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Women in Business with Susan Kynoch, PA Exchange

18 November 2014

To mark Women’s Entrepreneurship Day we swing the spotlight on Susan Kynoch who set up the PA Exchange in Edinburgh over 10 years ago.  With over 5,000 members, the PA Exchange provides a concierge service to support the needs of time poor office personnel.  From sourcing meeting rooms, finding the perfect chauffeur or recommending the best city florist, thousands of requests are handled each year.

For many women, taking that leap from a steady job to going it alone is a terrifying prospect and not one that should be taken lightly. Susan spotted a gap in the market and realised that her concierge service had the ability to satisfy that gap. She had faith in her ideas and decided to take the huge step of setting up her own business.

Fast forward 10 years and although Susan says running your own business is exceedingly hard work and at times, challenging, it is overall incredibly rewarding. She admires anyone with the courage to go it alone and however it develops, takes her hat off to anyone for trying and giving it a go.

We were delighted to catch-up with Susan and find out a little bit more about the lady behind the very successful PA Exchange. 

What gave you the idea to come up with the PA Exchange?  

PA’s can be quite often taken for granted. In my view one of the most important positions within a company is that of the PA, Secretary or any Office Personnel within an organisation.  Coming from a PA background I understood the sometimes difficult and onerous tasks of the job which led me to identify the need for a service which would help likeminded contemporaries to simplify their day to day roles.  My idea was to form an organisation within Scotland that is a dedicated personal concierge service for all office personnel.  The result was The PA Exchange, the 1st of its kind to be established in Scotland -  

What do you enjoy most about coming into Edinburgh for work?

I am originally a Morningside lass and love the village culture, coffee shops and small, independent shops.  Edinburgh is a beautiful city with striking architecture, grand streets, cobbled courtyards and narrow alleyways. It looks great any time of year.   

What would be your perfect Girls Day Out in the capital?

So many different things and I always pop in or book places that are PA Exchange members to  support and thank them for their help, but a full day in Edinburgh would include perhaps :-  

Breakfast at Twenty
Lunch at Itchycoo with cocktails
Afternoon Tea at The Balmoral
A delicious Gin & Tonic at Ryan’s Bar at the West End
Dinner at The Pompadour at Waldorf Astoria and overlook gorgeous Princes Street
Spa Treatments at One Spa at The Sheraton

What's your favourite Edinburgh Attraction?

The Royal Yacht Britannia – the fascination that when you step on board, you’re following the footsteps of all the royalty and famous faces that you’ve seen on TV.  Being a part of that world in the past must have been incredible. 

What Edinburgh hidden gem would you recommend to a first time visitor to the city?

The Dome at Christmas – I love the decorations, the look of the building, the warmth and cosiness inside – certainly always recommend going to The Dome all year round, but especially at Christmas.

What do you get asked most to help with within Edinburgh?

People looking for venues,  I find that The PA Exchange doesn’t just cater for the corporate market, it is very much business, leisure or pleasure and over the past few years there’s been quite a lot of members looking for wedding venues.  

What’s the best request you’ve had from your members?

A member was looking for a Ruby Wedding Anniversary night away and dinner for her parents and through The PA Exchange they booked The Balmoral where her parents had the most wonderful time and were treated like Royalty.  It was lovely, in a small way, that through The PA Exchange I was able to help. 

If you fancy afternoon tea in Edinburgh or a light bite in the capital then be sure to visit our food and drink section.