Without tiptoeing around it, being PA to Rob is quite literally the role I’ve dreamed of from the moment I began my PA career.
The ultimate goal was to find that one person I would be solely dedicated to and take care of in a personal and business capacity, and of course someone I both admired, respected, and genuinely got on with.
I was an executive assistant in London for just over 10 years, predominantly within the private equity industry, looking after multiple professionals at one time. My years in London provided a great breadth of career and overall life experience to form the stepping stones in guiding my future path. I did, however, hit that classic ’10-year London wall’ and needed a change of scene in more ways than one, and as such, I upped sticks in the Autumn of 2019, waved goodbye to the ‘big smoke’, moved back to North Wales where I’d grown up and set up my own private PA business.
There was a brief interlude fulfilling a long-held ambition of working as a chalet host at a luxury lodge in Val D’isere – an unbelievably tough but rewarding experience in equal measure!
On return from the Alps, I took on my first clients as a self-employed private PA who happened to be a local couple in North Wales within the hospitality industry. I stayed with them for a further three years and within that time I created, set up, and acted as operations director for a joint venture (an online food retail business that blossomed from the pandemic) before handing the reins back to them and going back to my PA roots and in search of that dream PA role…and here I am!
The culture, which I feel goes hand in hand with Rob’s inspirational style of leadership. The dedication, awareness, and genuine care he gives to nurturing the culture within the company is nothing short of remarkable. He is available 24/7 for every single employee as a fountain of wise words, guidance, and advice, and he sets the most phenomenal example when it comes to achieving a good work-life balance.
Rob has instilled and curated a culture with a great focus on the importance of staff wellness (both physically and mentally) and is forever striving to keep improving and evolving the way we work, interact, and simply live our lives to ensure that we are the best versions of ourselves inside and outside of work.
Well, I have a little shadow in the form of a black Labrador called Monty, who is my everything. So, come rain or shine, we walk and train every day in the hills where I live in North Wales and beyond. It’s a far cry from my years in London and a lifestyle I adore.
I practice Pilates every single day of the week – something I’ve really fallen in love with over the past year, as well as yoga.
I’m also a big foodie and absolutely love to cook and host, so a perfect weekend for me would be a day of dog walking and then hosting an evening dinner party with family and/or friends.
I’ve only been with the company since April 2022, but I think the Christmas party was the highlight for me…and I’m not just saying that because I organised it! It was just lovely to meet everyone in person, and at such a wonderful time of the year when, in general, everyone is in a great mood in anticipation of the Christmas and New Year break.
I was devasted to be struck down with illness over Christmas, which meant I wasn’t well enough to join the BJJ/skiing trip to Austria. But the best thing is that, based on past performance and Rob’s amazing attitude towards the socials, I have a feeling I’ll have many more opportunities to get involved and look back on in the future.
If anyone knows how to do a staff social, it’s Arbtech!
My gosh – the list is endless! South America, India and Canada are right up there, but I’m also dying to hit the ski slopes this year as I’ve not skied since my chalet hosting season in 2019.
I’d also love to go back to Bali where I went after leaving London and just fell in love with its laid-back vibes. All that being said, now I have Monty, I’m keen to make the most of exploring more of the UK with him. There are so many stunning places on our doorstep that don’t involve getting on a plane, so it’s another bonus of owning a dog!
Workwise, without a shadow of a doubt, I hope I’m still with Arbtech as Rob’s PA, though I’m only too aware that my role may well have evolved from what it is right now.
That being said, I have a totally different attitude to ‘the future’ these days. From someone who always wants to have a plan, making sure I have things booked in the diary well ahead, I try to make a more conscious effort to live in the now, appreciate what’s happening around me at this moment in time, and have faith that I’ll know as and when I might need to adjust my sails and move in a different direction.
None of us knows what is around the corner, what might happen today or tomorrow, and what curve balls may come our way, so I am a big advocate of making sure you check in with yourself as often as possible to make sure you’re feeling and living a life that’s making you fulfilled and that you’re not doing/living for anyone but you.
On a basic level, good health (my own and my loved ones) together with general happiness and fulfilment. Finding contentment in the now is a feeling I am unbelievably happy and proud to say I have found.
It’s so important to push ourselves out of our comfort zones, experience different things, even if it’s to say: ‘I tried it, but it wasn’t for me’, and travel and live in different places (alone). I have great faith in life unfolding and presenting new opportunities and paths as and when the time might be right. It comes down to facing fears, taking risks, keeping an open mind alongside you sitting back and looking at what you have now, what is and isn’t making you happy, what you can’t control, as well as what you can control and change that may lead to a greater sense of fulfilment.
I do have a prominent goal and focus for this year, which is Monty’s gundog training. He’s from prime gundog pedigree, and even before going on his first proper shoot this year (he’s not yet two), he’d caught three live pheasants on our morning walks, which says it all. Although I don’t ‘shoot’ myself, I know the experience as a ‘picker-upper’ both for the dog and the handler is something I want to incorporate into our lives. It’s an amazing exercise for the dogs, it’s great training for them in so many respects, and it’s a fab social experience for the handlers. Thankfully, one of my closest and dearest friends is a dog trainer and has her own gundog, so I have got the perfect accomplice.
Watch this space!
Hannah joined Arbtech in April 2022.
Meet the other members of our leading ecology and arboriculture team.