What is the Manchester PA Network?
The Manchester PA Network is a not for profit organisation co-founded by two busy EA's Melanie Sheehy and Amanda Hargreaves, Holly Moore (Make Events) now sits on the Board.
The network sucessfully launched in July 2011 it's success has continued and members increase year on year as of November 2016 the network has 700 members, raised over £70,000 for the Christie Charity, succesfully brought the Manchester PA Awards to the City and continues to help raise the profile of the PA and EA role.
The Manchester PA Network has a strong reputation across the City and year on year is able to offer exclusive events to its members in some of Manchester's most glamorous locations.
As the network goes into it's 7th year co-founders are confident this will be one of the best years yet with dates already booked in the diary of events.
Amanda Hargreaves, Melanie Sheehy & Holly Moore with our 2017 Manchester PA Awards host Matt Johnson
Don't just take our word for it read what the 2015 Manchester PA of the Year had to say about being a member of the network
Back in 2013 I was introduced by my boss to Holly Moore at the PA Awards in London and she asked if I might be interested in attending a MPAN event. I'd never heard of the network and to be honest had never done any networking as such. So I contacted MPAN, got myself on the mailing list and in November 2013 I booked my ticket to 50 shades of XXXmas at the Restaurant Bar and Grill.
Having not been to any networking events before I was pretty nervous all day about what to expect. My colleagues assured me I'd be ok telling me I had lots of confidence and that because I was used to attending corporate events I would be fine. So off I went on my own.
I arrived at the venue, purchased some raffle tickets, got myself a glass of wine and walked into the crowd. So many people were having conversations and it looked like a real girls catch up. I stood, looked around the room and made my way over to 3 ladies introducing myself and asking could I join them as I had come alone. They gave me the friendliest welcome and I joined their conversation. Shortly after that the lovely Jane Brazzill introduced herself and took me over to meet some other ladies.
I chatted about work, my company, spoke to a lady who knew London very well and offered advice on restaurants and hotels for me and then we went through to listen to the fabulous Katie McEwan, PA to Jacqueline Gold at Ann Summers. I was absolutely gripped listening to her story and couldn't quite believe how lucky I was to have the privilege of meeting her.
I went on to win a raffle prize (the lucky streak started from day 1) and I came away at the end of the night having made so many new friends, pushed myself out of my comfort zone, got some great advice, heard an inspiring story and won a facial at House of Fraser. Since that day I think I have only missed two MPAN events.
Because of MPAN I have made so many great friends, business contacts, had the opportunity to view venues and I have the Google of Manchester at my fingertips…there's not a question you can put to the network that someone won't come back on with help, suggestions or even a solution for you.
Finding out I had been nominated for an award was a very proud moment. It was tough being up against two fabulous fellow members and I'm sure other shortlisters felt this way in their own categories. I thoroughly enjoyed the interview process. It was nice to sit down and take the time to realise just how much I do outside of the job description. To me it's just who I am and what I do but to others it seems so much more.
The banter and shortlisters dinner all added to the excitement of the awards and I think I spent nearly every spare moment on social media in the week running up to the awards.
The room looked amazing, everyone so glamorous, even the gents looked dazzling in their black tie. As always MPAN, Robert Walters and Make Events had pulled out all the stops and every single detail made us PAs feel so valued and important. As the awards were announced there were no disappointed faces, the whole of the audience were supportive and happy for each and every winner.
Then came the shock of my life when I was announced as Manchester PA of the Year. I was so greatly humbled and honoured to have received this accolade.
Before joining MPAN nobody knew Debbie Grimshaw. Since joining I've won a Rising Star Award, been runner-up in Office Show Contributor of the Year, carried out my first public speaking event with EUMA, written PA magazine articles and I am truly honoured to have been appointed a Non-Exec Director on the board of the EPAA launching in January.
I have some of the best relationships I've had throughout my whole career. It's greatly improved my confidence, boosted my personal profile, given me personal development and helped me to recognise that having been a PA for 26 years there is so much knowledge and experience I can share and give back, inspiring others to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams.
If I had to choose my best day ever, my finest hour and my wildest dream come true it was Tuesday 17th November 2015. I was presented with the first ever Manchester PA of the Year award and I could never have achieved that without the numerous members of MPAN who have supported, encouraged and convinced me that I was capable of this achievement.
It means everything to me and assures me that I have turned into the same role model my lovely Mum was to me.
Whilst awards are wonderful to receive, I want to go out there now and make a difference in the PA community. My greatest reward will be to see someone else reach this achievement and know that I have been a part of their journey.
Thank you to everyone involved and for all the lovely congratulations messages x
Debbie Grimshaw - Brother UK
Manchester PA of the Year 2015