Although born in the UK I moved to South Africa in my early twenties and I have spent most of my business career in both Africa and Europe.
My background is in marketing, strategy and communications (which I studied at the University of South Africa). Over the years I have worked for some interesting organisations such as 3M Company and McCann Erikson advertising. But mainly I have been driven to own and manage my own companies. Some of which have been successful and others which I label a "learning curve".
Although I have represented a number of experts and artists for many years, I did not get involved in the speaker representation and bureau business in the UK until 1999. It's a fascinating profession.
I have learnt over the years to try to establish exactly what my client wants to achieve by having a speaker or presenter at an event. One of my favourite questions to a client when we are discussing potential speakers for a conference or event is "How do you want the delegates to feel after the presentation; what is the most single important message that you want the delegates to remember about the presentation?"
The other point I try to make to clients is; unless you need a well known celebrity speaker to attract an audience, try to use a new, up- and- coming speaker who will have new ideas and thoughts on the subject featured. They will also save your speaker budget.
Over the years, I have met many fascinating speakers and celebrities in this business and also some very interesting clients. I like to get close to my clients business and understand the issues and culture behind their needs.
There is a great feeling of satisfaction when the client and the speaker know that the speech has played an enormous part in the success of an event.