Judith Croasdell, former PA to Professor Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s most famous scientists, has been confirmed to host a headline Keynote at this year’s office* show, which returns to London’s Olympia on 13-14 October.
Other Keynote speakers also unveiled today include Heather White from Smarter Networking; Kev House from Art of Brilliance; Tess Alps from Thinkbox; and barrister and businesswoman Miranda Brawn, Esq. They’ll be joining over 4,000 visitors and 175 leading business-to-business suppliers at the UK’s award-winning annual event for PAs, EAs, secretaries, and office managers.
From 2004 until last year, Croasdell worked as PA/manager and agent to Professor Hawking at the Centre of Mathematical Sciences in Cambridge. She will be sharing exclusive insights from her long and colourful career – from starting out as a secretary for MI6 in Bahrain, through to “working with a genius” (under the spotlight of the world's media).
Although already well-travelled before she met Professor Hawking (she was born in Singapore, spent her early childhood in Bangkok, recorded indigenous music in Africa and the South Pacific, and was the first English woman to graduate from the Pacific Theological College in Fiji), it is her time and tours with him that led to many of her most treasured career highlights.
Among those highlights, she says, are meeting “outstanding people” like Buzz Aldrin, Mike Griffen (Administrative Head of NASA), Canadian astronaut Chris Hadley, Sir Roger Penrose, Brian Cox, Richard Dawkins, Benedict Cumberbatch, not to mention HM The Queen (twice, in 2005 and 2006) and enjoying “overseas trips to China, South Africa, South America, Israel and the West Bank, Germany, Spain, and Geneva”. She also gives special mention to organising Professor Hawking's famous zero-gravity flight from Florida, and working with him on the opening ceremony of London 2012 Paralympics (which began with a “big bang”).
Whilst the PA role may have altered dramatically since her first secretarial posting in the 1960s, Croasdell’s keen to impart her knowledge and experiences to others just starting out in their career. Speaking ahead of her office* keynote, she says that it’s vital not to “just focus on being a PA” and be prepared to utilise other skills, studies and interests at your disposal. It’s hard-won advice that has certainly worked in her favour.
“Keeping up and keeping on top of the job can mean you work 24/7 which intrudes into home and weekends,” she says. “Avoid becoming a slave! Be creative and develop a good sense of humour and be 100% flexible and well informed. Never lose your temper, and always be approachable. The PA must look ahead and be prepared for anything!”
Judith Croasdell’s office* Keynote, “Working with a genius”, will take place at 1pm on Wednesday 14 October at Olympia, London.
The full Keynote line-up, which includes panel discussions hosted by PA Life and Executive PA Magazine, is set to be announced later this month. Please visit the show’s website for further details at www.officeshow.co.uk/education/keynote-theatre.
Admission to the Keynote programme is non-bookable and included with free show entry. To pre-register to attend office* on 13-14 October 2015, please visit www.officeshow.co.uk and use priority code OFF702 (direct link: www.eventdata.co.uk/Visitor/Office15.aspx?TrackingCode=OFF702).