Career Profile: Joanne Malcolm


This month’s profile is all about IAM Member, Joanne Malcolm.

1) Tell us a little about your career. 

My current role is PA to the Group Financial Controller at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA), the UK’s largest animal welfare charity.

2 ) How did your career start and where has your career taken you? 

I undertook several RSA typing/word processing qualifications when I was studying for a GNVQ Leisure & Tourism at College.  The GNVQ included modules used in any business such as Marketing, HR and Finance which has been useful during my career.

After leaving college, I started work as an Office Junior and have had a variety of administrative roles in both the private and charity sectors.

I joined the RSPCA in 2008 as a temporary administrator in the Human Resources Department.  I am fortunate to have had the opportunity of career development in several different roles within the organisation over the years.

3) What are the challenges you find in your workplace?

The RSPCA is a large organisation with staff at HQ and spread across England and Wales in animal centres and inspectors on the frontline which can make getting to know people quite difficult.   Embracing technology such as video conferencing and using online social communities/networks helps engagement and interaction with colleagues who are based in other parts of the country and encourages a feeling of community.

4) What are the challenges you find in your role? 

The biggest challenges are fast-changing priorities and diary management.  As a member of the executive leadership team, my manager has a lot of demands on her time and I am given the responsibility and trust by her to ensure her valuable time is well spent. 

5) What is the best advice you could give to someone in a similar role and how to progress

Having looked at my CV recently, I realised how fortunate I’ve been in the roles and managers I’ve had.  Almost all have encouraged my career and professional development.

Being a member of IAM has been so valuable in helping me realise the importance of learning and networking and has completely changed the way I view my career.

I think it is also important to find out your organisation’s business strategy and your manager’s objectives, as this will help you better support your executive.

6) What do you think the most important things are for people to develop in the current market? 

When I first started work my role consisted of audio and copy typing but that appears to have almost disappeared now as PAs take on more responsibility in supporting their executive.  Taking on new tasks and continually learning new skills is vital.

I feel the role of PA has moved with the times and technology.  The use of cloud-based services has completely revolutionised the way we work.  We are now enabled to work collaboratively in real-time from different locations and this is the way forward.

7) What do you feel your best achievements are? 

I think my current role is my best achievement to date.  I have a great working relationship with my manager, enjoy the work I do and am proud to work for an organisation that really makes a difference.

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