Take 5 minutes to sit down with your favourite hot drink for a chat with Winnie King

In 2016, Winnie was the Personal Assistant to the first ever appointed Director General of the House of Commons. Winnie founded and chaired the first Parliamentary Administrative Support Network created in 2017 and was also a committee member of the PA SW1 Network in London. Winnie started her parliamentary career as an Assistant in 2009 and prior to this, she worked for her local Education Authority with the Early Years Special Education Needs Team.

In 2021, Winnie joined forces with Samina Azam and together they created an emotional intelligence series ‘Penny for your Thoughts’ which has just finished its second year of monthly held virtual sessions. Winnie is currently working with Mace Group working on the HS2 Team Euston Project which is the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

Tell us about your current role?

I am the Executive Assistant to the Deputy Director and Director of Engineering for MaceDragados which is a joint venture delivering HS2 Station. I also support the Head of Engineering and our wider team which is about 60 people. Quite a big team and only one of me. Still, I am really enjoying my role and learning something new every day as this is a new industry for me to work in. My tasks are varied from diary management, management of meeting room bookings to co-chairing the LGBT+ workplace equality network for the project and leading a small working group on award nominations for the project.

Describe yourself in 5 words?

Hardworking, Reliable, Happy, Resilient and Caring

Tell us about your first BBO/Strategic PA Network experience? Can you remember your first event?*

I’m trying really hard to remember my first event. It may have even been an online one as it must have been during the pandemic. It was through Samina Azam who I was on an expert panel with at The PA Show back in January 2020. I have been to a number of network events and the feeling that I always have during and after I’m left is happiness and warmth. All the events I have attended either virtually or in person are always so special because of the people that run it, the speakers that they invite and the venues that they choose to host from. Everyone is so welcoming and you always come away with learnings, happy feelings and friendships. You are guaranteed hugs too so if you need one after a bad day at home or work then these are the events to go to.

What would you say to someone who has never been to a networking event before?

Everyone gets nervous about going to events and locations that they’ve never been before. I say, bite the bullet and just go. As Assistants, we are a very friendly and welcoming bunch, especially if you attend a Strategic PA Network event.

Why are you passionate about the Assistant / Business Support profession?

I absolutely love being an Assistant, it’s been my passion since doing my first admin role back when I was 19. I love how I get to interact with all different teams and colleagues from across an organisation. I am a natural born organiser and it gives me great joy when I see everyone’s happy faces in any event that I have organised. From bake sales to team away days to network events. I love bringing people together creating fun atmospheres where they can feel comfortable being their true selves.

What has been your greatest achievement to date in your career? What are you most proud of?

This is a hard question to give one answer to as I would say I am very proud of my whole parliamentary career whilst I was there. But I guess it has to be my role as Assistant to the Director General of the House of Commons. I thoroughly enjoyed my role and time with Ian, he trusted me to get on with my job and I was able to build up my career and network where he could see a visible difference. I am proud that I was his Assistant during his time in Parliament and helped him to keep sane from all the events that took place in such a unique place of work.

What charities do you support? Any upcoming fundraisers you would like to make your Assistant community aware of?

The charity that I have supported over the years is SleepOUT which is run by Centrepoint who provide homeless young people with accommodation, health support and life skills in order to get them back into education, training and employment. I’ve participated in 4 SleepOUT events where I have swapped my bed for a sleeping bag on the ground during the winter and gone straight to work the following day completely sleep deprived. A very worthwhile event to take part in with a great charity to raise for. I will be organising a team for 2023 so if anyone would like to join me this year, please do reach out.

What is your favourite festive pudding/main?

My favourite festive main has got to be the traditional roast dinner with ALL the trimmings. Always a mission to get the timings right when juggling cooking the meats, making Yorkshire Puds from scratch, steaming the veg, roasties yum yum yum. All very much worth it when you see all the empty plates after everyone has tucked in.

Thank you so much for your time Winnie, for those who’d like to connect with Winnie – please do! Her LinkedIn details are HERE.