Hays and The Times have announced that Louisa James, of Wandsworth, London, has triumphed in the Hays and The Times PA of the Year Award 2011, being named the country's top PA. Her energy and enthusiasm have seen her expand her role, embracing significant project management and organisational leadership such as being actively involved in the 'Jamie's 30-minute meals' award-winning app, helping her secure the top spot.
PA to the managing director at Jamie Oliver Ltd, Louisa was announced as the winner at an awards ceremony held by Hays, the leading recruiting expert, at Flemings Hotel, Mayfair, London on the 19th of May. Louisa has won a five night break for two in Prague, courtesy of Portman Travel. She will also receive a place on The PA Retreat, an intensive residential training programme for management PAs, courtesy of Castalia Coaching & Training.
Louisa said: "I feel so honoured to be chosen as the PA of the Year. I give my job my all, and to be recognised like this is a wonderful feeling. People often don't realise the huge impact PAs can have in an organisation, so it's wonderful to be acknowledged like this."
Second place was awarded to Christopher Juliff, diary, visits and events manager to the NHS chief executive. The judges praised Christopher's passion for his career and his expertise, along with his outstanding attention to detail in a high pressured environment. They also noted his strong personal commitment to the diversity agenda.
Third place went to Zara Dyer, PA to the managing director at Liverpool Football Club. The judges were impressed by her passion for developing a PA network in the North and skill in being able to support her boss in a way that maximises her time and effectiveness.
As well as the three finalists, the three runners up were: Jennifer Batty, executive assistant to associate and executive directors of Russell Reynolds Associates; Lisa Partridge, PA to Michael Caines MBE and Sharon Walsh, executive assistant to the HR director at Channel 4
The awards were presented by Michelle Mone founder and co-owner of MJM International and creator of Ultimo, the UK's leading designer lingerie brand.
Michelle declared: "Congratulations to Louisa, who has fought off some stiff competition to claim this year's Award. She and all the finalists have shown just how valued the roles of PAs and executive assistants really are. People in this role make a considerable contribution to businesses across the country, so it's great to be putting the spotlight on them."
This year's judging panel consisted of: Susie Barron-Stubley, managing director of Castalia, the coaching and training company; Gareth Osborne, director general of the Association for Personal Assistants (APA); Laura Richardson, last year's winner; and Geoff Sims, managing director of Hays PA & Secretarial.
Geoff Sims, managing director at Hays PA & Secretarial, added: "Congratulations to Louisa and to all the finalists. Everyone should be very proud of their achievements. PAs play a crucial role and our research suggests that although they underestimate how important to an organisation they are, over 80% of employers say that office support workers provide essential support and are the backbone of the organisation."
Hays PA & Secretarial is part of Hays plc, the leading global specialist recruitment group. It is market leader in the UK and Australia, and one of the market leaders in Continental Europe.
As of 31 December 2010, the Group employed 7,086 staff operating from 257 offices in 30 countries across 17 specialisms. Specialist roles include banking jobs, architecture jobs, procurement jobs and paralegal jobs.
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