Category: Independent Event
Five Words to describe Fran Campbell
Loyal, Influential, Ebullient, Pro-active, Empathic
Please tell us the key demands of your role?
I work for two Senior Partners, one is the FS Global Brexit Leader in addition to his Consulting role, which means I am dealing with Partners and their teams globally as well as across the UK. My main role as their PA is to deliver to clients, those that I work for internally and thus in turn delivering to our external clients to "make things happen", and ensuring your Partner and Directors feel they are in a "pair of safe hands" when events have to be organised whilst also being their gatekeeper and protecting their time.
The majority of a PA's life is to run the diaries without instructions from a simple 1-1 meeting or lunch to a seminar of 100+. Understanding your key stakeholders, their clients, and how they work, in order that you can take the call to move things to accommodate client requests, incorporating essential travel time, setting up prep meetings without being prompted, sourcing and giving options of travel whilst adhering to company travel policy and budgets, and again making the best of their time.
Reading and managing my stakeholders emails is a critical, replying to their clients in their absence, alerting them to incoming emails with urgent requests or those needing urgent replies they may not have seen due to attending a meeting or indeed travelling, ie on a flight without access, where you would automatically respond to the email on their behalf advising that your Partner/Director will get back to them asap.
Proofing and editing documents that are to be circulated globally or to the UK internally or more importantly for onward distribution to clients, this has been more important than ever at the present time with preparing our Clients for Brexit. I am the last person who will see the communication and my Partner relies on me solely and implicitly to edit these grammatically and to ensure the lay-out is perfect, he leaves it to me to finalise and distribute on his behalf. This is also the same for proposals etc, his instructions to his teams are that I am the last person to see anything to finally proof it and send it out for him.
Being time conscious in replying to email requests re diaries from our overseas office, in particular Tokyo, either at responding to them at 11pm-1am or from 5am in the morning to advise on availability for meetings as to a response in "normal working hours" which would result in a loss of a day with them being currently +8 hours ahead of the UK. My Partner does not expect or has ever requested this, but I am happy to do it to ensure speedy results of meetings being set up, to me it is a necessity and what I consider important in supporting him.
Proactively pulling together any documents that are needed for meetings, processing timesheets, expenses, you are there to manage their lives and it is entirely down to you as a PA to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw together to make their lives easier, you "manage" their time and their working day.
To continuously build my networks across the firm internally, with clients, venues, as this is crucial in ensuring that you can effectively make things happen.
Being professional at all times as you are a representative of the firm and proud to be so.
Smiling through all the multitasking and staying calm when under pressure whilst juggling several balls in the air, ensuring that hopefully none are dropped.
Ensuring your crystal ball is working at all times as a PA above all is a mind reader and one they are grateful for as if any problems do arise you are there with a solution.
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 nominated in my categories as one of the events that fell under my role was organising a Japanese Megabanks 3 day Client Annual Planning Workshop for 3 different banks with Partners and their teams from our Tokyo office in attendance with our London colleagues.
This was a major project which I solely organised and was a huge challenge as one of this size/duration had not been held before. The organisation had to be meticulous and was a large ask with 6 months preparation. The event included:
- Sourcing 3 venues, the first for the internal brainstorming sessions x 3 days, the second for a client presentation on the first night for 70 followed by a drinks reception with canapés and entertainment, and the third for an internal dinner for 30 with both the overseas and London teams on the second evening.
- I was also responsible for setting up all the client meetings which took place across the 3 days, c. 4-5 meetings a day with 4-6 in attendance and thus managing all the diaries and sending out all invitations, double checking every invite to ensure the right attendees were invited to the right meeting at the right client, and ensuring everyone was kept up-to-date and was informed when attendees or timings would change due to itineraries.
- I was tasked with proofing and double checking all presentations/documents to be used, arranging all printing and more importantly ensuring the right documents were delivered to the right venue in a timely fashion. Producing all the names badges which were treble checked to ensure there were no errors.
- Whilst not only choosing the catering requirements/menus for our internal sessions it was my responsibility to source a good catering company for the client presentation evening whilst keeping a mindful eye on budgets to ensure that everything from the catering to flowers were perfect. I liaised with the caterers advising on my choice of menu/wines/flowers/entertainment, and as we had overseas clients I thought it would be a nice touch during the reception to have a jazz band which was very much enjoyed by all. All this I proactively sourced and managed without any input from my Partner, as that is the role I have as his/their PA.
- I also sourced and pulled together goodies bags for the client reception (100 in total) and it was left to me to decide what would be good to include/look substantial, again whilst being aware of budget restraints, these were really appreciated.
- During the 3 days I was available/on call from 6.30-midnight as there was a large agenda to cover each day, with us meeting at 7am to run through the day, what we had learned from the day before or should change for the day ahead etc or to amend meetings/agendas etc if these had changed at the client's request and diaries had to be re-jigged.
- The event was very successful and we had excellent feedback from Clients and our Tokyo/London teams alike, indeed one of our Japanese Partners commented that "Fran was under a great level of pressure to plan everything and make these things happen in a perfect order whilst always remaining cheerful and supportive on the initiatives which I really appreciate, and it is important for us that we have somebody like her working with us "behind the scenes" and to make everything neat and work properly. I appreciated her support and am look forward to working with her more in the future".
If you had one superpower for your role as a PA, what would it be?
To be able to resolve IT issues/problems “in a blink of an eye”!