The Speakers

Lara Morgan

Lara Morgan is a British entrepreneur with a track record of delivering exceptional accelerated growth. Her investment strategy is pinned to improving life’s journey and she is currently  CEO/MD of a portfolio of seven consumer services businesses which she works with on a daily basis.

She is an inspirational leader with a legacy of building world-class teams and aligning organizations behind a clear strategy. Her specific expertise is in strategy, customer insight and brand development, multichannel and multisite management and organic or M&A / partnership driven expansion.

Lara has been a finalist in Ernst Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award three times and a finalist in the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year Award.  In 2009 Lara received the much coveted Cranfield University Entrepreneur Alumna Award.  She is a published author of the Amazon best-selling business book “More Balls Than Most” and is a co-founder of Start Up Britain.  Taking all this in her stride, she also manages to train for charity bike rides and triathlon and came 10th in the 2011 World Triathlon Championships in Beijing

On the day:
Lara, in her own words, relies on the help and support daily of a 4 strong, super star team of Personal Assistants that are situated across the Globe, Lara appreciates that without them she is at a standstill and having heard Lara deliver her motivational and inspirational talk ourselves and having shared her experiences across various global stages, we are in for an absolute treat. Lara shares her story of resilience, ambition and how she overcame massive obstacles in her journey to success.


Mel Wakeman

Mel is an independent and well-respected nutrition consultant. Appearing on National Radio and TV she is not afraid to go against the grain and say how it is. Prior to launching Wakeman Nutrition two years ago, Mel was a senior lecturer in Nutrition and Applied Physiology for over 22 years. She now provides a professional advice and consultancy service for businesses in addition to working with private clients.

Mel delivers educational workshops, awareness and action days, particularly for companies that want to develop their well-being agenda and engage their workforce in fun ways  to increase health and happiness in the workplace.

Mel also saves women from food rules, fad diets and nutrition nonsense using non-diet and intuitive eating approaches. Take a look at Mel's bio

On the day:
Work. Eat. Life. Balance
Life never seems to slow down. There are always balls to juggle called family, home, work, commuting, emails, meetings, money and health.
We 'never have enough time' to do everything so we let go of 'us'.
I imagine work and family come first? That preparing meals and eating well ends up way down the list of priorities. So, you make do, grabbing food on the go and not what you intended, but it's all you have time for. Want to find more time to eat more healthily and make more of the right choices? Learn why good nutrition is so important in your working day and get some simple strategies to help you re-prioritise food and eating better.


Lucy Brazier

Lucy Brazier is CEO of Marcham Publishing, specialist publishers of Executive Secretary – the global training magazine dedicated to the professional development needs of senior and aspiring administrative professionals.

As Founder and Publisher of the magazine, Lucy works with some of the best trainers of Executive Assistants in the world to deliver the most up to date and current training in the market. She campaigns tirelessly for the recognition of the PA role as a profession, speaking regularly to everyone from Blue Chip Executive Assistants on why it is important to become a centre of excellence within your company, to college students on choosing the role of PA as a career choice.

Lucy has a unique overview of the role and where it is heading. With access to the most forward thinking, passionate and knowledgeable trainers in the world as well as personally meeting and speaking to literally thousands of PAs over the last eight years, Lucy’s knowledge of the market and what Assistants all over the world are facing on a day to day basis are second to none.

On the day:
The role of the Executive Support has changed forever!
Are you ready to embrace that change and fulfil your potential?
In this session, Lucy Brazier looks at the role past, present and future to explain why it has developed how it has. She explores the opportunities that this creates for you to become a true Business Partner to your Executive including developing the partnership, establishing the ground rules, communication, adapting to style & maintaining a great partnership.


Rachel James-Patch

Rachel is a highly skilled, inspirational facilitator who brings a pragmatic approach to every development solution enabling individuals and teams to be both fulfilled and productive throughout their career

Experienced in the design, delivery and evaluation of a wide spectrum of development initiatives, specialising in Leadership skills, Talent management, Cultural change initiatives and Maximising performance.

Competent in adapting personal style and programme material to meet the needs of varied audiences Rachel is equally happy developing individuals through to facilitating large groups.

On the day:
There will be an interactive session to help you understand your how your behavioral preferences influence your effectiveness and interaction with others.


Elizabeth Wakeling

Elizabeth Wakeling is a Lecturer in Business Administration, Speaker and the UK Chairman of IMA – International Management Assistants, the leading PA network spanning more than 25 countries. Her main areas of expertise are business skills training, including Executive PA skills, career and personal development.

Prior to teaching Elizabeth worked as a PA/Office Manager for an artificial intelligence software company and as a bilingual PA for the CEO of a Venezuelan international company.

Elizabeth has a BA (Hons) in Education, is a qualified teacher and trainer and a member of the Society for Education and Training. Elizabeth’s academic research explored “The Experience of the Male PA”.

On the day:
As administrative tasks increasingly become automated, the PA role will enter into a new kind of partnership with machines to create a human-machine collaboration that will open up advanced growth and professional development opportunities.

Learning will be key – PAs and EAs must be prepared to continually reassess their skills and knowledge and develop and update them regularly.

In other words, the PA/EA of the future must be prepared to keep learning, training and make the best use of technologies. By being adaptable and developing key skills such as resilience, adaptability, resourcefulness, enterprise and cognitive skills, PAs/EAs will greatly improve their chances of success.


Paul Pennant

Since the company was founded in 2005, Today’s PA has always been focusing on providing highly practical training for PAs, EAs and other office professionals. Today’s PA was named “Best PA Training Provider in the UK” four years running, having been voted for by thousands of PAs in the Members’ Voice Awards 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017.

Paul started Today’s PA with a clear vision: to take his own experiences as a PA, office manager and business director and create training courses that meet the challenging real-world needs and aspirations of modern business professionals. Paul has personally taught PAs from over 4000 companies in over 80 countries around the world.

With the rapid advances in technology Paul has specialised in helping PAs to utilise this technology to save time and reduce stress. He covers Microsoft Office products at all levels. Paul is a Microsoft Office Specialist Master and has been invited to train PAs at Microsoft.

From the outset, Paul has been building an impressive client roster, which reads like a who’s who of globally-recognised brands and other high-profile organisations. He has trained PAs from Facebook, BT, Sky, KPMG, Barclays Bank, Selfridges, UK Ministry of Defence, Microsoft, Government of the Virgin Islands, Carphone Warehouse and many more.

Paul’s growing reputation and charismatic presentational style have already attracted invitations to speak at prestigious industry events such as Office Management & PA Show, The PA Show, Office*, various events of regional PA organisations.  Paul's wide communications experience really helps his students engage in what he teaches whether it be assertiveness, project management, minute writing or Microsoft skills.

On the day:
An enormous number of us, PAs, use the world’s most popular software Microsoft Office on a daily basis. Yet only a few of us can truly call ourselves masters. We tend to use familiar features and functions and ignore the rest.

Yes, we can send a group email but did you know you can also personalise each message through mail merge. Did you ever think of re-branding your presentations and documents in the exact colours of your company logo? And do we simply leave Excel of the equation because we feel it is really only for accountants?

Microsoft Office Certified Expert Paul promises to make you love Microsoft a little more again. You will learn how to use it effectively to produce amazing professional documents, spreadsheets and presentations, and with the use of our breath-taking shortcuts, it needn’t take you hours!


Matthew Hammond

As PwC's Midlands Region Chairman, Matthew leads a team of over 1,700 from offices in Birmingham, East Midlands & Milton Keynes.

He was previously West Region Chairman for PwC (2013-15). He lead the PwC's Deals businesses including Business Recovery Services (‘BRS’) his practising specialism, in the Midlands (2005-13) and West (2013-15), and now across the Midlands and North (2017 - 2018).

He is the Independent Senior Partner to a number of high profile and fast growing clients. He is a Board level adviser with transnational experience across a broad range of sectors including industrial manufacturing, real estate, retail, banking and consumer products.

On the day:
We put your questions to and hear from Matthew about how PwC see the ever changing and developing roes within their internal PA communities and where he sees the role will progress for the future.


Jayne Forgham

We welcome Birmingham PA Awards Category winner and Personal Assistant Jayne Forgham of PwC along with Matthew Hammond Midlands Regional Chairman PwC, due to move into brand new premises within the City, PwC has demonstrated a multitude of flexible positions offering Office based and Virtual opportunities along with supporting a vast internal network, we hear from both Jayne and Matthew as to how their relationship has evolved and where do they see the ever changing role of a PA in the future?

Jayne said “Over the last fifteen years working at PwC, I have witnessed the role of a PA changing significantly. Daily tasks and responsibilities have been varied during the progression of my career, along with many technological challenges and changes! The secretarial community has so much to offer, from communication and organisational skills to using their initiative and discretion. We are often the link to clients and benefit from our extensive networks. I am delighted to join the panel at the Birmingham PA Forum Learning and Development Conference 2019, as an experienced PA and as a category winner at the Birmingham PA Awards 2018

On the day:
Joining industry experts on the Q&A panel, Jayne will share her experience and opinion about the ever changing role of a PA as we put her questions to you and see what her predictions are for the future.


Hannah Smith

Hannah made the move from PA to Virtual Assistant in 2017 and hasn't looked back since.  Prior to this, Hannah was Executive Assistant to the CEO of a National Charity and had been in post for over 12 years.

When the charity relocated, Hannah took the opportunity to reassess her career and consider the things she valued most. This led to her swapping the traditional office PA/EA role for a more flexible VA position, enabling her to continue in a career she loved whilst having more time for her family.

Since starting with Designated PA, Hannah has worked for a number of different clients in diverse industries, allowing her to pick up new skills and extend her knowledge base. Early this year Hannah won the #inspiration category at the Bham PA Awards.

On the day:
Hannah will be joined by Jane Braithwaite the Founder of Designated PA to talk all things virtual and how to make a successful transition from PA to VA.


Andrew Jardine

Andrew started in an administrative role in the Civil Service before eventually realising his passion is for training and staff development. He qualified as a trainer and has since delivered to all levels of staff and management in the public, private and voluntary sectors in the last 20+ years.

 He loves that his current role, as General Manager of the Institute of Administrative Management (IAM), lets him work with organisations and individuals who share his dedication for raising professional standards and helping others to learn new skills, develop existing ones and progress in their chosen profession.

The IAM is one of the oldest management institutes in the UK, having inspired professional business managers and administrators since 1915. Their purpose is to champion professionals in the fields of administration and management and to provide benefits and services that support members’ professional and career development.

Their benefits are in four areas; Recognition, Community, Information and Professional Development. For more information contact

On the day:
This session focuses on the most common challenges of being a project manager, and is designed for part-time project managers, and those PMs who manage smaller projects.  You will learn: key tools and techniques to development your PM skills; hints & tips to help you overcome the key challenges; and the importance of the PM triangle.


Hannah Cowell

Winning ‘Newcomer of the Year’ has to be one of the most amazing and memorable experiences of my life.  I joined J W Hinks Chartered Accountants in February 2017 and have really enjoyed supporting the Partners and becoming an instrumental part of the team.

I aspired to support them in a way that gives time back to them and even though I had no previous experience in this role my enthusiasm and aspirations led to my manager and one of the Partners nominating me for the ‘Aspiration - Newcomer of the Year’ award.   It was a real honour to be nominated for this category and I am so thankful for the recognition and support.  Throughout the whole process everyone was so supportive and without their encouragement and support, I think my nerves would of got the better of me.

That’s the great thing about the PA Forum, it’s all about supporting and encouraging one another, recognition and celebrating each other’s achievements.  I struggled with my confidence but the whole process has taught me to push myself out of my comfort zone and embrace every opportunity.  At each stage of the process I was so nervous, but Daniel and the rest of the awards committee were so warm and encouraging and this helped relieve any anxieties I had.  In fact they made me feel fantastic, they treated all the finalists like superstars.

The whole experience was amazing and the awards night was the icing on the cake. It really had the wow factor and was fantastic on every level.  When I heard my name as they announced the winner, I was completely overwhelmed and cried, but these were tears of joy.  I am so proud of my award and what it stands for and I recommend anyone who is considering self-nomination to do it.  What’s the worst that can happen, but most importantly what’s the best that can happen?

On the day:
Here Hannah’s story throughout the Awards process, how she felt from application to award, what the process has meant to her and what has happened in her career 6 months on


Mandy Hickson

Mandy Hickson’s long-time ambition to be a Royal Air Force pilot once seemed impossibly out of reach; but many a multi-million pound fast jet later, her impressive flying career proves that obstacles can be overcome to achieve dreams. Now a civilian, Mandy inspires others to achieve their goals and fascinates with anecdotes from her exhilarating times spent on the front line.

Stressing the need to remain calm under pressure, leading from the front, and how to make strategic decisions when faced with risk, Mandy shares how to communicate, empower and how to draw the best from herself and others.  She never fails to engage audiences with her candour, humour and limitless energy.

On the day:
We welcome Mandy as Keynote speaker, having heard first hand Mandy’s talk she inspires, motivates and is a true ambassador for women in business


Tickets now available so click the booking button below.

If you would like more information or have any questions please contact Daniel Skermer


Get the latest news on events, competitions and offers from Birmingham PA Forum

Birmingham PA Forum will use the information you provide on this form to be in touch with you and to provide updates and marketing. You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or by contacting us at