What's the latest news from Heather at Baker Thompson and her Associates
View this email in your browser
Baker Thompson Associates

August news, guest contributors on massage, life as a PA and President of the AIOP in Australia and business strategies, offers from Attavanti, luxury Italian accessories, and Executive Secretary Live in Dubai, goal setting and photos ... read on!


What an exciting time it's been recently for the PA world with the publication of two excellent surveys sponsored by Executive Secretary Magazine.  Firstly, the Hay's report which looks at what makes a successful PA from the point of view of both PAs and managers.  The second one is the Avery report which reveals a marked difference in the abilities, experiences and personalities of PAs and their colleagues in the office. Both reports give a great boost to the profession. 


Lucy Brazier, Editor of Executive Secretary Magazine, and Steve Heard of Hay's toured the UK presenting the results of the Hay's report. I joined the well-attended Manchester event in July and found it extremely interesting.

Our very exciting news is that we are delighted to have welcomed All Things Admin to the family of BakerWrite speedwriting licensed trainers. Led by Julie Perrine, BakerWrite will now be available in North America and Canada.  If anyone is interested in becoming a licensed BakerWrite trainer anywhere in the world, simply contact me for more information.

I recently presented a BakerWrite webinar for All Things Admin and also for Business Management Daily. On Tuesday 1 September I will be presenting a Pitman shorthand webinar for the second time for Business Management Daily.


Since the May newsletter there have been some familiar and new venues in the UK - Leeds, Durham, Manchester, London, Bridgnorth - and, since Ramadan, a couple of trips to the UAE. Here is the in-house PA group in Dubai earlier this month:

I also presented to a couple of PA groups in Manchester and Newcastle.  Here is the July Newcastle event - on the banks of the River Tyne:

It's a pleasure to see all these new PA networking groups being set up around the UK and overseas.  I am always happy to give presentations at these events; do contact me if your group would be interested.


There have been quite a few one to one sessions over the last few weeks.  We covered various topics (including PA skills, minute taking and BakerWrite speedwriting) but the main advantage is that people can talk about any issues that worry them.  It gives PAs and EAs an opportunity to reflect on their working practice in general and I help them to find ways to improve their effectiveness.  Do contact me if you would like to discuss this.  We can even do sessions via Skype.



And so to this quarter's first terrific offer from our fellow #SBS winner!


Voucher is valid online until 31.10.15. Enter BAKER15 at the checkout to redeem 15% off all Attavanti's luxury Italian designer handbags, briefcases and accessories. Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers.

Heather Baker
If you aren't able to attend one of my courses, you may like to take a look at my books on speedwriting, minute taking and business writing.  You can also learn BakerWrite speedwriting online. Or you can now get an online training package with support ... find out more

Don't forget to put the dates in your diary for the next Office* Show: Tuesday 13 - Wednesday 14 October 2015.


Take a look at the Executive Secretary Magazine website; it's full of great information - just like the magazine. Quote BT1 to get a 30% discount.

Here is a group of BakerWrite speedwriters in Leeds in June:

Lots of training books available at .... find out more


More Prince's Trust news.  I have started mentoring a new company Catwalk Killa. Lauren and Vicky are two delightful ladies who have recently established an online fashion company.  I continue to work with Georgia of Trails for Tails; she has been going now for over a year and is having great success. Here we are when I went to see her and Tilly take part in a local parade last month:

Do give both businesses your support.


On a personal development note, I was delighted to pass my Certificate in Training Delivery reassessment (an every five years' commitment). It was the third time I had been reassessed since I originally qualified in 1999 - keeps me on my toes! 

And a second offer to attend Executive Secretary Live in Dubai in November

The leading international event for Executive Assistants returns to Dubai, featuring nine of the most inspiring and internationally renowned trainers for Assistants in the world. Executive Secretary LIVE is two days filled with a packed conference agenda, an innovative practical training day and great networking opportunities.
I hope to meet you in Dubai where I will be exploring The Art of Communication in my half day Masterclass. For full details of the speakers, programme and session please visit:
BOOK NOW AND SAVE $400 on the full package, which includes two half day workshops, the full day conference and gala dinner ticket PLUS annual subscription to Executive Secretary Magazine (Please mention Baker Thompson newsletter when booking).

Here is a group of PAs who attended the Exceptional PA course in London in July.

You can see more photos of other seminars at the company Facebook page.  It would be great if you would "like" the page so you will receive regular updates from me and also from my associates.

Sharon Zemmel outlines the importance of massage for office workers

Government statistics reveal that more sickness days are taken due to skeletal problems, like back and neck pain, than anything else with 31 million days a year. Stress, anxiety and depression account for a further 15 million work days lost per year.

Worryingly, women are 42% more likely to have a spell of sickness than men. Also, looking at sickness absence by occupation, administrative and secretarial staff are more likely to be ill than their bosses.


Fortunately, employers are increasingly understanding the importance of providing wellbeing opportunities for their staff at work and massage is becoming one of the more popular staff benefits. So what’s so great about getting a massage at work?

Improves aches and pains
Are you getting back or neck ache from sitting at your desk for so many hours a day? Do you get eye-strain or headaches from staring at a screen for so long? Do your hands ache from typing or are you getting RSI (repetitive strain injury) in your wrists from holding your hands at a particular angle on your keyboard?

All this can be addressed and improved in a regular twenty minute seated massage. Twenty minutes is enough time for a therapist to work on back, neck, shoulders, scalp, arms and hands. And the massage can be tailored to focus more on where you need it most.

Be calm and relaxed
Being a PA carries responsibilities, deadlines and a large workload which can leave you feeling stressed and anxious. A twenty minute massage will send you back to your desk with improved blood circulation, raised endorphin levels, relaxed muscles and a calmed nervous system. You will feel revitalised and relaxed.

Work more productively
Having a break for a massage saves you more time than it actually takes to receive. The physical and mental benefits have the effect of boosting your energy and concentration levels. You will find that you will work more productively when you return to your desk.

Have a one-to-one session that is tailored to you alone.
Hopefully, your company will offer various facilities for their staff. Exercise classes, gym membership, coaching and training are just a few examples. But here is your chance to have a staff benefit that is all about you. Tell your therapist what you need and enjoy her undivided attention.

Enjoy a little “me” time
You work hard so why not have a break and enjoy being pampered. Take a break from looking after others and allow yourself to be cared for and looked after for a while. After all, you know you’re worth it!


Coming up over the next few months

I will be presenting in Liverpool at the Venue Expo on 8 September, at the Office* Show in London on 14 October, at the PA Life Training Day  in London on 12 November (we had a excellent time at the recent June event), at two Executive Secretary Live events in Dubai on 18 November and Johannesburg in February 2016.


There are also lots of new and familiar UK and overseas venues ... more on that in the next newsletter due at the end of November.  Please pass this newsletter on to anyone you think may be interested so they can subscribe too.

Here's a photo from the SF Group PA event in Manchester:


It was a fabulous evening and I was delighted to have been invited back again. This time the presentation was "...and breathe"; how to keep calm under pressure.


You can also like the BakerWrite speedwriting Facebook page.

The World's Your Oyster...

We’ve all done it – dreamed of a top job, an exotic holiday or a catwalk figure – yet, how often do these things come to fruition?

 “When we’ve got a bit of money, we’ll go on a really nice holiday.” 
“I’ve always fancied working abroad.” 
“I’d love a job like that.” 
“I wish I were thinner.”

And I’m sure you can think of many more! We’ve all done it – dreamed of a top job, an exotic holiday or a catwalk figure – yet, how often do these things come to fruition? We sit and wait for money to drop from the sky, for weight to miraculously disappear or the MD to walk into our office and offer us our dream job. It won’t happen; we have to make things happen.

Quite a few people have told me how lucky I am to do the work I do – I appreciate their comments, but there wasn’t really a great deal of luck involved. It was down to picking a course I enjoyed after school, working hard to get qualifications, applying for jobs I wanted, taking opportunities if they came up by chance and making opportunities if they didn’t.

The only thing that’s stopping you achieving your ambition is probably you…..

OK, so, first step; how can you make that dream come true if you don’t know what it is. Oh yes, we know vaguely (see the opening quotes), but that’s not good enough. Let’s take each of those desires and make them specific :

“When we’ve got a bit of money, we’ll go on a really nice holiday.” 
“When we have £3,000 we can holiday for 2 weeks in Barcelona.”

“I’ve always fancied working abroad.” 
“I want to do my current job, but in Paris.”

“I’d love a job like that.” 
“I want to work as a PA to a television executive.”

“I wish I were thinner.”
“I want to be a size 12 again.”

So, now we’re getting somewhere; now we know precisely what we want we can start to work out how to get it. Let’s take Barcelona (seems like a good idea to me!). We now have a focus to work on. We need £3,000; how long will it take us to save that, or when do we want to go to Barcelona? Let’s say we want to go in 12 months’ time. You probably have to pay for the holiday a couple of months before leaving so let’s say 10 months (it’s easier maths that way too!). We have to save £300 a month. Is that feasible? If yes, go for it; if not, change the plan or go later. Once that’s in place, you’re almost on your way.

How about your current job in Paris:

Does your type of work exist in Paris?
Do you speak French? If not, what can you do to learn, or should you look at another location where English is spoken?
Where are jobs advertised?
Have your joined relevant groups on LinkedIn?
Are you a member of a Europe-wide networking organisation such as EuMa (
Where would you live – could you afford it?
Does your organisation have branches overseas?
Some of the questions below may also apply? Don’t forget to anticipate challenges – what may be the barriers to achieving your goal? How would you cope with these? What would enable you to battle through?

Let’s look now at the PA to a TV executive (or this could be any job you want). Ask yourself some questions:

What qualifications are necessary, and do I have them?
If I don’t have them, how can I get them?
Which newspapers and websites advertise these types of jobs?
Which agencies have TV companies on their books?
What work experience do I need, and do I have it?
If not, how can I get it?
Do I know anyone who can help me?
Is there any voluntary work I could do which would help?
Is it worth sending my details to a company anyway, just in case?
Finally, losing weight; this is possibly the easiest to plan and the most difficult to achieve (I speak from personal experience!).

What is your target weight?
When do you want to achieve it? This time element is a vital part of any goal.
How much must you lose each week?
How will you achieve the weight loss (eg, what will you eat, how much (specifically) will you exercise, etc)
With all goals it’s good to throw in an occasional treat for achieving targets on the way.

Establish a clear, specific plan, set yourself deadlines and stick to them. And, as Thomas Edison said, “Just when something seems impossible, that’s the time to keep going”. You can do anything.

Linda Frith, President of the AIOP Perth Chapter, tells us about her career in Australia ...  Find out more

Daniel Feiman gives insights into the world of business
read more

Forward to Friend
Copyright © 2015 Baker Thompson Associates, All rights reserved.

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp