Strategic PA Network Awards Recognising & Rewarding London, South East, Bucks, Berks & Oxon (& beyond!) Assistant Talent - Thurs, 19th October 2023 at Reading Hilton.

Taking time to publicly recognise the achievements of passionate, hard working, professional Assistants is important to us. We want to shine a light on the Business Support Industry and do it with Strategic PA style! We have an abundance of talent in our profession across London, South East,  Bucks, Berks & Oxon and beyond – let’s recognise it!

You don’t have to be a member of the Strategic PA Network to self nominate or be nominated. We’ll be rewarding and most importantly celebrating our successes TOGETHER to inspire the next generation of Assistants. Nominations are NOW LIVE!



Assistant of the Year Award – Claire Samber, Executive Assistant, Natural History Museum, London

Above & Beyond Award – Ann-Marie Brennand, Executive Personal Assistant, Lego

CSR Champion of the Year Award – Anna Aprea, Virtual Assistant, Time Gained.

Diversity & Inclusion Champion of the Year Award – Claire Garner, Executive Assistant, Reckitt

Leader/Executive of the Year Award – Ian Aillies, Former first appointed Director General of the House of Commons from 2015-2021

PA Team of the Year Award  – The Q5 VA Team 

Virtual Assistant of the Year – Sharon Barry, Virtual Business Administrator & Business Owner at Little Gem Virtual Business Services

Virtual Assistant ‘Associate’ of the Year Award – Tanya Dickinson, Founder Platnium PA

Star of the Future Award – Gemma Jennings

Networker of the Year Award – Veronica Richards, Business Manager/Senior Executive Assistant, TopSource Worldwide

Office/Facilities Manager of the Year Award – Samantha O’Rourke, Office Manager at Mace Dragados Joint Venture






Strategic PA Network Assistant of the Year

This Award will be selected from the nominations received from ALL the Award categories. After a challenging year dealing with copious amounts of change and a global pandemic, the winning Assistant will be absolutely exceptional at their job, regularly delivering and consistently going that extra mile at every opportunity. 

The ‘Assistant of the Year’ will be a thought-leader and a natural all-rounder but above all an inspiration and an ambassador for all Assistants. Our aim is to spotlight Assistants who are a role model to their peers, who consistently demonstrate excellence with their Executive and are aligned with the goals of the organisation. 

Award Criteria: 

  • Nominee demonstrates the ability to turn information into action, flawlessly. No matter how much is thrown at the Assistant, the job gets done. By demonstrating great time management, connections, flexibility and resilience, everything seems to be achieved effortlessly when Assistants know it is not what really happens behind the scenes.
  • Nominees are the eyes and ears of their Executives. When they know something, they share it and take action, paying that information forward in a sensitive and effective way.
  • Nominees demonstrate strategic thinking. It is the ability to look at a task and its impact, understand why it needs to be completed, how it fits in with the business’s overall strategy and how it takes precedence over other tasks.
  • Nominees ask questions. Understand their Executives why and what’s top of their mind for them and the organisation. Nominees are curious.
  • Nominees demonstrate the ability to build trust in the workplace at all levels through effective communication and emotional intelligence skills
  • Communication skills are a must for the nominee to excel, it is the ability to choose the right communication method for a situation but also the ability to build rapport with executives and colleagues to be able to understand beyond the words how best to address what is required.
  • The nominee will be trustworthy and authentic. Be able to listen and listen well with their eyes and ears. Demonstrate their integrity and compassion. The nominees actions will build pathways to negotiating and navigating relationships. To follow up and ask open ended questions.
  • The nominee will be able to demonstrate initiative and confidence to change things. Showing initiative and being proactive is vital for a great Assistant. The nominee is always being on the lookout for opportunities to make processes and procedures better, have the confidence to share ideas, make decisions and adopt new ways of working to support their Executive and the organisation’s objectives.
  • The nominee can take the lead and put their hand up. Step out of their comfort zone and ask ask and ask again. They can be persuasive and part of topics that matter to them. When the nominee authentically works on passion projects … it’s not work, it’s leading with intent.


*NEW FOR 2023* Strategic PA Network Chief of Staff of the Year

A new award for 2023, The ‘Chief of Staff of the Year’ should have the ability to lead at all levels of the organisation without authority but influence. They have the courage to face difficult conversations, recognise and break the silos.

The Chief of Staff is a creative and innovative role where you are no longer the doer but finding processes in a non vertical way for teams to be able to do a better job and move towards a same strategic goal. 

Award Criteria: 

  • Nominees have the ability to lead without authority. They are capable of leading colleagues at all levels of the organisation from a trustworthy and influential position.
  • Nominees have the courage to face difficult conversations, recognise where there are silos and break them down for the benefit of the organisation.
  • Nominees are master connectors, finding non-vertical ways to align teams collaborating on strategic projects and initiatives.  
  • Nominees are the confidants of their principals. They are key strategic advisors, sounding boards for ideas, and never act as a ‘yes’ person to their executive.
  • Nominees are experts in stakeholder management. They can manage strategic interests horizontally and vertically and able to execute directives across the organisations in a way that minimises negative impact and maximises positive outcomes for stakeholders.
  • Nominees have their finger on the pulse of the organisation. By staying authentic, connected and curious, the nominees are able to predict and monitor trends throughout the organisation that given them a unique insight. They are essential to the culture of their organisation.
  • The nominee will be trustworthy and authentic. Be able to listen and listen well with their eyes and ears. The nominee’s actions will build pathways to negotiating and navigating mutually beneficial relationships.  


Strategic PA Network Networker of the Year

We all know how intimidating networking can be. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is never easy and therefore we are delighted to have an Award that is focused on celebrating an outstanding Assistant who encapsulates what networking is all about for the BBO PA Network. Demonstrating our values by being kind, inclusive, welcoming, supportive and empowering, the winner of this Award will embody and champion all of these and more. 

Nominees for this Award will promote the benefits of networking whether it is at face to face networking events, within your local community, at your workplace or virtually, via social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee demonstrates a welcoming approach and never leaves anyone alone at an event.

  • The nominee can demonstrate the positive impact of networking: The impact that they have made on others by making connections, recommendations and introductions. The impact that networking has had on their own career and development. What have they learnt through networking, how has networking helped moved their career and development forward.

  • The nominee shares interest and enthusiasm, or inquisitive nature about a person or topic through being sincere and genuine, not “hard selling”.

  • The nominee is a great listener! Listens for reasons to engage, opportunities to assist, ways to connect.
  • The nominee follows up – great networkers don’t just follow up with the information they promised today, they follow up for months and years to come.
  • The nominee demonstrates evidence of thanking connections (for getting an interview for example), or even thanking the connection for providing information that gave the networker help with making a critical decision. 
  • The nominee shares a desire to connect, going above and beyond connecting with people. To the nominee it is not just for an empty LinkedIn connection but ongoing engagement with that person and shares why they want to connect.  

BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network

Strategic PA Network CSR Champion of the Year

Supporting and championing exemplary CSR practice is at the heart of our values at the BBO PA Network. Understanding what this looks like and how organisations carry out good practice, is where there is value in sharing our members’ experience. We are proud partners of CSR Accreditation, who are delighted to be supporting this Award. 

The CSR Champion of the Year Award winner will demonstrate the initiatives they’ve been involved with and the passion they show for helping others and giving back. Whether this is carried out within an organisation or personally within your local community, your involvement with charity work, community support or voluntary work, we want to showcase the Assistant who is a positive influence for others. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee can demonstrate initiatives, activities and achievements they have undertaken within their CSR role.
  • The nominee can show their motivation and drive to be part of CSR within their organisation.
  • The nominee shares their passion for CSR personally and within the community and what projects they are involved in.
  • The nominee is able to show where and how they have influenced other people to change opinions and attitudes towards CSR. 


Strategic PA Network Diversity & Inclusion Champion of the Year

This could be an award for an individual or a team. We would like to recognise someone who has initiated or lead programmes to remove barriers within the workplace, improve the working experience and engagement levels of employees and create an environment where individuals feel a sense of belonging, can be their authentic selves and feel that they have a voice within their organisation. Supporting and championing positive initiatives will be at the heart of this award. 

The ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ Award winner will demonstrate the initiatives they’ve been involved with, the positive impact it has made and perhaps they have gone above and beyond their ‘job description’ to be involved in such a programme. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee demonstrates initiatives which the assistant has implemented and/or lead  
  • The nominee shows their ability to be a champion/advocate of D&I through educating and/or raising awareness to key topics.  
  • The nominee engages with the work force through available communication channels and utilising them to reach the entire organisation.  
  • The nominee demonstrates innovative ways of thinking to raise awareness and drive positive change. They are a forward thinker who champions everyone to feel a sense of belonging, has a passion for engaging colleagues and shining a light on D&I. 
  • The nominee is able to have difficult and challenging conversations with both individuals or the organisation in order to create change. It’s easy for organisations to say yes to initiatives for people to listen to, but it’s about getting out of our comfort zone and highlighting that more can be done to be more diverse and inclusive. 


Strategic PA Network Virtual Assistant of the Year

Virtual Assistants have never been more important for businesses needing additional Assistant support. Since the global pandemic VAs have become the innovators in their field, providing solutions for businesses working remotely and offering a bespoke service which can be called upon when required.

Running your own VA business can be challenging, not only are you focusing on your clients, but you are also wearing many hats for your own business in order to be successful. 

We’d like to celebrate a Virtual Assistant who has risen to the challenge, flourished and whose achievements have surpassed expectations of their clients and themselves. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee will have a proven record in making a real impact on the VA industry in terms of both clients and fellow VAs. 
  • The nominee will stand out from the crowd for their customer service, online presence, growth, services offered and their all-round commitment to the success of their clients. 
  • The nominee will demonstrate an entrepreneurial flair for innovation, reputation, client feedback, and performance. 
  • The nominee will be continually looking at business growth with ideas and plans in place showing entrepreneurial skills for getting those new initiatives started. 
  • The nominee will show talent in their business and standing out above others in this field. 



Strategic PA Network Virtual Assistant ‘Associate’ of the Year

Being an integral part and trusted Associate of a Virtual Assistant’s business is something to be proud of. Not only are you a team player, you treat clients as your own in order to support the VA business owner. You are extremely reliable, trustworthy and someone who is able to get the job done with a superb can-do attitude!

Virtual Assistants have never been more important for businesses needing additional Assistant support. 
Since the global pandemic VAs have become the innovators in their field, providing solutions for businesses working remotely and offering a bespoke service which can be called upon when required.

The Virtual Assistant Associate who wins this Award will have that something ‘that sets them apart’ from the rest. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee is able to demonstrate great values, reliability and trustworthiness – both to the end client and the Lead VA. 
  • The nominee is able to show how they have gone above and beyond to support and champion the client, being a force for good in their organisation.  
  • The nominee shows that they are the eyes and ears for the Lead VA with the client, actively looking for new opportunities and keeping the Lead VA up to date with any changes that may affect the project.  
  • The nominee demonstrates a team mentality and is happy to build relationships with fellow VAs as well as connections with the client.  
  • The nominee is a great advocate for the Lead VAs’ business, representing their brand and values with integrity.   


Strategic PA Network Above & Beyond Award

The Assistant role is changing and has never been more demanding. The business environment over the last year has proven that Assistants can and have risen to the challenge by supporting their Executive above and beyond. The recipient of this Award regularly saves the day, can see around corners and is consistently delivering outside and above of their job description. 

A true partner to their Executive, a brand champion of the business and an integral part of the management team, the winner of this Award will demonstrate what it’s like to be a true leader as an Assistant. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee goes that extra mile and is able to demonstrate how they have supported their Executive/Management team, over and above your normal day to day role and responsibilities. 
  • The nominee exceeds expectations in every aspect of their role.  
  • The nominee is able to demonstrate what initiatives/changes/activities they have successfully implemented and delivered which go above and beyond their normal day to day role and responsibilities. 
  • The nominee must be an integral part of the Executive/Management team. They should be able to describe what behaviours they have adopted to become an ambassador for their organisation.  



Strategic PA Network PA/Internal Team of the Year

A high-performing team of PAs or VAs can be a force of nature!  This award will be given to the team that can show by working together, that they are more than the sum of their individual parts.  

We want to see a team that has impacted its members as well as the organisation around it. This team should be supportive, responsible and constantly striving to be better and make difference.   

Award Criteria: 

  • The PA Team nominees should demonstrate excellent levels of communication. 
  • The PA Team nominees will be able to demonstrate evidence of things the team have achieved together, what problems have they solved as a team and the outcome of their actions? 
  • The PA Team nominees will be able to demonstrate that they have used their initiatives to grow and develop and are supporting each other to do this. 
  • The PA Team nominees show that they have excellent values, reflecting those in the wider organisation. 
  • The PA Team nominees should have a great reputation in the organisation and show evidence of how the team makes its members and external stakeholders feel.   


Strategic PA Network Assistant Star of the Future Award

This Award will be given to the Assistant who has recently started their career journey. Already an integral part of a business, the winner will display a passion for being an Assistant, a champion of the industry and demonstrate their hunger to learn and grow by taking part in networking events and continued professional development. 

Already grasping the foundations of what it takes to be at the top of their career, they will have a career plan and have set themselves clear goals. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee will be able to provide evidence of being a strategic partner, having a real impact advancing the needs of the business whilst working in collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. 
  • The nominee will be proactively seeking to further their professional and personal development with set goals and objectives through upskilling, EI/EQ and networking. 
  • The nominee will stand out from other Assistants with their leadership and influential skills whilst building relationships, breaking down walls and promoting employee advocacy. 
  • The nominee will be able to demonstrate their innovative thinking, problem solving and decision-making skills, to show how they stay one step ahead of the game. 
  • The nominee will show their extraordinary passion and commitment for the profession and how they stand out above others in this field whilst championing the Assistant world. 



Strategic PA Network Office/Facilities Manager of the Year Award

The ‘Office/Facilities Manager Award’ will be given to an Office/Facilities Manager who shows great leadership, negotiation and project management skills. The winner will demonstrate that their business would not be able to run without their input and passion for the position. Processes and procedures along with health and safety duties will be at the forefront of their daily activities. 

The winner of this Award will display that they are not only an exceptional leader but also the ‘heart’ of the office with great emotional intelligence. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee will be an innovative thinker who has a passion for improving their workplace and adapting with the times (i.e., Hybrid working, Environmental initiatives for a Greener workplace etc). 
  • The nominee is the glue of the office.
  • The nominee is great at building relationships and collaborating with their workforce both in person and remotely to be more efficient and cost effective collectively.  
  • The nominee will create a safe, equipped and inviting environment for those in the office and ensuring those who work remotely are supported and considered. 
  • The nominee is a successful Project Manager who engages and collaborates with stakeholders to reach the end result. 
  • The nominee provides effective communication across the organisation utilising different channels.


BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network
BBO PA Network

Strategic PA Network Leader/Executive of the Year Award

Being a great organisational leader is part of your day job but also being able to work efficiently and effectively with your Assistant is a totally different skill and something that will benefit you and your organisation greatly.

The winner of this Award champions the role of an Assistant. They understand that if provided the tools, and empowered to do so, an Assistant can become an effective business partner to their executive helping to drive and deliver the companies goals, mission and values.

The winner will be a standout collaborator, enabler and someone who supports their Assistant to be the very best they can be. They will do this by viewing them as a key team member, their right hand and someone they trust illicitly to support them.

Award Criteria: 

    • The nominee has a clear vision of the business’s strategy and know-how, to effectively communicate it in the workplace in leading it by example.
    • The nominee believes in their teams by having the ability to motivate and inspire others.
    • The nominee knows how to connect and engage with employees, as well as enhancing dialogues in the workplace and listens to employees.
    • The nominee knows how to coach employees so they can develop their skills and improve their performance.
    • The nominee recognises others’ achievements
    • The nominee encourages an open and transparent communication.
    • The nominee is a change driver — they encourage creativity and innovation in the workplace.
    • The nominee makes employees’ well-being and safety one of their top priorities.
    • The nominee takes time to get to know their team. Building these relationships will support and enhance productivity and performance.
    • The nominee demonstrates transparency and honesty. Daily. Everyday. Creating in a balanced relationship will enhance and support open dialogue and commitment to one another, the team and the organisation.



Strategic PA Network Resilience Award

At the forefront of the award is the ability to not only support others, but also adapt and thrive in the face of adversity whilst prioritising personal / professional development. The candidate leads by example and is a positive, inspirational force within their community. They thrive on the success of overcoming challenges and give hope to all those that surround them. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The nominee demonstrates ability to overcome obstacles and challenging situations in order to achieve deadlines for their organisation or coping with difficult situations personally (e.g. pandemic, physical, mental health impacts).
  • The nominee demonstrates an understanding of resilience and the strategies the nominee implemented to overcome their challenges. 
  • The nominee has the ability to be an ambassador in their organisation or community, an inspiration to others.
  • The nominee supports statements by their Executive which addresses criteria. 


*New for 2023* Strategic PA Network Venue of the Year Award

As Assistants we all understand how powerful a partnership can be with a venue, when organising conferences, meetings, events etc. There’s more to organising an event than meets the eye and when you have a venue that is willing to partner with you in such a way that they are invested in the success of your event, they stand out! 

This Award has been created to recognise venues you’ve worked with though-out the UK who have worked with you to create an experience not only for you as the organiser, but those attending the event or hospitality. We want to spotlight and celebrate them, to show just how much we appreciate a venues team and all the hard work they do to deliver and execute exceptionally. 

Award Criteria: 

  • The venue demonstrates that they wholly understood the brief.
  • The venue successfully delivered the event and communication from start to finish was exemplary.
  • Interaction with all staff members from the venue was a positive experience.
  • A venue you trust and would not hesitate to recommend!




We aim to be completely transparent in our Awards process, along with how judging/scoring is undertaken.  

Our Awards process explained:

1. Awards nominations will open on Thursday 20th April 2023. 

2. Awards nominations will close on Monday 31st July 2023. Please note we reserve the right to extend the closing date for the nominations.

3. All nominees will be invited to a complimentary celebration before the Awards on Wednesday 9th August at The Dilly, London, where we will congratulate all 2023 nominees. We will also be extending a complimentary 6-month SILVER (online) membership to all nominees. 

4. All nominees will be invited to announce their nomination on social media (and through their organisation) and will receive a badge they can use.

5. All Finalists will be notified via email and invited to announce their finalist status on social media (and though their organisation) and will receive a badge they can use. 

6. Finalists will be invited to record a 2-minute video via our platform (will full directions) and asked to complete questions relating back to the Award criteria. This will then be used by the Judges to score each Finalist.

7. The Judges will independently review the videos and answers and score each Finalist using the Award criteria. They will complete an online form to do this.

8. The Winners will be announced at the Awards evening on Thursday 19th October 2023 at Hilton Hotel Reading. 

We wanted to wish you lots of luck with your nominations! We are excited to celebrate the amazing talent within our industry and be able to spotlight excellence.


we are thrilled to announce...

 nominations ARE NOW LIVE! nominate yourself or an assistant who deserves recognition.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about the network or you are a potential venue, speaker, supplier or sponsor – we would love to hear from you!