They say people buy from people so I’m delighted to be the first member to feature in Belfast PA network’s newly launched Members Moment this month!
Established in 2014, PA Network activities are coordinated by a committee of volunteers.
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Member Moments – Introducing Alison
First up is Virtual Assistant, Business Owner and Belfast PA Network Committee member, Alison!
Name: Alison Matthews
Job Title: Owner / Virtual PA
Organisation: VirtuAli Admin Solutions
Tell us about your career path and the organisation you work for
I studied French/German at Queens University. After graduating I worked in the Export Department at Ulster Carpets and then as a Travel Advisor in Visit Belfast where I was able to use my language skills. After that, I went to work in a ski resort up a mountain in France, and from there I headed to Luxembourg where I thought I’d stay for one year but ended up staying nine!
In 2014 the call to come home was strong, so I returned to Moira where I’m from and Virtuali was born! I’ve always worked in customer facing roles so now I help micro business owners in a range of industries as a virtual PA.
Greatest challenges/pressures of your job?
I think the biggest challenge is convincing people how much the role of the PA has changed over the years. I work with technology as part of my job but there are ‘soft skills’ including emotional intelligence that technology/robots/artificial intelligence simply can’t replace and I think people shouldn’t forget that.
Any advice or top tips for the Belfast PAs?
Be flexible. Always be hungry to learn, and never let anyone talk you down or negate your worth!
What technology, app, book, social media or website can you not live without?
Obviously, the Belfast PA network closed Facebook group which keeps me sane! I use Toggl to track my time and the Xero accounting package is great for invoicing and making sure I get paid on time!
I also really love Twitter as it breaks down barriers and you can introduce yourself to anyone.
Dream boss? Or biggest inspiration?
I think Richard Branson still has so much passion and drive and has always acknowledged how much his own PA has done for him.
Editor’s Note: Check out this blog post from Richard Branson where he thanks his Assistants!