We’re delighted to announce the winners of our SuperAchievers Awards 2017!
Congratulations to all the winners, finalists on their achievement, and thank you to all who took the time to nominate and vote in this year’s awards.
Beth started working at her current company, Hayes Parsons, just over 5 years ago in a temporary admin role. Within a matter of months she was offered a permanent position as a Receptionist and Office Administrator. Even though she was nervous at the start, she recognised that in order to progress her career she needed to push herself outside her comfort zone – and this is certainly what she did!
Over the next few years Beth took the time to really get to know how the business operated and recognised the need to gain additional skills. Nervous of studying again but determined to progress, Beth commenced studies for a Pitman Training PA Diploma. Beth soon embraced the learning environment and quickly began passing all her modules, many with distinction. This gave Beth a great confidence boost and enabled her to secure promotion to the role of PA.
When she gained her promotion, the Directors of the business had never had a PA before, so there was a great deal of learning on both sides. Beth quickly earned their trust and took control, implementing more efficient ways of working in areas such as diary management and expenses. This meant her Directors were more organised than ever before and are now able to dedicate more time to running the business.
Having well and truly found her forte working as PA to the two Directors of the business, Beth also supports the Marketing Manager, the Sales Executives and is now responsible for the majority of the office management.
Over the last 12 months Beth has taken on more responsibilities and new work tasks, all of which she has excelled at. It has been recognised that she has had a direct, positive impact on business income. After taking on the management of a company event, having never handled anything like that before, Beth excelled and the event ran to plan and such was the success that the company gained new clients as a result, which has created substantial income for the business.
Her colleague, who put her forward for this award, commented “In the last two years Hayes Parsons income has grown by over 15% and I truly believe this would not have been possible without Beth’s organisational skills and support.” A true testament to the positive impact a professional, effective PA can bring to a business. Beth has pushed herself and come a long way through hard work and determination to succeed. She remains motivated to keep learning in order to excel in her PA role and be the best she can possibly be!
Craig works as EA to the Director of Fundraising at Shelter. Prior to his PA career Craig worked as a Manager within Customer Service. Having always aspired to become a PA seeing the role offer a varied and rewarding career opportunity, Craig decided to take a leap of faith and left his career in Customer Service and, in his words, “has never looked back!”
Having no prior PA experience didn’t hold Craig back when he set out to find a PA role. He soon found a role that combined both a Customer Service and PA role. He grabbed the opportunity and dedicated himself to progressing his career and achieving his goals.
Craig readily took on board training and advice that came his way and this is an attitude that continues now. Ever ready to learn, he ensures he stays up to date with developments around the PA industry by reading articles and literature, as well as attending networking events to meet like-minded peers.
Naturally with the EA position comes variety and challenges. In one such instance Craig was tasked with coordinating the approval process for a complex set of legal documents. With over 100 documents to be managed across remote locations all requiring differing signatures and verifications, Craig’s tenacity, accuracy and organisational skills were utilised to ensure a successful completion of this project.
Craig ensures he faces all his responsibilities head-on. An ex-colleague who entered him for this award said “Craig used his influence to deliver the best outcomes, quickly prioritising and re-prioritising as needed. He is frank and honest, and demonstrates absolute integrity”
One of the main challenges Craig faces is that the PA career is still perceived as a female role. Coming across executives who have set opinions about men working in a PA role is a challenge Craig likes to face directly and doesn’t take this personally. By continuing to work hard and exceed expectations Craig hopes to disprove the gender disparity and encourage other men to join the profession.
Craig is also known among the PA community and alongside his busy EA role is determined to help influence and support the next generation of men and women joining the PA profession. He is involved with EPAA’s ‘Not Just a Girls Job’ campaign which is looking at ways to inspire men to join the PA profession and fight against the misconceptions and stereotypes. He also writes regular blogs, contributes to industry articles on various websites and magazines and offers help and mentoring to others. He says “I am an assistant for life.”
When asked why they thought Craig should win the award, one of those who put Craig forward for this award commented; “He is one of the most dedicated PAs I know. He is reliable, trustworthy and has his eye on the ball at all times. Winning this award would give Craig (and other men) the confidence needed to take the next step in his career and hopefully take on more of a mentoring role for new PAs (male and female).”
Niamh herself says she’s always been the person in the shadows, supporting others; so her theory is that she was already doing an EA role without really realising it. One day she emerged from the shadows when a Manager saw the potential she had and offered her the role of EA. From thereon in Niamh loved the role and has become passionate about sharing her experiences in the profession with others.
Niamh has been dogged in her determination to progress her career and gain new skills, gaining industry qualifications such as the Advanced Certificate for the Executive Personal Assistant (ACEPA) and the Pitman Executive PA Diploma. She has also actively sought ways to enhance her impact in her role and push forward to get more involved in the business, all with the aim of benefitting the Executive she supports.
Her efforts championing the PA/EA profession and her story of how she brought about change in her own role, has been recognised further afield. She is a known advocate of the PA/EA profession and last year she was asked to speak at an EA/PA forum held in Ireland infront of over 100 peers. She has also become an Executive Committee member of the Association of Professional Administrators (APAI) in Ireland where she can share experiences and offer guidance to others on similar career paths.
The achievements briefly outline above highlight just how hard Niamh has worked to progress her career and the PA profession as a whole. They are even more impressive when you consider one of the main challenges Niamh has faced during her career is that she has dyslexia. What’s more, she wasn’t officially assessed until she was 35! Up until that point Niamh had learnt various techniques to hide the struggles she was experiencing with numbers and written words. She would copy and paste numbers to avoid flipping the numbers, she’d take documents home on an evening or start earlier on a morning to take the time to carefully read them, she’d ask questions outside of meetings to avoid bringing attention during them.
Following the diagnosis of dyslexia Niamh is now fully open with her employers who’ve happily adapted the role for her. She lets people know she has the language processing disorder so she is able to comfortably verify information or ask questions. It’s a testament to her tenacity that she went so long without her dyslexia being diagnosed but also that she didn’t let it affect her career progression.
Going forward Niamh has more to give and she strives to raise the profile of the role. She wants the role of EA to be recognised for its importance and for those already doing the job but maybe without the title or credit to be acknowledged. A true SuperAchiever!
Adele has been nominated for this award by her colleague who wants to highlight and recognise the impact a great leader can have on a team.
Adele is the Director and Trainer for her own food safety consultancy business. Having initially gained a degree in Food Science she worked in various positions in the food industry such as technical management and consultant. She then established her own company, Adele Adams Associates, in order to best utilise her 20 years experience and provide practical training and advice on how to get the best out of HACCP principles.
The colleague who put Adele forward for this award wanted her to be recognised for both the efforts she puts in to make her business thrive, and also for the leadership qualities she shows to her team. This is displayed in various ways but her colleague noted “Adele is a patient boss, she knows we’re only human so any mistakes are met with optimising and productiveness and, if necessary, praise for the way we have dealt with the situation. Wins and successes are rewarded and shared through the team, praising your input in how it has worked.”
Often it’s the care and attention paid to matters outside of the workplace that can make the difference in a manager and Adele goes above and beyond to offer her employees flexibility when needed. In the nomination it was said “The flexibility and understanding with any childcare or parent illness issues have been amazing.” This is what can make an average working environment stand out for many.
Challenges are met head on and with a growing business where training is being organised at opposite ends of the country sometimes, there is always something to juggle or rearrange last minute. Adele goes above and beyond to ensure her clients needs are met and business continues to run as smoothly as possible.
She has developed her business and built an excellent team over time and Adele prides herself on the high standards they set themselves which ultimately positively benefit the business brand. The whole team are striving to put Adele Adams Associates at the top of their professional game and work with the knowledge that they’re improving the industry step by step.
In her final comment in the nomination Adele’s colleague said “Working with Adele I have grown in many ways and it is a fantastic environment to work in. Helping her now to develop the company in its 14th year is going to be an interesting and enjoyable task.”
Natasha is Head of Learning & Development at Karma Nirvana. She is a qualified Barrister who has advocated nationally to change policy and practice within the abuse sector of forced marriage/honour abuse, this has led to changes in the law both civil and criminal. Natasha made the decision to make an impact in a different way and that was through education. This led to Natasha entering the field of professional development with a view to embedding learning across multi-agencies.
Asked what they thought Natasha’s greatest achievement was her initiation and development of national police training which led to the first police specialised risk assessment tool and a 3 day training course. Natasha identified national support which led to working in partnership with South Wales Police and survivors so that police and survivors guided the content. The development stages highlighted real policing challenges in a complex area which Natasha brought to the attention of the Home Secretary. After successful lobbying and ensuring a consultation, this led to a national government inspection into all 43 forces by HMIC (Her Majesty's Inspection of Constabularies). This was the first inspection of its kind and led to clear recommendations to ensure improvements in policing. Natasha sits at this table and was one of the peer inspectors.
Training for this initiative has now been delivered to 26 national police forces. This equates to 29 courses delivered and over 600 specialist officers using the specialised risk assessment which was used to secure the very first criminal conviction of forced marriage.
A project of such magnitude and importance was met with great challenges and Natasha's tenacity and personal input ensured the success of the project with over 50% of UK forces implementing the training. Natasha also personally delivered the training and was awarded an Antony Walker Scholarship to undertake legal training as one who was recognised as committed to driving change even when personally challenged.
Natasha was put forward for this award not only just because of her dedication to her work but also because she inspires a team. They said “What makes Natasha a great boss is that she nurtures and develops her team which enables them to perform better; they are retained and happier. Basically Natasha provides a personal investment in her team, with a genuine and strong human conviction but with passion and honesty. This is really appreciated by team members and she does it with great humility and sees potential that in turn changes other for the better.” They continued “Natasha is task focused and works with attention to detail for the good of the team and individuals. It is often commented in our office how Natasha is our 'port in a storm' we can all go to her with any issue and have the confidence that she will provide a considered, knowledgeable, patient and often diplomatic response. These levels of communication in our team whereby we are dealing with demanding and complex issues are so important.”
When asked what keeps her motivated they said “Natasha's motivation is rooted in the need to shift policy and practice. She has a thirst for knowledge and to pass on that knowledge to others for it to spread like wildflowers!” they continued “When asked why she should win this award they said “Natasha shines in all that she does and has the ability to take people with her, which is evident in the impact she has made in UK policing. The tactics employed both strategically and politically in tackling the problem, combined with Natasha’s personable approach of listening and remaining open with great patience makes her a Super Achiever.”
Becky works as Head of Humanities at a secondary school in West Yorkshire.
Teaching has many challenges, in the forms of unique individuals you’re nurturing, supporting and developing but also, as any teacher will know, there is so much more to being a teacher than teaching. Schools are also a business and the requirements of the teaching role are constantly evolving with targets that you’re required to hit etc. When you step up as a leader or boss in such an environment this adds to the complexity.
For Becky all of this has come naturally to her, she always loved school (even the preparation for exams!) and aspired to be a teacher from an early age. She has an innate intuition to lead and nurture. Now, what people also don’t see is how she juggles all of this whilst being a wife, mum, daughter, sister and friend.
She is proactive in using her managerial expertise to guide and coach her team, giving them the autonomy and responsibility to work to the best of their ability but also knowing she is available and approachable should they need her. She is a dedicated to ensuring her team are led and motivated by spending time with them in and out of work to really get to know them, she offers one-to-one support where the focus is solely on the individual and their aspirations and she offers positive, constructive feedback. These key managerial traits reap rewards and the repercussions see that it’s not just her team who feel the benefits, but the whole school.
Around the same time she became a Mum, Becky gained the role of Head of Humanities and her family are her key support network and motivation to succeed. Her parents were her role models and being the eldest of four siblings, Becky has always wanted to replicate that role for them. Her husband is also a teacher, whom she met in her very first teaching job and he has fully supported her progression throughout her career and now they both aim to be the ultimate role model for their young son. In addition to this Becky is a keen fundraiser for charities very close to her heart, Cancer Research and the NSPCC.
Caroline previously worked in the care sector for over 15 years, first working as a Community Care Worker and progressing through to Care Manager. Through her work she saw first-hand how dementia can affect a person and their family members. She was affected personally too when her Nan developed Alzheimer’s Disease. Through her experiences, Caroline was driven to start her own business to provide the high level of service she feels those in need deserve, here began Caremark (Worcester and Malvern Hills).
There were a number of challenges at the beginning of her journey. Of course the care industry is highly regulated so the first challenge was to register with the Care Quality Commission which would then allow her to provide specialist care services. Once registered a solid recruitment drive was put into action to recruit and train the new staff ready for a role caring for the vulnerable. Not only was she tackling the processes and legalities of setting up a new business, Caroline was also studying for a degree in Dementia Studies and of course Caroline and her husband still had the usual bills to pay throughout. Her husband fully supposed Caroline in her efforts and maintained his role as a Postman to retain a steady income.
Now the business is more established her husband has joined the business and now manages the recruitment side of things. They are delighted to see the difference their services make to the customer lives. As Caroline says herself “Often you only hear about the negatives in the care industry, but there are thousands of hard working carers out there every day doing an amazing job”. Happily, through hard work and determination, Caroline completed her degree within the first year of training achieving a 2:1.
Caremark has now been trading for over 12 months and now handles over 60 customers and employs over 30 staff members. Plans are already underway for further business growth with hopes to be able to provide a further 40 jobs and expand further afield. As future plans progress Caroline hopes to involve herself with charity fundraising and further her interests in Dementia and become a Dementia Specialist Service.
When asked why she should win this award Caroline commented “It’s hard to blow your own trumpet but I am very proud of what I have grown in one year of business. I have gone from picking up the keys to an empty office to becoming a thriving business in 12 months, as well as completing a degree. I have created a vibrant, diverse team of 35 lovely people who go out every day and provide care and companionship to people in their own homes. It’s something I am passionate about and it is exciting and rewarding eto watch it grow and change people’s lives. It would be amazing to receive an award and would be testament to everyone in the business and the great work they do every day.”
Melanie works as EA to the CEO of Citation Ltd and is the co-founder of the Manchester PA Network. Not only this, but Melanie is also Mum to young twin boys! Certainly a varied and full schedule!
Having started her PA career young, Melanie has 20 years’ experience which has seen her progress through the ranks to her current position as EA to a CEO, a role which requires tenacity, strategic thinking and top-level organisational skills to handle the day-to-day tasks at hand. By striving to be the best version of herself in the workplace and leading by example, Melanie helps lead others in the organisation to grow and achieve success.
Such is Melanie’s passion for the PA/EA industry she co-founded the Manchester PA Network in 2011 alongside fellow EA professional, Amanda Hargreaves.
The network is designed to connect EAs and PAs from across the city together and provide the opportunity to network, share knowledge, advice and make vital networks both professional and personal. Such is the success of the growth in the network that the number of members stands at over 600 today.
The network is a not for profit organisation and not only does the network inspire peers in the EA/PA industry but through their events, it also plays a vital fundraising role having raised over £70,000 for The Christie a local cancer charity. This is a cause close to the heart of the network and they have set an ambitious target to achieve £100k of fundraising by 2020.
In the nomination Melanie was described as a role model to working mums and PAs. As well as being a passionate champion of the EA/PA role, she manages a demanding role at home and work, often being required to travel long haul with her CEO. She demonstrates first-hand what determination and a resolve to succeed can achieve.
Melanie is the ultimate EA/PA champion and wants to see the profession recognised as an executive partnership. More recently she was invited to be non-executive Director of EPAA which offers a platform from which she can deliver this passion and share best practice to help others develop themselves.
When asked why Melanie should win this award it was said “I’ve witnessed just how much she does in the spotlight and in the shadows for others. A trusted advisor to her colleagues, an inspiring EA and a huge contributor to charitable work, she epitomises the role of a modern EA and goes that extra mile within the PA community.” They continued; “Awards should fulfil two purposes; recognition of an individual’s achievements as well as an inspiring story for others to learn lessons from. I know that Mel would use this award to champion the benefits of networking.”
Pitman Training Bishop’s Stortford nominated Rohan for this award and said “When Rohan first came to us we knew that he had so much potential.”
At 17 years old he had started his A-Levels but quickly came to the conclusion that this wasn’t for him and made the huge decision to quit school. He found an accountancy apprenticeship position with a local company and thought his career was starting, but within 1 month the company sadly terminated the apprenticeship. While a great shock for a 17 year old who now found himself out of school and out of work he approached Pitman Training Bishop’s Stortford and enquired about the AAT Level 2 qualification. Rohan went into the centre for a meeting with his brother in June of 2016 and the next day he started his Foundation in Bookkeeping Diploma with AAT Level 2.
Rohan did not waste any time, he started his first course and within one month, completed three courses and was sitting his first AAT exam. Rohan would come in Monday to Friday and would study for at least 5 hours a day. He quickly understood the concept of bookkeeping and within a month was passing his AAT exams with flying colours. Rohan did not stop the pace here, he managed to complete his AAT qualifications and gain his Pitman Diploma in 3 months!
Vernon, Centre Owner at Pitman Training Bishop’s Stortford said “He had so much self-motivation for a young lad it was very inspiring. Rohan had career goals that he wanted to achieve and he knew if he worked hard now he would be setting himself up for the future.”
Before finishing his last exam Rohan found an apprenticeship position for a big company in central London. Rohan went for the interview and out of hundreds of applicants got the apprenticeship offer and all the hard work he’d been putting in was starting to pay off.
Only 10 months after the extreme disappointment and worry of finding himself with no education and no job he is now AAT Level 2 qualified working as an apprentice for a reputable company who are paying for his Advanced Diploma in Accounting qualification and on his way to achieving his career goals. Inspiring to say the least.
Lauren works as a PA/Office Manager at a Solicitors firm in Exeter, but around that also finds the time to juggle busy family life with a 6 year old son and contributes as a Food Blogger/writer to Eating Exeter.
Having moved into an administration role to gain a 9-5 job 12 years ago, Lauren has conscientiously moved up the ranks and taken opportunities as they have arisen to progress her PA career. Enjoying the variation and organisational aspect of the role, Lauren thrives on pre-empting the needs of others, improving systems, learning and challenging herself. She actively seeks out opportunities that ensure her continuing professional and personal development.
With a natural enthusiasm to try new things, Lauren happened upon a tweet from a local blogger who was looking for an assistant. Grabbing the opportunity with both hands, Lauren has never looked back and now balances her family demands, full-time role along with blogging and writing on the side.
To really push on her professional development and enhance her connections Lauren joined the Exeter PA Network which she found not only brought her new connections but also increased her self-esteem immensely. Since stepping further into the PA community Lauren has featured in Q&A articles and is currently listed at number 23 of the Executive Secretary Top 250 Social Media Power list by Eventopedia, which highlights event professional influencers in UK.
Juggling a full-time day job and a busy home life with a young son of course brings with it many challenges and ‘curve balls’. But, with the support of her husband she is determined to strive forward in her career and help others. Laurens attitude is to take on any request made of her with gusto whether that is writing a food review, helping someone with their social media, connecting others or troubleshooting IT problems. Always ready to help or advise, Lauren gives people around her the confidence that she can get the job done.
With aspirations to take on further PA responsibilities and ‘bolt-on’ more skills such as event planning and travel management as well as combining a busy family life and blogging and writing on top of that, Lauren demonstrates a clear ‘SuperAchiever’ determination to succeed, progress and enjoy her career.
Kamakshi works as a HR Manager for Schneider Electric and lives in India. She started her career working as an EA for a Human Resources Director. This sparked her interested in HR and from here she learnt as much as possible to immerse herself in the HR function of the business. From here she was promoted to as a HR Digitization and Performance Manager, a position held for five years, and then progressed to be overall HR Manager.
At age 41 tragedy struck and her husband passed away very suddenly. With her daughter doing her 9th Standard in India, Kamakshi threw herself into her career to help overcome the trauma. Within two years, she achieved promotion to the next grade, showing her grit and determination to triumph over adversity.
With the support of her family and colleagues, one of Kamakshis main advocates will be her daughter who is now 21 years of age and will no doubt be proud of her Mum’s achievements, especially through the difficult periods of their lives.
When asked what keeps her motivated, Kamakshi said “My own passion towards my career motivated me a lot” she continued “I would like to reach a General Manager position further down the line and I think it’s quite possible. According to me, when anyone is mentally prepared, nothing is impossible in anyone’s life.”
Charlotte is mum to two children aged 4 and 2 and works as an entrepreneur. She established her own VA coach and online strategist business after looking at a way to balance family life with a career that would utilise the experience gained in a position she’d held for 12 years working as a corporate EA.
Charlotte is now and Online Business Manager and CEO and Co-Founder of VIA VA. Establishing a new business with such a young family has not been easy but with the support of her husband and extended family Charlotte has learnt to overcome her own ‘imposter syndrome’ and is now welcoming each and every opportunity her business is bringing. She states that overcoming that limiting mindset has been one of her biggest successes.
Now Charlotte is busy helping entrepreneurs and business owners who are looking to set up and grow their own businesses. Her dream is to help others achieve their dream. Her children and that “big picture end goal” is what keeps her motivated. She is striving to be the mum that is at every school occasion as well as having a rewarding career. And she wants to prove to her children that they don’t have to fit in a box and that they can follow their career dreams. As she says “Work doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in an office 9-5, you can make your own rules within reason”
As for future hopes, Charlotte is hoping to be able to grow the number of mums she works with in setting up and growing their online and VA businesses. She would also like to turn VIP VA into a not-for-profit organisation.
When asked why she should win this award Charlotte said “I am on a mission to support other mums like me in creating a lifestyle that means they don’t have to compromise or ‘miss out’ in either their career or in their roles as mothers. I believe that I am a champion for working mums across the UK and I would like to be able to reach out to more and share my experience, to be able to hopefully inspire them to think ‘I can do it too!’”
10 years ago Weslly spoke very little English and was facing an uphill challenge to establish himself. He started by gaining entry-level positions in hospitality, working as a kitchen porter in restaurants and gradually progressed through the ranks eventually gaining a Head Chef role followed by Kitchen Manager position.
In an effort to establish a more balanced working life in a different industry, Weslly gained a position with Amazon Logistics working an early morning shift and also took on a night-shift position at Asda. Whilst balancing two jobs and a busy family life Weslly decided to undertake some additional training so commenced a course on nutrition and a business-related college course.
Weslly is a true representation of an excellent working dad. Juggling a busy working life, spending quality family time together as well as trying to look forward at how to give his family a better future, his story epitomises the ‘SuperAchievers’ can-do attitude.
Weslly has been nominated for this award by his wife and together they have a daughter Nathalia aged 3.5 years. When asked why she thought he deserved to win this award she said “Weslly is an amazing Dad. He is very enthusiastic and his ultimate ambition is to open a new type of catering business, but he is still trying to save up the money to do this as it is quite a big expense.” She continues “I feel that if he wins the prize it would help him achieve his goal. He works so hard so to have his own business and work more flexible hours, giving him time to spend with little Nathalia would be fantastic.”
Jim used to be a Bank Manager but grew disillusioned due to excessive sales targets being enforced at a time when banking was trying to recover from the mis-selling era. He chose to move his focus and joined Audit as a way of being able to showcase things were being completed right, both for customers and for the banking industry.
There have been a number of challenges facing Jim and his family. A testing time came when his first child was born and 1 month later sadly his father passed away. Suffering such a devastating loss at such a key time in his life was extremely hard. Jim and his wife have a small family support network so whilst grieving for the loss of his father he was trying to be as supportive as possible for his wife as they took their first steps through parenthood.
There were testing times as they battled sleepless nights, teething etc. while Jim continued his demanding full time job. Jim commented “The pull of wanting to leave work at home time on the dot, despite the fear of how you are judged at work as a result is always a challenge, meaning that many nights can be spent doing “extra” work after the bedtime routines in order to justify leaving on time rather than staying at work later.”
As anyone with a young family will appreciate, Jims wife and two children are his key motivators. His wife suffers from Fibromyalgia which is severe muscle aches and pains and is often hidden from many. Jim says that her determination to lead a normal life, bring up two wonderful children, alongside his will and determination to want to be as hands on as possible, is all it takes.
Jim hopes that as his children grow and when their youngest is a little older, he can look to reduce his hours and try enjoy some quality family time where he can spend summer holidays together rather than having to concentrate on the practical sides of parenting whilst working a demanding full-time role. Asked why he should win this award Jim said “Holding down a demanding full time role despite people having reservations of my commitment due to also wanting to help out as much as possible, as Dads should. I wouldn’t say I am any different to what Dads should be and do however feel that sadly this isn’t always the case, so I’m ready to step up and show it is possible.”
He also enjoys reading blogs, something which grew after the birth of his first child. He has now created onedadoneblog.com to give a voice from the Dads point of view.
Han-son combines a busy role in marketing alongside founding and running DaddiLife, a website designed to build a community for the modern day dad.
By day Han-Son is a self-confessed passionate marketer and has experience working on projects and programmes for ambitious start-ups and big name brands. Han-son brings this wealth of experience to his work on DaddiLife. He is Dad to son Max, aged 2.5 years, so life is busy but he is passionate about creating more change for dads in the workplace and re-dressing the balance.
Ask any parent and trying to balance home and work life and they’ll tell you it is a battle. Han-son himself says “finding the time to be as involved as I want in Max’s upbringing, whilst holding down a busy job and creating a genuinely useful community and site for modern dads is hard, especially in the beginning when you’re creating something from nothing, with no budget and no additional resource. It’s a constant tension between ‘work’ and ‘family’ that’s a tough mental and physical challenge.”
Han-son has carved out his time and dedicates himself to a specific focus at different times. So, when he needs to focus all his attention on creating and delivering campaigns and strategies to elite brands with complex requirements he can do so. Similarly at certain times or days of the week he completely switches away from work-mode to dedicate himself to giving his son his absolute attention. Giving each area 100% of his attention in their respective moments is how he is ‘present’ for them. He says “Distraction is the enemy of effectiveness.”
DaddiLife was created approximately 12 months ago and has already got an engaged following of around 50,000 dads. Han-son has set in motion initiatives to support fathers feeling the pressure of down weighting their careers in order to spend more quality time at home, that ‘fatherhood penalty’ is something they’re actively looking to address. They have started working with the Working Families Charity recently to do just that and hope to take that to the Parliamentary enquiry on work and dads. Other initiatives include DaddiLifeForce Programme, where a weekly curated set of tips is shared for dads, from dads help inspire, advise and encourage.
The positive feedback received fuels Han-son’s drive and ambition to do even more to do an even better job – both as a father himself but also for other dads wanting to be more involved in their children’s upbringing than ever before.
When asked why he should win he said “For me a ‘SuperAchiever’ is someone who has gone above and beyond in doing something that excels at work, and that also has a wider impact beyond the norm. My work is important to me, because I am very passionate about what I do in marketing, but what makes my achievement super-sized is that I’ve been able to learn about myself as a dad, to create a site and community that is genuinely impacting and adding value to modern day dads across the world, and in turn helping them become ‘SuperAchievers’ in their own family.”
Angela works as a PR Consultant and has a daughter aged 17 months.
Having worked as a journalist for over 10 years, Angela enjoyed covering the latest news and helping people in the community share their stories.
Aside from her journalism Angela volunteered for the social enterprise Twenty Ten Club, an organisation which showcases the achievements of over 100 black female business role models from around the world. Having seen their work develop over the years Angela accompanied the Founder Octavia Goredema when she was awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace. During this time she became aware that smaller businesses and organisations struggled to get press coverage. She set up PR the Write Way, her own PR business, to help address this in an efficient and affordable way.
It was by no means easy launching the business. Having no previous business experience Angela quickly had to learn many new skills to manage the different areas of the company, including sales, but importantly also quickly recognised the areas where she felt she would need more support. So she then enlisted the help of business consultants, accountants and various trainers to help grow the business. The efforts saw rewards come to fruition and in one year alone she saw her profits treble.
Angela has clear plans for the continued growth of the business and is ultimately not only has she set a target to double profits within the next two years, she also wants to expand the team. She currently has a University student working with her for work experience but ideally when expanding the team Angela wants to take on apprentices and help mentor the next generation as well as be inspired by them.
PR The Write Way has gained widespread coverage and generated business for many clients. Alongside this Angela is driven to give back and has worked to generate coverage not just for the award-winning Twenty Ten Club but also for SAFE, which tackles human trafficking. Such was her involvement in this it led to Rolls Royce making a donation to SAFE.
Her motivation comes from many sources, not only does she want to inspire future generations but she has a network of support from friend Octavia Goredema whom she views as a role model. Her husband is supportive and she now also has the ultimate added incentive of wanting to succeed for her daughter. She said “I want to show her it is possible for women to have children and still run a successful business.”
Hannah has a son aged 7 and a daughter aged 4 and she works as a Company Director for her own events management business, Obis 360 Limited. Her career in Event Management began by accident and is a field she has worked in for nearly 20 years now.
12 years ago she decided to take the leap and leave her role to set up her own company. Starting any new business is a stressful time but around the same time as launching Obis 360 her then husband also lost his job, and the pressures of retaining an income fell to Hannah. On top of trying to generate new business there was a steep learning curve for Hannah on the other aspects involved with running a business. She quickly had to get to grips with understanding VAT, business accounts, budgeting, cash flow as well as recruiting and training staff. Thankfully, through sheer determination and hard work the business is now thriving.
During her time in business she had her children and such was her dedication that she worked right up to her sons birth and returned to work just 4 weeks after having her him and did the same with her daughter. Thankfully the flexibility of being her own boss has its advantages so she was able to work alongside looking after the children.
More recently the last couple of years has seen other more personal challenges that needed time and attention to overcome whilst still managing the everyday business tasks. She separated from her husband, moved house and moved the children’s school and also moved offices – all within the space of 2 months. Now Hannah is juggling her time looking after her family and maintaining a successful business.
When asked what keeps her motivated Hannah said “My children mainly. I want to build a better work/life balance for both myself and my children and all of us have a happy life. I also strive to deliver excellence to my clients and the buzz I get once I’ve delivered something they love and that I’m proud of is immeasurable.”
Going forward Hannah wants to continue building the business’ reputation and, once the children are a bit older, she’s keen to expand the business further. For now Hannah has a simple by important aim “I want to inspire my children to be the best they can be.”
Emily was originally nominated for SuperAchievers Working Mum of the Year but as we read her entry, we felt her entrepreneurial spirit shone through and deserved some recognition!
Emily is mum to two children aged 11 and 7 years. Since her first child was born Emily used baby carriers. She recognised a need in the market for a wider variety of products for different needs and there began her entrepreneurial career as a babywearing expert and consultant.
After attending various courses to position herself as an Expert in her field, Emily founded the South London Sling Library in 2011. She now employs a handful of other enthusiastic mums to help grow the business. Emily has managed much of the business setup single-handedly and worked tirelessly whenever she could find the time to manage everything. She also embarked on a degree with the Open University focusing on Child Psychology, Child Development and Business Management to support and enhance her work. She has pioneered making Carrying Consultancy a viable and respected career option – taking what was previously a very low paid industry into a more public and recognised profession.
Through her passion and determination to succeed and help others she has now delivered training to businesses and healthcare professionals. She is also regularly invited to talk at seminars and national baby shows to raise awareness of the benefits of carrying, where she can offer professional advice and guidance, and there was still more to come.
Through the knowledge learnt and her experience Emily sought to develop and manufacture her own carrier and bring it to market. She recognised her limitations in launching a new product but with her connections made through her consultancy and training she was able to link up with a national distributor of baby products who have supported her vision and gone into partnership to develop and launch the Izmi brand.
Emily is passionate about helping and supporting other parents as they go through all the struggles of becoming a parent. She has thrived on creating a challenging career that has grown through her own creativity and expertise. The business reputation has grown through word of mouth and all the positive feedback from families she’s helped.
Aside from managing her busy professional and family life Emily has faced personal challenges. She has struggled with her own mental health issues, her son has ADHD and dyslexia and she separated from her husband. When you combine all these factors together; managing family life, offering her consultancy services and launching a new product to market, Emily’s dedication and determination to succeed are inspirational.
Eve was working for the luxury retail brand Prada, as a Senior Sales Supervisor, and felt that she had exhausted all opportunities in the work place. She found that in all her previous job roles and in her own personal life she enjoyed, and had a knack for, organisation and planning; so she decided this was what she was going to channel in her new career.
Even though it was tough to say goodbye to the team who she had worked closely with she was ready to put her experience gained in the retail industry behind her and begin an exciting new chapter.
Eve’s father is a GP and she has always been inspired by the medical knowledge he possesses and the fact that he is helping people every day, so naturally when she found the Pitman Medical Executive PA Diploma and the Medical Secretary Diploma, it seemed perfect for her. She was keen to have a career that meant she was involved in making a difference, even if indirectly, she was still supporting those that were helping people every day.
Eve says she came to Pitman Training Manchester because of the prestigious name. She said “over 100 years of experience in training swayed me and my own granny studied Pitman short-hand in the 1940’s!”
The training allowed her to work flexibly and she quickly got underway with her training. One of the challenges she found in the diploma was the Sage 50 accounts module. Before she started she already had doubts about her ability to pass the exam. She said “In school I had always been terrible at maths and in my adult life I found it difficult to understand financial jargon. I began the course and doubted myself at every section of the module. I took the mock test and after the Course Supervisor, Rebekah, kindly sat with me and explained the errors I had made, I felt more confident in knowing what I needed to cover in my revision. The next day I took the exam. I received my result and to my surprise and delight I achieved a Distinction!” She continued “This was a proud moment for me, I finally proved to myself that I wasn’t that same girl that used to sit in her maths class at school, always feeling confused and disappointed with herself because she wasn’t as clever as her friends. It felt great and I am thankful for Pitman for helping me realise that you can still surprise yourself. This was a great motivation for me to pass the remainder of my exams and to prove to myself that I am good enough to succeed.”
Although she had a good length of time to complete the programme, Eve set herself a tight deadline to finish her training giving herself only 7 months to complete the two Diplomas as she wanted to be back in the working world as soon as possible.
With the tight timescales she set herself and keen to start her new career, Eve began applying for Medical Secretary roles. She was delighted when the first job she applied for shortlisted her and she attended her first interview for her new career. After an interview with two members of the company and a second informal chat with the Practice Manager she was thrilled to be offered the position! She says “Without a doubt I knew that Pitman Training had helped me win the job.” The company allowed her to complete all her exams and she is due to start her new career imminently.
Finally Eve said “I am excited to expand my knowledge of medical terminology in my new role and feel lucky to be able to learn something new every day. Choosing to study at Pitman Training was one of the best life decisions I have made, I am so excited to see where my future takes me. Thank you for all your support at Pitman Training Manchester, I feel very positive about my future!”
The team at Pitman Training Manchester commented “Since starting her course with us in June 2016 Eve has shown fantastic enthusiasm to her studies; she is particularly kind hearted, patient and always has a wonderfully friendly attitude. She has worked so incredibly hard that she very much deserves any accolades that come with this kind of commitment.
“She completed both her diplomas in little over 8 months showing absolute dedication to her studies and her final goal of working in a medical secretary field. She has been consistently positive and upbeat throughout her whole time studying with us even when she was starting to feel the slog of it all as she powered through her final few courses.
“It was wonderful to see her complete her diplomas after months of hard work and even better knowing that she is excitedly embarking on a new career as a result. She was one of the first names we thought of the SuperAchievers awards and the Manchester team wish her all the luck in the world for it!”
Alex studied for a degree in Business and ICT at Sheffield Hallam and then completed a PGCE, his intention was to become an IT teacher. After gaining a position as an IT and Employability Tutor with Access Training in Newcastle, Alex began teaching unemployed learners on how to use IT skills and how to apply for jobs online. His role developed further into delivering social media and digital marketing training for apprenticeships. From here he was approached to focus more on the accounting side of training. Although he had a small amount of accounting experience gained from his degree, this would involve classroom based teaching so he would need to have a full understanding, not only of bookkeeping but also the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians) syllabus.
Alex came to Pitman Training Newcastle and embarked on an Accounting Technician Diploma with AAT. Although the learning bookkeeping aspect was a huge challenge, Alex completed the Diploma in just seven months which is impressive when you consider that whilst training he became a father for the first time so was juggling a busy day job, studying and sleepless nights! What makes Alex’s journey all the more inspiring is that he wasn’t just learning for himself, his ultimate intention was to become an AAT tutor so there was an additional pressure on him to ensure he thoroughly understood every aspect. One of his biggest fears was that he wouldn’t be able to answer learners questions so at all times he was thinking about how he would translate and teach this to students in the classroom. Even when certain aspects proved more challenging he was taking it all in, repeating sections until he was 100% sure he had a thorough understanding. All the while remembering all aspects of his training that got him through and how he was supported so that he could himself offer support to future students in similar situations.
When asked why they were nominating Alex for this award, Pitman Training Newcastle said “We would like to put Alex forward for Student of the Year not only because of his fantastic results, but because he has used his knowledge to forge a new career in delivering training to apprenticeship students. He has found something he loves to do, and is now working on his AAT Level 3 and wants to move to Level 4 and beyond.”
Alex is rightly incredibly proud of his achievements and his own students what’s more his results speak for themselves. His achievement rate with his apprenticeship students is 97% and pass rate 98%, which is a credit to his understanding and delivery of the material.
Pitman Training Colchester have nominated Rita for this award and Bahman Jamshidnejad said “It is a great pleasure to nominate one of my students, Rita Patel for the Pitman Training Student of the Year award due to her amazing success with her exam results, personal development and workplace achievements.”
When Rita first approached the centre looking to enrol on Social Media training, she had no previous knowledge or experience in this area. She was also lacking in confidence not only in herself to start studying again but also in her ability to use social media. Rita had found employment but as part of the requirements for her to take on the position her future employer asked that Rita improved her social media skills and knowledge prior to starting the position.
From the outset, as well as the imminent start of a new job and juggling family demands, Ritas commitment to learn new skills was evident and her confidence and belief in herself grew along with her understanding and skills provided by the training.
As Rita studied and commenced her new role, life became a busy juggling act. She was briefly forced to take a break from her studies as her work commitments increased and she also suffered a setback due to Visual Stress. Once things had settled, Rita returned to complete her course and achieved Distinctions in all four of her modules with an overall Distinction in the course. In Spring 2016 Rita was confidently posting to LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+ while also having been asked to manage the organisation’s Marketing Department.
Further on, the confidence and skills which Rita acquired as a result of her studies with Pitman Training have enabled her to move on to an even better job at a local university. When asked why he believed Rita should win this award, Bahman commented “Rita's hard work and determination to overcome the challenges she faced prior and during her studies make her, I believe, an ideal winner for this award.”
Winners not only gain International recognition - they will also be presented with:
PLUS: There will be special prizes will be awarded to winners of individual categories, including:
We’re pleased to introduce our SuperAchievers Judging Panel. Click below to find out more about them.
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