Hello, I’m Sarah Stiffin and I’m a Virtual Assistant in Hertfordshire. A what I hear you say? A Virtual Assistant – kind of like a freelance Personal Assistant. I can assist you in your business rather like a PA would in an office, yet I work from home. I work on your admin while you work on your business.
After completing my A’levels, I attended St Godric’s Executive Secretarial College in North London and completed the Executive Secretarial & Business Studies Diploma.
From college, I was lucky enough to begin my secretarial career at Marks & Spencer which gave me a wonderful grounding as a PA. Since leaving college, I have spent over 25 years as a Personal Assistant, with 15 years working as a PA at board-level. I have worked in several Blue Chip companies including Marks and Spencer plc, Diageo and Barclays.
One of the great things about being a PA is that skills are transferable between industries. As such, I have worked in retail, advertising, TV, media, beverages and sport. All of these diverse areas provide their own unique way of working, with very different challenges and experiences. For example, I was involved with conveyancing whilst working in retail, I looked at scripts in TV and I organised several workshops for corporate sponsors whilst working in sport. One of my highlights was being on a football pitch standing behind England captain, David Beckham!
I took a break from being a PA to become a complementary health professional. My clients were diverse, young and old, with a variety of health issues. During this time I also ran a successful network for therapists, arranging several networking events. Being self-employed taught me a great deal about business which I use in my Virtual Assistant role today.
Now back in the office admin world, I particularly relish working with health professionals. I enjoy helping them find more time to work with their clients rather than on admin. However, I welcome as much variety now as I did in my early PA career. Check out Linkedin for my full career history.
Away from Work
When I’m not working, I love a bit of gardening (I recently completed Level 2 Garden Design at Capel Manor College) and I am gradually getting back to running a few miles. I do love a challenge and my next one is the Thames Towpath Challenge in September 2017 – 100km from Putney to Henley!