Julie Ivason, PA to Tim White, CEO and Matthew Renshaw, COO of leading Pan-African construction solutions company Profica was awarded the prestigious title of South Africa’s PA of the Year 2020 on Secretaries Day, Wednesday 2nd September. She received the accolade at a hybrid event organized by the Professional Association for Secretaries (PAFSA) at The Focus Rooms new venue in Modderfontein.
On receiving the title, Ivason said: “I am humbled and grateful to receive this incredible award, clearly one of the most significant events of my professional career. I would like to say a special thank you to my PAFSA family, the judges and sponsors for your hard work in making this yet another successful event. Thank you to my CEO Tim White and my company Profica family for their support, not forgetting my husband and family who have supported me throughout this journey. To my PAOTY Tribe 2020, your support has been amazing during these past few intense weeks, thank you.”
Ivason shared her message for others in her role, “The nature of our role not only shapes one in character and professionalism, but will certainly leave a legacy for those we inspire as leaders of influence and authority. As an Executive Assistant, I wear many hats and have to really understand the business to provide the best support to my Executives. We are expected to think ahead, communicate up, look down, stay balanced and make things happen. We are the backbones, the innovators, the task-doers, the culture-keepers, the encyclopedias, the workaholics, and about a thousand more roles. Do it all with a wink and a smile! The passion with which you do this will liberate others to do the same.” She concluded with a quote from Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”
On hearing the news, Profica CEO Tim White said, “We’re proud of every achievement of our company, and also the individual achievements of the dynamic people who form part of the Profica team. This is an awesome accolade for Julie, who works so hard to keep us organised and really goes that extra mile! Her warmth and openness just shines through as she supports Matthew and myself and serves our diverse teams and clients across Africa and internationally. Julie is switched on and lives the Profica values of integrity, teamwork, knowledge-sharing, excellence and of course – foresight! All PAs need to know how to see around corners, and Julie certainly does.”
Organizers of the Award say that this recognition is critical both for the incumbents of any profession, as well as for the profession itself. Any profession, and the secretarial one is no different, enjoys and benefits of being recognized for the role it plays in the market space, but the professionals themselves benefit far more from the recognition and praise because they will ensure the survival of that profession and its evolution.
In South Africa, the PA of the Year Award clearly sets standards; raises standards and elevates the excellence bar of the secretarial and Admin profession. This year it was particularly significant because PAs had to adjust virtually overnight to offering unfailing support to executives and teams away from the office and work with new apps and software that made it all possible for all to stay on the same page – physically apart but technologically linked 24×7.
The event was a historic one as it was partly online and partly present at Focus Rooms and was broadcast on various social media platforms simultaneously having reached well over 2000 views from PAs nationally and worldwide.
PAFSA thanks all the sponsors for their support, one of which was from the USA, international trainer Bonnie Low-Kramen who offered a scholarship to the new title-bearer worth R24 000.00 to attend an online professional development course. Julie Ivason and the finalists also received vouchers to attend a Masterclass from JBS and were also showered with gifts from various organizations who despite these tough economic times came forward to recognize these top PA’s achievements.
The hybrid event is a sign of the future and was made possible with the combined expertise of Focus Rooms, AV active and AMVIRAL.