends on what someone else finds interesting! How about…. I have recorded three solo singles which are all on iTunes – or – I’ve lived in 27 addresses in my almost 47 years – or – I’ve written and / or edited 18 books which have been published in the last 18 months?

continued from page 33

What do you want out of life?

Find solutions together! Look for interests in common! Discuss your worth!

To be happy, with those I love around me – and for them to be happy too. My current goal is to sell my house in the UK and move to the east coast of Spain, to a warmer climate which will better suit my health. I already run my business via the internet, so I should be able to continue to do so from there – with the added bonus of being able to walk to the beach and watch the sun go down.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? My weight and my addiction to food. I’ve battled with this for years and years, and find it so hard to lose weight. My problems are that I love food too much and I’m greedy – whilst I can be very disciplined around my work, I find I just can’t do the same around food. I’d like to change my mindset around food and slim down to around two-thirds of my current weight, which would offer great benefits to my health.

Every hard-working PA must have an outlet - What do you do for fun? I love singing – I’ll sing along to the radio, in the car, in the shower, in the kitchen, in karaoke, in shows, with bands, anywhere – I find it’s a great way to release energy or tension. I also love to read and to totally immerse myself in a character’s world and story – and since writing my two books for PAs (‘The PA & EA Circus’, and ‘Brave PAs’), I’ve branched out into writing books for children and really enjoying allowing my imagination to run riot! Angela can be contacted on: angelagarry@picaaurum. com

If you have a boss you can communicate easily to, then you are very fortunate. However, if you do not, then try these steps to establish a good communication channel with your boss. Three key approaches

1. Reporting problem situations that need the attention of your boss. - If you find that your work is piling up fast and you can’t get finished, you may have reached your limit as far as your productivity is concerned. If you cannot make changes that will improve the situation, then you need to let your boss know. Do this without complaining or blaming anyone else. Ask if he can delegate some of your work to another colleague or if you two can sit down and discuss how to come up with a solution. In this way you are taking a positive approach to improve your productivity. 2. Listen for clues that you and your boss may have outside interests in common like sports or a certain artist - If you do share a common interest, they may see you as a kindred spirit and not just another employee. By cultivating this interest you will have a ready-made topic to discuss at any time. The best subject would be one that overlaps with the business or the company’s industry. Having an interest in common will bring you and your boss closer and make it easier to talk about important matters at work. 3. Asking for a raise if you feel you are not being compensated for based on your accomplishments and contribution to the company. If you just need more money, this is not a valid reason to ask for raise. Prepare and build your case ahead of time and be a specific as possible. Make a list of significant accomplishments you have made at work. Find out how compensation compares to others in similar companies in the local market. And remember to tell your boss ahead of time that you would like to meet to discuss your compensation. So get started !

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


meet a pafsa member

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Briefly, describe a typical day at your office?

A typical day involves ensuring everything runs smoothly from an administrative perspective. However, days are never typical, each day brings fresh challenges as I go about dealing with tasks and deadlines. What inspires and motivates you? People who live by, and practice, the values of integrity, honesty and loyalty.

What have been the highlights of your career so far and why?

Getting appointed as a Project and Administration Officer at the ELIDZ, Science and Technology Park and being a part of a great team. Having had the opportunity to work (both the public and private sectors) with people who are go-getters, goal-orientated and who have achieved great success and from whom I have learned a lot, and who helped me grow as an individual.

We welcome Kaylene Bell To PAFSA and we get to know her better


Can we start with a little background information? Where are you from?

I am a Project & Administration Officer at the East London IDZ, Science and Technology Park. I am from Port St Johns. I now reside and work in East London, both are in the Eastern Cape.


How and why did you become Administrative professional?



I completed a Secretarial and Computer Skills Course at Damelin in 1998 as well as a Diploma in Public Management and am currently studying towards a Diploma Business Management. I love helping people and interacting with them (and in my opinion being an administrative professional involves this in a nutshell) and therefore I get to do what I love and get paid for it.

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What industry are you in? Industrial development and within the ELIDZ, Science and Technology Park, research and development.

Who has had the most influence in your life? Mentor?

My Mom. She keeps me grounded She raised three girls single-handedly; continues to push the boundaries and always perseveres despite the many challenges she faces. She may not be a businesswoman, however what I have learnt from her in terms of etiquette, managing a house, finances, etc. has proven invaluable in my career.

8 9 10

How do you relax and de-tress?

I love listening to music and reading a good book it’s also a great de-stressor for me and I get to learn something new at the same. What gives ‘light ‘to your life? To your being?

My faith in God, my son, Max, my family and my friends. They motivate me and I can always count on them. What is the most challenging or daring thing you have ever done? Why?

Resigning from a permanent post at the municipality to start with a newly formed company. No work or business meant no pay. It was a risk that has paid off and prepared me for and brought me to where I am today.

career feature


Ten of the best‌ ways to get a pay rAise We all feel we're worth more money, but there are dos and don'ts when it comes to negotiating a rise. Paul Willis plots 10 steps to a fatter salary


ou're worth your weight in gold, but paid like a pauper. So what are you waiting for? It's time to ask for a pay rise.


Ask yourself why you deserve a raise

You are unlikely to convince anyone you're worth more unless you can find concrete arguments to back up your request. Reread your job description. If you can show your boss you've gone beyond the call of duty then you stand a much better chance of winning him or her over. 2

Know your worth

Do some research. Check job sites on the internet and newspaper ads for comparable rates of pay for your position. A word of warning: if you're going to compare your salaries against that of someone else at your own firm make sure you check the company policy on pay confidentiality. 3

Put pen to paper

Before meeting with your boss it might be a good idea to provide a written copy of your case in advance. You need to look at it from your boss's point of view.

careersuccess magazine issue 3 2016


Don't ambush your boss

No employer is going to take kindly to being put on the spot, so make sure your boss has plenty of warning of your intentions. Request a performance review and make it clear you would like to talk about pay. 5

Think about your timing

The right time is crucial. First thing on a Monday or late on a Friday are definite no-noes. Try to schedule a meeting at a time when you know your boss will have the time to give your suggestions full attention. 6

Be realistic

Demanding your salary be doubled is unlikely to get you anywhere other than through the exit door. If you want your request to be taken seriously you need to pitch it right. 7

Learn the art of negotiation

The key to negotiating is confidence. Be sure of your arguments; present your case clearly and succinctly and, most of all, don't be afraid of failure. As long as you are polite and reasonable you have nothing to fear.


Have a back-up plan

Just because your boss has turned down a pay increase doesn't mean you can't ask for non-financial benefits as an alternative. 9

Keep on smiling

Stay positive if you don't get a rise. Don't resort to tears or throw a tantrum. It's a bad idea to make threats or issue ultimatums as you might miss out on subsequent opportunities. 10

Work harder

It might be time to knuckle down to some old-fashioned graft, or take on more responsibility. That way, you can go back to your paymaster with a more legitimate case. The above is a prĂŠcis of the full article on: https://www.theguardian.com/money/2007/ nov/15/pay.workandcareers

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Test your

Wits and have Fun If you were running a race and you passed the person in 2nd place what place would you be in now?



Which word in the English language is always spelled incorrectly.

Put a coin into an empty bottle and insert a cork into the neck. How can you remove the coin without removing the cork or breaking the bottle?



How can a person go eight days without sleep?


What has a ring but no finger?

Solutions below

Answers 1. 2nd place 2. Incorrectly. 3 . Push the cork down into the bottle. Then shake the coin out. person sleeps at night. 5. A telephone. Source: www.brainbashers.com

4 Easy – the

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Careersuccess issue 3 2016  

CareerSuccess is a magazine for PAs, secretaries, admin assistants and office managers.

Careersuccess issue 3 2016  

CareerSuccess is a magazine for PAs, secretaries, admin assistants and office managers.