In January 1998, I walked into the Wyatt offices for my first day of work as an Executive PA to Karen Bernie (MD) and Brian Barrett (CEO). I had no idea or expectation that I’d still be here twenty years later, or that in between I’d win a ‘Birmingham Post’ PA of the Year award, let alone become part of the Leadership Team.
As far as I knew, I’d be an Executive PA to Karen Bernie and the founder Brian Barrett, and I didn’t really think much further ahead than that. Today, I’m still providing support to Karen (and she’s still acting as my mentor!). Brian’s now chairman, and though he’s less involved in the day to day business, he’s still very much around. Right now, we employ over 35 people including apprentices and recent graduates, so we’ve got a real mix of skills, talents and experience – and we’re stronger for it. However, like me, there are other team members who have been with the agency a long time – two approaching 30 years! For people looking for long-term career opportunities, they are very much here.
However, as I opened my shorthand notebook on that first day back in 1988, I enjoyed the work from day one. I guess that in a small agency (we were half the size in 1998), you need to be flexible and ready to help out wherever you’re needed. Actually, while we’re much bigger now, the same philosophy applies – and I think it’s one of the key factors in developing new skills and taking your career to different places. As a result, it wasn’t long before I was helping out with client work. I never stopped being a PA. It’s just that I started adding new skills, all the while gaining more variety and an insight into agency life. I really enjoyed the challenge and the ability to expand my knowledge.
Fast forward to June 2000 when Wyatt won its first international £multi-million account – the Nordic Timber Council. Almost immediately, I became Marketing Account Manager and sent off travelling across the Nordic countries. I was also asked to support two of the agency’s other key accounts – OCS and Pegasus Retirement Homes. Before long, I was a Senior Account Manager, and then promoted to Head of Operations in 2008, where I’m now responsible for IT, HR, new business and facilities (as well as still acting as PA to Karen!). The way I see it, this level of involvement, responsibility and opportunity is pretty much the same for people joining us today. As they say, it’s what you make of it.
Almost without realising it, the agency around me had changed, grown and become a leading B2B specialist, with international capability and a steady stream of new opportunities. But at its heart it remains what it’s always been – a business that continuously pushes its own boundaries, works hard, puts faith in its people and offers plenty of opportunities to develop.
Looking back, I can say it’s been an equal mix of challenge, fun and hard work, but always with a chance to get stuck in, make a difference and build a career. Even after 20 years, I’m still learning and wondering what’s next….
If you’re interested in joining the Wyatt team, you can find out more information here.