Because change starts at the top

Welcome to your latest issue of our member magazine with a new masthead on its front cover – Chief of Staff.

You may be asking ‘what’s wrong with its old name?’ and that’s a very valid question. We believe the term is still very current and we’ll continue to use Executive PA Media as the umbrella to run our member and external events, and to distribute information via our website and digital news platforms.

But, when the magazine was launched 27 years ago the publisher at the time had the vision of producing an informative and aspirational glossy business magazine for senior secretaries and personal assistants. Up until this point, no-one had considered providing business information to the PA profession so it was a bold move. They decided on Executive PA Magazine because the job title didn’t exist then – no-one on the planet was an Executive PA in 1991! After all, how could a PA also be an executive, which would mean being one of the c-suite team of directors?

So, Executive PA was an aspirational term and its purpose was to make PAs think differently about their jobs and careers – and realise how they could impact on the performance of their bosses, and on the organisations they worked in. It’s no small measure of the magazine’s subsequent success that today its name is now used as a job title all over the world.

Now, the role is a lot more defined than it was 27 years ago – an EA job description includes ambassador representation and increased decision-making responsibilities on behalf of executives. These elements have always been part of the toolkit of the best EAs, but the difference today is that they’re now formally recognised and articulated by recruiters, and are standard requirements. The role is more structured, more strategic and, in many ways, more closely aligned to those of the executives that EAs support. So much so that we’re now seeing instances of EAs being appointed to the board and becoming c-suite themselves.

At the other end of the job scale, technology is reducing the number of entry level jobs at an alarming rate and we’re seeing young people view executive support as an attractive career of choice; not to mention a great way to get noticed by senior executives. TV shows like The Apprentice have shown us the way and it’s no coincidence that two of our Up and Coming PAs of the Year in 2016 have made the move over to management. Plus, when interviews took place for the 2017 awards, a number of our finalists expressed their possible ambitions to start their own businesses.

So, the sky really is the limit and your executive support skills can take your career anywhere you wish. We hope the new title will inspire you and that you enjoy seeing your copy of Chief of Staff land on your desk over the course of the year.

Russell, Chairman, Executive PA Media

If you are not currently a member of Executive PA Media and want to receive the first edition of Chief of Staff, activate your membership here.