Key themes were triumph over adversity, role progression and levelling up opportunities as a business support professional…

There was an air of excitement at the Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin last week as we hosted our first in-person annual conference since 2019. Although we did have a number of delegates joining us virtually, everyone at the Radisson (including ourselves) were so happy to be back in a room connecting and learning together.



Derek Kearney was the first speaker of the day and (pardon the pun) he did not pull any punches as he talked us through a very personal story of triumph over adversity. Derek explained how his experience training in MMA has influenced his EA career and vice versa. He gave us advice on how to truly excel in your role in business support, to get outside your comfort zone (be that in a personal or professional setting) to find your voice, strive to develop your own confidence and, bring your whole self to work. It was clear to everyone in the room that Derek’s tenacious attitude has gotten him to where is today. 



Siobhain Danaher was our next speaker to help us understand more about Decision Fatigue which can lead to burn out. As a lean strategist by trade, Siobhain used her expertise to create a strategy in her life to avoid burning out ever again.


She spoke a lot about the art of saying No, asking us to consider why we don’t like to say No and what is the worst that could happen if we did say No more often!

Siobhain’s theory is that if you agree on a clear strategy for the year (both personal and the organisations ), then everything you get asked to do in work – if what you are being asked to do fits in with the strategy then try to fit it to your work. If not, it’s a no.

A key to the effectiveness of working this way is not to have emotional attachment to the outcome of saying No, or worry about offending people – be practical about it because everyone else is just thinking of themselves anyway. 

We were humbled to learn during her presentation that the only thing she said Yes to this year was presenting at the Executive PA Summit!



After a refreshing morning tea break we returned to receive an industry update from Siobhan Kelly, Founder and CEO of Mosaic Consultancy who advised on what the top roles advertised are looking for right now. She talked through a range of websites and courses you can do to upskill in your role and get a better understanding of what is required to bag the top jobs. Siobhan also talked us through the importance of staying in control of your career narrative and personal brand that you want to portray! 


Adam Fidler  returned to the Summit to talk us through how the EA role legitimises leadership in 2022, and how you can demonstrate maximum contribution to the business. Adam advised to lean into your emotional intelligence, take on further responsibility and projects that assist the growth and success of the organisation, have greater visibility across the board, and work on speaking up and being more assertive.

All of these traits are more managerial than just supportive and taking on managerial qualities means you will be taken more seriously, entrusted with greater responsibility and will be spotted for more opportunities in the long run We have since this happened countless times in our own network and love how Adam encapsulates these into his teachings. 

Adam finished his insightful talk by delivering further information about the Executive Assistant Diploma which is a first for Ireland. Adam talked us through the various Diploma Pathways you can take over the course of 1-2 years, and which could increase your salary by up to €10K. 

We are working closely with Adam to enroll our network in the Diploma and if you are interested in learning more, please contact

Former Executive Assistant and now Leadership Facilitator and Performance Improver, Paula Brady hosted an interactive talk using Slido which was much needed after our lunch to keep us awake!  A number of questions posed included: 

What do you think of when you hear the word feedback?

There was quite a mixed response, but as a former FIFA referee, Paula pointed out that we should view feedback as a gift – it helps us improve and helps us in our careers in the long run. It can also be used to negotiate a pay rise, to receive a promotion or to make your life easier in the long-run!

There was also a mixed response for the question on rating the quality of your review with your Exec:

2 of Paula’s many key pieces of advice when it comes to improving your performance before you have to wait until your next appraisal includes:

-Ask the following questions: 

  1. What do I do that makes your life run smoother on a day to day basis?
  2. What else can I do to help and support you in the execution of your role?

And secondly – make a note of everything you do at the end of each day (or at the very least end of each week) that shows what you were responsible for, and how this helped both your manager and your organisation as a whole. Reflect if there was something you worked on that went above and beyond, and perhaps outside the remit of your role. You can then use this information to refer to when it comes to your performance appraisal each year.

Joining us next was Fiona Flynn who is an Executive coach and who also chairs the Professional Women’s Network. Although we acknowledge there are a number of male EAs and PAs in Ireland and across the world, the majority of people in the role are women. Fiona is particularly encouraging of women to find a support network in particular a support role who can feel isolated, and the idea behind PWN is to focus on gender balance leadership which is good for organisations as well as women.

The focus of Fiona’s talk was on Emotional Intelligence, an Assistant’s super-power as far as we are concerned. When looking to build your confidence and ambition you must first review where your strengths cluster is primarily – Is it in Emotional, Relational, Thinking or Execution – is it a mix of all 4? 

Fiona explained the importance of getting to know every one you work with on a human level and being open to diversity, difference of personalities and where others are coming from. An important element of developing EI is self awareness, and so if we notice what is going on for us emotionally at any given time, we can also recognise this in others around us.


Simon Cocking delivered a Tech Talk. Simon talked through some of the more recent helpful tools available, and his main piece of advice is to understand what you really need first and foremost. That means identifying the vision, the problem you wish to solve.  Only then can you decide what will work for you, go ahead and develop templates, filter what you don’t require and have an ongoing ‘To Do’ list.


Former EA and now Vision & Leadership Coach, Lisa Mitten rounded off the day asking us to reflect on the full day of learning we just had, what were our A-ha moments, and what were we going to do now we go back to the office and apply everything we want to put into practise.

Lisa left us with a clear message: YOU are the only person in the world who has the ability to alter or improve yourself or your life!


If you were unable to attend but would like a recording of the Summit we have a special offer of €270 which includes access to our Executive PA Forum online community platform.  Contact if you would like to purchase.


We would like to thank all our sponsors and partners who supported the Summit


We look forward to our 2023 Summit which we hope to host in May next year and will announce the details very soon so you can Save the Date!