Esther Dawson

Having been promoted in most of the businesses I’ve worked in, due to management or Directors recognising my skills, I’ve been lucky enough to now be combining my hobby and my work life.

I remember as a young teen, seeing Sly Lovegren as JR’s secretary in Dallas and I commented to my mum that I’d love a job like hers one day. I’m certainly not in an oil baron’s high-rised office block in the US, but I can’t believe that even at such a young age, I wanted this role of supporting an individual with their business needs.

My career started as an office junior administrator in a recruitment company in the petro-chemical/oil & gas industries would you believe. When the family that owned the business sold it to an American company based in Slough, I temped locally for a few weeks, gaining the experience of working with leased cars & office management. I was offered an admin role in Slough and moved there when I’d just turned 21. During those two years, I was promoted from Administrator, to Office Manager to then PA to the Directors. At one point I held the grand title of European Manager of Administrator at the age of 23 …and I did manage all the European offices!

After two years I decided to move back to Sussex and took a role working at Ericsson Telecom. The department I worked in was TUPE’d over to a much smaller company and it was there that I took the role of Office Manager & PA to the Directors. I gained a lot of Employment Law experience. After five happy years, the owners decided to sell-up so I moved into the legal sector and was Practice Manager & PA to the Partners at a local Law Firm which specialised in Employment & Personal Injury Law. I gained a huge amount of Employment Law knowledge and was keen to develop and utilise this more.

Again, after two years the partners decided to close the law firm, so I moved to a local company called Icon Live. Icon produced customer jewellery for high street stores, department stores & supermarkets. With my Employment Law knowledge, I moved into the HR department, heading up the management of all the Head Office staff. This was just 90 when I joined but increased to 360 over three years! In total the business had 2,000 employees all over the UK, ROI and Eastern Europe. I spent five years in the HR department and was then “stolen” by the Directors to become their Executive Assistant. During my time as their assistant I was responsible for a £1m annual travel budget and a £350k budget for their big three-day annual conference for around 350 members of staff.

I have always been keen to learn about wine and studied WSET Level 2 qualification and the opportunity came up to combine my passion for wine and doing a job I feel I’m very good at. I have been with Ridgeview five years and everyday there is something new to learn which I love about this job. In this last year I have won a number of awards, all the details are below. I have also set-up the Sussex PA Network and spent a lot of my own time volunteering.