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 aisling@executivepaforum.com 

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

Looking forward to seeing you at the next one