If you have never been to your trade’s annual conference then you are surely missing out. This year I was fortunate to be able to attend the annual PA Show (formerly known as Office) which was held at Olympia in London. I had attempted to attend last year but my trip was scuppered by the snow, so this time I headed up the day before to make sure I could make the most of it.
The PA Show was co-located with International Confex and the Event Production Show which meant we had three shows for the price of one and access to some amazing seminars and headline speakers. Day One, was all about meeting up with the amazing VAs who I have networked with online for the last three years and never met. It was so good to be able to talk business, share successes and challenges and end the day over a glass of wine and dinner with fellow mentees of my brilliant business coach, Amanda Johnson.
Day Two was a day full of seminars and amazing speakers, starting off early with #MyVACareer – a breakfast with other VAs and panel interview led by Lina Bourdon, FSB Chair for Diversity with an expert panel made up of Amanda Johnson (VACT), Catherine Gladwyn (VA) and Felicity Webb (VA) who were very generous in sharing the personal stories behind their careers. This was followed by a brilliant Keynote from Laura Belgrado, from Mars Inc. on her journey and advice on how she uses emotional intelligence to get ahead in her career and provide the best support possible to her executives.
The early afternoon seminars included talks from industry experts who are able to provide support to businesses, these included Ami Copeland of the Inst. of Certified Bookeepers who updated us on the HMRC guidance on Anti-Money Laundering and on Making Tax Digital, Henry Herbert of Herbert and Ball who talked GDPR and Brexit and Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO of Tapoly Insurance who explained their new service which provides insurance for SMEs – one to look at!
As I mentioned before, one of the great things about this event is meeting up with people that you have only known online, but also it was great for me to meet up with other VAs from the Devon area who I’d not met in person before, one of my clients who was exhibiting, two members of my team who work virtually and were able to meet one another and even a visit from my accountant, who was up in London for another conference and popped by to show his support for ……. the VA Awards.
The UK VA Awards are hosted at the VA Conference by BeMyVA. This year, the awards for Best VA Newcomer, VA Star, the VA Voice Awards and the UK Outstanding VA 2019 were being hosted at the VA Conference at the PA Show. Huge congratulations to:
The VA Voice Awards:
- Best Trainer – Amanda Johnson – Virtual Assistant Coaching and Training for the third year running
- Most Popular Social Media Platform – LinkedIn
- Most Popular Accounting Software – Xero
- Most popular tool – Canva
- Most Popular Book – How to Be a VA by Catherine Gladwyn
- Jo Howlett
Best Newcomer VA Award
- Sarah Szekir-Papasavva of Apt VA (winner)
- Helen Martin & Susan Williams of Aggrandise VA (runner up)
- Holly Copsey of Virtually Priceless (runner up)
- Meg Small of Auxilia Business Support (runner up)
UK Outstanding VA of the Year
- Me! (winner)
- Heather Greig of VPA NI (runner up)
- Naomi Campbell of VA Velocity (runner up)
- Toks Adebanjo of Toks Adebanjo Virtual Assistant (runner up)
What an amazing end to the day, and whilst it started to sink in and I stopped shaking, there was chance to hear another panel discussion with industry experts Amanda Johnson (VACT), Gwen Backhouse (2018 UK Outstanding VA winner), Joanne Munro (The VA Handbook) and Caroline Wylie (The Society of Virtual Assistants), this time on #MyVAVision Shaping the strategy for your VA business.
It was then to a slow train journey back to Devon, and a few glasses of champers to toast a great couple of days. Huge thanks to everyone at the VA Awards and to all the VAs who took the time to come and say hello. I’m already looking forward to The PA Show 2020!