The Personal Assistant Matthew Want talks about the role. Be a male assistant: how is it? Which are the skills required? Let’s read his answer!
Since gender equality is actually a hot topic, especially when we talk about Assistants, we have decided to listen to a male point of view. We’ve interviewed Matthew Want, personal assistant to Lucy Brazier – editor of the Executive Secretary Magazine. Maybe you already know him after the message he left on our social media!
How long have you been a PA? How did you get this job?
I started working with Lucy Brazier back in February of 2012, so just over 6 years ago. Before working with Lucy I had never done any sort of work along these lines, I had previously worked in a garden centre. Luckily I’d met Lucy on our local chamber of commerce, back at the end of 2010, during our time on the chamber of commerce we both organised, along with other volunteers, a Christmas event which had around 8000 visitors on the night. At this time Lucy had only been running the magazine for around a year and was long for someone to help out a few days a week and this is where I came in. When I first started working with Lucy it was only for two days a week and mainly involved administrative work, as time went on and the business grew I became a full time employee and Lucy’s PA.
Which are your boss best qualities?
Lucy’s drive and passion has helped me to ignite my flame and to cement my place within the industry. Another key quality of Lucy is that no matter what the challenge may be, she never seems to give up, always coming to us with new ideas, which at the time may sound crazy, but always seem to pay off and benefit the business and the industry in the long run.
Have you been facilitated in your professional development? How?
I have been lucky enough to have the chance to meet some wonderful trainers and speakers through our worldwide Executive Secretary LIVE events. Meeting these amazing people has given me the chance and the knowledge to expand my role and broaden my horizons with my PA role. I am lucky enough to have travelled to several events around the world outside of our LIVE events, this has also given me the chance to meet several new assistants who I have the chances to share my experiences of my role and learn new skills which they have that I may not.
Do you think there are significant differences between male and female PA’s?
I think there is no difference whether you are male or female doing this role. Your sex should not determine whether or not you can do a role, both sexes are equally capable of performing this role and should not be judged if they choose to become a PA. A lot of people always ask me “What is it like being a male PA?” and I answer with “No different from being a female PA I can imagine”. Both men and women and more than capable of performing this role as long as they have the necessary skills required.
In your opinion, which are the most important skills an Assistant must have?
There are several skills which an assistant is required to have to perform the role to the best of their ability. Some of the prominent and essential skills I feel an assistant should have are the ability to keep confidential information private when necessary, this is essential if you wish to build trust and rap-ore with your boss. Another key skill all assistants should have is being able to be a gatekeeper for your boss. Part of your role is to manage your bosses time as efficiently as possible, by possessing this skill you are able to streamline and maintain your bosses time so they can use it on the necessary tasks which need to happen.
How can an Assistant improve her/his career?
With the way the role is changing daily it is always key and essential that you keep up to date with the necessary skills within your role. Whether you need to learn about a new piece of technology your company may have implemented or just something that you feel will help you and your role, there are always articles, webinars and your network at the end of your fingertips. The internet, especially social media, are a haven for this information. It all just depends on what you are looking for and what is the best way that suits you to improve and learn the necessary skills for your role.
Matthew Want, Personal Assistant to the CEO of Marcham Publishing (Executive Secretary Magazine)
During his time at Executive Secretary Magazine working as a Personal Assitant, he has been integral in the day to day workings of the business. This includes giving full support to the directors, diary management, travel planning and going out and representing the company by speaking on occasion. He is also heavily involved with the organisation of international events.