5 Mins With A Top PA

Tue, 03 Sep 2013
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Time for our monthly 5 minutes with a Top PA feature – this month is Lilly Barton, PA at Whistles

What do you love most about your job?

I think it’s important within your career to find out what you like and what works for you. I have worked in corporate environments and now know that isn’t for me. I have finally found a company in which I feel incredibly fulfilled yet challenged. The most important thing for me is to work for a company you’re inspired by, a company you believe in. Working at Whistles has proven that to me. It’s imperative to enjoy what you do, There are four boxes for me, the role itself, the people you work with, culture of the company and progression. I love seeing the product from the initial stages with the design team to the final stages. It’s exciting to be sitting at your desk and see a beautiful leather jacket in its second stages of sampling rush by and wonder what the final version will be. I sit very near the design team which is incredibly exciting. It’s inspiring to see them designing and what prints, fabrics and cuts the next Whistles season will take.

What are the three things you couldn’t do your job without?

A busy day! For me personally, I thrive off being busy and juggling lots of things at once it’s a challenge and that’s vital within a role. It’s fulfilling leaving the office knowing that you have crossed numerous things off your list for the day. A sense of humour is always needed within a PA role, whilst juggling plates one will fall every so often so is important to be able to shake it off and learn from it. And finally green tea, I would be hard-pressed to go through my day without one, I usually drink 11 or so a day.

What do you think makes a good PA?

Building relationships is paramount. You can be good at your job but without a firm ground with the people you work with its pointless. You are there to enjoy yourself to so the more you invest yourself the better. You’ve got to be personable and to know how to communicate with different levels of seniority. Being a PA you have to be 3 steps ahead and hold all the answers. It’s an exciting and empowering role that people come to you for the answers.

What’s in your handbag right now?

Makeup case, card holder, hairbrush, matches from Automat, moleskin diary, house keys, paperclips, hair grips, dry shampoo, Mac Lipstick, green tea teabags, Burberry perfume, iPhone charger, Women who run with wolves book, bottle of water and a Twix.

What has been the craziest task you have ever been asked to do by your boss?

My first job was working in Property Management, one day a new tenant moved into a beautiful house and was horrified to find there were worms in the outdoor plant pots on the patio, I remember so clearly walking round with a plastic bag and having to pick these worms out of the plant pots. Horrific, although, it has always been a good story to tell in interviews when asked how I go above and beyond!

What’s your lunch time routine?

I don’t have a lunchtime routine! Although I never miss lunch. We usually all start making our lunch together in the kitchen, the office is very sociable and this is always the perfect time to catch up with everyone. Although on Friday’s its ‘Chicken Fridays’ from the pub across the road which is always a good end to the week.

Who has been your greatest influence?

I wouldn’t say there is a particular person. I am inspired by women who hold their own, who are driven and succeed whilst being personable and kind. I think people feel to get to the top you have to be cut throat and tough. It’s inspiring to see women who are confident and comfortable with themselves. Who know what they want and are open to change and new direction whilst having a voice and standing by that.

What do you do after a stressful day?

I live fairly close to work so if it’s been a stressful day I tend to walk home. It is a beautiful walk through primrose hill and a refreshing way to end the day. I’ve started to take an interest in cooking (finally and with much relief to my mother) so will attempt to cook or
go out for dinner. I think exercise is incredibly good for the mind so try to walk to and from work as much as possible.

What are your tips for being a top PA?

Know how you work. Everyone is different in how they structure their day and fulfil the role. Find out what works best for you. Be confident in that and be kind to yourself!