We take pleasure in introducing you to another one of our BBO PA Network Board Committee Members – Virtual Assistant extraordinaire Kathy Soulsby! Kathy and Sarah met almost 10 years ago whilst working for their respective CEOs as Executive Assistants. Kathy became a Virtual Assistant in 2014 fitting it into the evenings and weekends alongside two part time PA roles which made a whole one! She went full time in 2015 after shedding first one job and then the second as the business grew. Kathy is an active member of the committee and has always believed in the power of networking. She’s always happy to make any new BBO member feel welcome and is often found offering her sound advice to any Virtual Assistants who attend our events.
Grab a cup of something nice and take 5 minutes to read more about Kathy below.
Tell us about your current role?
I currently run Personally Virtual – a Virtual Assistant Company. We support business from 1 person up to those with 200+ staff. Mostly, we do traditional diary management-type work for our clients but occasionally we do other things. It just depends on the client and what they need.
Where do you live?
I’m based in Bucks but my teams are scattered over the UK and overseas, and the same with our clients.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Friendly, Organised, Reliable, Funny and Sociable
Favourite BBO PA Network event and why?
We haven’t been to a bad one! But I’m going to cheat and have 2. The Calcot Hotel near Reading looked after us (several times) amazingly. Not all businesses have the budget for fancy and they did such a fantastic job both times we were there showcasing what they have to offer. It’s all about the people for me! And then I have to have Hartwell House in Aylesbury as it’s local and beautiful.
Tell us about your first BBO PA Network experience? Can you remember your first event?
I missed the very, very first BBO (or just B as it was then) as I had a slipped disc. So I made it to number 2 at Stoke Park which was amazing. Seeing what Sarah had created was just superb.
How important is networking to you? Do you enjoy it?
Networking is SO important to me. Obviously, I have to find clients, so networking is vital for that. But even when I was a PA I really valued making connections with people, which is what networking is all about. I have met some of the most amazing people through networking both formally and informally, in person and online. Never underestimate the power of a human connection.
What one piece of advice would you give to an Assistant just starting out on their career journey? #TipsForAssistants
Mine would be to “model” another assistant. I did this in my first PA role – a client had the most amazing PA – she never forgot anything, she always did what she said she would, she never lied (to my knowledge!) – if things had to move she was upfront about it, she didn’t fudge or ghost me and she was a lovely warm friendly person. Despite this woman being so high level that she had 2 assistants, she never seemed flapped or rushed or that your call was a pain. So, I decided I want to be that assistant. I’m not sure I live up to it every hour of the day but knowing what an amazing EA looks like is a good place to start.
Why are you passionate about the Assistant / Business Support profession?
My business strapline is “Outsource everything but your brilliance”. For most people, managing a diary or complex travel isn’t what they are brilliant at. So an amazing assistant can transform someone’s working life quite dramatically as they can focus on what they are meant to be doing. I also think having “a second brain” is a wonderful thing for a busy person to make sure things aren’t missed. We support others to be amazing in their roles and make their lives easier and I love that about the job.
Your ‘pet hate’ when it comes to being an Assistant?
Mine is people who won’t do phone calls! There is nothing more frustrating than weeks of email tennis as dates come and go. I’ll always say “when is a good time to speak and let’s sort this live” (because I get that a call is an interruption) and some PAs act like using a phone might actually make their ears melt off. As a VA, I bill my time so I’m hugely conscious about doing things in the most time-efficient way. And that is often a phone call.