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High-Profile Personal Assistants
Just as the responsibilities of senior business leaders will differ significantly from the junior staff in their organisation, personal assistants will face different expectations based on the unique requirements and status of their Principal.
A high-profile personal assistant, often called an executive assistant, works with professionals in top-level positions, and holds a similarly high-pressure role. Here, we’ll explore what their day-to-day responsibilities include, and the skills and character traits the best personal assistants possess.
Defining the Role of a High-profile Personal Assistant
Chief executives, senior managers, and business leaders of every stripe are under constant demand for their time, expertise, and guidance. It’s the role of a personal assistant or executive assistant to shield their Principal from any unnecessary distractions and disruptions.
They will handle time-consuming admin, travel booking, diary management, and be the gatekeeper for communications. They may also take on tasks relating to their Principal’s personal life.
They allow the Principal to stay focused on the important tasks and, as a result, help keep the wheels of the business turning.
Qualities of an Exceptional High-profile Personal Assistant
As they work with powerful businesspeople in a high-stakes environment, personal assistants need to have a particular set of qualities for them thrive in the role. The most valuable of these include:
- Calm temperament – whether it’s answering phone calls from frustrated colleagues, partners, and clients, or dealing with a Principal at boiling point, the best PAs need a cool head
- Discretion – working for C-suite executives and senior management means handling sensitive data and being party to important business discussions. A high-profilepersonal assistant will need to stay tight-lipped about any information picked up during their working day.
- Organisation – senior managers have more meetings, more calls, and more travel, and they need to be able to rely on their assistant to stay on top of this schedule. Organisation and time-management skills are a must-have.
- Communication – as the point-of-contact for their principal, the best assistants need excellent written and verbal communication, with an understanding of the correct tone to use with each correspondent. They also need to be able to relay information to their principal in a clear and concise manner.
Administrative Duties of a High-profile Personal Assistant
Like their more junior personal assistant counterparts, high-profile personal assistants will take on a lot of the admin tasks relating to their Principal. Below, we’ll look at the most common tasks.
Managing Busy Schedules and Appointments
The diaries of senior managers will be handled by their personal assistants. This means the assistant will have a complete understanding of where their Principal needs to be at any given time of the day, and what they will be doing. This could be a client meeting, giving a speech at a conference, or even attending their child’s school play.
Travel Arrangements and Itinerary Management
As well as knowing where their Principal should be at a given time, a high-profile personal assistant will often be in charge of getting them there. Booking taxis, trains, planes, hotels, and restaurants is all within the assistant’s remit, and they will need to have the quick-thinking to make adjustments to these bookings, should anything go wrong.
Email and Communication Management
Certain senior staff may require their personal assistant to take full responsibility for their email inbox and phone calls. If this is the case, the assistant will need a strong grasp of the language and tone they should use in every interaction.
Document Organisation and Filing
A high-profile personal assistant will be in charge of organising and storing their Principal’s physical and digital documents. Many of these documents will contain sensitive information, and will likely be needed in the future, so an assistant needs a good organisational head, and an understanding of physical and digital security.
Personal Support and Concierge Services
As well as performing a range of business-related tasks for their Principal, high-profile personal assistants will often offer support for personal matters. The extent of this crossover into the personal side will be up to the Principal, but typically personal assistants may be expected to handle the following.
Personal Shopping and Gift Procurement
During busy business hours, personal assistants may be asked to run shopping errands. It could be taking a suit to a tailor, picking up from the dry cleaners, or purchasing a birthday gift for a family member.
Event Planning and Coordination
With their excellent organisational and diary management skills, high-profile personal assistants are a great help when planning personal events. From booking a function room for an anniversary party to finding a day in the diary for a picnic with the family, the responsibility is often be passed on to a personal assistant.
Family Support and Household Management
Alongside handling their Principal’s diary, personal assistants may be required to oversee a family schedule too. This could include children’s after-school and weekend activities, family holidays and more.
Many high-profile personal assistants manage junior personal assistants within the business, and so are a natural choice to help manage their principal’s household staff. They may be expected to handle household staff rotas, payment, and hiring.
Confidentiality and Discretion
Due to the seniority of their Principal, high-profile personal assistants will be entrusted with a lot of sensitive information. Whether it’s information in the reports they compile, or private discussions with clients and other senior colleagues, the assistant must treat everything they encounter with complete discretion.
The Importance of Confidentiality
Leaked information can have a huge negative impact on every aspect of a business. The company’s public image, consumer confidence, profits, and employee morale can all be affected, so any personal assistant who is party to confidential information should have a proven track record as a trustworthy employee.
Building Professional Relationships
More than any other assistant, a high-profile personal assistant will have direct relationships with clients, senior management, and even their Principal’s family. Therefore, it’s important that they have a naturally sociable and polite manner.
Effective Communication with Employers and Colleagues
In many day-to-day situations, a high-profile personal assistant will be the voice of their principal – answering emails, phone calls, and talking with colleagues in the office. They should be able to communicate clearly to avoid any misunderstandings and diffuse potential issues from both clients and colleagues.
Collaborating with Other Support Staff
Although the high-profile personal assistant role may be very one-to-one, it also requires a knack for teamwork. Most businesses will have more than one senior manager, and so more than high-level assistant. Just as the managers must constantly work together to best direct the business, so too will their personal assistants need to co-ordinate on a daily basis.
Read some of our most frequently asked questions on the responsibilities of a high-profile personal assistant below.
If you’re looking to hire a high-profile personal assistant or other support staff, get in touch with your requirements today.
Frequently Asked Questions
What do personal assistants do for celebrities?
Celebrity PAs handle both business and personal admin tasks for their Principal. They may manage a combination of diaries, travel and accommodation booking, phone and email communication, close protection employees, household staff, shopping, and family matters.
What tasks can I give my personal assistant?
Typical personal assistant tasks include:
- Diary management
- Travel and accommodation booking
- Social media management
- Meeting scheduling
- Meeting minutes
- Compiling reports
- Creating presentations
- Project management
- Event coordination
These tasks can relate to business or family matters. Not every personal assistant will have experience in both business and family assistance, so it is necessary to define exactly what will be within their remit before hiring a PA.
What is the highest salary for personal assistant?
Our latest Salary and Benefits Review found that high-profile personal assistants and executive assistants earn on average £45,000- £65,000 in a business setting, and £50,000- £80,000 in a private setting.
What does a CEO personal assistant do?
The personal assistant for a CEO will provide similar business and personal admin assistance to their Principal as other PAs, but will be required to adhere to a more substantial confidentiality agreement.