Declan Halton Woodward
Company: The AS&K Group
Five Words to describe Declan Halton Woodward
Flexibility, commitment, discretion, drive, enthusiasm
Please tell us the key demands of your role?
They key demand of my role is having to wear a great many different ‘hats’. I work across my Executives entire business portfolio, which consists of around 6 businesses, I work on his private life as well. What this means is that I have to understand the pressures, goals and challenges affecting each company and deal with them accordingly.
At any given time, I could be writing emails relating to one firm, whilst on a call about another. Being able to manage this pressure, whilst ensuring each individual who comes into contact with you believes they are the most important problem is difficult, but something I feel I have become very good at.
Why do you believe that you should be shortlisted or, give us an example of when you have demonstrated the abilities attributed to your category?
I believe I should be shortlisted because I have advocated for the profession and particularly males in the profession at every opportunity, and I have also tried to contribute to this community in whatever way I can, be that advising other PA’s or taking part in campaigns such as EPPA’s #NotJustAGirlsJob.
I consistently communicate with senior managers and executives across each firm in our group with professionalism, and ensure they are kept updated on my principals every changing workload, goals and challenges. I then, likewise, keep my boss informed of the workings in each of the companies. My boss is out of the country for at least 2 weeks in every month so this is a vital part of my job. Another challenge that comes with him being out of the country so much is that when he is the office there are an enormous amount of people to see, meetings to be had and brainstorms to work on. My job is to accurately assess how much time a person, or a department actually need with him as I need to ensure he see’s everyone he needs to, even if they do not believe they need to see him, I juggle all this, whilst making sure no one feels like are being passed off. My boss is very keen to ensure everyone feels he has an open-door policy, this is of course harder to manage in reality, but I work every day to ensure no one gets left out. My job isn’t just to ensure he is happy, but everyone who works for him is happy with him!
I put the needs of my principal above my own, every day.
On top of my roles and responsibilities with the Executive side of my role, I have to ensure my boss private life runs smoothly, that his wife is fully informed on his whereabouts, his private holidays are booked, and all the other myriad of tasks that come with managing someone’s private world, from helping to organise his daughter’s birthday party to booking his car into the garage for repair. Anything I can do to relieve some of the pressure and responsibilities on my boss, I do.
At every step in my career I have had to deal with prejudice, be that because of my age when I first started my career or because I am a male. This only gives me the drive to prove them wrong, indeed sometimes I use someone’s prejudice against them, when they assume I am not the EA because I am a man, I will take full advantage. I want to become a mentor and to help drive these negatives thoughts out of the profession, which is why I take every opportunity to talk about my role and the industry to anyone who will listen. Only by taking part in conversation can we truly change people’s views.
If you had one superpower for your role as a PA, what would it be?
Read someone’s mind, though people seem to think all PA/EA’s have that power!