Society of Virtual Assistants – New Leadership announced

Society of Virtual Assistants – New Leadership announced

New leadership to take the helm at Society of Virtual Assistants

Breaking news – Important announcement!

Over the last 24 hours, the mail and social media announcements have been reaching Society of Virtual Assistant members that the last remaining co-founder Caroline Wylie is stepping down, with multi-award winning VA Gwen Backhouse taking the role as leader of the flagship organisation for Virtual Assistant professionals in the UK.

The trending and widely shared announcement says:

***Important SVA Update from Caroline – Please Read***

For some time now, I’ve been juggling running SVA alongside a full time job as a business advisor, and it is a big struggle. For those of you who have been in SVA a while, you will know that I ended up being homeless for 5 months with my children – it has been a struggle but I finally got back into my home, and I’m in the process of buying it out. (Anyone who has ever tried to get a self-employed mortgage will sympathise here!).

I’ve made the hard decision that as I am no longer working as a VA, it makes sense to hand it over to someone who has their finger on the pulse and is working day-in, day-out with clients and other VAs.

I’m happy to say Gwen Backhouse of Curlew Secretarial Solutions and the Borderlands VA Network has offered to take over.

I’m really happy about the fit, I’ve known Gwen for many years and know she shares the same ideals I have about promoting the industry as a whole and bringing people together. The work she does with Borderlands reflects that and Borderlands have provided social media help to SVA for a number of years in the background.

As you will appreciate, while we ironed out handing over there has been a bit of a communication gap, but I hope you’ll reach out to Gwen directly now she is in place, with any collaborations, queries, etc.

I couldn’t have wished for a safer pair of hands, I’m confident SVA will go from strength to strength under her guidance. Mostly though, SVA is about the members and what you all contribute – VAs helping one another, in the spirit of #CollaborationNotCompetition.

I will still be around, and you may see me pop up from time to time doing some SVA sessions, which I hope to have more time for once I’m not spending as much time on the everyday administration, but this is very much Gwen’s baby from here on it, and I hope you’ll join me in giving her the support you’ve always given me over the years….

So: 17 years, 15,000+ VAs, a quality standard for VAs, approved VA trainers, and thousands of referrals passed via our free listings. Most of all though, I had a lot of fun along the way.

With best wishes, Caroline Wylie

Gwen Backhouse has subsequently commented: 

“I’ve got some big shoes to fill (and I’ve only got little feet), but I am truly overjoyed to be taking on the Society of Virtual Assistants

Caroline Wylie has done an incredible job of supporting all the UK VAs over the last 17 years and she will be greatly missed.

And so, a new chapter begins – and I must confess to feeling a little daunted, but I know the wonderful UK VA family will support me in this.

I look forward to getting to know everyone a little bit better.”

In summary:

We all much admire the work of Caroline Wylie, a truly great pioneer of the UK VA profession, we all thank Caroline for her outstanding contribution to developing the foundations for the way forward for both start-up and long-standing UK Virtual Assistants.

We send huge congratulations and best wishes to Gwen Backhouse, a record setting and multi-award winning VA, much recognised by her profession’s peers and major business awards.

Gwen is a very worthy successor to continue to steer SVA in being a thought leader and platform for benchmark standards in guiding professional Virtual Assistants on the journey from starting out to well organised, established businesses. Gwen will be co-hosting the North East Virtual Assistant Conference (NEVAC) on Friday, 19th May 2023 in Leeds – see

We all wish Gwen and her team every success in taking on these exciting new roles for the profession.

From left to right: Caroline Wylie; SVA Logo; and Gwen Backhouse

About The Author


WORKSMARTPA – NEW IDEAS, NEW FRONTIERS The year 2021 sees our business celebrate 21 years of - a community supporting office professionals since our very first newsletter way back in May 2000. As we look forward to greet a new world of change beyond the pandemic, we are extremely excited to announce a new brand; a new look; and some new directions for our much loved, long-standing web site and communities to explore. It is time for change. To better reflect now what we do best for you, we have a new brand, web site and activities – a new name and web site that will be full of new ideas for a new business age and new working trends as we all seek to grow, expand and explore new frontiers.

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