During an extraordinarily unconventional career in diplomacy, intelligence and security, and business, Claire Smith worked in China, Pakistan, Germany and Switzerland for the UK government, Cabinet Office and the German Foreign Ministry.
Claire has brought rigour and objectivity to the international affairs assessments analysis of the Cabinet Office; advised prime ministers; introduced new systems to the German Foreign Ministry; negotiated successfully with the Taliban; produced novel problem-solving solutions for a major Swiss bank; and featured on a North Korean postage stamp.
An experienced trustee, non-executive director and adviser in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors, her recent international activities include training, briefing and advisory roles in the Middle East, West Africa and China.
Drawing on this extraordinary professional life, 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 CH Smith Consulting Ltd in 2013. A trusted mentor and adviser, she deploys excellent foreign language ability, including German, French and Mandarin.
Intelligence, Accountability and Ethics, University of Portsmouth, November 2019
Communication and Negotiation, Buckinghamshire NHS Trust, November 2019
Communication and Negotiation for Project Managers, University of Reading Master’s Programme, October 2019
Extreme Negotiation, Association of Project Managers (APM), Leeds Beckett University, May 2019
A great speaker, very clear, super anecdotes – engaging. I’d love to see her again
Claire, thank you for sharing your amazing international diplomatic life experience with us. Looking forward to another round of long conversation when you visit us again in LA.
Chair of APM Women In Project Management
I’m very thankful that you gave us an opportunity to meet these INCREDIBLE people. Out of all of the speakers, I was mostly amazed by Claire!!! What a character!!! I always bow to the people who can pursue their dreams and can make a difference.
Quality Assurance Project Lead
Thanks once again for all the time and effort you put into an excellent presentation. The lessons you drew from your time in the FCO were highly pertinent to us in business.
Her entire presentation I spent listening to her stories with my jaw dropped or frantically taking notes. It was all so inspiring. I can tell she carefully selected topics to cover, ensuring all the subject matter had the dual purpose of passing along helpful work life lessons, and discussing program and crisis management. Her lessons on apprenticeship, brand recognition, adapting and allowing our careers to be “imperfect”, pushing outside of our comfort zones, and stakeholder management were all insightful topics.
Claire, thank you for being such a great example of what someone can do in public service. It was fascinating to hear about your experiences. I especially appreciated being reminded that there are many decent people of goodwill in public service, despite the impressions given by the cynical mass media of today.
Design Engineer, SAFE
Truly an amazing work trajectory. Could have listened to her all day with all her experiences. Would absolutely love to hear more of what training and preparation that she does prior to entering a hostage negotiation situation. So down to earth and relatable. Her interpersonal skills, awareness and listening skills were off the charts. Makes me wish I could re-think my career, and I’ve always loved what I do.
Sr. Director, SAFE
Amazing speaker, brought a little known subject to life. When Claire spoke you could hear a pin drop in the room. Claire has the rare ability to captivate her audience, which is quite a feat when the room is full of IT Techies. Claire combines subtle wit with fascinating stories, all the time projecting confidence and authority. I could listen to Claire speak for hours.
Technical Architect, CAFE
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your very impressive career with us. I thoroughly enjoyed your presentation and Q&A.
Sr. Business Analyst TV Licensing
Claire’s experience as a diplomat was very interesting and insightful. She did a great job in relating those experiences to work situations and skills that we might use in our daily jobs (i.e. relationship building, negotiating, etc.).
Sr. Business Analyst, SAFE