CH Smith Consulting Ltd is run by Claire Smith. A former senior diplomat, during an unconventional career she worked in China, Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland for the UK government, a major Swiss bank, the UK Cabinet Office and the German Foreign Ministry.
With over 25 years’ experience as a diplomat, Claire was one of the first Mandarin – speaking women to be posted to Beijing, as China began to open up following the Cultural Revolution. A well-known and respected diplomat, Claire was part of the UK government delegation to negotiate the future of Hong Kong and ran the UK government’s programme to bring Chinese professionals, starved of contact with the outside world, to the UK.
Leaving China, Claire returned to London before being seconded to the German Foreign Ministry where she negotiated trade deals and cultural and educational relations with Taiwan. She was also the first non-German to work in the ministry’s crisis centre.
This was followed by a highly eventful period as Political Counsellor in Islamabad, Pakistan. Evacuated after 9/11 with a suitcase, mobile phone and a small son, Claire returned to London to work in the Cabinet Office, before running a large department in the Foreign & Commonwealth Office while at the same time being a member of the UK’s Joint Intelligence Committee.
Claire speaks near-native German, fluent French and Mandarin. Claire is also a visiting professor and lecturer at several UK universities.
Drawing on this extraordinary professional life as a diplomat, trustee, non-executive director, adviser and board chair, Claire is an experienced and engaging keynote speaker.
Expert in managing the complexities of global business practices and the art of negotiation, Claire set up her consultancy at the end of 2013.