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We shine the spotlight and celebrate the differences amongst some of the members of the Designated team, who all work to collaborate with client across all industries. 

They all live in different locations across the UK and demonstrate different strengths and skill sets but are all united in sharing one passion, flexible working as Virtual Assistants.  

“As an industry we have a wonderful ethos of collaboration not competition” Society of Virtual Assistants.  

A happy team equals happy clients.

We provide a first class service to our clients and constantly strive to self-improve and enhance our clients’ experience. To gain further insight on what makes us tick, read on….  

Meet Sara Goff 

Sara has been a Designated for 3 years.  She lives in Surrey with her husband and 2 children and they are currently building their new house. 

What were you doing before you were a Virtual PA? 

I worked as a PA for many years, mainly within Banking.  I took a little time out when my children were very small and temped locally, before working virtually with Designated.

What’s the best thing about being a Virtual PA? 

There are many benefits, so it is hard to choose!  To sum it up, I love being able to not only continue, but to further my career with a fantastic company full of like-minded people who collaborate together.  Working virtually also gives me the flexibility to be there at the start and end of the school day and not miss out on any special events. 

What’s the worst thing about being a Virtual PA?  

When there’s a broadband issue at home.  Luckily, I can work from anywhere! 

What advice would you give to anyone starting out as a VA? 

Give it a chance!  It’s a completely different style of working and it does take some getting used to.  Gaining the confidence to work independently is the first hurdle to get over if you’ve come from an office style environment.  Being self-disciplined and knowing when to switch off as well as on is important these days, as we break away from the 9-5 culture. 

“If you had to be shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your human needs—such as food and water—were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you?” 

My family and a smartphone (with solar charger)! 

If you had a choice between two superpowers, being invisible or flying, which would you choose?” 

I think flying would be great fun but becoming invisible to suit would definitely have its advantages! 

What was the last gift you gave someone?” 

I bought a hamper for my mum’s birthday and filled it with her favourite things. 

 

Meet Hannah Smith  

Hannah has been a Designated for over 2 years and lives in Stratford Upon Avon, Warwickshire with her husband, 2 children and Rolo her dog!  

What were you doing before you were a Virtual PA?  

I was EA to the CEO of a National Water Safety Charity.  Working there for over 10 years they had always been very supportive of me being a working Mum.  When I was searching for a new role I tried to find something that would offer me the same flexibility, however I really struggled to find any roles that were at EA Board level, it was at that point I decided I needed to do things differently and I came across Designated. collaborate

What’s the best thing about being a Virtual PA?  

For me it’s about being able to continue my PA career whilst being there for my children.  I love working from home with my dog Rolo, who likes to snooze all day long in my office!   

What the worst thing about being a Virtual PA?  

For me, I sometimes find working at home can be isolating.  To minimise this, I have a local network of working friends and at least once a week we work together out of a local coffee shop, hotel or at someone’s house as we enjoy collaborating together.  Provided there is Wifi you can literally work anywhere!  

What advice would you give to anyone starting out as a VA?  

Network! Make time to meet other VA’s and attend local networking events.  Even if this is really out of your comfort zone it’s so important to network and make contacts with those doing a similar thing to you.   

What would your autobiography be called? 

H! It’s what my family and friends call me.

If given the chance, who would you like to be for the day? 

My 18 year old self having just dropped out of university! I’d tell myself that it would all be ok, I’d offer words of encouragement and advice about what the future would hold and how lucky I would be.

People would be surprised if they knew….. (what about you?) 

I love Australian Soaps and have watched Neighbours and Home and Away for about 30 years!! I insisted that my husband take me to Summer Bay (the place where Home and Away is filmed) when we were in Sydney for our honeymoon!   

 

Meet Christina Reilly 

Christina is one of our longest serving PA’s and has been on the team for over 4.5 years.  She lives in the Oxfordshire countryside with her family, including her two cats Chloe and Zebby. 

What were you doing before you were a Virtual PA?

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After leaving University, I spent circa a decade of working as a PA (mainly in the Investment Banking sector) In London. In more recent years I had two terms of maternity leave and I had just finished my second stint of maternity leave with my second child when I spotted the advert to work with Designated.

At the time I was serving as a Co-Chair on a local Pre-School committee, to keep my mind active and to develop and add new skills to my new skill set. This experience ended up being really useful and key to being matched with Women on Boards UK one of the clients that I currently assist. 

What’s the best thing about being a Virtual PA? 

The fact that I can continue my career at the same level without having to travel into London and can also balance this with being present in my children’s lives at the same time.  

What’s the worst thing about being a Virtual PA?  

The temptation to always do a little bit more work…as I work from home. 

What advice would you give to anyone starting out as a VA? 

My advice would be to expect the first month to be the toughest month. Once you have come through that first month then everything will only get easier and both you and your client will start to settle into your new role, collaborate and find a way of working together. 

I think you can feel like there is a lot to get to grips with in that first month and a combination of putting pressure on yourself to achieve perfection in that first month and the client being in more frequent contact can make you feel like you are under the spotlight.

Try and tackle your to do list and set up list in bitesize chunks and don’t be too harsh on yourself! Also don’t be afraid to over communicate with the client within this time period and to ask questions. 

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

A French translator! I had an amazingly passionate French teacher from a young age who really developed my interest in France and French and sparked my interest.  

If you were an animal, which animal would you be and why? 

If I was an animal I’d be a dog. They are very loyal and social animals and they offer support and comfort to their owners.  

Which three words would your friends use to describe you? 

Honest, very organised and driven. 

 

If you’d like to find out more about working as a Personal Virtual Assistant we’d love to hear from you info@designatedgroup.com. 

Over the next few weeks, we will be interviewing some inspiring individuals connected to the PA/VA world.  Watch this space!