REPORT | Executive PA Summit 2023

We hosted our annual Executive PA Summit in the fabulous newly opened Dublin Royal Convention Centre on Thursday 4th and Friday 5th of May.

Excitement for the event had already been building as we launched our event app in advance which was provided by one of our partners for the event, CrowdComms. 

As attendees entered the Convention Centre that morning, they were greeted by our swanky registration kiosks. Myself and Aisling were delighted to have a break from preparing last minute name badges the night before! The registration was seamless, and, of course, we had Stuart and Ronan from CrowdComms to hand to help anyone who had issues with accessing the app or getting their name badges printed. 

The Dublin Royal Convention Centre sponsored a gorgeous early morning spread for us as we got ready for the day ahead. 

Keeping with our environmentally-friendly conference theme using our bespoke event app, we once again distributed a Rocketbook for 'everyone in the audience' at this year's Summit. Rocketbook is the world’s first endlessly reusable notebook. With a Rocketbook, you can take notes as normal, then using the free companion Rocketbook mobile app, save your notes digitally. When finished, simply with a damp cloth wipe your notes clean to start taking notes again. A single Rocketbook notebook can be reused for years, saving a massive of amount of paper waste compared to traditional notebooks that need to frequently be replaced!


So onto our first speaker of the day - Janice Valentine - who talked us through her very personal journey, one of transformation driving change as an EA and making purposeful impact in your organisation and career. 

Janice spoke candidly about how circumstances from her personal life motivated her to create a new pathway along her career journey. 

She talked us through all the steps for how to implement a hackathon within your organisation and gave us some detailed insight into the workings of how to host and manage one. A major talking point was Janice’s list of questions that you should ask yourself (with a couple of hours time put aside) if you are looking to make purpose, impact or change in your life.

Janice finished her talk with a question for the Executive PA Summit tribe.

We knew our next speaker was going to give a great boost to all our delegates however we had no idea of the impact that Jean Evans would make on the room while talking through the topic of networking!

As we had said in the bio outline, networking is not something that you regularly see on the job spec of an Executive Assistant or Business Support professional. However, Jean spoke about thinking of networking in terms of confidence, connection and communication. That really resonated with the audience. Jean had so much practical advice and techniques to share that when we run over time we really didn't want to tell her to stop.

Jean gave so much advice during her talk that it is hard is actually quite difficult to summarize the main pointers here; however, one particular statistic that Jean shocked all of us with was this one:

"Working hard accounts for 10% of your career progression.

The remainder is down to image and exposure."

That statistic really hit home with everybody in the room, and once we heard it, we consumed all the advice that Jean imparted.


Jean led us into the first networking break of the day which was a delicious spread, once again, from the Dublin Royal Convention Centre.

Delegates had the opportunity to go and visit the sponsors stands, enter competitions, play some fun challenges via the event app, network with old friends and connect with new acquaintances.


The last thing we ever thought we would have at the Executive PA Summit was a quote from a Kardashian, but Siobhan Kelly delivered that quote as part of her presentation. Siobhan - founder of Mosaic Consultancy and our Platinum Recruitment Partner - gave us an honest and frank update on the status of the Recruitment industry and how the job market looks at the moment - in particular, hiring trends in relation to the business support profession.

"If you stay ready, you don’t have to get ready." ~ Khloe Kardashian

The message here was that you should prepare yourself now if you are thinking of a career move - look at upskilling and training to prepare yourself for future moves and opportunities. Yes, things are stagnant at the moment. Yes, the job's market is slow moving. Yes, there are worries about job security - however, with Siobhan's advice, everyone in the room felt reassured and motivated for the future.



Our next talk was delivered by way of a 'double act'  - we had Oz Desai and Matthew Heymans of our FCM Travel, our Platinum Travel Partner. Oz and Matthew got us up to speed with how current travel trends are looking - in short, travel is back with a bang! 

Oz and Matthew talked through the major travel challenges that corporate travellers are facing at the moment, with the pace of travel so quickly back to what we were used to pre-pandemic, as well as how FCM can help alleviate those headaches.

They also discussed sustainability in corporate travel and how they can support their customers to travel efficiently, reducing the carbon footprint and offering a solution that has everything the corporate traveller needs, all in one place.


Our next speaker up was Therese Phipps, friend of the Forum, who delivered a workshop last year on the six universal needs. That went down so well that we invited Therese back to join us this year to talk about the six universal needs and how we could implement them at work and be mindful of them, considering the various personalities we engage with on a daily basis, be that ourselves or our colleagues. 

Therese shared with us the six universal needs that every single human being has to varying degrees - for each need there are some times in our lives when certain needs are greater than others. Therese talked us through the various elements of each area so to know ourselves better and those around us. 

Jean Evans joined us on stage again to answer some questions from her previous session and to also facilitate a short networking session that led us into the lunch break.

Once again, the Dublin Royal Convention Center provided some delicious lunch options for everybody who attended. It was also great opportunity for networking with sponsors find out more about what they do how they can help our delegates.


Our next our first speaker after lunch was the indominable trailblazer Sandra Healy who is the CEO and founder of inclusio. Sandra was also the founder of the DCU center for diversity and inclusion, etc. Ever since, Sandra has had a varied career and has worked across a number of large well known companies and organizations. Early on in her career, she became involved in a mission to promote members of her workforce who came from disadvantaged areas as well as promoting diverse neuro-divergent multicultural workplaces. Sandra is also very passionate about gender equity in the workforce, and she gave us some interesting stats and figures in the area of gender diversity which was a real eye-opener for everybody present. Sandra's main mission is to affect change in organizations so that there are greater diversity greater voices being heard greater number of voices being heard which is also better for business. Our delegates were privy to some interesting stats and also soaked up Sandra's advice for how each of us cn approach a D&I conversation in the workplace.


We were delighted to have Niamh Moynihan join us at the Summit to speak about how we can all achieve a better workday. 

Niamh believes that you can achieve career success without compromising your well-being or suffering from burnout and shared many practical tips that we could implement straight away. 

She gave top tips for how to reduce firefighting in your day-to-day, and work to eliminate it for good by pre-empting the fires that could be started before they do, and the importance of looking to the source of those fires, so perhaps a new way of working together could be introduced.
The one question you should ask, if you are feeling overwhelmed, or burdened by tasks that others are lumping on your plate - will instantly shift your mindset - what if it could be easy? Do you have a project or task that is weighing you down right now? What if it could be easy? How would things look for you?
Niamh finished her presentation by setting a challenge for everyone in the audience - to job swap (or at the very least task swap) with your Executive/manager or a colleague on your team. Her reason for encouraging people to take up this challenge is so that you have an insight into your colleagues pressures and vice versa. We can't wait to hear how many of our delegates have tried this and what they have learned as a result!


Leading us into the last break of the day we heard from friends of the Forum, Madeline Riley and Lorraine Allis, who were representing the Radisson Blu Royal Dublin Hotel and our Venue Host and Sponsor, the Dublin Royal Convention Centre.


Lisa Boissel, CEO of Miss Jones UK and Co-Founder of Miss Jones Ireland also said a few words in advance of the inaugural Miss Jones Ireland EXPO taking place that evening.


Last but by no means least we welcomed Dr Heather McKee - Europe's leading behavioural change specialist - to finish out the day with a bang. Heather's subject of expertise focusses on developing sticky habits ie habits that stick! Dr McKee imparted some great advice for how we can all create lasting change by introducing realistic, laughably small changes in our day to day, for which we can gradually build upon to form lasting habits. 

Her main piece of advice when it comes to habit formation was to focus on Implementation not Information. We tend to be so heavily armed with information when it comes to being more productive, healthier and fitter - but it is the small choices we make each day, and small action steps we take that will eventually lead to sticky habits sticking!


On Day 2 - workshop day - we hosted a range of intensive workshops which received stellar feedback, from Design Thinking for Executive Assistants to the A-Model for Communication, a variety of pertinent learning and development was covered.

I was lucky enough myself to join Jarlath Duffy's Time & Energy Management workshop.  Through a mix of storytelling, practical advice and giving us the space and time out to reflect and work through the worksheets he gave us, we had many a-ha moments throughout. We left the workshop with a renewed sense of motivation for managing our time and energy better.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge thanks to everyone who attended, who contributed, asked questions and who made the event such a special one by engaging, interacting and connecting with others.

Also, a massive thank you to all our Sponsors & Partners who provided some amazing prizes and without whose support we simply could not host the Executive PA Summit:

FCM Travel


Radisson Blu Royal Hotel Dublin

Dublin Royal Convention Centre

Mosaic Consultancy

Ireland's Blue Book


Eventcomms Agency

Alan Rowlette - who captured some amazing shots of the conference throughout the day, some of which are dotted through this article


We are already planning our 2024 Summit and hope to announce dates for that by early Autumn.

If you missed the 2023 Summit but would like to purchase a copy of the recording, please contact Aisling 

You can also view our video highlights from the 2023 Summit here! 

Looking forward to seeing you at the next one


Expert Advice on Performance Reviews and Appraisals

Performance Reviews and Appraisals - Anxiety-inducing or an Opportunity to Re-focus?

Have you got a performance appraisal coming up? Do you even have an annual review in place? How often do you sit down with the person(s) you support and/or HR to discuss your career path and progression?

Now is the best time of year to reflect on your year gone by, analyse where you could be better recognised and rewarded, and set your career goals for 2024. We have some stellar advice and resources to help you if you have a review coming up so you can be best prepared. If this is not something you have had in a while (or ever) in your organisation, this advice should resonate with you and motivate you to make it happen.


Be Real. Be Clear

Career Consultant Siobhan Kelly founder of Mosaic Consultancy shared with us fantastic advice and guidance coming up to review time

  1. Don't assume your manager/Executive knows what you've done over the previous 12 months. They don't. Give examples related to the KPIs of your role and the core values of the company.
  2. Include the results and the value added to the executive/their team/wider company.  Take the time to reflect on the wide ranging impact your work has.
  3. Don't tell people what you did, show HOW you did it e.g. collaborating with remote teams etc. and include results.
  4. Under no circumstances give yourself a 3 if you really deserve a 5 on the scoring metric. Some people get embarrassed to be seen rating themselves so highly. Beat that inner critic with a stick if you need to and yourself the most honest and accurate score.
  5. Use the opportunity to negotiate for your career aspirations for the next 12 months. Do you want to get support for an in-depth training course, join a professional association, or volunteer in area that will help you progress in your career? Now is the time to say it and explain why it will help you in your role, and make you an even more valuable member of the team and the wider organisation. 
  6. Take the time to prepare ‘a highlight reel’ document that they can take away with them. Highlights that align with your appraisal, your achievements, your future goals. There should be no confusion in relation to you achieving or indeed over-achieving on your KPIs and total clarity on what you need going forward. 
  7. A closed mouth won't get fed. I said this at the Executive PA Summit, and it is something I firmly believe. If you want a pay rise, bonus, promotion, new responsibilities SPEAK UP. This is an ideal time to lay everything on the table and discuss with your executive. You can tell them what you want and ask them what steps you need to take to get them and agree a timeline. 


Seize the Opportunity

Vision & Leadership Coach and Mentor Lisa Mitten shares her advice when it comes to preparing for your performance review:

  1. Take time to reflect on the past year, create clear notes on what worked and what didn’t work for you. Be honest with yourself.
  2. Remember, feedback is an amazing opportunity to grow and learn.  Constructive feedback is a privilege, it’s your window to develop your strengths and skills.
  3. Take time to prepare your own feedback to your executive/manager and come to your appraisal with possible solutions, going forward, with regard to what didn’t work or go as planned etc. Also consider what supports and resources you need in place to help you do your best work. 
  4. Create clarity around the direction you want to move towards in the coming year. Your appraisal is an opportunity to sell yourself, if there are any projects, areas of the business or trainings you would like to do / get involved in, now is your time to make the suggestion.
  5. Keep an open mind.
  6. Be confident and use your voice, this is your chance to shine!


Task Tracking and Key Questions

We recently learned some great advice at the recent Executive PA Summit from Paula Brady, former EA and now Performance Improvement Specialist who works with Senior Leadership to get the best out of them. Paula recommends asking two key questions of the person(s) you support:

  1. What do I do on a daily basis that helps make your life easier? 
  2. What else can I do more often that will help make your life easier?

She also advised to keep a track of your tasks and activities every day and week so that you yourself have an overview of the work that you do but that you can also demonstrate more clearly your contribution. Here is an example of helpful Weekly Task Tracker sheet that Lynn Walder shared on LinkedIn recently, a great way of both reviewing and demonstrating the results of your performance. You can make a copy, choose the headings that apply to you and get tracking!


Aligning Personal and Organisational Strategy 

A massive A-HA moment at the recent Executive PA Summit was during Siobhain Danaher's talk on decision fatigue and decision making. Set a personal strategy for yourself for the next year. It is possible to then look at how this aligns with the organisational strategy. Chances are that you can see overlap and a cohesion.

If you repeatedly get sucked into taking on tasks and activities that are extraneous to your priority responsibilities, that repeatedly fall outside the scope of either of these strategies you have to consider if the rest of your work will suffer. Ultimately you want to complete the tasks and work on the projects that will enable your leader and the organisation to achieve success.


What is a career conversation?

In case you haven’t had a review recently (or ever at your current organisation) we recently came across an excellent model and tool that may be of help to you. The Career Equation by Erica Sosna encourages you to have a career conversation with your manager. According to Erica, a career conversation is a valuable opportunity for you and your manager to reflect on your career interests and the opportunities that exist for you. It is a conversation that you own and lead about your direction of travel in your career. You can use it to share your goals, plans and hopes and to ask for support, time, mentorship or stretch opportunities that could help you get there. 

Erica recommends the following for a successful career conversation:

  1. Book a quiet, private space - no distractions for you or the person you support.
  2. Allow at least an hour for it.
  3. Send an invite that sets out the purpose of the conversation and the high level agenda – set out below.
  4. Bring copies of your career timeline, a career design statement (how you want your career to look), career goals and career plan to share.

A career conversation can act as an exploration of the kinds of career experiences you would like to have, and setting some career goals that excite and engage you will motivate you to create a plan that helps make these a reality. 


A note from author Fiona:

If you want to explore what your ideal career will look like and how to get yourself there from where you are now, you should strongly consider our Executive PA Forum Elevate Membership Programme

While we believe that you should have a separate meeting to discuss your training and development needs, we know it’s not always realistic so your performance review could be your best opportunity to broach the subject.


If you are going to bring up the topic of getting support for your training and development during your appraisal, make sure to research the courses and training that are available, accessible and fit around your schedule.

Ask yourself why you want / need a particular training or course, then narrow your search to the choices that will deliver the best for you.

Once you have chosen your preferred training/courses, you should be able to explain to your Manager/HR:

  1. How this training/course will benefit you.
  2. How this training/course will benefit your organisation.

These are the two most important elements when it comes to preparing to ask for support of your professional development. Once you have answered these questions, you will be more confident in looking for sign off -and you will be more likely to get it.

*Additional - for every course, training and membership option we offer at Executive PA Forum, we have an Investment in Professional Development Proposal to help you explain the features and benefits to your HR/management team. Please get in touch should you require one - even if it's not for one of our courses or memberships we would be delighted to help you. Contact for more.


Below are some training options to consider with the Executive PA Forum in the coming year:

*The PowerHouse Programme a powerful transformational journey in professional and personal development that is included in ELEVATE

*The Advanced Executive Assistant Diploma. Enrollment deadline for 2024 is January 15th 2024.

The Adam Fidler Academy is now enrolling for Level 5 Level 6 and certified FETAC Diploma. For a more in depth explanation of time requirements, workload, expectations, and cost please contact

The Power EA International Masterclass - For C-suite professionals seeking a higher, transformative learning experience.

Rise Programme Multiple professional development opportunities throughout the year.

Executive PA Summit 2024 If you can only commit to one training event next year, make sure it’s this one - our annual 2 day conference to include workshops, networking and learning, taking place May 16th & 17th 2024. Register here

If you need any other advice or help with any of the above, please get in touch!

2022 Executive PA Summit Highlights

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!


Shelbourne Event | Miss Jones x Executive PA FORUM

What a memorable occasion at the iconic Shelbourne Hotel

It was so great to see so many familiar faces, and so many new back sharing a space. It spoke volumes to have so many people eager to connect again and understand the importance of staying informed of who you can and want to connect and do business with. We were hosted by Andrew, Hannah and the Shelbourne team who were fantastic in assisting us to have this event in such an iconic hotel steeped in history and their gorgeous terrace, as we were serenaded by their Spanish guitarist! The  delectable canapés and oysters went down a treat for our guests!

There were fabulous prizes on the night, we had: 

  • Dinner for 2 at Shelbourne, courtesy of The Shelbourne Hotel
  • Forest Walk Hamper Basket, courtesy of Hampers & Co
  • Three Superior Wine Gift Packs, courtesy of The Nude Wine Company
  • The Powerhouse Package, courtesy of Executive PA Forum
  • €250 voucher, courtesy of Ireland’s Blue Book

Everyone who attended was also treated with a gorgeous little gift from our friends at &Open and of course everyone went away with a goody bag that included

It was a great opportunity to introduce Lisa Boissel of Miss Jones, who we have partnered with to bring this amazing and essential(!) directory to Ireland. It is a club for EAs, PAs, office managers and event bookers, and acts as a premium directory for anyone responsible for booking venues and suppliers on behalf of their organisation. The Miss Jones team also specialise in organising corporate hospitality and team building workshops or retreats, another task often assigned to a PA. Miss Jones provides concierge services specialising in dining and lifestyle experiences.

For member PA’s, Miss Jones can secure reservations in hard-to-book restaurants, outsource private meetings and private dining, and even access sold-out tickets to event such as concerts, Wimbledon and Formula 1.

Miss Jones x Executive PA Forum will host regular events for members, across Ireland, in venues which we believe need to be on your radar. This will give you the opportunity to personally make contact with the relevant managers and grow your Little Black Book of contacts, all the while meeting like–minded individuals. You can keep up with changing practices, venue trends, and have a forum to exchange tips with one another and so many more added benefits. 

The annual subscription to Miss Jones is modest, coming in at only at €249 per year, usually covered by the PA’s employer. However to celebrate the Irish launch, the group are running a discounted offer of €100 off until July 31st . Simply sign up using the code LAUNCH100 at MissJonesGroup.Com/Ireland.

Private Dining at The Shelbourne

Private Dining at The Shelbourne is an immaculate, candle lit experience of bespoke dining in some of the country’s most beautiful and historic rooms. Elegantly craft your dining experience from select menus, and choose from wines carefully selected by our award-winning sommelier. 

Impeccably delivered for eight to eighty people with formal, elevated service in one of four historic rooms, this is a culinary event unmatched anywhere else in Ireland. This year to celebrate the centenary of Ireland’s first Constitution, we are offering a unique private dining experience in The Constitution Suite, complete with historical introduction, musical accompaniment by a harpist and a carefully designed menu, full of classic dishes chosen to reflect the era.

Enquire directly through Miss Jones here, and for more information visit the Shelbourne Website 




From speaking to so many of you recently, I was compelled to create this series on taking control of your career.
A lot of the conversations I’ve had recently with EA and PAs centred around uncertainty and lack of support – many of you said things like ‘I am not sure where can I go to next’, or ‘there’s no set career path’ or ‘my organisation does not support my CPD’ – a major challenge that kept cropping up was seeking support for professional development and growth beyond your day-to-day.

I found myself giving advice from my own experience that seemed to resonate with people I spoke to – especially when it came to taking back control, and thinking big and going after your big goals – your dream goals!

In this session, I focus on what is possible for you to create in your life, so then you can start to understand what could really be achievable for you. I can tell you from my own experience, once you can imagine and visualise what’s possible, you can start to shift your brain into focusing on making that your goal.

Other episodes include:

✅ Reclaiming your power – only YOU are responsible for creating your current reality and future career

✅ How to celebrate success even if you also currently feel you are struggling
✅ Control your thoughts, control your feelings
✅ How to welcoming negative emotions that will ultimately help you achieve positive outcomes
✅ The difference between happiness and success
✅ Confidence and failure working together
✅ The right questions you need to ask yourself
✅ Self-worth – defining and owning who you are and who you will become

FULL Series included in ELEVATE and RISE Memberships.

Enroll between now and September 1st 2022!

Career Advancement Styles | Siobhan Kelly, Mosaic Consultancy

Career Advancement Styles

I wish I'd known about this concept before I started my career in recruitment. We all have them, in the same way that we all have a personal brand.

If you're not aware of what type of career advancement style you have, you will not know what to do to change it and/or develop it. And this is not just about changing jobs, it's about career progression so this is for everyone to be aware of at any stage in their career.


Lets see if you relate to any or all of the following questions:

Have you ever seen that other people are being selected for promotion or are garnering attention for the work that they do?

You work just as hard or harder but you are overlooked?

Are you wanting to change your job within your current company?

Are you wanting to be approached by recruiters or hiring managers from other companies?

Maybe you just want to change your company or potentially your industry?


So which style are you? (I want you to have your pen and your paper ready)

There are many different types of career advancement styles, but I have narrowed it down to just four. Take an honest look at what you've done in your current job and what you will be doing, and even possibly what you have done in your previous job(s).


The Climber
This person is not shy about putting themselves forward publicly for different types of projects. They are individuals who seek advancement in their organisations by asking for varied assignments, working longer hours, networking and seeking greater visibility. These network gurus rub shoulders with the leadership team. Quite a few of the examples that I've been speaking to said that they didn't like the idea of the rubbing shoulders because it seemed disingenuous. We have to try and own the language and that is used in the business world. 'Rubbing shoulders' or becoming a climber doesn't necessarily mean that you have to be disingenuous. How each person shows up as a climber could look completely different because we all have to be loyal to ourselves.

Climbers share their wins and they're not shy about it. They also share these wins with the right people!


The Hedger

Hedgers use all of the career tactics available to them to advance inside and outside of their current organisations. Hedgers don't always push themselves, but tend to highlight their accomplishments to the right people. We've seen a correlation between these behaviours of Hedgers and Climbers and being selected for promotions and pay rises. They take ownership for the work they've done and they are recognised for the contributions that they make.


The Scanner

Scanners are individuals who monitor the job market closely and are ready to change jobs. In this current market, we cannot sit and wait for opportunities to come, we have to be somewhat proactive. Scanners often are frustrated when they see the Hedgers or Climbers get promoted, when they're doing the same level of work. However, scanners may be able to identify a lack of confidence in themselves to publicly own their work and accomplishments.


The Coaster

Coasters are individuals who do little to see career advancement. It doesn't mean that they coast in their job, they could be phenomenal at their job, but they're more like workhorses. They put their head down, they get the job done and then they don't talk about it.

This is one of the main reasons that coasters don't get selected for projects, nor get a pay rise, nor the promotion they deserve. Nobody knows about it, it goes under the radar and you'll never be seen or heard with all the noise from the Climbers and Hedgers


What to do now ... 

Write down where you think you fall. Remember that this is individual to you. It doesn't mean that you have to go into work tomorrow and be super extravagant and acting like a different person. What's one step that you could do to get to the climber group. Let's take ownership of this, promote yourself into one of the other groups.

Make small changes. There are a variety of different steps you could take to further your career whether you're staying in your current company or whether you're moving on to another company or another industry. For example, you could reach out to someone working on a project that you find interesting - send them an email, pick up the phone - speak to them. Explain that you have a little bit of time in your work week and you would like to get involved. And if they ever needed support, you'd be more than helpful, more than happy to help them.


Your career advancement style is just as important as your personal brand, if you don't take control of it others will.


Siobhan Kelly

Mosaic Consultancy

Executive PA Forum 2021

2021 Executive PA Forum highlights key success traits for the role of Executive Support professionals.

The 2021 Executive PA Forum was once again streamed live from Fuel Studios on Camden St, Dublin, with Aisling hosting from the vibrant studios and Fiona joining live from London, as well as a number of other international speakers joining across 5 time zones, from Sydney all the way over to Denver!

We streamed the Forum this year via VStage - a bespoke custom-designed virtual platform. VStage is a Dublin technology start-up, founded by the team at Fuel - and which was designed beautifully in our branding.



The 3 key themes throughout the course of the 2 day Executive PA Forum were confidence, communications and transformation.

Trish Butera opened Forum day with a stellar insight on the Rise of the Global Assistant - she introduced the talk by defining the crucial skill of Cultural Competence and reminded us that we need to be culturally competent and global-minded in the way we approach our work to be a truly global assistant.

In her usual interactive style, Trish asked everyone a number of questions for the audience to consider, and said we need to understand that cultural competence is more than cultural background, or employee engagement or company culture and goes far beyond that.



Trish demonstrated that although we share similar values, individually we each have so many different perspectives and when you consider that in the context of an organisation that brings together groups of different people with varying backgrounds and views, those Assistants with highly developed interpersonal skills, self-awareness and other awareness, as well as a growth mindset  - are the ones who will succeed in the future of work.



Angie McQuillin then joined us to deliver a presentation on Confidence - Angie's passion in helping people overcome confidence blocks was apparent throughout the presentation. Angie's unique approach around the core of where confidence issues come i.e a place of honesty - being honest with yourself, how that affects your behaviours and attitudes, and how you project that truth in any given moment or situation- is at the core of building your confidence.

If you don't set boundaries or behave in an honest way on a daily basis then you are sending 'messages of shame' to your brain that are actually taking a chip out of your confidence. i.e 'What other people think and feel is much more valuable and important than what I think and feel' which in turn can make you feel 'less than'. These are stumbling blocks to our own growth and affect our confidence levels on a daily basis.

Angie took us through a number of exercises and diagrams and led us onto the topic of bravery which is what really enables us to have inner confidence.

Angie explained that to be brave in overcoming challenges, we have to feel uncomfortable taking action. Bravery happens when you share something or do something that triggers anxiety within you - everyone's level of bravery is different - but if anxiety was not induced then that does not equate to bravery.

It all comes down to our personal growth and where our confidence lies and what that journey looks like for each of us as individuals and this led Angie to sharing with us her 'Stretch Zone' model. She challenged us to stretch ourselves to take action in any area of our life where we are procrastinating and remember that:

'the win comes from taking action and not coming from what other people think and feel as that comes from external rather than internal.'


After our morning break Siobhan Kelly, Mosaic Consultancy - our Platinum Recruitment Partner  - joined us for an update on the industry and to talk about the frustration she knows that EAs and PAs have with outdated practices of HR and recruiters. She often see jobs advertised that:

-Don't understand the role

-Are unrealistic in their expectations and what they think will attract talent

-Have a lack of awareness around what you do and what you have the capacity to do

Siobhan believes that EAs and PAs should feel empowered to change the direction of not just the office of the executive, but of the whole business.

Working across the US and Ireland, Siobhan highlighted how differently the role is viewed across the 2 geographic locations.

She spoke about the rise of the power role of the Executive Assistant - with an EA salary of $100,000+, bonuses and travel allowance on offer for many roles in the US. Before everyone ran to pack their suitcase, she did reassure us that what happens in the US - in particular across MNCs  - does slowly filter in to Europe!

Siobhan then shared with us a sample person specification and noted that

'employers are not just looking for what you can do...

they are looking at how you can do it'

Siobhan gave us her advice on interview techniques and some investigative questions you should ask at interview to help you decide if a role or organisation is the right choice for you. She encouraged everyone to look for feedback from their interviews and pointed out that many people do not realise - that due to GDPR - your notes from your interview must be shared if you request them. Siobhan also shared an insight to her own learnings throughout her own career journey and challenges she has faced in a very honest and motivational account. Our favourite takeaway from her to bear in mind for our careers and life in general was:

'Fear kills more dreams than failure ever will'

We really got to see how amazing the Fuel studios looked throughout the presentation with Siobhan joining Aisling in studio.

Siobhan’s objective with Mosaic Consultancy is to work from a candidate-centric approach where she partners with each candidate and works with them in a holistic way to help match them with their most suitable employer. If you would like to get in touch with Siobhan for help you can contact:


Next up joining us for his keynote on the new paradigm in Executive Support, the Transformational Assistant, Adam Fidler talked us through the changes he has seen in the role over the past 18 months to 2 years and what he believes Assistants need to do to prepare themselves for the future of work.

Adam's main points focused on the areas of what you need to do to become a Transformational Assistant, to be transformational in your thinking and your appproach, in your behaviours, habits and attitudes. He advised that to do so you need to maintain performance beyond expectations in times of uncertainty and instability.


This was a truly ground-breaking insight into Adam’s newest model in Executive Support and we look forward to bringing you further training opportunities with Adam next year where you can learn more about this model as well as the Strategic EA.


After our lunch break we had Rebecca Garvey joining us once again from Own the Room.

This year, Rebecca highlighted that to learn the skills to build authentic connections with your audience, whether you’re communicating to a manager, executive board, or colleagues, you need to get feedback from those around you to ask quality questions to get quality answers. Two such questions should be:

Q1. ‘What went well?’

Q2. What’s one thing I can do to improve?

Rebecca also talked us through some excellent advice to ensure listeners retain more of our message with efficient communication that captures the audience’s attention and respect.

She gave us some 'homework for the rest of our lives'! She advised that anytime someone gives a compliment first say thank you and then count to 5 and don’t undo the thank you – waiting 5 seconds consciously stops you from deflecting from the compliment or downplaying your strengths. Own your worth and build your confidence!

Secondly write down the feedback, keep track on an app on your phone or on your desktop or a notebook – essentially a 'book of evidence' that reminds you of what you have done that has worked out well. Rebecca finished by reminding us to use mirror neurons when we communicate - use the same language and body language to connect with others and another great tip - if we want people to feel passionate about what we are talking about, we have to feel it ourselves first if we want others to feel it!


We were honoured to have Monique Helstrom joining us live from Denver Colorado to deliver her signature talk. She gave us a great insight into how she navigated her career managing one of the busiest and most inspirational speaker and in-demand authorities - Simon Sinek.

She reminded us all of something a client once said to her which is something that every Assistant needs to remember:

Thank goodness he has you to get things done, otherwise he would just be some great person with great ideas!

Visionaries need detailed people to get things done – the EA/Executive partnership is a symbiotic relationship and all you need to do is change the narrative on what you tell yourself. If you treat like yourself like you are second best then you will find others treat you that way.

Monique encouraged everyone to identify, accept and use your own natural strengths to stand out and rise. She advised on a number of personality tests she rates to help to understand what makes you unique and where your strengths are, so you can embrace what makes you YOU and work in an career and organisation where you can thrive.

We finished the presentation with a Q&A where Monique generously answered all our questions.

We are thrilled to now offer Monique’s Introduction to Communications Course through our Centre of Excellence, so grab it now at a special price if you book through the booking LINK on our website.


We were delighted to be joined by Brian McDermott and Nikki Tunney, our hosts and partners at Fuel & VStage.

Brian talked through the development of VStage and how they can customise their virtual events platform for your requirements and event objectives.

He highlighted what sets it apart from the rest:

-Customisation – incorporating the look and feel, branding, type of event, matching your production style with what the deliverables are

-Higher level of creativity and input than you would have with other virtual platforms

-Complex security features that can be in line with each organisations’ own IT policies

-Flexible, adaptable and slick

VStage has a number of functionalities including a nifty bespoke photo gallery where you can fully brand the Photobooth area, as demonstrated by Fiona below!

Nikki talked us through what Fuel are up to for Christmas events and what ideas and options that organisations are going for this year.

As many organisations are conscious of ‘Zoom fatigue, Fuel have been extremely busy with virtual events and have been squeezing their creative juices to making their Christmas party nights interactive and engaging for employees.

They are also offering a unique corporate gifting experience as a thank you for staff and they have a great expertise when it comes to bespoke idea generation that will reward and show gratitude to employees. We will share the full talk in next week's newsletter but for anyone who would like further information and last-minute ideas coming up to Christmas, contact 


Our last speaker of the day was Lisa Mitten, a former EA and friend of the Forum who is now a Vision & Leadership Mentor.

Lisa spoke to us about creating a powerful vision for yourself and the life and career you want to have.

She shared with us her secrets to becoming an empowered EA and she motivated us all through a unique series of exercises. Lisa advised once we have a strong mindset, a great self-image, and positive self-perception, we can then create clear vision for ourselves:

-Ask 'what do I want'?

-What do I see possible in my role?

-How can this role flourish?

- How can I best serve my Executive and make this relationship the best it can be?

Then you can land your communication effectively and with determination. This also means you can communicate well without emotional attachment.

Lisa advised to not allow others to affect our thinking, we are in control of our own thoughts, how we react to the world around us, we can only control our own attitude, behaviours and habits.

It was a great session to finish the day on and left everyone motivated for the next chapter in their career.


We had great interaction in the chat all day and some of the comments we received included:

'Ladies, your best Forum yet, really interesting, captivating, informative and thought provoking,  thanks to you all'

'Thanks Aisling, Fiona and everyone involved in pulling the Forum together.  Another valuable day of learning!'

'Thanks so much for another fantastic Forum Day!'

'Thank you Aisling and Fiona especially as it cant happen without all your amazing hard work'


We have to say a massive THANK YOU to all our sponsors and partners for their support - the event simply could not happen without them:

FUEL, VStage, Mosaic Consultancy, One4All, Ireland's Blue Book, Connect Pro, Own the Room and the EA Network Ireland.


If you were unable to make the Forum this year, but would like access to a limited number of the recorded sessions from Forum Day, then please do get in touch with Aisling -

We can't wait to see you all at the next one!

Top Virtual Conference & Event Platforms 2021

A Look at Virtual Conference & Event Platforms 2021


As we continue to evolve to a more hybrid way of living and working, these virtual platforms are here to stay. We’ve had some experience using and researching these and have had to weigh up the pros and cons depending on the event/conference/meeting. We get a lot of questions from people about which is best so let’s shine light on the best online meeting platforms that tick the requirements of most users. Hopefully you will find some answers you’ve been looking for when it comes to the best video conferencing technology.


1.    Zoom

Zoom is up there with the best. Having the feature of HD videos and audio, online meetings and events can be conducted with impact and quality. Any particular meeting has a room for 1000 participants. An internet connection and a gadget is all that the participants need to join anywhere from the world.


  • Extremely user-friendly, no tech knowledge or particular software required
  • Chat function, breakout rooms, Gallery view means you can see everyone at one time
  • Can use via the app or via the browser
  • High-quality video and audio
  • Good quality filters – from lipstick to eyebrows, to moustaches and everything in between
  • Ability to change your background to whatever or wherever you like- even if you are just at your office window
  • Integrates with Outlook
  • 24/7 customer support. Very responsive
  • Most people use it – this is a big pro for us!


  • Restricted meeting time on the basic plan
  • The paid versions are slightly on the pricier side

Zoom Pricing

In terms of price, it has 4 packages:

Free – supports up to 100 participants for 40 mins or one-on-one for unlimited time.

Pro (€139.90 /year/license)- allows 100 participants for up to 30 hours.

Business (small or medium) (€189.90 /year/license) - 300 participants and a minimum of 10 hosts

Enterprise (large) (€223.20 /year/license) - 500 participants and a minimum of 50 hosts.

2.    Zoom Video Webinars

For greater impact and penetration, Zoom Video Webinars allows 10,000 view-only attendees with 100 panelists. There are options for streaming over YouTube and Facebook.


  • Enables recording of sessions that can be shared
  • Options of integrating with other platforms to widen the reach
  • Ideal for town halls, educational lectures, global MNC quarterly updates
  • Can set up event registration page (alternative to Eventbrite) so everyone really is in one place


  • Integration with other platforms can be glitchy at times.

Zoom Pricing

In terms of pricing, it has 2 packages:

Video Events - Up to 10,000 attendees (€1,300/year/license) - unlimited webinar sessions with no time limit per session. Option of live streaming and video recording along with in-depth engagement reports.

Large scale video events- Up to 50,000 attendees (Contact their sales to get ideal pricing) - ideal for large-scale video events.


3.    Airmeet

We used Airmeet for Adam Fidler's Global Summit with the techical assistance of Please get in touch with us if you need technical support for your event.

Airmeet is a fast-evolving web-based platform for virtual events. It is generally a preference for organising and hosting virtual and hybrid conferences, workshops, expos, etc. Organisers have to hold over branding on Airmeet, allowing them to customise the session stage, the lounge areas, the event reception, and a lot more.


  • Seamless to use for both the hosts and attendees.
  • The flexibility of holding both large and small virtual meetings.
  • Great features to engage the audience
  • Has a ‘backstage feature’ for host and speakers to prep before going live in the session
  • Has great sponsorship capabilities like exhibitor booths with networking tables, sponsorship tiers.


  • The safari browser does not support some networking features.
  • The full profile of other attendees is not visible to other participants.
  • The chat of networking tables doesn’t support file submission

Airmeet Pricing

Airmeet works on a usage-based pricing feature. The monthly bill depends on the number of registrations required per event.

The free version allows 1 organiser and up to 100 participants per event. Access to some features like the social lounge, 1:1 networking, polling, Q&A.

Business (€99/month)- allows 10 organisers and up to 100 registrations per event.

Enterprise (Contact their sales to get the best deal)- allows 10 organisers and up to 100,000 registrations per event.



4.    Livestorm

Livestorm is a browser-based video conferencing platform that allows the marketing, sales, or HR team to organise online events for the audience. The events range from webinars, conferences, podcast interviews, online training courses, or product launch and demonstrations.


  • A co-host can be invited who doesn’t hold a subscription
  • Excellent customer service support team
  • Supports integration
  • Good data availability for analytics
  • It also offers various audience interaction tools


  • Sometimes, starting a seminar gets glitchy
  • It no longer hosts recorded webinars

Livestorm Pricing

It has 4 packages to offer:

Free trial.

Webinar and meet basic- free.

Meet Premium and meet basic- €40/host/month

Webinar Premium- €110/host/month€


5.    Hopin

We used Hopin for our very own Symposium and The Executive PA Forum 2020 via our hybrid event partner Fuel. Please get in touch with us if you need technical support for your event.

Hopin is an all-in-one platform for online events that supports tools for virtual or hybrid events like ticketing and registration, limitless event rooms, chat, and networking, as well as some tools for audience engagement. It is also supported on mobile, both iOS and Android.


  • Hopin has taken over the platform StreamYard which is a great and simple solution for the live studio
  • Has some extra in-built features like a speaker’s lounge, a private channel resembling slack
  • Quick customer service
  • Supports 1:1 networking element
  • Also has a sponsor area that is great if the event has sponsors


  • Does not allow adding of pre-recorded videos to the platform for use during different events
  • Charges are based on “registrants” and not “attendees”
  • Has customer support staff just in the UK and not other countries

Hopin Pricing

In terms of pricing, it has the following packages:

Starter ($83.25/month) - hosts up to 100,000 attendees and unlocks Hopin’s easy core features

Growth ($667/month) - 5 seats and includes 5 organisers

Business- provides advanced services and is customisable so you’ll have to contact sales.

Enterprise- custom pricing and custom API integrations, so contact sales.


6.    Whereby

Whereby stands top in terms of being the most reliable collaborative tool for business executives who wish to host fuss-free and secure video meetings. It is well known as an easy-to-use tool that allows small and medium scaled businesses to connect to their teammates, clients, and partners.


  • Easy to join with just two clicks. Does not require any additional downloads or no setup, just sending the link and the user can join
  • Customisable rooms
  • It has an extensive emoji collection


  • Up to 60 users can be added to the room, however only 20 can turn on the camera
  • Video quality deteriorates in a large room and is only good in a small room
  • Does not support dial-in to calls

Whereby Pricing

In terms of pricing, it has 4 packages.

Free- hosts up to 100 participants. Unlimited one-on-one meetings, however, group meetings last 45 minutes.

Pro ($6.99/month) per host per month- no time limit on group meetings, unlimited recording.

Business ($9.99/month) per host per month- priority support and early access to new features.

Embedded (Contact them to get the best bet!)- customisable.


Please make sure to leave a comment below if you have any pros or cons you would like to mention if you have used these platforms - I will then add those comments above so as to make it even more helpful for those who need it.

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March 31, 2021



A new strategic partnership for Australian-based The Global Assistant Online, with Ireland's Centre of Excellence by The Executive PA Forum, will benefit administrative professionals seeking high-end, online courses in global skills.


The collaboration gives executive and personal assistants in Ireland, Europe and the UK more opportunities to build in-demand competencies for the new way of work. They'll be able to access exclusive pricing offers on The Global Assistant Online's training products through The Executive PA Forum's Centre of Excellence.


"It's always great to align with organisations that share a vision for the profession," said The Global Assistant Online founder Patricia Butera. "In 2020, we supported Zoom In Events' hugely successful Executive PA Symposium and Executive PA Forum. This partnership, the first at an international level, is the natural progression of that collaboration which allows us to continue to contribute to The Centre of Excellence's 'quality over quantity’ ethos through the platform's high-quality e-courses and coaching programmes." 


As organisations evolve with the changing economic times, they look to their people to help meet global business demands in the new normal. Executive support professionals have a broad skill set that is readily optimised through focused capability building. The international skills offered at The Global Assistant Online prepare assistants to be the agile support leaders need in these challenging times by strengthening competencies that are determinants for future success.  These include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, cultural competency and leadership acumen.  


"We are proud to announce our partnership with The Global Assistant Online, which offers one of the best training programmes available for the executive support profession - no matter where they are in the world," said Fiona Kelly, co-founder of The Executive PA Forum and The Centre of Excellence. 


Co-founder Aisling Kelly added, "We have been working with Trish for the past six months - our values and goals align with what we want to achieve for the profession. This partnership makes absolute sense for us, considering our shared mission for every EA/PA and executive support professional to reach their fullest potential and thrive."


Free Webinar:  Fiona & Aisling from the Executive PA Forum have invited Trish Butera from The Global Assistant Online to host an insightful Lunch 'N Learn on April 14th with our network. There is no registration charge, but you do need to register your details HERE...

Join us for an exclusive lunch'n learn with Trish Butera, where she will share some insights she teaches only through The Power EA International Masterclass.  Learn a little more about 'future skills' competencies to succeed in the modern workplace and leadership and communication skills that are universally in demand, plus meet international graduates of the programme from the US, Italy and Australia. 


The Centre of Excellence will offer discounted enrolment on any of The Global Assistant Online's programs when using code EXECPACE on purchase.  

For more information, contact: Patricia Butera:  Fiona Kelly: 


About The Global Assistant Online 

The Global Assistant Online is a hybrid e-learning platform supporting career executive support professionals in their leadership skills development. The platform offers affordable and accessible e-learning opportunities and professional coaching to assist in their career growth. Since its launch in June 2020, the platform has welcomed registered students from across five continents. As a strategic learning partner, The Global Assistant Online offers organisations the opportunity to implement targeted Learning & Development programs for their executive support teams. 


About Executive PA Forum 

Our purpose at the Executive PA Forum is to champion and empower EA, PA and administrative professionals so they can reach their fullest potential and thrive. Our motto is quality over quantity, and the learner is always at the centre of everything we do. This is why we have created the Centre of Excellence – to offer you the highest quality in learning and self-development opportunities, with a select number of qualified national and international coaches and trainers.