My name is Martina Munzittu and I run Essenza Virtual PA.
I thought for a while what to call my Virtual Assistance business. I wanted it to have something Italian in its name and at the same time something that was meaningful.
I love simplicity. That’s why I came up with essenza, which means “essence” in Italian.
I have always been fascinated more by the intrinsic nature or quality of things, than by their appearance. And I think that in today’s world, where there is so much noise and distraction, it’s easy to forget what really matters.
It’s important to Keep It Simple. A principle I apply to both my work and my personal life.
I moved to London, from Italy, when I was 20 years old. My career began as a secretary for the Maths Department, in one of the University of London colleges. I used to deal with student enquiries, type exams, process undergraduate and post-graduate applications and type mathematical papers. It still makes me smile when I think of the daily challenges of figuring out what those handwritten maths symbols were and then translating them into something that could be printed.
I learnt a lot from that early experience at the University of London. I discovered how exciting it was to work in a multicultural environment, and meet so many interesting people from different countries. I learnt the importance of being helpful and friendly, both with the customers (students) and my colleagues (lecturers and other secretaries). I learnt how attention to detail was vital, especially when typing scientific papers, and how a small mistake could have serious consequences. I also learnt how to make a decent cup of tea for my British colleagues (I only drank espresso!)
I later moved to Italy, where I became PA to the CEO of a scientific research centre. The centre was in its start-up phase when I joined, and I had to quickly adapt to that fast-moving environment, much faster than the previous one. It’s here that I learnt many skills that are important for a PA: handling complex diaries and correspondence, travel arrangements, event management, minute taking, drafting reports and documents…
The list was long, and the time to do it all was limited, hence developing multitasking abilities was a must. I gradually learnt how to keep calm under pressure and be flexible in my approach to work.
In my late twenties, I moved back to the UK after being offered a position as a director’s PA in an academic institute near Cambridge. Everything here was done on a larger scale: arranging international travel for hundreds of staff and organizing meetings with delegates attending from all over the world, as well as offering secretarial support to one of the directors.
It was a hugely rewarding role, and again, I was immersed in a multicultural environment, with colleagues from over 40 different nationalities. It was common, when walking along the corridor, to hear several languages being spoken.
In 2005 I took some time to ponder what to do next. And while I was thinking… I also wrote my first novel.
Yes, my creative side got the better of me and finally I sat down and wrote that book. Don’t they say that everyone has a book inside that’s waiting to come out? I took that literally.
However, my passion for writing didn’t detract from my professional pursuits. I realized that I still wanted to use my secretarial skills and experience, but in a different way. Rather than being employed, I wanted to offer my admin services on a freelance basis, from my own office.
But I was a little nervous; even though I had plenty of experience as a personal assistant and administrator, I had never run my own business before. So I decided to enrol on the VA Mastery Course, and a few months later, in July 2007, Essenza was born.
Since then, I have worked on various projects and with clients from different sectors. Examples include: holiday agent, coach, biotech start-up, networking event organizer, multi-property agent, Amazon sellers, and many more.
An unusual project had me involved in typing a Will, which had been drafted in 1884 in copperplate writing.
As I am Italian, and I have worked both in Italy and the UK, I specialize in supporting Italian entrepreneurs worldwide and British businesses that trade with Italy.
And a lot of what I do, could not be achieved without copious amounts of espresso coffee.
So, why me?
If you have made it this far down the page, I hope you have the answer to this question.
It’s not easy to hand over any of your business to a friend, let alone a stranger. I don’t want to be that stranger and hope some of the information above has given you a feel for who I am and how I can help.
If you like what you have read, pick up the phone or drop me a line. It won’t cost you anything but it may save you lots of time and trouble.
I look forward to talking to you.