The Savvy Assistant

Profiling Donna Coulling: Rachel Weisz & Helena Bonham Carter’s Brilliant British PA

September 20th, 2012 · 3 Comments · Celeb Assistants

Over joyed to profile a  Stellar Assistant from across the Pond!  Donna is such an inspiration…TOP Notch assistant, working mom, style setter, foodie, blogger extraordinaire, entrepreneur and just adorable overall!

What more could you want?

So listen up PA’s, this one knows what she’s talki’n about!

LH: How did you become a personal assistant & did you have prior experience as one?

Donna: I trained as an actor so no, no experience. I got a book out of the library to teach myself to type (between acting jobs), and thank goodness I did! The rest I learned on the job.

I’ve always been incredibly organized without having to try too much and when I stopped getting any acting roles and took on some ‘proper’ work, i.e. talent agent assistant, production secretary for a film company and production secretary for ‘The Graduate’ when it was on in the West End I found that I had skills (organizational, common sense aka ‘savvy’ ;-) ) that I wanted to have utilized.

Image Credit: Donna Coulling

I literally wrote to 12 agents offering my services as a freelance PA for any of their clients coming to work in the UK or needed someone in London – I didn’t really know if there was a real job in it, but thankfully there was and I’ve been in it for over 11 years now.

LH:  What are 2 places in London the average tourist must check out but only a local would know about?

Donna:

1}Stand up on top of Primrose Hill and see the London skyline (for free!).


2}Do the Jack the Ripper walking tour in the city – it’s brilliant!

Image Credit: londonaudiowalks.com

LH:  How do you balance motherhood, seminars & blogging so well while being a mega assistant to several top entertainers? I’m fascinated, curious & envious!

Donna: I thrive on being busy and that every day is different, my time-management is pretty good (also my juggling…!). I try to work between my school run which is important to me, my daughter is only 6 and I’m very aware of how precious this time is.

Image Credit: Donna Coulling

My client’s also have families so know the times that are less easy to talk, however I’m available on text and email if a conversation is tricky i.e. whilst doing homework with my daughter, etc.

I enjoy blogging, I’ve always written a bit here and there and I love the whole social scene that sites like twitter and facebook have – particularly in the PA industry – I find we are all very supportive of each other and genuinely try to help each other out – for instance on my last trip to New York last month you very kindly put me in touch with some uber PA’s, it’s great to meet someone you’ve been tweeting/facebooking for months in the flesh!

Image Credit: Donna Coulling

My seminars came from people asking how I do the job I do and if they could do the same, I’m very fortunate in that I have a job I’m passionate about and I really want to help others find the same and also to be the best in that job they can be, hence my sharing services I find that I think are gems on my site, restaurants/hotels – they are all places I personally recommend and want to share with others.

I also present around once a month on the shopping channel QVC which gives me the chance to do something that I originally trained to do… clearly I love variety in my day!

Image Credit: QVC

LH:  In the US, it is typical for an asst. to not go on a vacation {Holiday as you call it} & work 24/7. Since Europeans are known {& we are so jealous!} for taking longer & more “Holidays”, is that also customary/encouraged for UK assistants as well?


Donna: Oh yes, I know, I feel for you. Yes, customarily we all have 4 weeks holiday in the UK if you’ve been in a job longer you can negotiate extra holiday days too.

LH:  I’m a total foodie & love asking about it! What are a couple of typical English healthy breakfast options before starting your busy work day?

Donna: I’m a total foodie also (a veggie one) which is why I’m really enjoying reviewing restaurants! I take a meat-eater with me of course and then I sample all the veggie dishes… I digress, breakfast for me is usually hot water and lemon (wakes up the system) followed by a soy protein shake with banana and strawberries.

Image Credit: Donna Coulling

At the weekend when I have more time it is more likely French toast, Greek yogurt, mixed berries and decaf macchiato.

Image Credit: Ultimate-guide-to-greek-food.com

The biggest compliment will come from your Employer.  What Helena Bonham Carter has to say of Donna {courtesy of Fanpop.com}:

Image Credit: Fan pop

Donna Coulling has been my personal assistant for ten years and secretly I wish that she’ll stay forever because I’m not sure I could function without her. Everyone should have a Donna in their lives. She is my fairy godmother: every wish gets granted. From filing, correspondence, bills, and dealing with the monotonous and never-ending maintenance of house and household, from fixing everything that breaks down to making up for all my incompetence (particularly in the breaking down department) Ocado, pet sitting, there is little that Donna cannot do. “Superdon” is her nickname. She is supersonically efficient, – I’ve never had to ask her to do anything twice, in fact I barely have to ask once before its done, she has thoughtful initiative, is consistently cheery, has a lovely manner with people, utterly professional in a job where lines could get blurred, fun, discreet, and basically perfect. I would trust her with my life. In fact I do.

OMG, another one. Rachel Weisz on the Rocki’n Donna:

“Donna is a trouble-shooter. She thinks of everything that could possibly go wrong BEFORE it goes wrong, and that’s what makes her great. She is always full of good cheer and pep, and organises everything with charm and ease and total professionalism. She keeps many balls in the air at the same time, and makes it look effortless (which of course it isn’t). She is a total joy to work with and I count myself very lucky to have her in my life”.

 

 

Find out what seminars Donna offers for PA’s, her favorite restaurants, style & travel tips & a GALORE of brilliant info. at www.donnacoulling.com

Image Credit: Donna Coulling

 

Follow Donna on Twitter: @DCPAgirl or Facebook {click link}

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Tags: ····

3 Comments so far ↓

Leave a Comment