My professional journey

Diligence

Having a positive outlook and delivering a high-quality service with skills to match, including an eye for detail (gained after years in the legal environment) are so important for the service I deliver to my clients. If I had to list three important qualities I think a person should have, I would say excellent communication, a love of what you do because when you love what you do, magic happens and perseverance to never give up. As a virtual assistant, I value professionalism and strive to understand the business needs of my clients. My personal objective is to remain open and flexible to our ever-changing environment, embracing new beginnings with diligence and commitment, maintaining professionalism and a fun sense of humour!

Agility

I'm extremely fortunate to have experienced different work cultures and environments, both hierarchical and flat organisations. I have thoroughly enjoyed contributing to and having a positive impact on all my collaborations. Being agile in business and dealing with obstacles in a positive way is something I take great pride in. Looking at challenges as a learning experience is definitely an opportunity for me to grow.

My extensive work experience has allowed me to gain valuable skills and insight into various working practices. Over a decade ago, these skills enabled me to successfully transition from the world of legal support to a very exciting and challenging role within education. My time within the legal world had prepared me to work to high standards whilst developing, in particular, attention to detail and professionalism.

Working as a School Business Manager for well over a decade has allowed me the opportunity to self-reflect and develop professionally, in what was at first, a completely new and unknown environment. I oversaw the day-to-day financial management of the school, management of the school’s administrative office (including all admissions arrangements), premises and catering staff, human resources (including safer recruitment), health and safety, procurement of contracts and service level agreements, lettings, governor support and serving as a link between the school and Parents’ Council.

I successfully consolidated my role in schools by undertaking the Certificate of School Business Management (SBM) enabling me to develop even further. The role of the SBM is all encompassing and has evolved with time. Introducing efficient and effective systems and procedures such as moving to electronic communication and collaboration with external stakeholders, introducing a cash-free payment system, sharing my knowledge and training colleagues, introducing a new and fresh school website, encouraging open communication between all staff, positively promoting the school’s public image are all achievements of which I am very proud and which have had an extremely positive impact on all schools I have worked at.

Such agility enables me to best service my clients as a virtual assistant.

Passion

Loving what I do and being able to learn and grow are my driving force. I also believe that a smile, sprinkled with a little kindness, goes a long way to breaking down barriers and building relationships.

Making good use of technology is one of my greatest passions. One of the projects I thoroughly enjoyed working on was moving a school into a new technological phase – cloud-based learning and working! A google school that is also 100% cash-free, with all payments being made online! The positive impact of this on staff well-being was immense. An incredible amount of time had been saved and staff embraced new remote ways of working and collaborating, something which came in extremely useful during the recent global pandemic.

I enjoy being part of a network of likeminded virtual assistants and entrepreneurs, sharing good practice and learning from each other.

I am most proud of the following accomplishments:

  • achieving a more efficient and effective front of house school office, having personally restructured the layout of the entire school office;
  • effectively managing office staff time by streamlining the school’s admissions procedures and moving this to an online process;
  • converting to a cash-free office ensuring the school office became more efficient and released admin staff to focus on other areas;
  • introducing electronic communication with parents thus enhancing parental engagement and making a saving on office resources;
  • making financial savings by streamlining procedures for orders raised by all staff;
  • closer budget scrutiny, I introduced an efficient and structured recording of all service level agreements;
  • preventing a deficit budget by involving all staff in closer budget monitoring, with SLT (Senior Leadership Team) taking ownership of curriculum budget areas;
  • increasing security of HR data by digitising all staff personnel documentation;
  • digitising all school policies to make them easily searchable and more accessible;
  • increasing the standard and professionalism of school events such as parent workshops, parent council meetings, staff leadership and vision days, training days by advance advertisement and planning; and
  • strengthening links and partnerships with stakeholders such as the Department for Education, Local Authority, the Diocese and parent body by regular meetings and increased communication.

Clerking role:

  • Provide advice to the Governing Body on governance, constitutional and procedural matters;
  • Provide effective administrative support to the full Governing Body and its Finance and Premises committee;
  • Ensure the Governing Body is properly constituted;
  • Manage information effectively in accordance with legal requirements.

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