Steph Taylor, pictured above, joined The Passionate PA in November 2021. After a successful career in Human Resources at Sainsbury’s, it was time to fulfil her ambition of becoming her own boss. Before Steph had finished training to become a franchisee with us, she had her first client…
Meet Ruth Fitzherbert-Brockholes
Ruth is the Chief of Staff at Viddyoze, a company offering a cloud-based video editing tool that helps users create studio-quality intros, edit videos, design templates, add watermarks and more. Set up in 2015, with a rapidly growing team, the three founders of the company recruited Ruth in late 2021 to assist with the operations and human resources management within the company.
Short-term need, immediate solution
In the early weeks of Ruth’s role at Viddyoze, she was responsible for scoping out the new Chief of Staff role and driving operational change in the business. However, Ruth was also covering the Executive Assistant (EA) role too due to absence. Although incredibly capable and dedicated to her work, Ruth had a long list of things that she needed and wanted to do but there just weren’t enough hours in the day.
So, one Friday morning she Googled “freelance PA” and up we popped! Ruth rang us immediately and discussed the business’s need with our franchisor, Kate Chastey.
It was immediately clear to both ladies that The Passionate PA could offer the perfect interim solution to cover the staff absence. Ruth was looking for PA support for three hours each day for four weeks; covering diary management, purchasing and event management primarily. Ruth knew that outsourcing just these tasks to a skilled and capable individual would free up enough time for her to focus on her primary role and maintain momentum in the business to drive it forward.
Kate matched Ruth and the Viddyoze team to Steph Taylor. Steph was new to The Passionate PA so had the time and flexibility to accommodate this project role, but, more than that, Kate just knew there would be a personality match!
Steph quickly built fantastic rapport and trust with Ruth. She gained access to the diaries and started working on tasks immediately. Ruth could see (and feel) that pressure was being released from her on a daily basis and found huge comfort in that.
Too good to lose
The 4-week project became much more. With the employed EA unexpectedly still away from the business, Ruth asked Steph to continue until and employed permanent solution could be found. In doing so, Steph’s role moved from general PA work onto a more strategic business partner/EA relationship using her extensive HR skill set and experience.
Steph worked on:
- Purchasing office equipment
- Document creation and structure charts
- Supplier liaison to find new contract cleaners
- Event management for the office relaunch event, Christmas party and team outing
- HR document and process creation, including new starter form, application form, health declaration, new starter checklist, return to work form etc
- HR system review / employee details review and updates
- HR Policy creation (Work From Home)
- Employee Handbook review
- Ad hoc HR advice
Steph and Ruth ended up turning the initial 4-week role into more like 3 months! There was a need in the business and Steph stepped up.
Ruth said “Having Steph in the business was a breath of fresh air. It was so valuable to have someone who could just take on the role with minimal briefing and in doing so release me to do the new Chief of Staff role which was critical for adding momentum and releasing the founders from daily operations. Steph’s professionalism, dedication and pursuit of excellence are second to none – this may have been a short-term solution for us but the value will be felt long into the future. I’m extremely thankful for her support!”
The partnership between Steph and Ruth become so much more than transactional support. Very quickly, Steph became Ruth’s confidante and sounding board. Steph helped in practical ways like simplifying and standardising calendars and taking on research projects. But it was really Steph’s extensive people management experience that helped Ruth improve and introduce processes, communications and documents across the business that have created the foundations for further growth.
At the end of Steph’s time with Viddyoze, she had also created a summary document for any future PA or EA in the business. This will save so much time going forward and allow any newcomer to get up to speed super quick, therefore delivering real value from day 1.
Steph said “Viddyoze was a superb first client for me. Ruth was a joy to work alongside and although the work began as very ‘admin based’ it was almost immediately obvious to me I could add significant value by sharing my experience and knowledge from 20 years working in HR for a big retailer. I was delighted to make a real difference and wish Viddyoze every success for the future.”
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