About Virtual Angels
Hello, I’m Nicola – the co-founder and owner of Virtual Angels.
Thanks for stopping by.
After enjoying a fulfilling and exciting career in London for many years, I’m now based in South West England where I manage my business and team of associates remotely.
Here’s a little about me…
I was born in Taunton in Somerset, the eldest of three children. My family, including a sister and a brother, lived in a small village called Churchinford, 250 yards over the border in Devon. Despite having a Somerset address, I attended schools in Devon, which was quite an anomaly at the time. Having said that, I’ve always been a bit of an anomaly myself, something I’m quite proud of!
From primary school age, I had to learn quickly how to be adaptable and creative; I can still remember being frustrated when something needed to be done but no one was doing it — and then stepping in to get it sorted myself! Sadly, at the time and especially for young girls, this was labelled as ‘being bossy’. I know now that it’s actually showing great leadership skills.
Work, travel, and friendships…
A career in business operations and administration has afforded me some wonderful opportunities in a wide range of industries and companies.
In 1981, I worked as an administrator in a Ford garage, managing the sales of new and used cars (and organising the salesmen team and their paperwork). I then joined the Royal Air Force as a Telecoms Operator, before being promoted to Telegraphist and then Telecoms Controller. I was trained in Morse and Murray code, Crypto Custodian and ciphers. During my nine years of service, I was posted all across the UK including in Bath, Kinloss and Locking and overseas including Cyprus and the Ascension Island. Many wonderful memories — and friendships — were created which I treasure to this day.
After four years as a Communications Operator for Avon and Somerset Police, I joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1995 and headed straight for the bustle and excitement of London. This also gave me the opportunity to work in the Governor’s Office in Gibraltar.
In the early 2000s, I honed my skills and experience in senior executive assistant positions for companies including Amey PLC, Partnerships for Schools and The Health Foundation, working alongside their Group Directors and Chief Executives. In 2007, I headed up the Corporate Services team at Augmentis and after returning to The Health Foundation in an Executive Manager position, I then moved to Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity in the same role.
Starting a business…
Around 2010, I had an idea – I wanted to start my own business. It stemmed from an experience at work I’d had many moons ago when I felt overwhelmed and underappreciated in one of my roles; it was very much a case of ‘if you want something done, give it to a busy person’ — and that busy person was always me!
It struck me that if I had to work this hard, then I should work for myself. After all, I could draw upon a wealth of administration and operation experience gained in various industries — including private, public, construction and non-departmental public bodies. I also had a genuine love of finding order from chaos and helping others to feel in control.
Despite a few hiccups, Virtual Angels was launched in May 2013 with my business partner at the time, Holly Thorne.
Our very first discussion with a client went extremely well and they snapped us up! I’ve never looked back.
In 2017, I became UK Head of Resources for Healthy.io, a healthcare company offering remote clinical testing and services enabled by smartphone technology, which I did alongside running Virtual Angels.
My values, skills, and motivations…
I’ve transferred many of my life and work experiences and skills directly into the business and I truly believe this, along with the incredible hard work of my associates, makes Virtual Angels such a success.
This includes adaptability, strong leadership and a natural drive to just get things done. Honesty and integrity are two of my most valuable traits, I have built my reputation on them, and this is something I won’t compromise on.
I get a huge buzz from providing the support that busy people and companies need most. Most of my clients reach out when they feel out of control, and I love stepping in to help them get back on track.
I find that, after the initial period of support, our clients offer us additional projects that we can work on together and I truly believe this is because they have found the space to see what they would like to do next and trust us to get the job done. I get a great deal of satisfaction from building long term relationships.
I’ve also set up HR processes and procedures for various start-ups and have a strong generalist knowledge of HR. Employee engagement is something that interests me, having set up our employee engagement programme at Healthy.io, and I look forward to expanding this knowledge and providing HR generalist advice to clients of Virtual Angels.
Outside of work…
Running a Virtual Assistant Services business and managing a hardworking and dedicated team is a dream come true for me — and I like to think it’s an extension of my personality.
Being organised and efficient is in my DNA. I am, without fail, compulsively early for appointments and commitments and never leave anything to chance. I absolutely am that person who turns up early for flights and interviews, safe in the knowledge that there will be no last-minute panics! That way, I can hunker down quietly with a book.
On the subject of reading, it’s impossible to pass a bookshop without going in and I love exploring libraries in new towns, taking in the evocative new book scent in bookshops. In fact, my house resembles a library with my ever-expanding collection. Friends describe me as quirky, adventurous and with my head usually in a book — which I think is a very accurate description!