5 mins with a Top PA
Time for our monthly 5 minutes with a Top PA feature -
this month is Lilly Barton, PA at Whistles
What do you love most about your job?
I think it's important within your career to find out what you
like and what works for you. I have worked in corporate
environments and now know that isn't for me. I have finally found a
company in which I feel incredibly fulfilled yet challenged. The
most important thing for me is to work for a company you're
inspired by, a company you believe in. Working at Whistles has
proven that to me. It's imperative to enjoy what you do, There are
four boxes for me, the role itself, the people you work with,
culture of the company and progression. I love seeing the product
from the initial stages with the design team to the final stages.
It's exciting to be sitting at your desk and see a beautiful
leather jacket in its second stages of sampling rush by and wonder
what the final version will be. I sit very near the design team
which is incredibly exciting. It's inspiring to see them designing
and what prints, fabrics and cuts the next Whistles season will
What are the three things you couldn't do your job
A busy day! For me personally, I thrive off being busy and
juggling lots of things at once it's a challenge and that's vital
within a role. It's fulfilling leaving the office knowing that you
have crossed numerous things off your list for the day. A sense of
humour is always needed within a PA role, whilst juggling plates
one will fall every so often so is important to be able to shake it
off and learn from it. And finally green tea, I would be
hard-pressed to go through my day without one, I usually drink 11
or so a day.
What do you think makes a good PA?
Building relationships is paramount. You can be good at your job
but without a firm ground with the people you work with its
pointless. You are there to enjoy yourself to so the more you
invest yourself the better. You've got to be personable and to know
how to communicate with different levels of seniority. Being a PA
you have to be 3 steps ahead and hold all the answers. It's an
exciting and empowering role that people come to you for the
What's in your handbag right now?
Makeup case, card holder, hairbrush, matches from Automat,
moleskin diary, house keys, paperclips, hair grips, dry shampoo,
Mac Lipstick, green tea teabags, Burberry perfume, iPhone charger,
Women who run with wolves book, bottle of water and a Twix.
What has been the craziest task you have ever been asked
to do by your boss?
My first job was working in Property Management, one day a new
tenant moved into a beautiful house and was horrified to find there
were worms in the outdoor plant pots on the patio, I remember so
clearly walking round with a plastic bag and having to pick these
worms out of the plant pots. Horrific, although, it has always been
a good story to tell in interviews when asked how I go above and
What's your lunch time routine?
I don't have a lunchtime routine! Although I never miss lunch.
We usually all start making our lunch together in the kitchen, the
office is very sociable and this is always the perfect time to
catch up with everyone. Although on Friday's its 'Chicken Fridays'
from the pub across the road which is always a good end to the
Who has been your greatest influence?
I wouldn't say there is a particular person. I am inspired
by women who hold their own, who are driven and succeed whilst
being personable and kind. I think people feel to get to the top
you have to be cut throat and tough. It's inspiring to see women
who are confident and comfortable with themselves. Who know what
they want and are open to change and new direction whilst having a
voice and standing by that.
What do you do after a stressful day?
I live fairly close to work so if it's been a stressful day I tend
to walk home. It is a beautiful walk through primrose hill and a
refreshing way to end the day. I've started to take an interest in
cooking (finally and with much relief to my mother) so will attempt
to cook or
go out for dinner. I think exercise is incredibly good for the
mind so try to walk to and from work as much as possible.
What are your tips for being a top PA?
Know how you work. Everyone is different in how they structure
their day and fulfil the role. Find out what works best for
you. Be confident in that and be kind to yourself!