2:25pm Thursday 19th January 2012
Being made redundant was a devastating experience for Debbie Penn, especially as she had spent 25 years with her employer, RM Education.
Ms Penn, who worked as an executive assistant to four chief executives at the company in Milton Park, was one of more than 250 employees to be shown the door last year as the educational software supplier was hit by cuts in school spending and the scrapping of the Labour government's Building Schools for the Future scheme.
But she has picked herself up, dusted herself down and launched her own virtual PA business which is already proving successful.
Abingdon-based Ms Penn said: “I am big believer in the notion that these things happen for a reason.
“After being in one place for so long I did need to think about whether I could do something else and you go through all sorts of emotions.
“RM was a great place to work but it was always a bit of dream to set up my own business and this gave me my chance.”
Fortunately, Ms Penn has been able to draw on the experience of some old friends including former RM chief executive Tim Pearson, now retired, who has acted as a mentor and adviser as well as setting up her website.
Ms Penn believes that many firms are struggling to employ full-time administrative staff and she can fill that gap by offering a range of services including diary management, travel arrangements and event planning.
She had a wide range of contacts from her previous job and has made use of them as all her clients to date are either ex-RM staff or are connected to the company.
Ms Penn added: “I would like to think I can be an inspiration to other people who have been made redundant. I am busy and growing busier and I feel the world is my oyster. I have always worked for the boss in my previous roles. Now I am the boss of my own business and I am very proud of that.”
Contact: 01235 553407 n Web: www.pennsolutions.co.uk
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