They say that behind every great man is a smart, multi-tasking super efficient PA; at least that’s what we say at the ACES event.  Okay, I know that once might have meant “woman” but not every PA or admin assistant is female these days, and not every boss is male.

The majority of the PAs, executive secretaries and other admin support staff – most of whom have a role to play in the organising of events – who attend the ACES event every year are predominately female but times have changed and in these days of equality for all, I’m delighted to say that we do get some male delegates and their numbers are increasing every year.

ACES – or Awarding & Celebrating Excellence in Scotland to give it its proper name – is quite unique in that it’s the only event in Scotland that recognises and rewards the skills and achievements of hard-working PAs and other administrative support in the workplace.

I have been involved in ACES since its inception 10 years ago and this year I’m proud to be chairing the event as well as judging.  Year after year, the quality of the nominees gets better and the task of narrowing down all the nominees to the final three becomes more and more difficult for me and my fellow judges.  In fact, it was such a hard task this year that for the first time, we have four finalists. This speaks to the level of entries we had this anniversary year.

It’s always heartening to read the fabulous nominations written by very grateful bosses and the message is consistent throughout – they couldn’t do their job without the hard work, dedication and support of their PA/admin staff.

ACES, which is partnering with Scottish Rugby Hospitality, may seem like a typical conference until you look at the structure and content of the day.  It’s a ‘one-stop-shop’ of learning (and fun!) and unlike most “death by speaker” events, ACES is completely geared towards those talented PAs and executive secretaries who want to upskill and make progress in their careers.  Every speaker or workshop encourages delegates to get involved and interact, and that creates a dynamic and exciting atmosphere – we want our delegates to leave thinking that one day they’ll be the boss, nominating their own PA for an award.

Organisers Mackay Hannah always ensure that delegates stay around after the work element of the day has ended by serving champagne & cocktails and having market stalls situated throughout the venue.  Not only do the stalls sell a variety of items from handbags and jewellery to luxury items like Benefit, Clinique and Pure Spa, but delegates have a chance to win some of these products in various prize draws.

Therapists are also on hand to administer massages and other treatments after a busy day; it’s not quite the usual offering at a conference but all of these elements combined help make ACES such a unique and successful event year after year.

Joan Serafini, Managing Director & Chair of ACES 2017
Equator Events & Public Affairs

What: ACES 2017
When: Friday, June 23
Where: BT Murrayfield
Contact: More details can be found at or by contacting Gail at or on 0131 556 1500

Synopsis: Conference, exhibition and award providing a one-stop-shop for learning, development, knowledge sharing and networking.  The focus of the 10th anniversary conference is on managing and promoting work place change, developing professional skills and achieving more personally in the next decade.