‘Overwhelming support’: Manchester PA of the year crowned for first time

The first annual Manchester PA of the Year Awards was held at a glitzy gala at the Imperial War Museum on Tuesday night.

The event, celebrating the secretarial work that has helped the north-west achieve more strong economic growth, crowned Debbie Grimshaw as the inaugural queen of personal assistants in the city.

Ms Grimshaw, who works as an executive assistant for Brother UK, was recognised for over 26 years of tireless attention to detail and service to the company.

Manchester PA Network, which hosted the event alongside Robert Walters, was set up to provide a coherent body for PAs, and the co-founders believe that events like this can only boost the industry.

“The support and atmosphere in the room was overwhelming and to finally be able to recognise the hard work we as PAs do is such an achievement,” said Melanie Sheehy and Amanda Barlow.

“We believe the success of last night’s event will encourage more companies to recognise the work support teams provide.

 “We started out four years ago with our launch of 50 PA’s and now here we are with over 500 members on our network and having just hosted the inaugural Manchester PA of the Year Awards.

“This has been an aspiration of ours for a long time and with the valued partnership of Robert Walters this is the start of years to come.”

The event, which was attended by over 250 people, awarded a lifetime achievement award to Sue Tinker from PwC, while Rebecca Williams was given the Star of the Future award.

It was a proud night for a profession that employs over 720,000 people, according to statistics from the National Careers Service, something that co-hosts Robert Walters were keen to emphasise.

“We know the impact secretarial and support staff have on driving business growth in the region, and we’re delighted to have the chance to celebrate their contributions,” said Gillian Owen, from the specialist recruitment consultancy.

“Over the past year we have seen Manchester take on an increasingly prominent role in the UK’s economic recovery, and the role that support staff have played in this recovery should not be underestimated.”

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