WeAreTheCity’s Rising Star Awards are now in their fourth year.
The Rising Star awards were introduced to showcase the UK pipeline of female talent below management and to create female 100 role models across 20 different industries and professions.
Over the year’s, the awards have recognised 400 women across the UK and India.
In this ongoing series, we speak to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.
We spoke with Jennifer Smith, who won a 2018 Rising Star Award in the EA & PA category.
Jennifer is an experienced Executive Assistant and Office Coordinator, having worked in local government and the third sector for over 10 years. She currently works at Power2 supporting the Chief Executive, with one of her key responsibilities being embedding a project management culture throughout the charity. Previously, she has supported a start-up charity during their first year and while at the NSPCC Jennifer was involved in the creation of their new strategy for 2016-2021. Jennifer has a degree in Psychology and diploma in business administration for personal assistants. In 2018 Jennifer was named the Pitman Training Superachiever PA of the Year and a Wearethecity EA/PA Rising Star.
Jennifer is a regularly volunteer with CRUK through their Involvement Network; most recently she has attended their strategy workshop and helped to review their webpages. Jennifer also runs the Charity PA Network who aim is to help the sector’s PA’s develop their skills, get support from their peers and network with likeminded colleagues.
Jennifer is a member of the Executive & Personal Assistants Association (EPAA), a national body whose mission is to champion, promote and develop the Assistant profession.
How did you feel when it was announced that you’d won a Rising Star award?
I was euphoric and stunned to discover that I had won a Rising Star award. Once the news had settled in I felt a new basis of confidence for the work I do. This award has resulted in a subtle difference in the way I provide answers as I no longer feel the need to justify my work.
Please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards?
I was celebrated by my CEO in our weekly news round-up. The award has been instrumental in developing my role further and was part of a successful business case for a salary increase.
I have used this award to step outside my comfort zone by taking on public speaking (something I normally avoid) and taking over the running of the Charity PA Network. In order to ensure I do this and continue to step outside my comfort zone I have built this into my personal objectives. Due to the increased confidence I have been able to use my creativity to create succinct data driven dashboards used at Exec and Board level.
What advice would you give to someone else going through our award’s process?
Take a leap of faith; move outside your comfortable zone. Treat the award process as a piece of business and use it to reflect and review what works in your role so you can keep growing. And most importantly do not be afraid to ask for testimonials to support your application.
What tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
Use every opportunity as a potential for growth. When given feedback (whether negative or positive) take a moment to stand back and reflect on what is actually real for you; what is in your control to change, what do you need to let of and what should you pass over to other people.