ASSISTENTE-DIREZIONE.IT: Hi Vincenzo, if you were asked to describe yourself in 3 lines, what would you write?
VINCENZO IANNIELLO: I would describe myself as extremely curious. Professionally speaking, I would add punctual, focused and I pay scrupulous attention to detail. Lastly, from a personal point of view, I am friendly, easy going and helpful.
AD: What brought you to the UK?
VI: Many are the reasons that pushed me to move to London, but mainly that I had a profound sense of disillusion. I was frustrated by my job at the time and my career prospects, disillusioned by the political and cultural situation and disappointed by my romantic relationships. It was my ‘Waterloo’ moment. One day in London was enough to convince me that it was about time to get a grip on my life and stop being overcome by these events. Sadly, Italy is not the ideal country to live in for many young people. I have just read that a documentary about my nation is coming out soon called “Love it or leave it”. It is very sad indeed.
AD: For which company do you currently work and what’s your job like?
VI: Currently I work as a PA to a well established businessman who has interests in technology, tourism and leisure etc. I work Monday to Friday from 9:30 til 6 but am requested to be available 24/7. When someone asks what my job is like, I reply that I deal with making cappuccinos to revising contracts, without forgetting to supervise household staff, diary management and to attend or hold meetings. It is the kind of job which you never get bored of, and by doing it I have the chance to meet people and travel. I really feel I am cut out for this job and although it fulfils me, I still have a lot to learn.
AD: How did you become a Personal Assistant and what is your previous professional experience?
VI: I unintentionally became a PA, because even though I used to work as an Office Manager and a PA in Italy I wasn’t really aware of my position as the job title is not so common there. For example, when I was working in a notary office in Rome, I spontaneously took over some Office Manager duties and dealt with my colleagues’ requests on behalf of my boss. I often happened to manage my boss’s diary and act as his PA. Only when I moved to London did I have the chance to thrive in this field and pursue it as a career. It certainly helped working for Stonewall in the Public Affairs department until I found my first job as an ‘official’ PA.
AD: What software do you use most for your job and which one is more effective in your opinion?
VI: I generally use the standard office software such as Word, Excel etc. My job requires being able to speak over the phone and to utilise a Blackberry and new forms of communications like Skype, Messenger, email account providers etc. Currently my boss is the global distributor for a new technology called AirCode and so I am required to use iPods, iPhones, iPads etc. When you are a PA your boss asks for a general knowledge of the most innovative and trendy gadgets, so knowing Microsoft Office is the minimum but what makes the difference is being really tech savvy.
AD: What kind of deadlines do you have to meet in your current position and how do you prioritise your work? Do you use a specific system?
VI: Generally speaking I don’t have deadlines because everything has to be done immediately. I try to be responsive as soon as I get a task but this is not always possible. I use a diary and an electronic calendar in which I put all the tasks to follow up until they are accomplished. Only when they are done do I remove them from my diary. Deciding which duty to give priority to is a little bit trickier. I base my decision on the knowledge I have of my boss. After a year working together I know what he wants and when: yesterday or maybe even the day before yesterday!
AD: Are there any business topics you have to treat in more detail? If so, how do you keep you abreast of them?
VI: I have to be constantly updated on everything. Job wise, I read newspapers and magazines to have a general economic and political picture. It is also essential to know what is going on in town to be able to advise where to go for a day or a night out (theatre plays, films, exhibitions, events etc.) I also read fashion magazines and websites to be informed on what is the coolest restaurant to book or what is the trendiest colour for an evening dress. I must remain extremely curious and pay attention to everything I read about for my future convenience.
AD: On your Linkedin profile, we see that you also worked as an “Event Manager”.
Do you have any “tips & tricks” to share with our Community for the organisation of a successful event?
VI: I worked as an Event Manager, mainly in Italy. I took part in the organisation of very successful parties such as Muccassassina, the biggest GLBT party in Italy, or cultural events for the Rome Gay Pride. I also organised some events in cooperation with the Rome Jewish Community, which I am really proud of. I don’t have any particular tricks, only some essential advice: give others the opportunity to express their opinion and take their ideas into account before you decide how to realise the event. This will motivate them and make them feel part of it. I learnt that the enthusiasm of the people involved in the realisation of an event is the key to its success.
AD: Would you like to tell us a few words about your experience with The Permanent Secretariat of Nobel Peace Laureates Summits?
VI: Working for the Permanent Secretariat of the Nobel Prize Laureates was one of the most beautiful and exciting experiences I have ever had. I had the chance to work within an international environment with other young, enthusiastic people at the Nobel Summit in Berlin in 2009. It was the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Meeting historical figures such as Gorbachev or Walesa, or music icons such as Annie Lennox, doesn’t happen every day. It was there that I had the feeling of what my life abroad could be like. Six months later I moved to London.
AD: Last question: Do you have a dream which you would like to realize?
VI: Sure! After a year working for my current boss, I have decided it is time for a change. I want to pursue my career as a PA which is what I love doing right now. My dream is to work as a Celebrity Assistant, and if you ask me who I would love to work for, my answer couldn’t be any other than Kylie Minogue! She is an artist who I artistically, and personally, admire. I know that this is not an easy path to pursue but I’m aware of my potential and I trust that this city loves me and it will never let me down!
View Vincenzo Ianniello’s profile on LinkedIn