By Eleanor Marshall
Eleanor Marshall is PA to the Chief Operating Office / Founder of Absolute Radio, as well as the Marketing Director.She is passionate about Event Management, and works within the Events team, regularly working on live gigs, music festivals and outside broadcasts. In addition she is also the ‘voice’ of Absolute 80s on all social media accounts, including Twitter and Facebook. Before Absolute Radio she worked as PA to the CEO in a TV advertising company, and prior to this she managed a team of secretaries in the Lloyds of London insurance market in the City. In her personal time she is learning to speak Japanese.
Like a lot of PAs, I fell into the role by chance. After my A-Levels I had been travelling and fell quite ill. After a slow period of recovery and with a deferred university place hanging over me, I had several months to kill and an ever-dwindling bank balance – so I decided to look for an office job.
With thoughts of Melanie Griffiths in Working Girl firmly in my mind, I set my sights on a job in the City and interviewed my way in to my first role, working in a busy team of secretaries/PAs in the Lloyd’s of London insurance market. It was an exhilarating place to work. A few months after starting, my boss was promoted and encouraged me to apply for her role, which would entail managing the team of seven that I was currently working in. I was hugely flattered and decided to go for it, and to my utmost surprise – I got it.
I was now managing my former team as well as maintaining my PA duties. It was a challenging transition at first but I soon caught the bug and began to really enjoy the responsibility. I ended up giving up my place at University to continue along the PA career path because I found it so fulfilling and thrilling.
After two busy years I was ready to move on to a less corporate environment and I actively sought out a role within a media company which I thought would suit my personality better than the straight-faced City did. That's when I got a job as PA to the MD in a small TV advertising company.
It was a fantastic environment – exactly what I was looking for in terms of culture, with a collective of intelligent, esoteric, fun loving people that I could relate to. Supporting the CEO, the role was busy and gave me the opportunity to explore my creative side by working on regular company events. The highlight of my year was our annual stakeholder event, where I had to organise a party for 600+ with a budget of £20k. I loved it and it really whet my appetite for event work. By the end of my time there I had the additional title of Head of Events.
After three and a half extremely happy and productive years, I took on the role of PA to the COO/Founder of Absolute Radio. The timing was perfect because I was ready to work for a bigger company and at a higher level. Working in radio seemed like the ultimate media job and I can honestly say that it has not just lived up to my expectations but exceeded them, with a constant stream of parties, amazing opportunities to organise events (such as festivals and live gigs), and rock stars in the office - in my first week I bumped in to Annie Lennox on the stairs! It’s extremely hectic and can prove rather stressful at times, but there’s nothing quite the exhilaration of working in a live broadcasting environment.
I love being a PA and I truly believe that if you’re starting off with a solid base of intelligence and ambition, you can take really capitalise on the opportunities that being a PA presents, and run with them. Very few roles within a company offer the same variety of tasks and exposure to such a wide range of people. I have learnt so much just by being so close to the action, and I am so grateful for the prospects that this type of role presents and ever optimistic for what lies ahead.
Follow her @Ella_Jenks
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