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Noemi Guy EA to the MD, Monaco Tourist Authority

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Conference venues

Spotlight on purpose-built properties

Higher education

A look at academic venues around the country

The colour of success

How to choose art to boost productivity in the office

01/09/2017 11:45


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EDITOR’S LETTER

@PALifeMag facebook.com /palifemagazine uk.linkedin.com /in/pa-life Instagram.com /palifemag

This summer seems to have flown by faster than ever. It feels like only yesterday we were all saying: “I can’t wait for warmer weather.” Now we’re heading into autumnal colours, pumpkin spice everything and that strange temperature range that makes choosing an outfit that much more difficult. However, it also means we’re closer to the next PA Life Training Day, which promises to be a great one. This issue features a brilliant interview with Noémi Guy, EA at the Monaco Tourist Authority. I found her story of moving to London from Switzerland and building her career from scratch to be incredibly inspirational – especially as her first PA gig in the city was working with celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr. Turn to p13 for her full PA Profile. Later on, we’ve got all of your event needs covered, starting with a selection of the country’s top conference venues on p30. Next up, to celebrate our partnership with the Academic Venue Showcase on 11 October, we’ve got a round-up of gorgeous spaces available for corporate hire at prestigious educational institutions. Turn to p33 to find out why academic venues are a good choice for events. The pages inside are packed with useful hints and tips, including a fascinating article on the effect stimulating art has on team productivity (p19) and advice on using social media to boost your events on p20. We also hear from Elizabeth Da Silva on how it felt to be named a PA Rising Star by WeAreTheCity on p11 and get some insight into the daily life of Hayley Hewson on p49. A few months ago, we sent our PA Life Club members a survey to find out what they think of the benefits they receive as part of their membership. The results reveal that networking is a key area for assistants. Turn to p38 to find out what else is happening in the PA Life Club. We also travel to Bruges to learn about venues in the historic ‘Venice of the North’ on p41, then look closer to home with a city guide to Windsor’s beautiful properties on p43. Awardwinning EA Dalya Perry-Bernstein reviews The Ned, one of London’s hottest new hotels, on p44, while I try out the hospitality package at Newbury Racecourse on p45. Finally, we get the rundown on venue finding and online booking systems from our partners at Future In 15 on p46. We have a lot of exciting events and developments in the pipeline, so watch this space. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this issue as you prepare for the coming autumn, whatever it may bring. Molly Dyson, Editor molly.dyson@palife.co.uk

The UK’s award-winning title for personal and executive assistants Forum Events Media Forum House 71 Mead Lane Hertford, Hertfordshire SG13 7AX Website: palife.co.uk Twitter: @palifemag E: editorial@palife.co.uk

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All material in the publication is covered by copyright. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form – electronic, mechanical, photocopying or otherwise – whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher © 2017 Forum Events Media Ltd. While considerable care has been taken in the production of this issue, no responsibility can be accepted for any errors or omissions. No responsibility can be accepted for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs, artwork or equipment. All correspondence is assumed to be for publication unless clearly stated otherwise.

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CONTRIBUTORS

Dalya Perry-Bernstein Dalya is an award-winning EA. She holds a Certificate in First Line Management and a Diploma in Personal Assistance. In 2013, Dalya won first runner-up in the Executive PA Magazine PA of the Year Awards and in 2014 won the Pitman Training SuperAchievers PA of the Year Award. Dalya is also a proud EPAA National Board member. Twitter: @DalyaPA

Elizabeth Da Silva Elizabeth lives with her son Alexander. She is passionate about volunteering and spends much of her time dedicated to this. She has been with Barclays for three-and-a-half years as a PA and has no intention of slowing down anytime soon. Her background is in art and she is also studying for a degree in politics, philosophy and economics with the Open University.

Hayley Hewson Hayley has worked in the admin world for 17 years, 10 in the PA/EA space. In her current role, Hayley manages the executive team, board, investor relations and UK administration at Gattaca plc. She is passionate about elevating the support that admin professionals bring to businesses, and her current role overseeing administration allows her to do just this.

Jennifer Corcoran Jennifer is an award-winning PA-turned-entrepreneur with 20 years’ experience. Following her career success and thanks to her reputation as the ‘Queen of Social Media’, she decided to start her own business as a consultant helping professionals boost their online presence. Find out more at mysuperconnector.co.uk. Twitter: @SuperConnector

Louise Goalen Louise has worked in the events industry since 1985. Her time spent on the venue side combines with more recent agency experience to bring a unique perspective to her role as Head of Venues at live event specialist Top Banana. As Chair of the HBAA, Louise is responsible for helping agencies and venues work together for the benefit of all parties. Twitter: @LGoalen

Richard Morris Richard is UK CEO at flexible workspace pioneer Regus. He began his career as a trainee accountant at Royal Mail after graduating in 1996 from the University of Liverpool. In 2009, he obtained a distinction in the Global Leadership Programme at Manchester Business School. Richard is based in London and enjoys spending time with his family. regus.co.uk

Sally Boyce Sally sought a career in marketing after graduating from university and many years in hospitality. Now she is involved with developing the corporate event and team-building offering for Longleat and Cheddar Gorge & Caves. She is passionate about wildlife conservation and has recently completed the National Three Peaks challenge for a second time. longleat.co.uk

Natalie Williamson Natalie has worked at Venuemasters for more than 11 years and has held a number of different positions during her career at the consortium. Her extensive knowledge in marketing and academic venues means she understands what planners look for when selecting a venue for their events. Twitter: @academicvenues

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CONTENTS PA LIFE - SEPTEMBER 2017

42 Venice of the North We travel to Bruges to discover the historic city's venues, restaurants and attractions, which make it a great location for corporate incentives and retreats.

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PA Profile NoĂŠmi Guy, EA at Monaco Tourist Authority tells us about her journey from apprentice in Sweden to assistant in London.

Academic Venues Exploring the UK's educational institutions for events.

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Creating a buzz for your event Using social media to encourage engagement from your delegates for a greater return on investment.

Nobody's perfect We discuss why it's okay to accept that you're going to make mistakes on your career journey.

44 Checking In Dalya Perry-Bernstein visits The Ned, London's hottest new hotel.

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Face the Facts Latest insight into the issues facing office support workers across the UK

Training cuts cost businesses productivity Management and talent specialist Alexander Mann Solutions is urging managers and employers to invest in training options to encourage development, boost morale and even support talent retention. Statistics show that 42 per cent of CEOs currently have no intentions to invest in new training schemes over the next three years. Just 21 per cent of employees admitted they felt motivated by their management, with concerns that leaders aren’t making the most of their workforce. “Falling behind with training and development is not an option for many firms, as this may leave them vulnerable to being overtaken by competitors,” said Stephanie Gillingham, Head of ER, Reward, Talent & Development at Alexander Mann Solutions. Looking for an inexpensive way to learn? The next PA Life Training Day on 25 September at the InterContinental London – The O2 starts from £195 +VAT for a half day, or a full day is just £295 +VAT. To find out more, visit palife.co.uk/training-day.

UK PA and secretarial jobs increase by 19 per cent PA and support jobs have risen by nearly a fifth compared to last year, according to new figures by Robert Walters. Due to the turbulent and changing responsibilities and expectations in a growing company, the pressure is on for PAs who can easily learn, adapt and grow as quickly as their business. “Team support roles have expanded, with candidates needing to be able to demonstrate a broad range of skills including project management,” said Manager Gill Owen. “For professionals who can demonstrate these skills, employers are willing to offer generous salary and benefits packages in order to secure top talent.”

PA Life readers reveal how Gap remains between safe their work fridge is With British workers searching the fridge up to eight times a day and other cupboards around five times a day, not everyone is sure their food will be safe if left unsupervised. A third of PA Life readers admitted that they’d rather keep their lunch on their desk, in a drawer, or in their bag to stop lunch thieves. Sandwich foods like cheese and cold meats make up more than two thirds of the top five most stolen snacks in the country. Despite this, another third of PA Life readers believe their food is safe and sound in the fridge, where it belongs. On top of this, a further quarter agrees that your lunch should be kept in work storage spaces, but only if it’s labelled to avoid any accidental mix-ups. Meanwhile, almost one in 10 of you would avoid bringing food into the office altogether, instead preferring to eat out at lunch, safe in the knowledge that your lunch won’t be snatched by sneaky snackers.

employees and top earners Analysis of FTSE 100 CEO pay packages shows that rewards at the top have dropped by almost a fifth, but the slow-down isn’t enough to close the gap between the average employee and executives. The annual assessment carried out by the CIPD and the High Pay Centre shows that the average FTSE 100 CEO now receives an annual pay package of £4.5 million including basic pay, bonuses and benefits. This is a 17 per cent drop from £5.4 million in 2015 – a significant dip, but it would still take the average full-time worker on the median salary of £28,000 160 years to earn what a CEO is paid in just one year, according to the findings. Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP earned £48.1 million last year alone, meaning it would take employees 1,718 years to earn the same.

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PAs desire to feel valued

Brits at risk of burnout due to gadget obsession

The new Hays What Workers Want Report 2017 reveals PAs are heavily influenced by pay when deciding whether to stay in a job or accept a new one. More than half are actively seeking a new role, and two-thirds state a higher salary as their top reason for moving. Despite this, only 40 per cent of employers actually believe this to be important to help their staff retention, highlighting a severe mismatch between the views of employers and employees. Additionally, two-thirds (67%) of professionals said they would be attracted to work for an organisation that restricts out-of-hours working and more than a third (34%) seek improved work-life balance in a new role. The report also revealed 69 per cent of office support professionals state they are ambitious, but this is almost 10 per cent lower than the overall average. When asked what job level they want to reach, a fifth said seniority level is not important to them in their career and only 20 per cent cited moving up in the organisation as the most important aspect of a promotion. This highlights a need for employers to find alternative ways to reward and recognise success, as less emphasis is being placed on career progression.

The obsession with technology that keeps us constantly connected is putting the British working population at risk of burnout, with a staggering 91 per cent failing to establish a healthy work-life balance because they refuse to turn off their devices. With the amount of technology in the average Brit’s suitcase reaching £1,000, common gadgets taken on holiday other than mobiles include tablet computers (42 per cent), laptops (23 per cent) and spare battery packs to keep those devices running (38 per cent). Despite the traditional view that a holiday should be a chance to completely ‘switch off’ and forget about work, only nine per cent of those surveyed say they intend to leave their devises at home when they go away.

People who walk to work are less stressed A study conducted by ASICS shows those who take the train, tube, or bus are three times more stressed and twice as tired as those who walk to work. Rather than draining their energy, eight in 10 say they feel more rejuvenated when they get to the office on foot. The average UK commute is one hour, and more than half those polled believe they would be in a better mood if they could walk to work. With busy schedules preventing more than half of office workers from exercising, 44 per cent say walking is the only work-out they get, while 18 per cent go the gym when they can, 11 per cent run on a regular basis and nine per cent prefer to cycle. The study found that those who keep active are happier than those who don’t, with 60 per cent of those who exercise daily reporting a good mood compared to the 41 per cent of those who lead a more sedentary life. Lack of time is the biggest excuse for not working out, cited by 73 per cent of UK adults.

Travel prices expected to soar in 2018 The 2018 Global Travel Forecast has revealed that expenses such as hotel prices are expected to rise by at least 3.7 per cent in the coming year, while even taxis, trains and buses might cost more. Travelling from the UK could present a problem in the next year, as Brits could face airfare growth of a massive 8.5 per cent, while western Europe is expected to pay 5.5 per cent more for air travel. Brits are also predicted to be among the most affected by hotel prices, with fees rising by 9.5 per cent. Other notable price spikes include World Cup 2018 host Russia and Norway, which will see a 14 per cent rise in hotel prices.

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advice

Straight to the Point Executive Assistant trainer and educator Adam Fidler offers sound advice and no-nonsense views on topics of interest. This edition he tells us how to say ‘no’ at work Do you struggle to say ‘no’ or push back at work? Do feel guilty for saying ‘no’? Would you ever say ‘no’ to your boss? Well, my view is that PAs should push back and say ‘no’ every so often – though it should always be done appropriately and diplomatically. The ability to push back is a key skill that, unless exhibited, may leave you taking on too much work, feeling swamped and overwhelmed with the job. Moreover, saying ‘no’ is actually healthy – it fosters assertive behaviour, sets boundaries and builds on a respectful and trusted relationship between the PA and others. Firstly, a flat out ‘no’ is a ‘no-no’! Use assertive language coupled with an explanation – eg “I can’t do that right now because…” or “It will be hard to get that done today, but…”. These sorts of

explanations help the boss understand you are managing your workload to the best of your ability. Secondly, stick to facts, never feelings or emotions – eg “It will take three hours to collate that report,” and that you “don’t have three hours today”. Provide the context of what your job entails to educate others that very few tasks they give are five-minute jobs. People assume because PAs have IT tools that the things they are given to do are done by magic. Not so; but it’s the PA’s job to let people in on their world to build understanding and respect. Thirdly, after you have pushed back, always come up with a solution to get the job done and meet your executive’s expectations. For instance: “I can’t do that right now, but could I suggest we meet to go over it after lunch? If we meet at say

1.30pm, it will then take me about an hour to prepare the report and I can ensure that it’s in today’s post”. In this negotiation stage, use ‘we’ to show partnership with the boss, eg “We need to agree a deadline that works”, and also ‘I’ statements to show ownership and accountability, eg “I can do that by 3.15pm, but not earlier”, or “I can’t get that done straight away, but certainly by this afternoon”. Finally, avoid those generic phrases such as “I’m too busy” or the sighs and huffs. You’re looking for a win-win solution, so explanation, context and solutions lead to negotiation over deadlines that work for everyone. A brave PA isn’t afraid to push back – but it’s not about being brave, it’s actually respecting yourself and your time – and encouraging others to do the same. Good luck!

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opinion

Elizabeth Da Silva explains what it means to win a WeAreTheCity Rising Star Award in the PA category supportive your company can be. So you’re not eligible for that training course you wanted to attend? Put a business plan together. You don’t have the exact skills for the role? Arrange an informal meeting and highlight the skillset you do possess. Mentor, and be mentored, and always try to think outside the box. This will fast track your career, I promise you – aim to be unforgettable. I came into Barclays as an anxious single mother, with limited confidence, on a temporary six-month contract. Three-and-a-half years later, I have just won a prestigious Rising Star Award, feel highly valued by my employers and I absolutely love my job and all the values it instils. Vanessa Valley, CEO and Founder of WeAreTheCity herself started as a PA and has gone on to do amazing work to support the female pipeline (that’s us), so I hope next year to see some of your faces collecting your awards, as you are all deserving winners too.

Being shortlisted for the WeAreTheCity Rising Star Award was exciting enough, but to go on and win it, from 1,250 entrees, with more than 35,000 global votes, just shows that anything is possible. As PAs/EAs we are the bones of the business; we keep things ticking over. If we all took a holiday at the same time, everyone would soon notice. Winning this award has shone a huge spotlight on me. I have received recognition and support from far and wide; I’m still reading through congratulatory emails from very senior colleagues at Barclays and we’re even being taking on a celebratory lunch by the COO. I have found myself invited to really interesting panel events and people have been reaching out on various social network sites to say that they felt inspired by my story. From a brand perspective, it has elevated me tenfold; I have even been approached to help out with projects I previously had to chase after. It’s a wonderful experience to be part of. My best advice is to never ever be scared to champion yourself – not every opportunity will be presented to you, so you have to set out and find them. Always keep a good network of peers around you, as you never know when you may need to call on each other. If you’re not already on LinkedIn, create a profile and start connecting immediately. As PAs we sometimes don’t realise just how much we do; it’s only when you write it down and gain a second opinion that you realise how impressive it is. So I would recommend that you as readers take the time to nominate someone next year, as if I can win this, you certainly can too. You’ll never know just how much of a positive impact your achievements can have on others. Don’t be afraid to disrupt the status quo, and challenge processes if you need to – you will be surprised by just how

ELIZABETH’S RECOMMENDED READING: Heels of Steel: Surviving & Thriving In The Corporate World by Vanessa Vallely

Strong Woman: The Truth About Getting to the Top by Karen Brady Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life by Richard Branson Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: Simple Ways to Keep the Little Things from Taking Over Your Life By Richard Carlson

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pa profile

NOÉMI GUY EA to the MD, Monaco Tourist Authority 13

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“PAs ARE BECOMING MORE LIKE MANAGEMENT. WHEN MY BOSS IS AWAY, I’M THE ONE PEOPLE TURN TO FOR HELP. AS A PA, YOU TOUCH EVERY PART OF THE COMPANY, MEANING YOU HAVE TO BE AWARE OF EVERYTHING THAT’S HAPPENING. WHEN EVERYTHING WORKS SMOOTHLY, IT’S A GREAT FEELING.” Words: Molly Dyson Photography: Dave Willis, davewillis.co.uk Location: Corrigan’s Mayfair, corrigansmayfair.co.uk

relationship ended on very good terms. I’m very thankful for our time together.” Six years later, Noémi knew it was time to move on in her career, which she found at the Monaco Tourist Authority. She is now EA to Managing Director Stephan Degueurce-Roberge. What’s her favourite thing about her new job? “It’s nice to be able to use both French and English every day. I have a lot more autonomy than I ever had before, so I’m able to make my own decisions. “Stephan also takes the time to listen to all of my ideas. It makes me happy to come to work knowing that my opinion matters. I go home every day thinking of new ways of doing things. I think it has helped me mature and grow my confidence. “This is also the first time I’ve been in charge of organising an event for a client from A to Z. When I worked with Michel I had some involvement with events, but never building them from scratch. It’s interesting, starting a few months before and following it through to the day and even after. It felt incredible when the whole thing went perfectly. Everyone was pleased, which was very rewarding.” On the topic of learning new skills, I ask Noémi if she feels networking with other PAs is a good tool for development. “Because I’m now getting involved in events, I’m meeting more assistants face to face. I really enjoy it. Networking is essential. For instance, I had an issue with our system the other day so I posted to a Facebook group asking for help and within minutes I had several people say they’ve had the same problem and could help me fix it.” What other skills does Noémi think a PA needs? “A positive attitude above all else because it brings up the team. You’re the first point of contact for many outside clients so if you’re not pleasant it gives a bad impression of the company. “Communication is also a must – not only speaking, but listening and remembering. Our bosses like to be looked after; if they need a file, you should be able to get it for them straight away and help them stay on top of their tasks. When you work closely with an executive you get to know the little things. It’s kind of cliché and I know many PAs don’t do this, but I know my boss appreciates it when I have his desk ready for him in the morning and when I bring him a coffee at 3pm on the dot. Those tiny details mean a lot to your boss and it makes all the difference.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………….….….….…...... Noémi Guy came to London eight years ago with nothing but a positive attitude, a dream and knowledge of the area. “I first came here 13 years ago to learn English,” explains Noémi. “I was an au pair in Brixton, and I loved it so much I stayed a bit longer. When I left, I knew I wanted to come back and have a career.” Noémi grew up in the French-speaking part of Switzerland in a town called Neuchâtel, about an hour-and-a-half’s drive from Geneva. She knew from an early age that she wanted a career in the admin world. “I always wanted to make people happy and make their life easier. Becoming a PA was a logical progression for me after my apprenticeship as a receptionist and office administrator. “I took every opportunity to assist different departments, which is how I found out what I wanted to do. I met other PAs during this time, so I was able to learn from them. Then one of them went on maternity leave and I was able to cover parts of her role. Every job I had in Switzerland after that was in the PA profession.” After moving to London in 2009, she took a job as a receptionist at Michel Roux Jr’s two Michelin-starred La Gavroche. “After a couple of months, I wanted more – to be in an office doing admin – so when Michel’s PA left I applied for the role. It was a big surprise when he hired me, as it was quite a leap from what I was doing. I loved the job and ended up staying with Michel for six years. “It was very rewarding, and working in the luxury environment was great. There was a different job to do every day, which kept things interesting. I was organising TV appearances, events, dinners for high-profile guests and anything else that came up in Michel’s schedule. It’s one of the things that drew me to the role – I liked the variation. I never got bored.” Michel Roux Jr once called Noémi ‘un rayon de soleil’ (a ray of sunshine). Noémi says: “I’m still in regular contact with him. I go and see the team every now and then. Our work

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everything that’s happening. When everything works smoothly, it’s a great feeling. “This job also has the added challenge of working with an office abroad. We’re the only office in the UK and it’s a small team of three. Every day I’m in contact with Monaco. Communication is very important, especially considering the distance. If I have to send something in the post I have to get the timing right for it to arrive the next day.” Noémi confirms my speculation that there is no typical day for a PA. “Definitely not! That’s the beauty of the job; every day is different. One day the morning will be calm, giving you time to check your emails, and others you’ll arrive to chaos so you have to figure out how to fight fires while keeping on top of the usual tasks. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. I think I have a very positive spirit and that helps. As a PA, you can’t ever panic, because if you do everyone else will. You have to take

Setting boundaries can be difficult for PAs, but Noémi believes it’s essential. “It’s not easy, but you have to know when to say no, otherwise you’ll get overloaded with work that a PA shouldn’t be doing. I don’t think there’s one clear way to make it work; it’s more about your attitude and the way you tell your boss you have too much on. “There are many factors that could affect it – who your boss is and the company culture, for example. As a PA, you have access to your boss’s calendar and may be privy to their private affairs, but you have to define where your job stops. Most often the boundary comes naturally.” It’s becoming more accepted that assistants are acting more as managers than admins, which Noémi agrees with. “I manage budgets and finance in my new role. When Stephan is away, I’m the one people turn to for help. As a PA, you touch every part of the company, meaning you have to be aware of

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Looking to the future, Noémi comments: “I’ve been working for the Monaco Tourism Authority for about seven months, so I have no plans to leave anytime soon. I would love to stay in the UK for a long time and travel a bit more. I get to go to Monaco for our annual meeting and there are ad hoc trips, which help me get to know the international team. I’m hoping some year I might get to go to the Grand Prix!” I ask if Noémi has a dream job, and she’s hesitant to say at first. “Well, it was to move to London to be a PA, but I’ve done that now! I do sometimes think it would be amazing to be the prime minister’s assistant. I mean you never know what might happen, right?” I think we could all take a page from Noémi’s book considering she’s turned a dream into a career.

care of things one by one. If there’s a crisis or something comes up unexpectedly, I find it helpful to write down a plan – what do I need to do first, then what are the next steps? Always be the one who seems to have everything under control.” How does Noémi deal with the stress that comes with being an EA? “Luckily, I live quite close to the office, so I don’t have a long commute. It means I can work late if I have to without a long journey home afterward. I also exercise a lot. I’m a bit of a Zumba addict! I go two or three times a week when I have the time. That helps me release any stress and stops me from thinking about work too much after I leave. I also love cooking – it’s very relaxing. Unfortunately, I never had any lessons from Michel because we were too busy, but I did get to enjoy plenty of dinners while I worked with him.”

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SPONSORED CONTENT

Introducing…

Leicester Conferences THE VENUES THAT WORK FOR YOU! As a specialist events and conference provider in Leicester we have a wealth of knowledge and expertise at our fingertips, and have been running successful, innovative and creative events for the past 50 years. Our excellent facilities and outstanding menu options ensure that we are trusted by organisations of all sizes, from across all sectors, who regularly rely on our knowledge when organising and managing their event or conference. Over the past 5 years a huge £20m has been invested to modernise our portfolio of venues to the highest of standard, including state-of-the-art audio

visual equipment, making our facilities some of the best in our region. Located in the Heart of England with excellent transport links our central location is perfect for delegates travelling nationally and internationally. With the newly created central sales team offering that one-stop-shop for clients, Leicester Conferences, now spanning across four multi-award winning venues, are sure to have the right facilities for you and your event. We pride ourselves on our commitment to customer service, delivering the highest levels of service and value to our guests. With every detail taken care of and a

choice of versatile venues available, make Leicester Conferences the choice for your next event. • 52 Conference rooms • State-of-the-art facilities • AV specialists • 123 bedroom Hotel – Winner of Hotel of the Year • 2,000 bedrooms available Jul-Sep – 4* campus accredited • Multi-Award winning venues • Capacity from two to 500 • Outstanding catering • All-inclusive packages • One incredible team

CONTACT DETAILS: Want to discover more… contact our team today and find out how we can work with you on your next event. info@leicesterconferences.co.uk,0116 223 1680 or see www.leicesterconferences.co.uk for more information

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how to

Creating a buzz for your event Jennifer Corcoran, Founder and CEO of My Super Connector, explains how PAs can use social media to support their companies’ events for greater return on investment How do you use social media to support your events? Is it a major part of your plan or an afterthought? For most small businesses, social media falls somewhere in between these extremes. But with as much as 25 per cent of marketing budgets spent on events – from small gatherings to awards ceremonies – social media gives you a way to maximise that spend and gain valuable feedback on the event’s overall success. It won’t be a surprise to know I think social media should be woven into the fabric of your event. It creates hype and provides information before the day, helps enhance the experience of delegates during the function and can be used to reinforce a delegate’s experience and collect feedback once the event is over. How to build the best social media plan for your event 1. Identify your main objectives. The aim of your event will inform the social media campaign, so you need to make sure they complement each other. 2. Identify your target audience. Make sure you’re talking to the right people. What networks do they use and how do

they use them? Be sure to speak to your target market and influencers of your target market such as bloggers and journalists. If you’re struggling to pin down your target audience, here’s my top tip – go to socialmention.com. Type the relevant keyword into the search box, for example ‘festival’. The website will display sources in which this keyword was found, giving you an idea of which social networks are being used to talk about your given keyword. 3. Choose the best internet tools to market your event. You’ll need to set up a website for the event so people can learn more about it and register. You’ll also need to choose an appropriate social network where you can engage in conversations, answer questions, post messages and blogs. Of the big three platforms, here are my top-line thoughts for choosing the best one for you: • Social events work well with Facebook. Create an event page where you can post information, and from where you can send invites and reminders. • Corporate events fit perfectly with LinkedIn. Once delegates mark their attendance, updates appear on their profile, which in turn attracts other attendees.

• Technology-related events perform especially well on Twitter. Once you’ve set up an account for the event, you can create hashtags and add links to other social networks such as YouTube to expand your reach. The beauty of Twitter is the way you can broadcast live tweets from your event and encourage delegates to post live as well. 4. Integrate your plans. Link your social network pages to the website so everything looks slick and smooth. Be sure to do these three tasks before going live: • Optimise your posts and ticketing page for mobile users. • Have consistent branding between your social media and websites – colours, tone, photography – keep it aligned to look professional. • Designate an experienced individual to your event’s social media management. Too often it’s handed to a junior person who doesn’t have the necessary communications training. Social media is as much about tone of voice and customer service as it is about hashtags – so ensure your social media manager is appropriately qualified. There is a big difference between being ‘social’ and marketing/management.

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how to

The art of productivity Richard Morris, UK CEO at Regus tells us how sprucing up your office with colourful artwork can boost your team’s output Could you describe what’s on the walls of your office? So much corporate interior décor is formulaic and uninspiring – easily overlooked and serving no purpose. But rather than being an afterthought, office art should be an important consideration. A body of research explains how well-thought-out office art can inspire staff and increase wellbeing and productivity. So what are some of the main advantages of including artwork in the workplace?

potential among your colleagues and help to generate innovative thinking.

Creative stimulus Having art around you can inspire imaginative reactions. This creativity needn’t be forced through inspirational slogans or clichéd images of achievement. Impressive artworks or photography can stimulate creative

Brand values What you display on the walls or the floorspace speaks volumes about your brand. Taking pride in your work environment tells staff that you care and provides them with a clear company philosophy. Involving employees in the

A reason to re-focus Staring at a screen all day is a modern work curse. Having a reason to look away and to re-focus reduces fatigue, headaches and the effects of eye strain in the long term. Regularly changing what’s on the walls or displayed in the office will encourage people to break from the screen, take a look about them and recharge their productivity levels.

decision-making process can really drive debate and engagement. And what about including work from local artists or colleges? Not only does this boost your standing in the local community – thus helping your search for staff talent – it can also be a great way of generating column inches in the local press. With the move towards remote working and flexible space, many businesses are looking to stamp their identity on their office. Forward-thinking workspace providers enable businesses to personalise the property that they use and involve clients in the discussions around communal space artworks. If artwork isn’t in your budgeting for next year, perhaps it’s time to reconsider. Inspirational workspaces are helping professionals to deliver innovative performances.

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opinion

Why we all need to be Taylor Swift She won’t be wearing an ‘I Heart TS’ t-shirt any time soon, and she’d advise you to opt for Beyonce’s Lemonade over Taylor Swift’s Look What You Made Me Do, but Lisa Carter is looking beyond the circus surrounding the new single and video to a much more important message from the US pop princess Taylor Swift is big news right now. Yeah, yeah, she’s always big news, but at the time of writing she’s just released the new single Look What You Made Me Do, along with the hugely theatrical and crazy video that accompanies it (75 million Youtube hits on day one). And that means she’s firmly back at the forefront of the public eye, with music critics, columnists and celebrity journalists all tripping over themselves to disseminate the hidden meanings in that video, and social media exploding with #LWYMMD, #Reputation and #TaylorSwift references. I’m not a fan. To be fair, her music and whole celebrity persona are not aimed at me. I’m not particularly interested in the exploits of her Girl Squad, her love life, her Bad Blood with Katy Perry, or that phone call with Kanye West. I don’t hate her, because it’s cool to hate her and I’m not very cool. And I feel sad for how she’s been universally demonised on social media. That’s also not cool. It’s just I’ve not been convinced that she’s a particularly good role model for girls and young women. Using her songs to settle scores (and the Look What You Made Me Do video takes shots at all of her enemies); playing the victim in what ultimately appeared to be a volte-face over her consent to those lyrics in Kanye West’s Famous single; her manipulation of the media and, apparently, of the men in her life, to sustain the attention of the public eye. Again, not cool, as far as this fortysomething is concerned. But last month, in circumstances now sadly overshadowed by her recent single drop, Taylor Swift stepped up with what is surely her greatest message to date, to women of all ages – sexual harassment must not be tolerated. In case you’re not aware of what happened, in 2013 Swift attended a ‘meet and greet’ and posed for a photograph with Denver radio host David Mueller. He put his hand up her skirt and groped her. The photo was

leaked, Swift’s team contacted Mueller’s employer and he was fired. Two years later, Mueller sued Swift for $3 million (about £2.3 million) in damages, claiming her accusation was false (seriously, Google the photo; he was 51, by the way) and that it had cost him his job. Swift had, until that point, remained quiet about the incident, but countersued. For a symbolic $1. To make a point. That point is incredibly important for all women, but particularly for more vulnerable younger women. In this bizarre time when it’s okay for the Leader

of the Free World to talk about ‘grabbing p***y’ – and when 52 per cent of women, and 63 per cent of women aged 18-24 years old, say they have experienced sexual harassment at work (TUC research, previously reported by PA Life) – this is Taylor Swift being an incredibly important role model. Look What You Made Me Do could easily have been Swift’s response to Mueller’s damages claim. Whatever, that $1 note in the video’s bathtub shot is a great reminder that it’s not okay to tolerate sexual harassment – and it is okay to call it out.

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COMPETITION

WIN! An exclusive meal for 4 guests in the beautiful Long Room at our fabulous historic City venue. To celebrate the 480th birthday of THE HAC we’re offering you the chance to win an extravagant fine dining lunch in one of our most beautiful spaces.

Which birthday is the HAC celebrating in 2017? • 350th • 480th • 520th

Leading into the Autumn Winter period, our fantastic Head Chef Billy has added some great creativity to this seasons dishes with highlights including Earl Grey poached ham hock terrine or baby chestnut mushroom gnocchi. Our Autumn Winter conference menus tantalize the taste buds with dishes such as Champagne and cave aged smoked mac and cheese or lamb navrine with brandy soaked apricots and savoy creamed cabbage. THE HAC is a truly unique venue for conferences and events. Centrally located in impressive surroundings, supported by state of the art technology, award winning catering and exceptional delivery. From the contemporary Prince Consort Rooms as the ideal backdrop for conferences up to 350 delegates, to the

stunning surroundings of the 18th Century Long Room for standing receptions up to 250 guests. With spectacular views across the private 5 acre garden, THE HAC is the ideal location for your next event. What is the prize? The prize includes a three-course lunch for up to four guests plus a bottle of house wine. Lunch is served between 12noon and 2pm Monday to Friday in the HAC Corporate Dining Club Restaurant, within the Long Room at Armoury House. How do you enter? To win a fabulous lunch for you and three of your colleagues simply answer the following question and send your answer to sales@hac.org.uk.

Terms & Conditions: Date is subject to availability. Booking must be confirmed prior to attending site. Guests must notify restaurant of dietary requirements. Guest names must be submitted for security purposes.

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self-development

Nobody’s perfect We all have to start somewhere, which means making mistakes along the way. Molly Dyson explains why it’s important to understand that your career progression won’t always be seamless

I got my start as a journalist during an internship at my hometown newspaper in New York. Up to that point, the only experience I had was writing pieces for my degree and I was getting good grades, so naturally I thought I was doing really well. When I handed in my first article, my editor returned it to me covered in marks and suggestions. I was distraught – was everything I’d learned at school wrong? It took me a few months to realise my editor was simply trying to teach me the ways of the trade. She wasn’t pointing out my mistakes to make me feel bad, she was helping me learn to improve. Many years later when I started working at PA Life, I went through a similar teething phase, but by that point I’d come to accept that I wasn’t always going to be perfect and that I’d stumble a few times with any new venture before

I got the hang of it. The important thing was that I was developing faster. The same can be said for anyone in any profession. PAs are constantly being handed new tasks and the remit of their day-to-day job exponentially expands every time we conduct our annual reader survey. In an everchanging role, it’s easy to feel inadequate when you can’t immediately grasp a new system or process. You should never be made to feel like you’re not good enough; it takes time to learn, sometimes longer if it’s a completely new concept. Did you pick up a pencil as a child and start writing full sentences straight away? Did you drive like a pro the first time you got behind the wheel of a car? If you expect to take months to pick up everyday things like this, why wouldn’t the same apply for your work tasks?

The key is to be patient with yourself and ask others to do the same. If at any point you feel like someone is putting too much pressure on you or gets upset when you ask for help, there’s no harm in having a quiet conversation to explain your situation. Everyone learns in different ways, so tell them the best way for you to work and let them know what they can do to help. If they continue their behaviour, don’t be afraid to go above them. At the end of the day, you’re trying to accommodate your skills to fit the business so it’s in their best interest to assist you on this journey. Life is full of its ups and downs, especially when it comes to work. The question isn’t whether you can take on the challenge, but how you choose to deal with the low moments. If you can stay positive in the face of adversity, the rest will fall into place.

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Venue spotlight

Seven reasons to embark on a rural pilgrimage Sally Boyce, Marketing Executive at Longleat and Cheddar Gorge & Caves explains why escaping to the country is just the treat for busy employees There will always be a business case for keeping corporate events local and central. However, I’d like to pose just a few of the reasons why escaping to the countryside – a land of adventure – should be the only option for your next event.

There aren’t trendy coffee shops at every corner or 24-hour sushi bars, but what you will find in Wiltshire and Somerset are dramatic landscapes millions of years in the making and scenic skylines as far as the eye can see. Oh, and some lions too.

[1] There’s enough room to swing a cat (not that I’d advocate that) There’s no other way of describing it; there is literally more space per person to breath, move, think, escape, or see the sky in beautiful panoramic views.

The menagerie at Longleat clearly enjoy the extra space

[2] Testing your limits is a team effort It’s much less painful to awkwardly fall out of your comfort zone of the city when you’ve got a gang of colleagues clumsily departing with you. Take the crusade outside of the M25 and you’ll probably be surprised at what you discover you’ve got a knack for, or what you never knew you liked.

Cheddar’s cliffs look daunting, but it’s worth the leap of faith

[3] Get personal with nature Ok, this is a cliché one. But seriously, with birds, bugs, forests and foliage round every corner, it’s hard not to get up close and personal with nature.

Close encounters of the miniature kind at Longleat

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venue spotlight

[4] Insta-eat your heart out Need I say more?

The iconic landscape of Cheddar Gorge

[5] You might just hear yourself think Having grown up in the rural West Country, when I visit the city what catches me off guard every time is the constant noise. I acclimatise quite quickly but then, on my return to the greenery, I always anticipate the warm embrace of deafening silence – and the odd moo. This Amur beauty is soaking up the peacefulness of Wiltshire

[6] A childlike mentality You know how kids have an amazing knack for getting along? It’s because their energy is focused on experiencing new things constantly. If you don’t frequent the countryside, then doing so is like plunging into a pool of sensory stimulus. Be prepared for gasps of amazement, fits of giggles, muddy shoes, new best friends and, of course, falling asleep in the car on the way home.

Channel your childlike wonder

[7] Keep calm and slow down Because you’re not in the middle of the bustle of metropolitan life, you’re not being relentlessly, and unknowingly, prompted to speed up. Let time fly because you’re having fun, not because you’ve got so much to get done. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was Longleat House

If you need more persuading that gorgeously Arcadian backdrops are the perfect choice for your next corporate event, let us know; we’ll take you around the first-ever safari park outside of Africa and meet the famous lions of Longleat, or traverse Britain’s highest inland limestone cliffs (and take a peek underneath them) at Somerset’s Cheddar Gorge & Caves. To find out more, visit longleat.co.uk/business, or call 01985 844328.

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SPONSORED CONTENT

A night of luxury brands ? Corporate gifts are growing in value and use, so says the leading trade body, the British Promotional Merchandise Association. The UK promotional merchandise sector is now worth over £1bn with branded pens and bags as the most widely used products. Research conducted over the years from the BPMA, suggests that when asked what are the criterion for a successful branded product, recipients say that having something that is high in quality and memorable are the most important. In line with this the BPMA are running an event on the 4th October, aptly named A night of luxury brands at the Conrad hotel, in St James, London. This

niche event supported by PA life, will focus on high end brands that are now entering the gifting space. October is a key buying period for pre-Christmas and event merchandise. PA’s now get more involved in buying gifts for top clients, private dinners, press launches and most definitely the Christmas season. This maybe as much for internal staff as external customers. Also packaging is playing a bigger role now in the final presentation as is individual personalisation on products. Having a recipients name engraved on a pen for example, has far The average person keeps a branded gift for approximately 2.5 years longer if useful and memorable.

Director general of the BPMA comments “ The UK branded gift market has shown signs of a resurgence in recent years as organisations need to keep their message and brand front of mind. For example the average person drinks around 1,500 cups of tea and coffee a year so a branded mug still has a place as an ideal gift, but buyers are more discerning about quality than ever before. For more information on how you can register visit www.nightofluxurybrands. co.uk. A number of top brands will be present, including Moleskin, Franklin Covey, Lanson Champagne, Cross, Hugo Boss among many that will be present.

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venue finding

Opening up Louise Goalen, Chair of the HBAA and Head of Venues at Top Banana explains why transparency from all sides is the key to successful venue sourcing I’m fanatical about transparency in our industry. At Top Banana, we work on a commissionable model and share all the details of venue charges with our clients so they know exactly what our fees are. This kind of clarity is essential so that all parties trust one another and work together to deliver great events. Trust Trust is three-way. We must trust venues to deliver on their promises; venues have to recognise that we understand our clients’ very specific needs (and wants), and clients have to trust both parties to do a good job so they can get on with the rest of their event planning. It’s a no-brainer really! So how should agencies add value? Perhaps the single biggest benefit to clients of working with a specialist

venue-finding agency is the expertise they bring to contract negotiations. There’s so much to consider around attrition rates, cancellation policies and service-level agreements, as well as the more obvious issue of cost. Ensuring a venue is fit for purpose is complicated. Everything from the weighty issue of health and safety and technical details like wifi, through to the nitty gritty of signage, catering and storage for valuables on event day should all be considered by your venue-finding partner. Every contingency should be covered, every ‘i’ dotted and every ‘t’ crossed. There should be a clear and detailed plan in place covering all the minutiae so that clients can relax and focus on content, delivery and the delegate journey. What’s in it for the venue? For venues, there’s a lot to be said

for working through specialist venuefinding agencies. Here at Top Banana, we have brilliant relationships with venues, built on mutual respect developed over time. There’s no short-cut to that kind of trust and no substitute for the smooth process it brings. Not only do we make their job easier through knowledgeable teams and a single point of contact for each event, but we always strive to build strong, long-term relationships. Knowing we may want to use a venue again and again means it’s important for us to have their trust so that next time, it’s a positive experience for everyone. In summary, it’s essential that all parties work together. It has to be a team effort. It’s the only way forward and it’s also the best way to enjoy what we do too.

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This is your team! Sabs, precise presentations and a mighty knowledge – she’s got this for you

RECEPTION

Nikki, and the events team will take you from initial quote through to your event on the day- with you every step of the way

AV TECHNICIAN

Jonny, highly experienced and bound to put a smile on your face, he delivers the most graceful of service

EVENT PLANNER

Charlie, one of the team from Ampersand caterers, their focus is on passion & flavour

HOSPITALITY MANAGER

CHEF

PORTER

Paulo, and his team will cheerfully move a chair 15 times until you’re happy

BMA HOUSE Gi, and his team welcomes your guests with open arms, ensuring a slick arrival to your event

Speak to Nikki and our events team about your next event Location: WC1, Tavistock Square Nearest tube: Euston and St Pancras Capacity: 294 theatre | 160 cabaret | 200 dinner 020 7874 7020 | events@bma.org.uk | bmahouse.org.uk

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31/08/2017 16:06 19:21 14/08/2017


venues

Finding the perfect place Yvette Baskerville, Director of Conference Style explains the top three elements to consider when planning a big company event The three key requirements of any event are usually budget, location and facilities. Research is time-consuming and under pressure the little things can get left off the checklist. Objectives of the event What is the main objective of the event? Do you have a target audience you need to attract? Finding the right venue will depend on whether you need the property to enhance the company’s profile and reputation and whether your goal involves external partners, suppliers, or potential new business. You may be organising an internal meeting to update staff on the latest developments and future of the company. Perhaps it’s a training course with several dates to secure at the same venue. Natural daylight is always a perquisite – and often forgotten. Maybe you’ve been tasked with planning the annual ‘kick-off’ or sales meeting – it could even be a motivational or team-building event.

The annual conference and awards dinner is often one that gets stuck in the same venue, but a new one can bring in a bigger audience and more sponsorship. An annual incentive trip is often overseas, so where do you start? Flight duration, time of year, weather – we have covered trips from Lisbon to Dubai and Barcelona to Cannes and can help with all the planning. Location Many events are within a very limited geographical net and companies often resort to just returning to the same venue repeatedly. If you want to stay locally or within a very specific location, it is good to shake the bag up a bit and throw in a fresh approach. Always advise whether on-site parking is required, along with access to railway links and motorways. What disabled access does the venue have? Sustainability and ecological approaches are also becoming more important for event bookers.

Budget and negotiation Many companies have limited budgets for specific events such as training. There is also the frequent request to meet procurement requirements. Always remember that you may well need a contingency amount for unforeseen requests from trainers or speakers and even the bar bill. Beware of hidden extras such as equipment. Thinking of every eventuality can potentially save you money from the start. At Conference Style, we always say that we are the additional free pair of hands for your team and as mother and daughter we work in tandem. Communication is the key to getting it right from the beginning. Consequently, the more information available to us, the better we can match the brief to the venue. This can be a movable feast and can be skeletal at times – so let’s just keep talking. We look forward to working with you on your next project. To find out more, visit conferencestyle.co.uk.

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CONFERENCE VENUES

THE BIRMINGHAM REPERTORY THEATRE The Birmingham Repertory Theatre has a wide range of spaces for conference and event planners to host their events in the heart of Birmingham. As well as the theatre spaces, there are three further purpose-built conference rooms for up to 200 delegates, plus two quirky meeting rooms. All have natural daylight, the latest audio-visual equipment and stunning views over Centenary Square and the City of Birmingham. The Rep can transform any event into something magical, unique and truly unforgettable. Weddings, milestone birthdays, Christmas parties and private dinners are all catered for with a theatrical twist. birmingham-rep.co.uk

BMA HOUSE BMA House is a Grade II-listed venue located in Bloomsbury, offering a range of 29 spaces for up to 300 guests for everything from evening dinners to summer garden parties. This includes two magnificent outdoor areas – the Courtyard and the Garden, all within easy walking distance of both Euston and Kings Cross train stations. The venue has recently completed a major refurbishment project, which saw the addition of the Worcester Room – shortlisted for Best London Meeting Room in the upcoming London Venue Awards. The property has been upgraded with high-tech facilities while maintaining its original features. bmahouse.org.uk

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CONFERENCE VENUES

ICC WALES Set to open in 2019, the ICC Wales is located on the grounds of the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, just two minutes from the M4. The 26,000 square-metre venue will accommodate up to 5,000 delegates and includes a 4,000 squaremetre, pillar-free main hall, a 1,500-seated auditorium, 12 flexible meeting rooms, a double-height glass atrium and a 2,500 square-metre outdoor plaza that’s perfect for team-building activities. It will also offer event planners several green rooms, a production office, business centre, café, extensive break-out spaces on every level of the building and terraces providing views over surrounding woodland, as well as on-site parking for 2,000 cars. iccwales.com

NO4 HAMILTON PLACE No4 Hamilton Place is home to the Royal Aeronautical Society and a magnificent, central London venue offering a choice of event spaces. It has a picturesque, heated roof terrace with views over Hyde Park – unique in this part of London and perfect for cocktail receptions and al fresco functions. The elegant old-world grandeur of the Edwardian town house leaves a lasting impression on all visitors. Rooms range from classic through to ultra-modern. The Bill Boeing theatre for example seats up to 250 people, ideal for conferences. It can also host Christmas parties, receptions, ceremonies and dinner dances complete with dance floor and glitter ball, naturally. 4hp.org.uk

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020 7882 8174

QMHospitality.co.uk

ALL YOUR SUMMER CONFERENCE NEEDS ON ONE SITE IN CENTRAL LONDON THE SMART VENUE CHOICE From historic townhouses to modern lecture theatres, our 200 rooms in central London are the smart choice for your next event.

Providing conference venues, accommodation and dining on one site in London E1 throughout the summer as well as year-round venue hire.

Award-winning catering State-of-the-art AV

RESIDENTIAL DELEGATE RATES

Locations in zone 1 and 2 Spaces for 10 to 740 guests

FROM

£ 95+VAT

Dedicated events team 020 7594 9494 | venues@imperial.ac.uk

www.imperialvenues.co.uk

Residential Conference Facilities at Egrove Park, Saïd Business School Your future is our business • Set in 37 acres of rural parkland; 2 miles from Oxford city centre • Teambuilding activities available: • GPS Treasure Hunt • Krypton Factor style game show • Fun Photo Booth

• • • •

Falconry Archery Wine tasting Corporate BBQs

• Award winning catering • Free car parking on site • Executive style accomodation

Please contact the Conference Office: 01865 288846 conference@sbs.ox.ac.uk

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Academic Venues

Let us educate you Ahead of the Academic Venue Showcase in October, Natalie Williamson, General Manager at Venuemasters explains why the UK’s educational institutions make the perfect locations for corporate events Let’s get some things straight to start with. Academic venues are great places. They harbour a multitude of historical facts, features, people and events. They are known across the world as brand ambassadors for the cities, towns and regions they represent. They’re exactly what they say they are – places where people meet to discuss, agree, disagree, confer and debate. Essentially, they are meeting spots. So, why are they great places to host events? Historical hubs and technical teaching spaces Most academic venues can offer something different from the standard hotel meeting space. For the most part, universities have been around for many years and while they boast state-of-theart conference facilities and all the latest AV that goes with that, many of these facilities may be located in the most architecturally stunning historic buildings or set within acres of beautiful parkland.

Coping with 1,000 students and staff wanting to get online means academic venues have to provide superfast wifi above and beyond the standard of other meeting spaces. Getting the best value for your budget One of the most important factors when planning events and conferences is going to be the budget. Many academic venues can offer a flexible approach to pricing and how they quote, which some branded hotels are often unable to do. Many still provide exceptional value, with day delegate rates as low as £18 per person. The kudos of academia For organisers looking at universities, colleges, or training venues, this is a real opportunity to link with teachers and researchers at all levels to add to an event. For example, a HR conference could benefit from a keynote speech from an expert in management training, or a sustainability event might want to tap into some ecological, global warming, or green technology research.

Sleeping and eating Academic venues are no longer niche propositions and over the last few years they have raised their profile, now sitting comfortably alongside conventional event spaces, and they don’t compromise on standards. For example, many venues now boast chefs that have won prestigious culinary awards once seldom found outside of five-star hotels. People shouldn’t assume all schools offer just student rooms; almost all rooms have ensuite bathrooms or showers and superb catering facilities that can feed any number of delegates. Add to all that the fact that Venuemasters can boast access to a total of 49,200 bedrooms around the country. Expertise on hand The conference management teams at our venues live and breathe events. Many of the team members have been there for a number of years and have probably seen it all. You will benefit from continuity, friendliness and an altogether more personal service, with a dedicated event manager.

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ACADEMIC VENUES

EVENTS & HOSPITALITY QM Situated across the campuses of Queen Mary University of London with venues in central London zones one and two, Events & Hospitality QM offers a range of unique and unusual properties all within five minutes’ walk of multiple underground stations. Highlights include the Grade II-listed Victorian Octagon with its triple-height, book-lined walls and domed ceiling, as well as the Art Deco Great Hall, alongside in-house catering, dedicated event managers and other venues suitable for two to 770 delegates. qmhospitality.co.uk

IMPERIAL VENUES Imperial Venues offers more than 200 flexible event spaces in central London, ranging from historic rooms in private townhouses to modern seminar rooms, classrooms and lecture theatres. With such an array of venues, Imperial is suitable for a range of events, including meetings, conferences, symposiums, dinners and drinks receptions for up to 1,500 guests. What’s more, Imperial provides a professional event service with in-house catering, superb audio-visual equipment and a dedicated events team to support you from enquiry to delivery. imperialvenues.co.uk

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ACADEMIC VENUES

MURRAY EDWARDS COLLEGE Are you looking for an event venue in Cambridge? Murray Edwards College has two professional conference centres and a plethora of flexible meeting rooms with excellent AV technology. Situated on the edge of the city, the venue even has on-site car parking. The friendly, experienced teams work closely with you to ensure your event runs smoothly, while the college’s world-renowned art collection offers an extra experience for your guests. murrayedwardsevents.co.uk

SAÏD BUSINESS SCHOOL, UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD Saïd Business School features two fully accredited, unique and diverse world-class conference venues based in Oxford. Park End Street Venue is located in the heart of the city centre, offering immediate access to the train station with state-of-theart facilities and award-winning catering. Egrove Park Venue is two miles from the city centre and offers a retreat setting with plenty of free parking. Set in 37 acres of parkland and just a short journey from the bus and train stations, the property offers comfortable bedrooms to ensure a great night’s sleep. sbs.oxford.edu

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ACADEMIC VENUES

UNIVERSITY OF STRATHCLYDE Strathclyde is a leading technological university in the heart of Glasgow. Within easy reach of transport networks, hotels and the Scottish Event Campus (SEC), the flagship Technology & Innovation Centre (TIC) offers flexible, state-of-the-art conferencing facilities all year round. TIC’s versatile auditoria accommodate conferences of up to 450 delegates, alongside 10 conference rooms offering bright, comfortable meeting space for up to 100, and spacious foyers perfect for networking, catering and exhibitions. All rooms feature the latest in projection, display and audio technology, in-house technicians are on hand to offer support and delegates can connect to fast, free guest wifi. strath.ac.uk/conferencingandevents

WOBURN HOUSE Located within minutes of London’s Euston and King’s Cross train stations, Woburn House is equipped for conferences, dinners and events seven days a week and can be hired out exclusively, with capacity for up to 200 delegates in its largest space, or up to 500 across all rooms. Following a £2 million revamp, the venue features eight bright and spacious rooms, including the Main Hall, with professional stage lighting, up-to-date AV, colour-changing up-lighting and new catering facilities. Woburn House operates from 8am to 11pm. Day delegate rates are available. woburnhouse.co.uk

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Choice of two conference centres at one great venue Same deal,

Reduced Rate

For 2017 meetings and conferences for 50+ delegates Includes: Main Meeting Room Hire 3 x Refreshments Choice of Lunch Style WiFi & more

Was £47 .0 + VAT

0

£39.95 + VAT Book your event TODAY 37 PA Life September.indd 3

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survey response

Making the PA Life We recently asked our PA Life Club members to let us know their thoughts on the perks of joining and what they want to see in the future. Molly Dyson analyses the results of the survey

We started the PA Life Club at the office* show in 2013 in order to bring assistants tools to help them do their job along with exclusive discounts, competitions and networking events. We’ve had a fun journey to where we are today, and as we’re approaching the Club’s fourth birthday, we thought it was time to find out what our members think we could do better. When asked to rank what originally enticed them to join, 71 per cent said their top choice was priority access to networking events, followed by

a discount on PA Life Training Day (53 per cent), exclusive content of the PA Life Club members’ site (43 per cent), special offers from suppliers (35 per cent) and competitions (30 per cent). In response to the outpouring of love for networking with your fellow PAs, our aim is to increase the number of events we organise into 2018, the most popular of which proved to be theatre experiences (69 per cent). Dinners and drinks receptions were equally enjoyed (62 per cent each), followed by teambuilding days (49 per cent).

Interestingly, 40 per cent of respondents would like to see more networking events outside of London. We’d love to cater for PAs around the country, so let us know if you have ideas for venues we can approach for future events by emailing us at info@palifeclub.co.uk. Supplier partnerships are paramount to the success of the PA Life Club, as evidenced by the number of members who use this benefit. An overwhelming 75 per cent would like to see more restaurant discounts offered, while

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survey response

Club work for you

66 per cent find hotel deals useful. Proving the partner offers aren’t just for personal treats, 60 per cent of those surveyed want meeting and event space mark-downs as part of their membership. As such, we’ll work closer with our venue sponsors to bring you more useful offers. We’d like to thank our loyal members, 85 per cent of which said they find the PA Life Club to be good value for money and 83 per cent who would recommend it to their peers and plan to renew their membership. You rated

your overall experience as four stars out of five. While that shows we’re doing well, we believe we could be doing much better so it is our aim to improve the Club’s offering over the coming months. There are plenty of networking opportunities coming up, including an exclusive showround at Sea Containers Events, a tour of Salters’ Hall, a wine and cheese night at Searcys Vintners’ Hall, the annual PA Life Christmas Party, which takes place at DSTRKT London, one of the capital’s hottest venues, and

a driving experience at Mercedes-Benz World. If you’re an existing member, be sure to keep an eye on your inbox for invitations. Turn to page 50 for a full diary of upcoming events. Not a PA Life Club member? You can sign up today for just £79 including VAT. That fee gives you priority invitations to all of our networking events and offers from our partners, as well as exclusive competitions with amazing prizes. To find out more, visit palife.co.uk/ pa-life-club.

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FUNDRAISE ON JEANS FOR GENES DAY fri 22 sept

Join Mollie King and organise a Jeans for Genes Day in your workplace to help raise vital funds to support children with life-altering genetic disorders. By encouraging everyone around you to wear jeans and donate, you will be doing something amazing for these children.

SIGN UP FOR YOUR FREE FUNDRAISING PACK JEANSFORGENES.ORG Jeans for Genes ® and ™, © 2017 Genetic Disorders UK. Registered Charity Number 1141583.


career development

Prepare for success With just a few weeks left until the next PA Life Training Day, we take a look at what courses are on offer at this year’s event

On 25 September, assistants from all walks of life will gather at the InterContinental London – The O2 to learn new skills and hone existing ones at PA Life Training Day. This year’s event promises to be great, with speakers delivering sessions on a range of topics for all levels of experience. The programme is divided into four streams, with content providing everything from entry-level skills to more advanced knowledge, meaning PAs at any stage of their career will find something of interest. Stream one includes sessions on becoming a master minute taker from Joanna Gutmann and getting through the interview process from EA Abigail Jones, as well as learning how to take control of your inbox from Dr Monica Seeley, making a positive first impression with Joanna Gaudoin and a special agony aunt session with Victoria Darragh.

In stream two, you’ll find the skills and confidence to network with Joanna Gaudoin, learn all about social media, apps and office tech from Matt Davis of The Bright Click, then discover effective business travel management with Garry Lloyd from Wayte Travel Management and achieve a better work-life balance with Garth Delikan. Streams one and two come to a close in the morning with an interactive PA Life panel discussion focused on confidence building featuring Amy Marsden, Abigail Jones and Candy Bowman. Meanwhile in stream three, you can learn about employee engagement from Russell Beck of Impellam Group, manage a difficult boss with Anita Pickerden and plan your career development for growth and prospects with Adam Fidler. Finally, stream four features assertive communication with Candy Bowman, making the leap from PA to VA with

former PA Life cover star Charlotte Wibberley, top time-management tips and how to handle stress in difficult times from wellness expert Dana Zelicha. The day finishes with another PA Life panel discussion, this time on preparing for your next role. Panellists include Adam Fidler, Charlotte Wibberley, Joanna Gaudoin and Andrew Jardine. You can book a full day at PA Life Training Day for just £295 +VAT, which includes a networking buffet lunch, or a half day for £195 +VAT. PA Life Club members are entitled to a discount on a full day booking, and there are also discounts on offer for groups of three or more PAs. PA Life Training Day is endorsed by The IAM. Places in each session are limited, so book now to secure your place. Visit palife.co.uk/training-day, contact Paige Aitken at paltrainingday@palife.co.uk, or call 01992 374 100.

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business travel

VENICE OF THE NORTH

Toby Cruse travels to historic Bruges for a sample of what the Belgian city has to offer business guests In recent years, the cobbled city of Bruges is best known as the backdrop for Colin Farrell’s sulking in crime comedy In Bruges, but you only need to set foot on its spider-web streets to see the heritage flowing in each direction. Home of fine art and finer wines (and fantastic beers) the rich history of Bruges is easy to get swept up in. As one of the most well-preserved medieval cities in Europe – and home to the world’s first stock exchange – the former superpower is the perfect business destination. Known as the ‘Venice of the North’, taking a tour through the city by boat is the easiest way to take in its many sights and get a feel for just how much is on offer. Across the cityscape, the eras of architecture sit side-by-side, marking centuries of achievement and giving even the smallest event spaces a seal of quality. Central to the city is Burg square, and it’s a perfect example of what Bruges offers. The square itself was named in

the ninth century and the architecture on display ranges from Neo-classicism and Renaissance to its great Gothic Town Hall, all welcoming the business world. Just around the corner, you’ll find the market square Place De Bruges, overlooked by the Belfry tower, where you can climb the 366 steps to find a working bell and see the city from a completely new perspective. If viewing the city from land, sea and air aren’t doing it for you, there’s one more trick the World Heritage Site has up its sleeve, and unsurprisingly it involves embracing its history. Within a grand building on Place De Bruges is the Historium, an immersive museum that sets out to give visitors a sense of what the city has looked like through the last 900 years in a virtual world. Wearing goggles and looking around a computer-generated 13th-century Bruges sounds about as surreal as it feels, and stretching out an arm to find that you can naturally interact with

some of your surroundings is even more peculiar. Taking the goggles off and exploring the Historium’s interactive tour is just as immersive, and it helps emphasise the love, care and pride oozing from residents wherever you turn. Venues and sight-seeing aside, Bruges wouldn’t fly the Belgian flag if it didn’t champion all things chocolate and beer, and it doesn’t disappoint on either. Offering soft, delicate and rich chocolates from renowned chocolatiers and more beer than you can imagine proudly displayed along the renowned Beer Wall, the city flaunts a condensed and authentic history unique to itself. Within walking distance, Bruges invites businesses to do everything from exploring classic sites to entering virtual worlds and even organising a knees-up at a brewery. To find out more about Bruges and the venues it offers for corporate guests, see visitflanders.com.

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city guide

Windsor Molly Dyson visits historic Windsor for a tour of some of the town’s best spaces for corporate events

What do you think of when you hear someone say ‘Windsor’? Your mind probably conjures images of the famous castle, part-time residence of the Queen, perhaps even the fanfare that is the changing of the guard. However, this historic market town has much more to offer the corporate market, as I discover on a special tour with Visit Windsor over the summer. I start my day at the newly refurbished De Vere Beaumont Estate on the outskirts of Windsor. The venue spent most of its history as a boys’ school. Today, the property has been lovingly restored and updated for the needs of modern meeting bookers, with a dedicated ‘conference village’ fitted with the latest AV technology and a gorgeous 19th-century chapel – the perfect backdrop for a unique dining experience. I also check out some of the 40 acres of grounds, which I can see being used for team-building events since they feature outdoor wifi. A short journey into the town centre is timed to ensure I can see the changing of the guard, a glorious parade through the streets between the barracks and castle that attracts both tourists and locals alike. I’ve got a fantastic view from the Windsor Guildhall, once the epicentre of the market. Built in 1687, it’s now home to a museum and open for corporate events. The ground floor

features an open terrace that can be transformed into an al fresco dining space, while the rooms upstairs played host to the civil partnership ceremony between Sir Elton John and David Furnish, as well as the wedding of Prince Charles and Camilla. Next up is the Macdonald Windsor Hotel across the street, a contemporary townhouse with 120 bedrooms and a selection of event spaces, all of which have been given a stylish update. The property is investing heavily in technology, including the introduction of Barco ClickShare’s interactive presentation equipment. Based on the modern touches in the meeting rooms, I can tell this addition will make the hotel a great choice for corporates. Lunch is kindly provided by the Castle Hotel next door. The property has recently been upgraded to an MGallery by Sofitel and boasts the largest banqueting suite on Windsor’s high street. All bedrooms have been refurbished, with the meeting spaces set to follow in 2018. This venue has the added benefit of a good-sized car park – hard to find in a medieval town. My last stop on the high street is the Harte & Garter, located directly across from Windsor Castle. The property boasts one of the only spas in the town centre and is preparing for major refurbishment works to upgrade its

bedrooms and meeting spaces. I’m most impressed by the ballroom, complete with an incredibly high ceiling and natural daylight. We head down to the banks of the Thames to check out a pub that proves to change my perception of such a venue’s effectiveness for corporates. With a brand-new, covered all-season outdoor terrace with space for up to 100 and a menu full of fresh, local gastronomic delights, I think The Boatman is a great place for celebration dinners and Christmas parties. Finally, we head just outside of town to Dorney Lake, famous for hosting 30 medal events in the London 2012 Olympics. The lake itself is the training ground for Eton College’s rowing team, while its main building features a light-filled space that I can see being used for presentations or dinners. The venue also offers team-building events, both water and land based. When you take into consideration that Windsor is only about half an hour from London by train or a 20-minute drive from Heathrow, it’s easy to see why more and more corporate groups are choosing the town to escape the city without breaking the bank. With so much choice, it’s just a question of finding the right venue for your needs. For more information on the area and its facilities, visit windsor.gov.uk/conference.

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hotel review

The Ned, 27 Poultry London EC2R 8AJ 020 3828 2000 thened.com

CHECKING IN Award-winning EA Dalya Perry-Bernstein recounts her visit to The Ned, one of London’s most talked-about new hotels Built by highly acclaimed architect Edwin ‘Ned’ Landseer Lutyen and completed in 1939, The Ned was the new London headquarters of The Midland Bank, a building that would embody its status as a financial powerhouse. Its stunning aesthetics made it a London landmark, being used as, among other things, film sets for Mary Poppins and the Bond movie Goldfinger. Upon entry, this magnificent building reminded me of New York’s Grand Central Station. The high ceilings and open restaurants gave a great sense of space and with so much to do, see and hear, this was very different to any hotel I have visited. Upon check-in, I had the pleasure of listening to a live acoustic guitarist and singer while I pondered which restaurant to dine in. The hotel provides live entertainment available for guests’ enjoyment daily. On first impressions, I was left feeling a sense of excitement, my original expectation of The Ned, a hotel name exuding little excitement, immediately eradicated. The Ned boasts an impressive choice of nine restaurants, which safely cater for

most palates. Set in the 3,000-squaremetre former banking hall, this vast lobby even has a New York Kosher-style deli, which I enjoyed sampling at lunch. I chose to have dinner at Lutyens Grill, an impressive and exclusive steakhouse set in the former bank manager’s office. The food was sublime, a taste sensation, and the staff were extremely attentive. Lutyens is a restaurant you could confidently recommend to any executive. Following dinner, I visited The Vault Bar & Lounge. Situated in the belly of the building, behind the 20-tonne, two-metre-wide vault door is an allhours cocktail lounge, lined with more than 3,000 original safety deposit boxes. The Ned has 252 guest rooms, ranging in size from intimate to large suites, all with a touch of 1920s glamour. I stayed in a ‘medium’ room and couldn’t want for anything, as The Ned had it covered. The consideration given to individuals’ requirements is outstanding. The mini-bar and bathroom are extremely well stocked; the beds are huge and very inviting. Suffice to say, I had a very comfortable and peaceful night’s sleep.

As a busy, well-travelled EA, I must mention the following key points: • Mains sockets right next to the bed • Complimentary wifi • Excellent lighting and naturally well-lit rooms • Extremely good water pressure The Ned offers pretty much everything under one roof – unless you count the stunning rooftop swimming pool. Available for guests is a 24-hour gym, spa, hairdresser/barber, nail and make-up service, swimming pools, sauna, steam room and hammam. I noted how clean all of the facilities are and how extremely pleasant the staff are. Without viewing the event space personally, note that The Ned has six Grade I-listed meeting rooms and two outdoor terraces, accommodating between four and 400 people, with a range of food and drinks menus on offer for functions of all types. In conclusion, I would personally award The Ned five stars and would urge you to experience this unique hotel for yourself. I cannot wait to return.

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RESTAURANT REVIEW

WHAT WE ATE Raceday hospitality packages at The Hennessy start from £124 per person

CONTACT The Hennessy, Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire RG14 7NZ 01635 40015 newburyracecourse.co.uk

TRIED & TASTED Corporate guests can enjoy spectacular views from the comfort of The Hennessy at Newbury Racecourse, with the added benefit of delicious meals. Molly Dyson tries out the hospitality

asparagus spears, celeriac purée and jus – it’s the ideal meal considering the weather outside is slightly too cold for a summer’s day. The sirloin is perfectly pink in the middle and so tasty I can’t resist polishing off the whole plate. We request a break before dessert so we can watch the next race because we’re both sure we’ve bet on the winning horse. Alas my luck was all spent on choosing the right dishes, while my guest lines his pockets, but just being able to witness the uninterrupted views of the course is enough to please me. Except dessert brings a unique English cream tea twist on crème brûlée for me, making the whole experience so worth the short drive from London and the few pounds lost on the ponies. My dining partner seems equally impressed with his ‘Jammie Dodger’ cheesecake served with raspberry ripple ice cream. The next time you’re in need of a special treat for your colleagues or clients, check out the packages on offer at Newbury. The Hennessy certainly has my stamp of approval.

Corporate hospitality is a brilliant way to build relationships, and horse racing is one of those events that you can almost always bet is a good choice for treating clients. However, doing it right is key, which is why I find The Hennessy at Newbury Racecourse to be particularly appealing; the panoramic views of the winning post are hard to beat, especially with a welcoming glass of champagne in hand. To say Head Chef Darren Fairminer’s menu is the perfect fit for such a setting is possibly underselling his masterful creations. The menu is simple and changes with the season, yet every dish is so appealing I actually find it difficult to make a choice during my visit. With much deliberation, I start light with the roast tomato soup – made oh so nice by the addition of basil purée and torn buffalo mozzarella. My plus-one goes for the slightly more substantial pork and apple terrine, which is made fresh on site. Great minds think alike, as we both land on a slow-roasted beef for mains, served with creamy watercress mash,

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event planning

The future is now Our partner the Future In 15 show talks to event industry experts to find out how technology is shaping the future of venue booking. Toby Cruse takes a look at the viewpoints

“It doesn’t happen by accident; you don’t bring a group of people together and achieve your goals, so that’s a design principal.” Talking to show host Caleb Parker, Myhre emphasises that while companies will fail due to recording the wrong data or measurements, it’s much more likely for a firm to make missteps through misuse of the right analytics. Understanding the data you have is often more important than seeking more figures you won’t necessarily be able to use, with the specialist believing it often boils down to simply asking the right questions. “I think mainly they tend to be logistically oriented in their thinking,” continues Myhre. “So someone would say ‘I think we should do an event’ and their first questions would be ‘Where? How many people? How many days?’ when it should be ‘Why?’” Learning how to provide events and understanding your audience can make or break a business, and industry specialists are still discovering how they can change the way they work to better fit the consumer’s needs. For a lot of those, the speed in which the world is changing is overwhelming, and organisers can be the key to changing perceptions through simple and

Event organising and venue booking is significantly changing with each passing year. Customer interaction, speed and feedback are valued more highly now than ever, in no small part due to the explosion of the digital age. With the world becoming ‘on demand’ and at the palm of your hand, the need to cater specifically to each client’s individual needs is not only essential, it’s expected. Despite sounding like a tough task, you have the data to embrace behaviour right in front of you and you may not even know it, according to recent interviews from online business show The Future In 15. The videos, which feature 15-minute interviews with newcomers, veterans and leaders of the industry, aim to help smaller businesses and start-ups prepare and futureproof themselves for the ever-changing road ahead. “When you’re crafting experiences for a particular audience, you need to understand them, what motivates them and what their inhibitors are, and you need to bring that knowledge,” says Kim Myhre, the former Senior VP of FreemanXP’s London office, who wants to encourage event planners to carefully consider their attendees and rethink the way they treat venues.

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“People can make proper decisions with a good understanding of the data,” says Mark Lewington, business travel and commission management specialist and CEO of CTS Systems. Talking with The Future In 15, Lewington explains the importance of ‘big data’, as well as outlining how they aim to help businesses and hotels through choice and customisation. “We have no off-the-shelf software, so we customise to every travel agency, as you go in and understand what you need and do more of a consulting role,” says Lewington. “But then on the hotel side, we try and make things as easy as possible for them to respond, to make payments and to entice the agents to book them again.” The more you embrace, learn and interact with the new world, the more your audience will reach back and change with you, according to Lewington. However, it’s important to understand that the internet is just another tool for organisers to use to their advantage. The evolution of electronics continues to surprise and innovate, something newcomers are embracing, leaders are learning, and veterans are excited for, but something that nobody can prepare for. Watch full episodes of The Future In 15 at thefuturein15.com.

straightforward communication not just with attendees, but also with the venues. “In terms of the future, we’ve got to push technology forward with the venues,” says Michael Begley, Managing Director of Venue Directory, a business that has had to adapt fast over the last 25 years to change from an audience who understands faxes and phone calls to the world of instant messaging and streamlined mobile apps. “The minute [venues] start to engage with technology they see the benefit and they wonder why they took so long to engage with it,” continues Begley. “It’s just giving the customer what they want; the venue gets more efficient – everyone’s happy. It’s automation and online efficiency.” Working out the tougher, more complicated and administrative parts of technology in the background can make it easier for clients to switch to digital, boosting and reinforcing a supplier’s business. What a company considers ‘hassle’ will vary, and the only real way to ensure you’re offering the best service for your customer is to spend the time to work closely with them at every step.

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out of office

Read all about it This month’s motivational must-read books

The Little Book of Clarity Author: Jamie Smart Paperback available to buy on Amazon, £8.49; Kindle edition, £7.59 Clarity is the quality of being clear and Jamie Smart tells us that it is the mind’s natural state. Our mental clarity is under attack; it’s overrevved, weary and congested – which is true for many of us as we struggle with information overload in the modern world. The concept of this book is good – a quick guide to declutter your mind. Each chapter concludes with a useful and relevant reflection point (that also includes a QR code so that you can post comments and share learning online).

However, the title is slightly misleading; this book is by no stretch of the imagination a ‘little book’. In size yes, but it’s packed full with tiny writing, lots of it, crammed onto each page! The book would be much easier on the eye if it was regular size! (The Kindle edition might be better?) Having said that, anyone who quotes Oscar Wilde has my vote (page 233) – “life is too important to be taken seriously”.

Reviewed by Debs Eden, Founder, Bristol PA

Successful Business Writing: How to write excellent and persuasive communications Author: Heather Baker Paperback available to buy on Amazon, £12.99

COMMUNITY CLUB Owing to technological advancements we all write far more today than we used to. In this practical book, Heather teaches us how to retain high written standards, avoid clichés, reframe bad news, offer solutions, use appropriate vocabulary and convey WIIFM for the recipient (what’s in it for me? technically). Heather tackles some of my grammatical bugbears and enables us to write with clarity, precision and consistency. I giggled to myself when reading some examples of people not proof-reading, e.g. ‘For anyone who has children and doesn’t know it, there is a day centre on the first floor.’ ‘Always differentiate between fact and opinion. It is also possible to mislead your reader by omission.’ The language level is vital so that people can warm and relate to you and quite often what is not said speaks volumes. On a personal level I will now be more mindful of tautology and will favour straight

talking versus hyperbole. I must admit to being guilty of ‘reverting back’ – the ‘back’ being superfluous. I will try to avoid trite clichés such as ‘if you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me’. In 2017 this has zero impact and is devoid of originality and personal brand. Who ever goes to the ‘five items or fewer’ aisle in the supermarket? It doesn’t exist and Heather explains why ‘five items or less’ is grammatically incorrect. If your noun is countable you should use fewer – if it’s uncountable you should use less. The question and answer section in the book is something I will continue to dip into. Who knew learning grammar could be so enlightening?

Reviewed by Jennifer Corcoran, Founder My Super Connector

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out of office

“MY PA BREAK CAME AFTER I ATTAINED A QUALIFICATION AND WORKED FOR A COLLEGE AT THE AGE OF 23 – MY MANAGER WAS A FANTASTIC INSPIRATION AND I AM SO GRATEFUL FOR HER SEEING PAST MY AGE.”

Work + Life

This month Hayley Hewson, Executive PA and Head of Administration at Gattaca plc unlocks her diary from AM to PM My alarm goes off… At 6.20am and I generally get into work for 7.30am. I like to spend time preparing for the day ahead before the rest of the business starts at 8.30am. Having 14 offices worldwide can often change the course of the working day, especially with travelling executives. I’m responsible for… I work at Gattaca plc, an international AIM-listed recruitment company with around 800 employees, and look after the COO, CFO and CEO, Brian Wilkinson, who is a pioneer in our sector, having been recognised with a Lifetime Achievement Award by Recruitment International. I also support the plc board meetings, board committees and investor relations meetings. Last year I additionally took on the role of head of administration, overseeing the top-level demands and strategic plans for our three UK offices. Gattaca has seen quite a bit of change since I joined, with a rebrand following the acquisition of Networkers International, and another acquisition of Resourcing Solutions Limited at the beginning of this year. I love that every day is different and acquisitions really promote fantastic change for a company.

I got my job... I started my career as front-of-house assistant and have worked my way through the admin profession and into the PA world. My PA break came after I attained a qualification and worked for a college at the age of 23 – my manager was a fantastic inspiration and I am so grateful for her seeing past my age. In my last role, I supported three directors, as well as running HR. I knew I wanted a step up to the c-suite level and Gattaca has exceeded all of my expectations. In my spare time… What can I say – a girl loves to shop! But when my bank balance does not allow a trip to Coach or LK Bennett, I enjoy spending time with friends and family visiting local pubs, cinemas and the New Forest with our dog. My proudest moment… Was when I worked at the Bank of England and led the organisation of the Governor’s January 2012 visit and speaking schedule in the South of England. It was a packed two days with company visits, lunches, breakfast and a televised speech, with a dinner for 500. The visit all went smoothly and being thanked and awarded with flowers

in front of all of those people was something I will not forget. Six months of planning really paid off! My favourite techie kit/app… Has got to be Google Maps or TripCase – anything that can assist with exec travel is a must for me! My work mantra… Dream big, work hard, stay focussed and surround yourself with good people. Alternative career… If I had the vocal tones, it would be a singer. Realistically, I would love to have worked within the arts, travelling the world. My bucket list… Needs a refresh following a recent trip to Mauritius and planned holidays to New York and Canada. Networking is… Something I would love to have more time for! We have the fantastic local South Hampshire PA Network, and I only wish my work commitments allowed me to attend every event. For any PAs that have not joined a local group, I would whole-heartedly encourage you to do so.

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out of office

PA Life Club news Meet your new PA Life Club Manager We’re excited to welcome Freddi Jackson as the new PA Life Club Membership Manager. Freddi joins us from our parent company Forum Events and will take over Jack’s duties. She’ll be at the upcoming networking evenings, so be sure to introduce yourself.

DATES FOR THE

DIARY

Networking, learning and things to keep in mind 20-22 September Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year) 22 September Muharram (Islamic New Year) 25 September PA Life Training Day at The InterContinental London – The O2 26 September PA Life Club networking event at Salters’ Hall 27 September PA Life Club networking event at Sea Containers Events, South Bank

PA Life Club members learn about the Black Tomato Agency at the Four Seasons taken their expertise in luxury travel excursions and turned it into a great tool for the corporate world. They offer a range of services, organising incentive trips for teams, designing the ultimate experiences to give away as prizes and helping clients get the word out about upcoming trips. The experts at Black Tomato Agency work with you to ensure every part of the trip meets your brief and matches your objectives. They take all of the information you give them and look at different options to present to you, then continue to support you through the entire process, from booking to the moment you get back home. PA Life Club members receive priority invitations to all of our networking events. Not a member? Sign up today for just £79 including VAT at palife.co.uk/pa-life-club

PA Life Club members gathered at the brand-new Four Seasons Hotel at Ten Trinity Square for an introduction to our latest sponsor, the Black Tomato Agency. The Four Seasons Ten Trinity Square is one of London’s hottest new venues, housed in the former Port of London Authority building opposite the Tower of London. It has taken the owners seven long years to lovingly restore the property to its former glory. The event was held in the UN Ballroom, which was the venue for the first meeting of the United Nations General Assembly in 1946. It’s the largest of the hotel’s five spaces, accommodating up to 250 people. The service matched the setting, with attentive staff bringing a constant stream of delicious canapés, bowl food and bubbles. The Black Tomato Agency’s Head of Sales David Heron explained how the team has

30 September Yom Kippur 3 October PA Life Club networking event at Searcys Vintners’ Hall 11 October Academic Venue Showcase 13 October PA Network (Exeter, Bristol & Cardiff) Development Conference at DoubleTree by Hilton Bristol North 19 October Diwali 23-24 October Event Organisers Summit at Grange Tower Bridge Hotel 30 October East Midlands PA Network session with Adam Fidler

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PA Life September 2017  

PA Life September 2017

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