WeAreTheCity Rising Stars 2017: EA/PA category shortlisters write up

Four of us from WeAreTheCity’s Rising Stars 2017 EA/PA Category came together to write about how we found the experience from nomination through to shortlist event at Bloomberg. We hope you enjoy the read.
Melanie Sheehy:

From the moment I received the email to say I had been shortlisted for a rising star award it has been a mixture of emotions from how wonderful and honoured to be nominated and shortlisted to wow really, me?

Normally I am part of the team on the other side, organising awards judging so to actually be on the shortlist with so many talented EAs/PAs that deserve this award is exciting and inspiring

The social media has been fantastic and has made the time go quickly.

With Twitter sessions you can join to an evening to celebrate, this has kept the momentum of the awards alive.

You know if you are up to win a Rising star Award it is a very special award indeed and one that you would shout from the roof tops.

I wish all those shortlisted for an award the best of luck. And to remember it already feels like you have won just being on the shortlisted.

Elizabeth Mendes Da Silva:

So it started off as a usual Monday morning, except it was far from that.  When I got into work, I opened my mailbox to discover an email from the WeAreTheCity stating that I had been shortlisted in the PA/EA Category! At first I didn’t believe it, but when I followed the link, low and behold I saw my picture and mini Bio staring back at me! So I knew it was genuine…

I was stunned but very proud, to have made it this far from over 1250 entries, from a career perspective still blows my mind and makes me feel exceptionally proud, hard work really does pay off.  I did the usual, call my mum to let her know, who then told possibly every person she’s ever come into contact with, as I was receiving calls from Portugal!

Then I dedicated that very evening to reading all of the other bios from each category.  I was simply amazed by the top quality of talent that I had the honour of sharing the shortlist with, and couldn’t wait to meet them all at our upcoming Bloomberg Shortlist Event. I watched the previous year’s videos on the website and that’s when I got even more excited.  We would get to see an inspirational panel discussion, and not going as a plus one or in the usual PA capacity, but an actual invitee!

I was pumping with adrenaline on the day, it’s funny because earlier we had a Twitter discussion on Imposter syndrome and that’s exactly how I was feeling. I didn’t know anyone and felt at times slightly out of my depth, but I was soon reassured to discover that it was a great, inspiring, safe, positive, diverse environment. I made genuine friends, a mentor, and even bounced off some joint venture ideas which we are currently exploring.  Everyone shone in their own unique way and each person demonstrated all the core values I adore such as; strong team spirit, integrity, respect and a raw hunger to succeed to (name but a few.)

The atmosphere was completely electric and contagious, the evening just flew by, so much so that some of us stayed out longer than we should have!

By the end of the night, there were business cards exchanged, social media adds, lunches in place.  Honestly, such a fun networking experience, it was really nice to be completely immersed in it.

I cannot emphasise enough, how much of a brilliant process this is to be part of, and it is so wonderful just to have gotten this far. From a personal perspective, it has given me much more confidence, contacts, and life changing inspiration and has really put us ladies on the map!

I wish everyone the very best of luck, as every single nominee is a worthy winner.  Good luck everyone, and a very BIG thank you to WeAreTheCity for giving us this amazing platform and of course a huge thank you to everyone that nominated me…

I just thought I’d finish with one of my favourite quotes; “When women support each other, incredible things happen.” So let’s make history together, whatever your ambitions are, anything is possible.

Emily Walker:

When I found out that I’d been shortlisted for the WeAreTheCity Rising Stars Award I was shocked but absolutely delighted. It was wonderful to be nominated by my lovely LJMU colleagues but being shortlisted also felt like validation of my contribution to my company and my fellow PA network. The voting process has been so much fun with lots of supportive and congratulatory messages which have made me realise the impact I have in my work. Whilst the introvert in me was slightly mortified that the university put my picture on the website it was fantastic to know that they were behind me all the way.

When I received the email from WATC about the shortlist celebration I knew I absolutely wanted to attend, not only to meet my fellow nominees but also to hear from the great line up of speakers. Being based in Liverpool it was only a two hour train ride to London and as I already had annual leave booked off work I could take my time settling into my hotel and getting ready for the evening ahead. As I mentioned before I am a huge introvert so my legs were slightly shaking as I walked in to the dazzlingly opulent Bloomberg building. I became more assured as I surveyed the variety of faces before me.

Women of all races, ages and backgrounds smiling back at me made me feel less of an impostor.

The handy signage at the beautifully decorated tables meant I was quickly able to identify the other PAs and EAs nominated in my category. There is obviously something to the shortlisting process because all of the ladies I met were diverse, lovely, interesting, smart and talented women. We started the evening as strangers and left as friends.

As the evening commenced I even compelled myself to do some networking and after hearing from Manisha Tailor, Director of Swaggerlicious, as part of the panel discussions I knew there was the potential for collaboration with my university and I’ve been able to start a dialogue for Manisha with colleagues from the School of Sports Science. All of the speakers were incredibly motivating and I actually felt quite emotional about the impact the evening had made on me.

I have to finish with a big thank you to the colleagues who nominated me for the Rising Star Award as it has been fantastic to be a part of the process, to everyone who voted for me – it has meant an awful lot to me, to my fellow nominees who are just an incredible group of women that I am so happy to have met and to WeAreTheCity for their invaluable work in supporting the female pipeline through training, education, networking and promoting the progress of women.

Paula Moio:

It was a mad week. Had EPAA Finance and Banking conference on Friday 3 February, and the Happenista Retreat over the weekend. Plus, I am the only assistant, in 99 per cent a male dominated office. I want everything to go according to plan this week – no matter what, I am attending both events. So, I am nothing but FOCUS mode that week.

Until after a few hours in the office, on Monday 1 February at 11:05 AM. An email pings in my inbox with the following subject line:

Congratulations! you have been nominated for a WeAreTheCity Rising Star Award.

Did I mention Focus?…. what FOCUS?! What? Rising stars? Who nominated me? This kind of wonderfully shocking news only happens to others, not us. What to do? Do I contact anyone? Then, at 12:07 PM, another email:

Rising Star Awards: Request for more information

…. and it finally sinks in! It is real. It is for me and it’s a recognition of….what? My reading skills have improved since then as I re-read for the 20th time what these awards stand for. They “celebrate 100 individual female contributors that represent the leaders and role models of tomorrow.”

Such a huge responsibility and what an honour to be amongst this massive pool of female talent doing great things right. Touching lives. Making a difference, every day. And I still don’t even know who to be grateful to for nominating me.

The very next day, still ‘walking on clouds’, the third email lands – subject line: I nominated you!

For me this was the ‘epiphany’. I was perfectly content with the confidence and exposure the nomination alone had given me and happy to count my blessings for the opportunity to raise the bar slightly higher.

But life is never a straight line, so, I de-tour once again as I receive yet the fourth email to congratulate me for being shortlisted! Now that is another level! Deep down I was/am so moved by the privilege and the duty that being one of the ten in my EA/PA category entails.

How surreal it was to enter a room with 280 people talking? Going down the stairs into Bloomberg Space, one couldn’t escape feeling engulfed in this contagious buzzzz….. breathtaking…..goose bumps! We met our fellow nominees of all categories. We celebrated each other. We shared stories.

We met the hosts, the keynote speakers, the judges. We heard the humbling testimonies of last year’s inspiring winners. We laughed. We shed a tear or two. In the end, we were all one big family. That was celebrating female talent at its best and unapologetically.

Whatever happens, I am wide awake. I have a sense of opportunity on my skin, and I am eager to keep moving forward. I am empowered. And I owe it to the women surrounding me. I feel ready!

Ah….I am deeply grateful to Jenny Garrett and Jennifer Corcoran – two amazing female trailblazers who nominated me.

Thank you,
Rising Star Nominees.

‘Reach for the Stars; you might just catch one’

You can find the full Rising Star 2017 shortlist here.

 

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