5 Mins With A Top PA

Tue, 16 Jul 2013
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We asked Jay McNamara, Head PA at Ogilvy and Mather to spend 5 minutes with us to talk about herself and her role. Jay is one of Impact’s favourites and one of the best people we know to give advice on how to be the best Assistant ever!

What do you love most about your job?
I love the people at Ogilvy. It’s a cliché I know but there are some truly great people here and it’s a fun place to be. I also am lucky to have such flexibility in my job. Being a working mum, that is so important to me. Ogilvy support returning to work mothers by being open minded to job shares and P/T working, which is fantastic. I have two great bosses who are very patient and trusting with my job share and I coming and going with our busy lives!

What are the three things you couldn’t do your job without?
I could not do the Head PA role without my Blackberry (of course), GMail (logging on anywhere in the world!) and my great job share, Caroline. With Head PA always being so busy, Caroline takes the pressure of the daily PA duties that we have to do for our bosses.

What do you think makes a good PA?
Being organised is the obvious answer to this question but I also think that you have to have a genuine relationship in place with your boss to be able to do a PA role well. You need be able to communicate well and understand your bosses needs and wishes. If you don’t connect and work in synchronicity, you cannot do your job properly.

What’s in your handbag right now?
Handbag contains the usual bits and bobs including purse, IPhone, four lip glosses (like to have a selection to hand!). Also got car keys, sunglasses (Armani) and a packet of Nurofen, always need these nearby!

What has been the craziest task you have ever been asked to do by your boss?
I worked for Annette King for many years who is now the EAME CEO of OgilvyOne. Annette is fab and I loved working for her but sometimes she needed a bit of extra help! There were quite a few crazy requests but I recall once I had to get the tube back to her house in St Johns Wood from Canary Wharf because she thought she had left her car headlights on. I didn’t ever have the heart to tell her that when I eventually got there, she hadn’t even left them on!

What’s your lunch time routine?
Lunchtime routine is usually eating a sandwich at my desk, if I haven’t already had it for breakfast sitting in traffic whilst driving to work! I occasionally have catch up lunches with some of the PA’s or pop out to grab my boss some sushi, he rarely asks so I don’t mind doing this!

Who has been your greatest influence?
My greatest influencer has probably been my Mum, who has always been a very independent lady so taught me to stand on my own two feet from young. In the workplace, Annette has always been a really inspiring lady to work with, she knows her stuff and strives to be the best always, this mantra rubs off on you and she has taught me to never give up pushing forward to get what you feel is right.

What do you do after a stressful day?
After a stressful work day I battle a long drive home to Kent to quickly see the kids before their bedtimes and then I have dinner with my husband and a glass of wine if it’s an acceptable day of the week,  (I reckon from Weds its acceptable!). Sometimes I will have nice hot bath if I have the time, otherwise get in bed early to watch a bit of trashy TV, can’t help it but I do enjoy a bit of TOWIE or Geordie Shore!

What are your tips for being a top PA?
All mentioned above really; be super organised and a great communicator, be punctual, reliable and flexible. It’s the little things that go a long way! Establish and maintain a good working relationship with your boss, always keep these relationships alive even if you move on to another role or company, you never know when you will need a favour in the future or cross paths again, this industry is very small!