Rebecca Polson – the rising star of the year 2023 – PA Life Club

Rebecca Polson – the rising star of the year 2023

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Rebecca has been at Alzheimer’s Research UK since 2019 and works for the Chief Executive, Hilary Evans, and also manages a small team supporting the Executive Directors, Directors and the wider organisation. Prior to that she was a PA at the Natural History Museum and the Royal College of Music, and recently won the PA Star of the Year accolade at the PA Life Awards 2023…

Congratulations on the PA Star of the Year 2023 Award!

How has the achievement been recognised at your workplace and how do you think it will benefit your role and career?

I am still reeling from winning the award. It is fantastic to be recognised publicly for the work that I do as it often goes unnoticed by most. My manager has shared on our internal comms platform and I’ve had many messages of congratulations, including from PAs outside of our charity as they’ve read about it on LinkedIn and PA Life website. I’ve worked very hard internally at ARUK to carve out my role and really show what I can do to help the staff get the best from our senior leadership. Having this award really cements the effort my team and I have put in.

You are fairly new to the PA Life Club. What aspects of the Club membership have you enjoyed most?

What I’ve found most useful so far are insights into other PAs and EAs roles and really thinking about how and why I do my work. I’m really looking forward to getting further involved in the Club and can see it has many benefits, the supporting network being one of them. The Recommended Suppliers directory online also looks incredible.

What do you enjoy most about your role – and what are the challenges?

I thrive on the fact that no two days are the same in my role. I might have a plan or a vague idea of what the CEO and I need to achieve in a particular day or week but things like last minute media requests, HR issues, a major donor needing some face time or another unknown crisis often throw the whole plan up in the air.

I must also credit the people I work with – I have never worked somewhere more open, honest, engaging and challenging. The most challenging task we face is making sure that everyone knows the plan. In a larger organisation, getting the same message from the CEO across all the staff in a really timely manner is a constant challenge. We work very closely with our fantastic internal comms team which definitely helps.

What do you see as the key professional development areas Assistants should focus on now?

Communication skills and stakeholder management are the two main areas which set apart the ‘good’ from the ‘great’ in Assistants. These soft skills are not always black and white, however, and can be harder to teach. Some people are naturals, but there are definite tips and tricks to stay ahead of the game.

You can connect with Rebecca on LinkedIn


Marja-Leena Toseland

All stories by: Marja-Leena Toseland