KHPeople: Wendy Clark
Wendy tells us about the variety of business support enquiries, the importance of learning, and making sure you always have backup options.
What is your role within King’s Health Partners?
My role within King’s Health Partners (KHP) is as Executive Assistant to Dr Claire Mallinson, Director of KHP Education & Training, and a Business Support Officer to the central team at KHP.
The Business Support team is the engine room of much of the work that KHP undertakes. We support projects, events, meetings, and help teams with any logistical issues to ensure every day runs smoothly.
In my role with Dr Claire Mallinson and the Education & Training team, I manage Claire’s diary and support her day-to-day schedule between her King’s Health Partners role and her clinical role at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust (NHS FT).
I also support the wider Education & Training team and the KHP Central team with any Business Support needs. One of my main project responsibilities is organising the Academic Foundation Programme for Junior Doctors, who come to the KHP Office once a month for lectures on various subjects that align with their academic programme.
In my role as part of the Business Support team we provide everything from being your IT specialist to your printer fixer and everything in between. We will try to help with all enquiries.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I love the variety that the Business Support role brings to KHP. I really enjoy how the team has such a wealth of knowledge regarding both the central offices and other KHP project sites which helps KHP to function and run efficiently. It may not seem like much, but being able to help or support anyone from the team with the smallest of requests and sharing my knowledge makes me proud.
In my role as an EA I enjoy organising and supporting my Director to provide the best service they can, ensuring they have everything they need before attending or hosting a meeting or event. When the going gets tough and a potential crisis occurs it’s often the EA that has already thought of that second or third option. We will always do our best to ensure they can go into any meeting with a confident smile, and the knowledge that their EA has everything in hand and will come up trumps for them when needed!
Being that person brings me a sense of achievement - although we may be pulling our hair out behind the scenes ourselves! You feel a real sense of pride that you have pulled something out the bag that seemed totally impossible.
What inspired you to get into this work?
I will have to admit that if you had said to me in my early 20s that I would be sitting at a desk working from a computer I would probably have scoffed at the suggestion!
I fell into this field of work by accident. I was a professional dancer and went to Italia Conti Performing Arts Academy in London during my late teens and early 20s. My dream of working on cruise ships and in West End shows was diminished when I had a very serious injury.
A friend of mine knew I had to change my career and so put me forward for a role as a receptionist. I got the job and it all went from there.
I have been extremely lucky in that the places where I have worked have supported me to train internally with mentors, and I have been able to undertake courses allowing me to improve my skills. I have also been a mentor myself to junior PA's which has been a real inspiration to me.
I have now been in EA and support roles since I was 24 and I love what I do. I hope to help inspire the next generation too, letting them know that this is a varied and valuable role that can take you anywhere and into any sector.
What are the benefits of working in partnership?
The benefits are that you get to engage with a wide and diverse range of people from different sites and different backgrounds. You get to see how each area works and you adapt your styles accordingly.
You can also develop good working relationships and friendships with colleagues in our other sites within the partnership, which provides a wide range of resources to support our work. If one site isn’t available for a meeting or able to cater for your team’s needs, then you can always ask another partnership site. You have more options to make something work for your team which makes my role easier.
What would be your one career top tip?
One of my top career tips would be that if you would like to be an EA/PA or Business Support Officer make sure and that you are always looking out for your team – even if it’s to make sure they are fed and watered! Sometimes just making a good quality cup of tea or coffee can make a huge difference to someone’s day.
My second would be to learn, learn, and learn – knowledge is power! You can never have enough knowledge to be the best you can be in your role. Good communication is always vital to ensure you work well with your team and your Director. The EA/PA/Business Support Officer role is forever changing with new and adapted ways of working, new technology and changes in job role specifications. If you can always be one step ahead of things then you are halfway there!