You’re hired: Margaret Mountford joins office* show Keynote line-up

Lawyer and businesswoman Margaret Mountford, one of Lord Sugar's original advisors in BBC1's hit show The Apprentice, has been confirmed for a headline Keynote session at this year’s office* show on 8 October 2014 at Olympia London. 

As the UK’s leading annual two-day business event for executive support professionals, office*’s free keynote programme is renowned for attracting a host of ‘inspirational’ big names from the world of business.  Former headline Keynote speakers include Karren Brady, Deborah Meaden, Michelle Mone and Jacqueline Gold, and now it’s Ms Mountford’s turn to draw in the crowds for 2014. 

Margaret’s session at office* (a live Q&A hosted by Executive Secretary Magazine’s editor Lucy Brazier), will include insights and anecdotes garnered from a hugely successful – and extensive – career.  Best known for her five series stint on The Apprentice, her eclectic resume includes 16 years as a lawyer with Herbert Smith, non-executive director at Amstrad, a PhD in Papyrology, (host of) a one-off BBC documentary on Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time, and chair of the Bright Ideas Trust, a charity set up to help young people starting up their own businesses.  No stranger to discussing the ‘big’ issues of the day, she returned to our TV screens this week (on 15-16 July) to co-present the BBC’s Nick and Margaret – Too Many Immigrants?

Other show announcements today include a newly-confirmed session with Paralympic athlete Martine Wright (11.30am, 8 October).  Sharing its title with the oft-quoted call to action – ‘If not you then who, if not now then when?’ – Martine’s talk promises to be the most thought provoking speech of the event. 

From 7/7 London bombing victim to competing in the British sitting volleyball team at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, Martine’s is an inspirational story of triumph over adversity.  Since losing both legs in the 2005 terrorist attack, she has courageously rebuilt her life and now embraces new opportunities at every turn.  From skydiving to gaining a pilot's licence to representing her country at the highest level.

Her positive and determined attitude to every challenge has seen her awarded the prestigious ‘2012 BBC Sports Personality of the Year Helen Rollason Award for outstanding achievement in the face of adversity’, and named ‘Inspirational Woman of the Year 2012’ by Zest Magazine. 

“Martine Wright is an inspiration to all those lucky enough to hear her story, and we are delighted to welcome her to office* 2014,” says David Maguire, event manager of office*. 

From one inspirational woman to another.  Heather Melville, Director of Strategic Partnerships at RBS, will also be making her office* show debut on 8 October (2.15pm). 

In her aptly named session ‘Doing it my way’, she’ll share insights and highlights from her 36-year career in finance.  As the founder and global chair of the RBS Focused Women’s Network, which has around 12,000 members in 33 countries, Heather has done much to promote and support the talents of her colleagues in the financial sector.  In 2010, she won the prestigious Women in Banking & Finance (WIBF) Champion for Women Award, and in 2012 she was named a recipient of The International Alliance for Women (TIAW) World of Difference 100 Award for her work in advancing the economic empowerment of women.

Whilst the full Keynote line-up is still to be unveiled (more announcements are expected from event organiser Diversified Communications UK within days), the initial programme is now available to view on the show’s website.

Notable Keynote highlights, include sessions featuring Liz Doogan-Hobbs MBE, undefeated world champion water-skier and founder of Liz Hobbs Group (the UK’s largest supplier of music in sport), and Vicky Silverthorn, former PA to Lily Allen and founder of You Need A Vicky.  Whilst Thomas Trautmann, former executive assistant to Gianni Versace, and Deborah Shaw, former personal assistant to Charlton Heston, the current and past presidents of the Association of Celebrity Assistants in the UK, will be lifting the lid on the secret and often glamorous world of the celebrity PA in an exclusive interview hosted by Colette Doyle, Editor of PA Life Magazine. 

“When I first started out as a PA, with so much to learn, I would never have dreamt that I would have a career interesting and exciting enough that I would be invited to speak at office*,” says Vicky Silverthorn, about her forthcoming appearance in the show’s Keynote Theatre.  “It just goes to show that you can take yourself anywhere you want in life.”

With over 4,000 attendees, including PAs, EAs, VAs, from organisations across the UK, set to attend this year’s office* show, Vicky’s motivational message is going to exactly the right audience.


Notes to editors

About Olympia London

Olympia London is more than an exhibition venue, conference centre and live-event space. It’s an inspiration. Against a backdrop of grand Victorian architecture, the seven connected spaces inspire engagement and enjoyment.

The recent £30 million redevelopment of Olympia West and Central has provided the venue with new-found flexibility for events of every size, bringing modern facilities and British heritage together.

Olympia London presently operates alongside Earls Court, with shared staff and values. Together our businesses are recognised in the industry for exceptional levels of customer service and support, and our numerous awards are testament to our clients' satisfaction.

For further information please contact:
Belinda Liversedge, Communications Manager, Earls Court and Olympia London / 020 7370 8838