2016 Manchester PA of the Year Awards Shortlist

Congratulations to all of this year's excellent nominees. We continue to see the quality of applicants increase each year - and this year was especially difficult to shortlist. If you were not shortlisted this year we hope you apply again next year. 

This year's shortlist provides an example of the hard work, dedication and passion of support professionals across Greater Manchester. We look forward to honouring all shortlisted professionals and celebrating the winners on 27th October 2016 at The Palace Hotel. 

Purchase your tickets for this year's awards here. 

Be a part of this year's awards - you can learn more about sponsorship opportunities here




Sponsored by Executive Partner - Robert Walters

This award recognises overall excellence across the support profession. The winner of this award will be an innovative and proactive support for their team and organisation. 

Charlotte Brook

Charlotte joined Hewden in 2015 and acts as the EA to the CEO and CFO. Described as being an excellent fit within the business, Charlotte has quickly gained the respect of the senior level management team through her passion for the business and also her sense of fun!  As well as building excellent working relationships with the people she supports, Charlotte has built great relationships with the whole office in her quest to encourage everyone to keep fit by joining her in the gym before work.

Michaela Brennan
CVS, Business Rates and Rents Specialist

Michaela has supported the CEO of CVS since June 2015 and it is clear that they have a lot of respect for each other in their respective roles. He spoke very passionately about the importance of the PA role within the business and feels very confident that in Michaela, he has found someone who he feels confident to support him as a true extension to his own role. 

Jemma Carr
Victorian Chophouse Company

Jemma is the “go to” person in the business. She knows everything there is to know and is excellent at dealing with anyone from any walk of life.  Jemma’s confidence and relationship building skills are what set her apart from other PA’s her manager has worked with and he knows he can depend on her in any situation.

Maria Marsh
University of Manchester

Maria is a great ambassador for the role of PA. Always happy to offer advise and assistance, Maria pro-actively supports and promotes the role of PA within Manchester University. Adrian Parker, Maria's endorser said that he was fortunate to have someone working with him who “had the same passion to achieve the highest levels of professionalism and excellence in everything she does.”

Gemma Boyle
Fanatics Inc

Gemma loves her job and this is evident in everything she does in her role. From staying late, working weekends or booking flights on her way around the supermarket, Gemma strives to go over and above what is expected of her in everything that she does. Andy, the company President, could not speak more highly of Gemma and its clear that her resourcefulness, tenacity and flexibility is very much appreciated.

Sponsored by Executive Partner - Manchester PA Network

This award, chosen by applicants who are current Manchester PA Network members, will highlight the professionalism and excellence of the network's members.

Jane Brazzill

Jane is a passionate and active member of the Manchester PA Network and has been with us since the start. Jane is an avid networker, tweeter and forges links between her connections; Jane enjoys attending events, not only through Manchester PA Network but also other channels and groups.

Jane won this award in 2015 and was shortlisted in the We are the City Rising Star Awards in 2016.



Amanda Mosscrop
FRP Advisory

There is rarely a Manchester PA Network event that Amanda does not attend. She is a keen networker and proud promoter of PA’s going out and networking to forge both personal and business relationships. Amanda’s personality makes her someone you will never forget both in person and on social media.

Amanda is not only an ambassador for the Manchester PA Network but also the company she works for. 

Catharine Deveraux
Co-operative Insurance 

Catharine has been a member of Manchester PA Network since its beginnings and has supported at all our events along the way.  Catharine along with Jane proactively picked up the baton of organising the Manchester 10K for the Manchester PA Network this year.  It was the best turn out the network have had with not only runners and cheerleaders, but also raising the most money to date.

Tracy Williams
Indigo Planning 

Tracey has been a great ambassador for the Manchester PA Network and encouraged her niece Rebecca (winner of the 2015 rising start award) to join her at the networking events. Tracey has rarely missed an event and can always be found with her group of Manchester PA Network friends and contacts soaking up each event with a big smile on her face. Tracey recommends the network to venues and is often sending emails to the co-founders with new venues and contacts of business development people.

Queen Bee PA

Helen and Jane have been longstanding members of the Manchester PA Network and always support the events be it attending them or promoting them on social media. 

A little different to most of our attendees Helen and Jane run their own Virtual Assistant business which brings a new dynamic to the network and has helped the members knowledge and understanding of VAs and their roles. 

Sponsored by Platinum Award Sponsor - Emirates

This award recognises an individual who has made a significant impact both within their roles as a support professional, but also to the PA, EA, secretarial & support sector as a whole.

Edna Higginbotham
University of Salford 

Edna has been with The University of Salford for 16 years, within this time she has been PA to various Heads of Schools, currently in the Business School as the only Administrative and PA support to 4 academic unity heads. Edna takes pride in her work every day and goes the extra mile without even knowing it. She mentored two receptionists in her last role at the University and coached one to become a PA who is still with the organisation.

Nicola Allen

 Nicola is a long serving member of the Shoosmiths/Halliwells team and has been fundamental in establishing the key processes used within the business. She is an ear to the business and has a rare understanding of the complete commercial aspects of the business, placing her into an invaluable position within the team. She has also developed an internal information tracking system, ensuring that no chargeable hours can be wasted and clients are not duplicating any information. 

Katharine Smith

Katherine is instrumental in the workings of Swinton supporting both the distribution director and the CEO. Katherine turned around an event for 300 people within 6 weeks and it is regularly joked in the business that she has the directors micro-chipped as she doesn’t only think for them, she thinks ahead of them. She is someone that everyone in the office comes in contact with and is rated by the company as outstanding.

Louise Cope

Louise has been with PWC for the last 35 years and still enjoys working there as much as she did when she joined! She has supported 5 senior partners and also managed the secretarial team during her tenure. Through her extremely calm and unflappable nature, Louise has gained the trust and respect of all of the people she has supported and also the rest of the administrative team at PWC.  

Sponsored by Platinum Award Sponsor - Pitman Training

This award looks to recognise superior performance by an administrative team who work over and above expectations.


This team have a great mix of experience, spanning 20 years service to 9 months. They suggest ideas for improvements and share knowledge of new ways of doing things with other offices and teams.

They socialise outside of work, and genuinely support each other. They are proud of their team achievements including proof reading a legal project which saved the client £10,000.



Collaboratively the team have 175 years experience between them. What is so refreshing is that they all understand and draw upon each other's strengths to complete any given task and want to strive for excellence, not only for themselves, but for the team and for Arup as a whole.

Key achievements for them as a team have included two full office relocations of 250 staff, and becoming the first business support team to take on apprentices.

Brother UK - Executive Support Team

They have only been a collaborative team since April 2016 and have made vast improvements to the way the business books travel. In Q1 this year the changes they made saved the company £16,000- they feel their biggest achievement to date.

The Executive Team is working really well and are sharing ideas of best practice, suggesting improvements for ways of working with other teams and are in process of building an administration procedures manual.


PWC - VA Team

The PWC VA team is the first of its kind within the organisation. The biggest challenge as a team they have faced has been changing the sceptics opinion of having remote PA support and they have marketed themselves as providing an alternative and fully flexible support.

Some of their notable achievements have been arranging last minute dinners for 30 people in Barcelona to acquiring tickets for client entertainment for a sold out festival within days... all remotely. 

Queen Bee PA

Queen Bees PA was launched three years ago. Jane and Helen are true ambassadors of what it means to be ‘virtual PA’s’.

Having great knowledge and business connections around Manchester; they can offer a tailor made service to each of their client. Innovative in their approach to every project, they continually look at time and cost savings for their clients and always endeavour to go the extra mile in the service they provide.

Sponsored by Key Sponsor - Make Events

Event management can be tough, but adds an exciting element to many PA's jobs. We want to recognise the organisation, creativity and logistics it takes to organise a successful event.

Clare Campion
Manchester Metropolitan University

Clare has dedicated 11 years to The Manchester Metropolitan University and has worked in a variety of roles. She is proud that she has used her PA role as a platform to elevate her career. Clare managed the university's event/project linked with the Rio Olympics, forging creative connections between Rio and Manchester. This event was 7 years in the making and Clare ‘pulled all the elements together, made things coherent' within the project. 

Ruth Kilpatrick
MWH Global

Ruth has been with MWH UK for 9 years and currently supports the FD at MWH Treatment and the MD’s at MWH UK. She has established herself as the go to PA for holiday cover and sickness and endeavours to give seamless support. Ruth organised the new office’s opening event in November of last year. This was a trans-Atlantic event with several VIPs from the US office in attendance and Ruth organised the logistics of travel arrangements and accommodation with a total of 76 rooms booked across 4 hotels! 

Amy Burgess

Amy has seen her role developed greatly over the last 12 months and has taken on a number of extra roles and responsibilities. She is actively involved in events across the business and has become an integral part of the events team, offering suggestions and ideas that have certainly elevated the events with no costs involved. Amy is visible across the business and manages events for a diverse client audience, she maintains her boundless enthusiasm and can turn events at short notice consistently pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. 

Laura Peel
Brown Shipley

Laura has only been at Brown Shipley since the summer of 2015 but she has already established herself as an integral part of the team and definitely brings endless amounts of positivity to the organisation. Her support ranges from full inbox management to finding lost wallets in Canada! One of Laura’s biggest achievements was organising an offsite event in Amsterdam across all EU offices... co-ordinating all flights, pick-ups, itineraries and also a team building exercise in a restaurant kitchen.

Debbie Grimshaw
Brother UK

Debbie is a dependable and well respected member of the Brother UK team. She is a huge advocate of the business. Debbie continues to provide the support to the UK MD whilst also taking responsibility for organising a vast number of clients events, ensuring each one runs without a hitch. Her dedication to the wellbeing of the staff lends itself to creating an environment where people are proud to work and creates a family environment for the business. Debbie won Manchester PA of the Year in 2015.

Sponsored by Venue Partner - The Palace Hotel

We are looking for the best newcomer who is already showing signs of being a future PA of the Year. This award is open to applicants who have worked as a support professional 18 months or less.

Kerry Aldcroft
Addleshaw Goddard LLP

Kerry recently joined Addleshaw and has immediately made an impact. She has formed a natural bond with her team and has brought much of her PR background to the role of support. She has been actively involved in the social and events side of the business, bringing another dimension to the normal corporate event schedule. Its clear that Kerry has taken on the role and responsibilities of the PA and team support and will certainly be a star for the future.      

Kerry Print
Zeus Capital

Kerry has been with Zeus Capital for over 5 years, starting as the Office Junior to now supporting 4 directors at PA level. Her role has naturally grown within the company and is heavily involved with the compliance side of the business in terms of document archiving and minute taking. She was also one of the main coordinators for the office move in 2014 whilst a large compliance review was taking place at the same time. 

Clarece Maher
OneE Group Limited

Clarece has only been with OneE Group for the last 15 months but it is impressive what she has managed to achieve in this time. This is her first PA role and she supports the Sales Director with all his external and internal meetings including the organisation of and attendance at monthly BD team meetings. Clarece is really passionate about changing the opinion of young people in the work place and even has had an article published about the 'budding PA'. 

Sam McDermott
Peel Media

Sam has been described as a “lynch pin” within the admin function. Always the first in the office and the last to leave, Sam is always happy to take on new projects. The professionalism and enthusiasm which she brings to the role is hard to come by and her manager has loved watching her grow and develop in the role since she joined in 2015. 


We recognise that as Senior PAs progress in their career, commonly they will manage a team - adding a new dynamic and set of responsibilities to the job. This award will recognise a winner who works in a support role and manages a team of at least 2 people.

Lesley Ward
Peel Media

Lesley’s immensely proud of winning her Manchester PA of the Year Award in 2015 and since then she has secured EPAA accreditation. Lesley mentors 2 PAs within Peel. She always supports other PAs and is a driving force for projects within the company.

Jessica Brazier

Jessica is a proactive team leader, managing across multiple sites. She understands the challenges faced by her team and endeavours to ensure that all of her reports are given a balanced workload. She is active in building key networks, and does this nationally throughout the business. She proactively encourages her team them to develop themselves and their career even if it means losing a star performer from her own team!

Rebecca Bradley

It is clear Rebecca's primary concern is the wellbeing of the staff and the team, thus in turn creating an atmosphere conducive to maximising productivity. Obviously a people person, she takes the time to recognise and develop those around her and constantly look for improvements to processes that will benefit both the people and the business. She has intrinsically changed the way the business works and it is in her little touches, where she really demonstrates this.

Cathy Nichol
Brother UK 

Cathy has been with Brother for 28 years during which she has progressed from office junior, to PA supporting Head of Customer Support and now manages two teams, totalling 8 staff across brand new divisions. She is exteremely organised and sets herself high standards which then inspires her own team to work to equally high standards. 

Vicky Booth
Squire Patton Boggs

Vicky joined Squire Patten Boggs in 2001 and cannot see herself anywhere else! Vicky feels very passionate about the business she works for and is more than happy to go the extra mile in everything she does. Vicky was described as being “approachable, adaptable and an exceptional relationship builder, approaching everything she does with an open mind and smile on her face.”

Sponsored by Platinum Award Sponsor - Eclectic Hotels

Its not only your daily responsibilities which make you stand-out. The winner of the Above & Beyond award will have gone that extra-mile, outside of their duties, to make a difference in their job. 

Tracey Williams
Indigo Planning 

Tracey has been with Indigo Planning for the past 5 years, supporting the Director and mentoring two members of the team. She has even put herself through the RIPI which has enabled her to have a complete understanding of the planning process and enables her to support her team more coherently and add value to the business beyond the traditional PA/support role.

Hayley Rose
Seashell Trust

Mark Gerghty, CEO, who Hayley supports, describes her as ferocious in her appetite to take on additional tasks as well as wholly believing in what she does. Hayley understands the pivotal role she plays in the functioning of the wider organisation. She is proud of being a PA and takes her role very seriously, whilst still maintaining a sense of fun! 

Suzanne Cunningham

Suzanne has a career within legal, as a PA, spanning nearly 20 years. She is the person who is always there to assist a new starter, being the go to person for queries and taking responsibility for tasks that just aren’t going anywhere or need someone to manage them. She has received over a dozen internal ‘above and beyond’ nominations for going that extra mile.

Cathy Halsall
Pinsent Masons

Cathy is extremely well respected, both for her willing yet direct personality and her knowledge of the business, formed during her 14 years within the business. She is considered crucial to the projection of the Manchester office, within the rest of the wider firm, and really puts the Manchester office on the map.

Amy Burgess

Amy has seen her role developed greatly over the last 12 months and has taken on a number of extra roles and responsibilities. She is actively involved in events across the business and has become an integral part of the team, offering suggestions and ideas that have certainly elevated the events with no costs involved. Amy is visible across the business and manages events for a diverse client audience, she maintains her boundless enthusiasm and can turn events at short notice consistently pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. 


New this year - this award will recognise those whose names are practically synonymous with their brands and are consistently motivated to promote their business to be the best in their industry.

Jane Brazzill

Jane has worked within a support/PA capacity throughout her career, starting off in DLA Piper where she spent 10 years, and now at PWC for the past 9 years. Jane supports 3 partners and 2 directors, she embraces change positively and encourages other colleagues to do so also. She is a proud brand champion of all PWC do. 

Nico Jones 
First Transpennine Express

Nico has worked at First Transpennine Express for 4 years, progressing very quickly from HR administrator to Management Assistant. Within this role she supports the Head of Customer Experience, as well as 6 front line managers. She leads projects, is the innovation secretariat as well as the innovation pioneer. Her main ethos is helping people, and making people’s days easier and more seamless – whether that is friends’, colleagues or Directors she is supporting.

Amanda Mosscrop
FRP Advisory 

Amanda has worked for over 3 years at FRP Advisory as a PA supporting 4 partners and 2 directors. She has watched the company double in size and due to her office wide support she is now also the office coordinator. Her love for FRP Advisory is unquestionable and as well as being an excellent ambassador and the face of the office with the other PAs, she regularly networks with the company’s clients at corporate events. 

Julie Mitchell

Julie is a very strong brand champion for the company she works for, Shoosmiths. She has worked for the same Partner for 14 years, moving with him from another organisation, and flies the Shoosmiths flag proudly.

She represents Shoosmiths not only at PA networking events but other events across the city with pride. 

Debbie Grimshaw
Brother UK 

Debbie is a dependable and well respected member of the Brother UK team. She is a huge advocate of the business. Debbie continues to provide the support to the UK MD whilst also taking responsibility for organising a vast number of clients events, ensuring each one runs without a hitch. Her dedication to the wellbeing of the staff lends itself to creating an environment where people are proud to work and creates a family environment for the business. Debbie won Manchester PA of the Year in 2015.