Strictly Recruitment By: Strictly Recruitment -

Shining the Spotlight

This week we caught up with Tanya Kuhrt from the Essex PA network. Tanya talks us through the motivations behind the network, upcoming events and where they see the group developing in the future.

So what is the Essex PA network?

We are a network of business support professionals made up of PAs, Executive Assistants, Virtual Assistants and Office Managers who get together regularly for training and development events, to exchange ideas and promote the profile of these roles. Some of our events are free and some paid. We are a not for profit organisation and after paying our expenses such as website hosting and speakers fees, any profits go to charity.

What was the reason / motivation behind setting the network up?

Essex PA Network began from an idea to help connect those in the Essex region where training and development is often hard to source locally at an affordable level.

The driving forces behind it were Julia Robertson-Avenell and co founder Karen Glenn who wanted to deliver events like this to those who were not able to get to London.  Our training often focuses on wellbeing in the workplace which is such an important issue and one we are very keen to highlight. We’ve  been able to grow the Network by networking outside of our own peer group, social media and attending other industry events.

Who is behind the Network?

The founding committee members in 2016 were Julia Robertson-Avenell, Contractor Relationship Manager at Hays Life Sciences, and Karen Glenn, Executive Assistant at Colt Data Services. Both are award winners with many years experience. I joined the Network in 2017 when I was still a Virtual Assistant (VA) although I am now an Executive Assistant and Office Manager. We now also have a fourth member who has just joined us, Francisca Kozijn  who is a Senior Operations Manager and Office Manager. Each of us help the Network in different ways. For example the skills I gained as a VA mean I mainly concentrate on the marketing side and Julia’s experience in sales allow her to reach out to speakers, venues and industry leaders.

Who are your members, and is just for people in Essex?

We welcome all office professionals to our events, from the most junior admin assistant to high flying private PAs. That’s really important because for junior office workers, for example, coming to our events exposes them to all kinds of people, trainers and career development specialists who could be potential role models and mentors – or perhaps simply inspire them. In the longer term this could really help in their careers. And no, despite our name we welcome support staff from everywhere – we would never turn someone away! In fact we are actually holding our first event in London on 10th July. It might seem odd but it makes sense for two reasons – firstly although they may live in Essex many of our members work in London, and secondly it’s great exposure for us and an opportunity to grow the Network. We will have some more events in London going forward but we will continue to have events in Essex too.

What initiatives / events have you had and got in the pipeline?

Our last two events were training evenings held in Essex. In our February training event at The Warren Golf and Country Club, mental health expert Sadie Hopson spoke about Staying Mentally Healthy in a Modern World. We are really excited about our next event as it’s our first to be held in London, and our first ever Summer Party at 7pm on Wednesday 10th July . There are a limited number of tickets left, which you might nab if you are quick by clicking here! Coming up in September we have a training and development evening as well as one or two other things up our sleeve. You can keep updated by signing up for our newsletter on our website.

What are your hopes for the future, where do you see the network going?

We’d like to expand the network and be instrumental in the development of our members and followers, delivering useful training sessions as well as fun social events. It would be great to be known as the network which champions mental health issues as it’s something close to all our hearts. And of course, we would like to raise more money for charity. We are still quite small at the moment but the sky’s the limit!


For more information on the network see the following links:

Summer Party:

Sign up to their newsletter:

Facebook Page and Group:


Twitter: @EssexPANetwork

Julia Robertson-Avenell:

Karen Glenn:

Tanya Kuhrt:

Francisca Kozijn:

Published by Strictly Recruitment

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