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Lily Shippen – the celebs’ choice for discreet staff - Lily Shippen

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Meet the recruiter who can identify unique and talented PAs whose mission it is to guard privacy with their life.

Psst! Can you keep a secret? For a private personal assistant (PA) it is a non-negotiable quality, which may seem obvious, but a breach often means instant dismissal.

But when VIPs need a right-hand man or woman, they’re increasingly turning to Manchester-based PA and secretarial recruitment expert Lily Shippen.

Lily Shippen | Admin Recruitment Agency Manchester | Lily
Lily, Managing Director of Lily Shippen and LS Private

Lily, whose business has scooped several awards, has just recruited a private PA for a celebrated British artist and stresses that discretion is one of the most important aspects of the job. And for good reason.

She says: “Private PAs often know more about a person, their company, their business and their life than any other employee. Maybe even more than their partners and that’s a huge responsibility to take on, which is why our candidates are heavily vetted.”

LS Private recently placed a male PA with a pair of famous authors and is noticing a rise in demand for the ultra-discreet employee.

“In Cheshire and London, in particular, top CEOs, celebrities and VIPs are dependent on a personal assistant who they can trust implicitly,” says Lily. “Usually the staff member is required to sign a non-disclosure agreement and there’s often travel involved. It’s fantastic work for the right person.”

PAs don’t need any specific qualifications but are required to be flexible, hard-working and incredibly organised at all times.

Gillian Aitken, Private PA based in Cheshire

Wilmslow-based Gillian Aitken is private PA to renowned oncologist Professor Pat Price and her family. She is responsible for all the professor’s needs – from completing tax returns and checking her bank balance to finding a reliable tradesman to maintain the upkeep of the house.

“My employer is so busy that she doesn’t really have time for the day-to-day things.
So multi-tasking is an essential requirement,” says Gillian. “I work under pressure and pride myself on accuracy. For that reason, the role has grown with me. I’ve earned the trust of my employers, resulting in me having more responsibility and a higher salary.

“Discretion is a huge part of the job. I have access to private finances and emails. I know her feelings on certain subjects. I’m a confidante and an employee and she knows I would never break that trust. I have immense work satisfaction because I can see the amazing work that she achieves and the part I have played in that by taking off pressure in other areas.”