Donna Olliver

I left Catering College not really knowing what to do, but knowing I didn’t want to be a chef, so I applied for various office type jobs as they were all termed then.

I was working as a waitress to support myself through my Catering course when the owners asked me what I wanted to do when the course finished. I was 18 years old and had no idea. I just wanted normal hours like my friends were doing. Keith and Carl offered me the role as Receptionist and later Head Receptionist at their hotel. I really enjoyed the job and learnt a lot, but after a few years I found it wasn’t challenging enough for me. I was also working alone in the afternoons so I wasn’t really learning anything new from anyone.

I started my PA career at the age of 20 after I found a role as a doctor’s Personal Assistant. Where I stayed for 4 1/2 years. I decided to move into Finance when an opportunity came along. I loved my job as a doctor’s PA. The job was very pressurised, and you really have to be aware of what was happening at all times. The phone was constantly ringing and you had to help patients who could sometimes be seriously ill. This was my first real taste of the PA role and I loved it. I was really torn to leave my colleagues, the three lovely doctor’s I was looking after as well at the 5 nurses but I wanted to see what Finance would be like.

I then started with one of the Big 4 Accountancy firms – Deloitte and was PA to the Audit Director, the tax Director and the tax team as well as helping out in the finance department. The Director was then promoted to Partner which was great for him and for me. I really enjoyed my time there.

I was then given the chance to move to another finance organisation and as well as being the PA I could also undertake a HR qualification. As I have been doing bits of HR for Deloitte, I decided to move and I really think that this was the making of me as a PA. I was the only PA for the office of 14 and was PA to the 4 Directors. I was also in charge of the HR function and was supported by someone in our sister office until I became HR qualified. I loved the job and even helped with the move into a new office. When they decided to close the Guernsey office, we were all made redundant, and as I didn’t wish to leave Guernsey, I moved to another accountancy firm.

I then found a role at KPMG Channel Islands where I have been for over 3 years now. I look after the Channel Islands Advisory Partner, Advisory Director and the team of 11, which is still growing. I love my role and can hand on heart say this is the best role I have had. I love coming to work in the mornings (just don’t tell my colleagues that). I’m fully supported in all I do and I know that they appreciate all our hard work. I also mentor another PA in the office, who is doing amazingly well in her role, we are very proud of her. My team are amazing and we work together and support each other really well.

In my spare time I mentor for The Hub in Guernsey which is part of Barnardos. We mentor young adults who need someone to talk to about any issue that they are having. This is so rewarding and I’m very proud to be such a small part of this amazing charity.

In February 2015 I decided that I would launch a local PA network in Guernsey called “Guernsey PA Connect” as PA networks in other places are really popular and we had nothing like that here in Guernsey, I believed it was time we had one to. One of my oldest friends came on board and we have gone from strength to strength. We now have over 180 members and are still growing. I’m really proud of the ladies for being part of Guernsey PA Connect. We have truly only just touched the tip of the iceberg as to what we are going to do, but we have already had 4 events, an amazing speaker and we have 1 more event yet to come this year. We have promoted Guernsey and the PA role, the people in Guernsey are talking about PA’s and how important we are – the feedback has been immense and the sleepless nights about launching are a distance memory. It’s definitely #PAPower and we shall ensure that we continue to get the PA’s of Guernsey taken seriously.

Thank you so much for awarding me the “We Are The City” Rising Star award in the Personal & Exec Assistants category. I’m very proud to have been not only shortlisted and voted for but to have been recoginsed. Thank you.