Interview: Matthew Want

Interview: Matthew Want

Matthew Want

Matthew Want is Personal Assistant to Lucy Brazier, CEO of Marcham Publishing, Publishers of Executive Secretary Magazine.

During his four years with Lucy, Matthew has been featured in several articles which have been distributed globally within the industry. He is an integral part of the team organising events in the UK, Dubai and South Africa.

Matthew’s career achievements range from being ranked 3 out of 250 on the Eventopedia PA power list 2016; featured in articles in Exceptional EA and Eventopedia throughout 2015; profiled with his CEO in Exceptional EA; profiled in Executive Secretary Magazine in 2014. He was nominated for the Excellence Award at EUMA 2014 and was a was a finalist in the London PA Awards 2016 Philanthropic or Environmental category

Matthew is an aspiring young male assistant and a role model who is leading the way within the PA industry for all male assistants, demonstrating his drive, passion and enthusiasm for the role.

How long have you been a PA? How did you get your job?

I have now worked with Lucy for about 4 ½ years, I started off doing admin and then become Lucy’s PA officially about 2 years ago. I met Lucy through volunteering organising events on our local Chamber of Commerce. Lucy, at the time, had been running the relaunched Executive Secretary Magazine for just over a year. By this time, she said she was looking for someone to help her out a few days a week and the rest is history.

Why did you want to be a PA?

Before I became a PA I didn’t really know what the job entailed. As time went on and my career progressed I found the prospect of being a PA more appealing. I love the fact that I am able to do the job so independently and comprehensively no matter what the task may be.

What did you imagine your career to look like when you were at school

When I was at school I didn’t really know what path I wanted to take career wise. I tried a few jobs before finding this one and it is by far the best choice I could have made career wise.

What surprised you about your job?

What surprised me about this job and the industry is how friendly and helpful everyone is. When I first started out I had no clue what to do or where to start from, but that soon changed as I started to get out and network. One of the most inspirational people I met when I first stated was the late Susie Barron-Stubley. I was lucky enough to go on her PA Retreat training course a few years back, from that course the skills I learnt I still use to this day and will continue to use going forward in my career.

What has been the best perk of your job?

One of the perks of this job is being able to travel around the world and meet so many wonderful PA’s. Wherever I go in the world the PA’s are always more than happy to lend their time for any advice I may need or just to get to know me. I have met so many incredible speakers/trainers along the way as well, all have such a fountain of knowledge which they are more than willing to share and pass on. My main highlight has to be when myself and Lucy went to Buckingham Palace in 2014 to train the PAs there. This is something I never thought I would end up doing!

What is the hardest thing about your job?

The hardest aspect of the job is keeping up to date with everything that is happening on a day to day basis. As Lucy is travelling very frequently around the world it can be hard with time differences to know what is the priority at the time and what has already been dealt with. We have started to put in place a system, for both of us, to help this happen as smoothly as possible. It is definitely a lot smoother than it used to be but there is also more progress to be made.

How do you think PA’s are perceived by those in other careers in 2016?

I still feel that even in 2016 the role of the PA is perceived by many as just answering the phone and filing papers, there is a lot more that goes into this job. Ever since the recession hit and middle management were made redundant, it has mainly been the person who is in the role of the PA who has taken on a lot more of the tasks at no extra pay. The PA role nowadays normally include duties such as diary management, managing two or more email accounts, planning travel for their bosses, managing social media accounts, event management, finance, HR and many more. The role of the PA is no longer just a basic role, it is now more complex and diverse than it has ever been.

Do you think it’s harder for men to become successful PAs?

The role of the PA before World War II was male dominated. When the War hit, the men went out to fight and the women came in to take the men’s places as PA’s. This has stuck ever since. I think it is just as easy for a Male PA to become as successful as a Female PA is. The role of the PA shouldn’t be cast by gender. Both men and women are more than capable or the skills that the role entails. I know several well renowned Male PA’s from all over the world, all of whom do not see the fact that being a male makes them or the role any different.

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