Claire is our Passionate PA based in Ringwood. She joined us in January 2018 after a very successful corporate career.
In this personal blog, Claire shares insight into why she felt she had to resign from her role with an investment bank, and the damage that transition did to her confidence. She also talks openly though about the “best decision ever” – joining The Passionate PA and building the flexible business she’d always dreamed of.
Our franchisor, Kate Chastey, said “In 2023, Claire is celebrating 5 years as a Passionate PA – and we are delighted to say she will be with us for at least another 5 too after resigning her Franchise Agreement! Claire is one of the most diligent, hard working and inspirational people I know. She’s a multitasker extraordinaire.”
Is there life after the corporate world?
Before having children, I had a great career with a well-known investment bank. I ran a fantastic team of people, worked with prestigious clients worldwide, I earnt good money – life was good and I loved it.
But, when my husband and I started a family, my whole world turned upside down… I returned to a part-time role with the bank, but I was not prepared for the lack of sleep and feeling torn in so many directions. I shifted between feeling very grateful and overwhelmingly guilty every single day.
I could no longer commit to the long hours (and nor did I want to) and most devastatingly for me, I felt that I was looked upon differently by my colleagues and some friends. My personal identity was so connected to my successful career, finding a ‘new me’ was very hard.
The Difficult Decision
This was one of the toughest times in my life, so making the decision to resign from the bank after my second son was born was the right thing to do but equally, truly terrifying for me. I’d been in the corporate world for nearly 20 years… what if no one else would employ me? What if I couldn’t find a fulfilling role to fit around my family life? What if my previous zest for life never returned?
So many doubts hung in my mind, but I had faith that this was the end of a chapter and, when I was ready, I could start something new. Resigning gave me time to be a mum and enjoy my children whilst they were really young – and also time to think clearly about what I wanted life to look like.
What could be next?
I took a few years out, more than I planned, and so I began to feel restless and unfulfilled. Don’t get me wrong, being a Mum is a privilege, but I wanted, no needed, to work. I need to be ‘Claire’ again – the whole me, not ‘just Mum’.
I knew I needed to feel valued and respected, to be able to use my skill set and experience but it seemed that at every option I explored meant I either had no choice but return to full-time employment or take a much lower paid, unfulfilling role.
Finding my sparkle again
As fate would have it, I was approached at school pick-up one day and asked if I would consider taking on the role of Chair of the PTA. No one else would take on the responsibility and that meant an important part of the school would disappear. I couldn’t let this happen, so I eagerly accepted the voluntary role and began to work hard organising and planning the fund-raising activities for the year ahead.
I threw myself into the PTA, resurrected my business brain and discovered that I loved event management, organising, analysing costs and expenses, and much more! This put fire in my belly again and I loved every minute of it. It gave me back my confidence and I was thrilled to significantly increase the profit for the events I ran which led to the purchase of iPads for the school which I am particularly proud of.
Fate strikes again…
Nearly a year in, at the end of one of our meetings, the PTA accountant told me that I must reach out to Kate Chastey from The Passionate PA, saying that I would be a perfect fit!
I was intrigued…
I’d never been a PA, I had a PA myself in my previous role but when I started looking into the franchise, I discovered that the possibilities were endless! My traditional view of a PA was not the same as a freelance Passionate PA. My goodness, the skill sets within the team were vast, the clients they were all working with excited me and the potential to earn great money whilst working flexibly was second to none!
After that first meeting with Kate, I knew that I’d found something truly special. The idea that I could start my own business, with superb experience, guidance and support right behind me, was something I had only dreamed of.
I’ve always had a passion for entrepreneurship and the idea of being my own boss was close to my heart. My Dad has always run his own business, very successfully, and I grew up admiring his work ethic and the sheer passion for what he does. I talked this franchise opportunity through with him and my husband and so my journey as a Passionate PA began!
That was 2018
I’m five years in now and I can honestly say that I LOVE my work! This was without a doubt the best decision that I have ever made professionally; I run a successful business that lights me up inside. I get to work with awesome clients who are now friends too. I choose when I work and with whom and I can use my corporate experience to help my clients grow and expand their businesses which is really fulfilling.
I’m also continuously learning and so the challenges and opportunities are super. To date, I’ve worked in the manufacturing sector, with coaches and trainers, with charities, wellness ambassadors, private clients in Dubai, peer groups, marketing and SEO and many more. A true highlight was with a client in the beauty industry – helping with collaborations with Marie Claire and L’Oreal! I love how varied my work is and how much I can help clients achieve their dreams too.
Best decision ever!
Being a franchisee gives me the best of both worlds. I have the unwavering support of my franchisor, Kate Chastey, who not only believed in me but has encouraged and supported me every step of the way to build a business on my terms.
Team Passionate PA has an impressive selection of commercially savvy and ambitions women. We all have different types of expertise and experience and work together to support and encourage one another, whilst having a lot of fun too!
Being able to offer my clients the experience shared across the team is priceless and enables me to offer an exemplary service which I am incredibly proud of.
So, is there life after the corporate world – hell yes! And it’s better than you can imagine.
You can find out more about Claire by clicking here!
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