In 2016, thanks to the help of a number of amazing supporters and sponsors, WeAreTheCity ran its Rising Star awards programme for a second year.

The aim of the awards was to identify 100 future leaders and role models under, management level, across 10 different industries. After more than 800 nominations and an intensive judging period, we finally arrived at our shortlist and opened the public vote.

The public vote resulted in over 27,000 votes from across 112 different countries and galvanized amazing support from our nominees’ networks, their companies, the press, as well as our own sponsors and supporters.

After a final judging process, we identified our amazing top 100 winners and celebrated their awards alongside our sponsors at a ceremony hosted by Barclays.
We spoke to our winners about life after winning a Rising Star award.

First we spoke with Manisha Tailor, Director Swaggarlicious Ltd, and a winner in our Rising Stars in Sport category sponsored by PedalSure.

Manisha, please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?

manisha-tailor Rising Stars 2016

“Since winning I have been able to plan and soon re-launch (this month) my mental health and football project which I run in partnership with Wingate and Finchley Football Club for adults with mental illness. Fortunately, sponsorship from Freedom for Minds has meant that I can now run sessions on a weekly basis, which I was previously self-funding and running once a month. This project will aid those with mental health to lead a healthier lifestyle, socialise and make friends as well as feel included within or wider society.

I have also visited Canada, Toronto where I was invited to coach a group of girls aged 8-14 years old, on a one-week football camp. Last year I was invited, by the same organisation, to coach in Canada, Alberta for two days and was equally excited and thrilled following both experiences. Coaching abroad and working in different demographics is vital learning and most certainly has enriched me as a coach and teacher.

More recently I have begun working at QPR academy and their development centre, following volunteering at the club over the last six months, three to four full days a week. I am enjoying learning from the technical director and other staff, and now just keeping focused whilst I work through my probationary period at the club.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  • Be willing to volunteer and take the time to learn from a wide variety of experiences/sources and hone your craft – credibility within an industry is very important.
  • Be open to being critiqued and view it as aiding development – challenges are part of growth.
  • Be determined, demonstrate resilience and try to remain humble – integrity is everything.

Next we spoke to Hayley Bennett, Education Officer at Kick It Out and a winner in the Rising Stars in Sport category sponsored by PedalSure.

Hayley, tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?


“Very shortly after receiving the Rising Star award I was named on Football’s Black List for 2016 as One To Watch. It was really significant for me to be highlighted alongside what is a small but impressive minority of ‘movers and shakers’ from the black community in the industry I am in. Most people I met through WATC have either been coached or are coaches so that inspired me to start coaching back in June. It has been going really well and made me realise that I have even more ambition and direction than I thought I did!

I have expanded in my current role to lead on an exciting and rewarding project that I am really proud of. I am supporting a new diverse group of young people called ‘A.S.P.I.R.E. – Ambassadors Supporting and Promoting Inclusion, Respect and Equality’ by providing them with opportunities to develop as future leaders in the football industry.”

What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?

  • Find yourself a mentor, and in my case a Fairy Godmother who can get you out of difficult situations.
  • Find someone to coach you if you need help working towards your goal.
  • Use the resources on the Careers Club website – there are countless ebooks, articles and even training to help enhance your career (for free!)

Next we spoke to Jennifer Corcoran, Office Manager/PA at Crédit Agricole CIB, and one of our winners in the Rising Stars EA/PA category, sponsored by Executive & Personal Assistants Association.

Jennifer, please tell us what has happened in your career since winning the Rising Star awards back in June?


“It has certainly been an eventful summer for me since winning the Rising Star award.

In July I was a champion for the networking category at The London PA Awards which was sponsored by the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry. I was directly involved in the shortlisting process which was fantastic. I’m a massive advocate of networking so it was with great pleasure that I handed over the baton of ‘Networked PA’ to Jackie Barry. All of the finalists were truly inspiring and it was refreshing to see Assistants tooting their own horn.

Later on in the month I gave an ‘Alternative Interview’ to PA Life Magazine which was great fun. PA Life have also invited me to take part in their Training Day in November where I will form part of an interactive panel discussion on the interesting topic of ‘Getting your boss’s buy-in: How do you get your boss to support you and your development?’. It’s a topic close to my heart as not enough Assistants speak up and ask for training.

In August I made the brave move of leaving my comfort zone of 11 years and resigning from my previous role at CACIB. Being an active member of WeAreTheCity’s Career Club has empowered me to champion my role and profession and I’m hoping to pursue my passion of Communications and Technology in my next EA/PA role.

On the technology side I have been invited to contribute to Eventopedia’s new series of ProudPA Tech blogs which is exciting stuff.

The future is looking bright – I’m currently enjoying student life and attending workshops and conferences. I was overjoyed to win courtesy of Executive Secretary Magazine a scholarship award to attend ‘Be The Ultimate Assistant’ in November which is an empowering two-day workshop for Assistants. The workshop is led by Bonnie Low-Kramen and Vickie Sokol Evans. Bonnie is a co-founder of the professional association New York Celebrity Assistants (NYCA) and was PA to Oscar winning actress Olympia Dukakis for 25 years. Vickie Sokol Evans is a certified Microsoft Office Trainer who has trained the team at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and is a modern day tech wizard. To say that I’m looking forward to attending this is an understatement!

I’m forever grateful to EPAA for sponsoring the category of Rising Star EA/PA and can’t wait to attend their inaugural conference at the end of November. Victoria Darragh is a shining beacon of hope for all Assistants across the globe and there will be a lot of support, encouragement and empowerment in that room. Watch your twitter feed as #PAPower is sure to trend on November 25.”

  • What top tips would you give to our other members to enhance their careers?
  • Network and develop your personal brand both internally and externally. Do it both face to face and online. You can’t ignore social media, it’s here to stay. There are fantastic PA groups on Facebook and LinkedIn, free training opportunities on twitter and a global tribe of PA peers and trainers quite literally at your finger tips.
  • Join Associations – treat yourself as a valid professional and toot your horn. You are worth it and form an integral part of any executive management team.
  • Adopt a show and tell culture. In order to get buy-in at a company level you should keep your boss informed of what you have learnt at conferences, workshops, networking events etc. and show them the benefits of investing in you. In my last role I was able to get several hotels added to our global approved hotel list. I sourced these hotels via networking events through a PA association so the membership cost was validated. If I attended a conference such as Square Meal I brought back a catalogue of the latest restaurants for my boss and kept him informed of hot new restaurants and hotels which would be of use to us and our clients.
  • Be proud. You are not ‘just’ a PA.

WeAreTheCity would like to extend our sincere thanks to all of our Rising Stars for sharing their successes with us. We are sure you will agree that they are all achieving amazing things and offering sound advice to future Rising Stars.

We look forward to featuring more of our Rising Stars next week. Please note our Rising Star programme for 2017 opens on 1st February 2017. More details will be posted to the site during January – click here for more information and to register your interest in our awards.

Source: WeAreTheCity Information and jobs portal for business women