Steph Middleton-Foster has been named as Virtual Assistant of the Year in the West Midlands PA Awards and will use her win as a platform to help others who are hoping to embark on a career as a Virtual Assistant (VA).

However, Steph has been thrilled to learn that all of the other shortlisted nominees are members of the VA Professional Network that Steph herself runs. Steph is also Editor of digital magazine, VA Pro. Both feature on Facebook – VA Pro and VA Pro Associate Network. VA Professional offers valuable and much valued resources for other upcoming VAs and she is delighted to see her members flourishing.  The awards are a very important part of the industry. As business support specialists, Virtual Assistants are most often found behind the scenes and it is awards and accolades, such as the West Midlands PA Awards, that help to shine a light on the critical professional VA work that goes into making so many businesses in the UK a success.

Steph is a multiple award-winning Virtual Assistant and supports hundreds of micro businesses, alongside running her own hugely successful VA brand. Steph has always focused on those who are just getting started in the VA industry as well as supporting those who are already established as Virtual Assistants. The Virtual Assistant Industry motto is “collaboration not competition”, with many Virtual Assistants particularly drawn to this unique spirit of the industry. Steph has been given a real boost to see her fellow finalists are members of her industry network

Steph comments, “I am absolutely delighted to have been named the Virtual Assistant of the Year.  It’s an important milestone in my own journey, however it also affords me the opportunity to help the next generation of VAs to establish themselves in the industry. Discovering that my fellow finalists were all VAs who are members of VA Pro Network has shown me the strength and quality of our organisation and it’s potential to make a difference to the lives of others through sharing knowledge. For a VA, the Covid-19 crisis has meant that our time is now; there are hundreds of small innovative companies and entrepreneurs who need the help and support of a VA to thrive. I plan to continue to help both established and newcomer VAs to thrive and excel in this vibrant and rewarding industry.”

As a key influencer in the VA world, Steph understands only too well the barriers that can get in the way of success. She, herself, has faced many business challenges over the past decade, from exponential growth and success to a pandemic pivot. Steph’s experiences have taught her that this is an industry that is ready for development and also that she is keenly positioned to help those who are getting to grips with the possibilities for growth.

With many years of hands-on experience in delivering quality outcomes for clients, Steph is thrilled to use her award win to offer guidance to professional VAs. Steph’s dedication to the VA industry means that, rather than simply accepting the award, Steph will use it as both a catalyst to drive change and a springboard from where to inspire and support others from. With a VA network and a magazine already in place to support the industry, Steph will continue to raise awareness of VA roles and position VA as a career of choice.

Steph said, “Business practices have changed forever; the pandemic has shown that companies can work highly effectively from domestic homes, rather than pay costly office rent. The cornerstone for the new working from home model is the VA. The VA is the glue that ties the virtual workplace together. The VA model is the smart, agile way to operate in today’s business world, with VAs demonstrating their capacity, organisational nous and expertise across multiple clients. Winning this award motivates me to do even more for our community and I’m planning a series of meaningful events that will enable others to grow their own VA businesses.”

One of the first events that Steph plans is to leverage her numerous award wins to create a workshop to show VAs how to utilise positive publicity as marketing. You can find out more and book onto that event here.

Photo Credit: Edwin Ladd, Mr Ladd Media.