Ann-Marie Brennand, shares her passions for learning and development below…
Ann-Marie is a multi-award-winning Assistant (most recently winning the Above & Beyond Strategic / BBO PA Network 2022 Award), PA blogger and mentor (www.positivepa.com). She currently works at the LEGO Group where she supports one of the Digital VPs. She is passionate about learning & development and supporting other Business Support Professionals to reach their potential.
In addition to her day-to-day role, she is also a Committee Member of the LEGO Group’s internal Assistants Group, arranging training and networking opportunities for their 90+ global assistants.
In August 2022 Ann-Marie became Co-Chair of the LEGO Groups internal Women’s Employee Advocacy Group.
Tell us about your current role?
I joined the LEGO Group in July 2021 as an Executive Personal Assistant and I love my role here. I play an active role in our Leadership Team and have a positive impact through my involvement in various projects across our department, such as leading the development of the new starter induction programme, leading the communications on moving to our new office and supporting our team mentoring programme.
In addition to my day-to-day role, I am also a Committee Member of our internal Assistants Group, arranging training and networking opportunities for our 90+ global Assistants.
In August 2022 I became Co-Chair of our internal Women’s Employee Advocacy Group. Our purpose is to support the women of the LEGO group to flourish at work. I am very excited about what I hope this group will accomplish in the future.
Describe yourself in 5 words?
Exuberant, Brave, Extrovert, Conscientious and Confident
Tell us about your first BBO/Strategic PA Network experience? Can you remember your first event?
I had been following the BBO / Strategic PA Network for a while online and had attended a couple of online webinars during lockdown. The first in person event I went to was in Westminster, London, in 2022. I felt a little nervous turning up to a room full of people that I didn’t know but I was soon put at ease by the warmth of Sarah and Marianne’s welcome.
Bonnie Low-Karman was the headline speaker and I met some other incredible women at this event, some have now become good friends. The conversation was so enriching and stimulating, I was inspired to write a new blog on the train home.
Why are you passionate about the Assistant role/Business Support Profession? What is it about the position do you love?
There are three things I love about working in the Business Support Profession.
- The role can be whatever you make it to be. If you work with a supportive Executive, which I am lucky enough to do, and you lean into opportunities, then you can make your role whatever you want it to be.
- The variety; there is the perfect amount of repetitive tasks, which I have mastered, alongside new tasks and activities to stretch my abilities and the boundaries of my role.
- I get to work with the most senior team members and am exposed to high level business decisions.
How important is networking to you? Do you enjoy it?
Networking, both internally and externally is very important. I really enjoy external networking events as they give me the opportunity to meet new people and share ideas and knowledge. I appreciate learning that, despite having similar job titles, how very different our roles and responsibilities can be. I have also recently made two new friends via professional networking events which has been a bonus.
Building an internal network is also very important; it allows me to work more efficiently as I know who to go to find the answers and information. If you are not sure where to start with expanding your internal network, I would recommend volunteering to help at an event or programme. This will give you the opportunity to meet people from across the organisation and you never know when you may need their support and knowledge in the future.
What one piece of advice would you give to an Assistant just starting out on their career journey? #TipsForAssistants
Don’t be afraid to get involved and do avoid the negative attitude of “that’s not my remit”. If there is a project or task that you think will be interesting, then ask to be involved, even if you are initially not sure how you’ll be able to support it. Finding these additional projects will add colour to your role and will also give you the opportunity to work and network with others in your organisation as well as allowing you to expand your knowledge.
What one piece of advice would you give to a CEO working with an EA for the first time? Or someone who needs educating?
Encourage your EA to play an active role within your leadership team and not be someone who is only there to support with meeting room bookings and meeting agenda. Encourage them to contribute to the agenda and topics discussed. You and your EA will be much more efficient and effective if they are actively involved; working with you, rather than for you. If your EA has the context and understanding of what is important and why, your EA will feel more included, motivated and have a greater impact.
What is your favourite saying or quote and who is it by?
Ah I can’t pick just one, I have a few….
“Attitude is everything” – I first heard this at a D&I talk by Winston Clements
“Be the CEO of your own career” – I first heard Bonnie Low-Karmen say this, but I am not sure if they are her original words.
What are you currently reading? Would you recommend it and why?
I have just finished reading Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. It is a novel, set in the 1950s. The lead character, Elizabeth Zott, is an eccentric chemist who is fighting against gender stereotypes in a patriarchal society. The book is one of the best I have ever read.
Thank you so much for your time Ann-Marie, for those who’d like to connect with Ann-Marie – please do! Her LinkedIn details are HERE.