Meet the Author - Claire Bodanis

Take a glimpse into the life and career of Claire Bodanis, author of Trust Me I'm Listed

Claire Bodanis, founder of Falcon Windsor corporate communications and reporting agency, and author of Trust me, I’m listed: why the annual report matters and how to do it well published by The Chartered Governance Institute.

Background

Truly a citizen of the world, Claire grew up in Argentina, Botswana and Peru, and from the age of 10 was a frequent flyer to boarding school back in England. Gaining a degree in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic – as well as a love of singing and rowing – at Cambridge, she went on to do an MPhil there on the Venerable Bede (a character who often pops up in webinars for Trust me, I’m listed).

Claire’s first proper job, with a start-up computer graphics company in Cambridge, sparked her interest in design and communications. After a couple of account director roles in London’s corporate reporting agencies, she set up Falcon Windsor in 2004. ‘Reporting was always the most fascinating aspect of comms for me, as you really get to the heart of a company, and have to understand it inside out. My dual role as account director and writer is quite unusual, but it’s both these aspects together that I love, and which have made my career in reporting work.’

Claire is an Associate Partner of Dark Angels, a group offering courses in creative business writing, with the philosophy that business writing should be more human. ‘Dark Angels has played an essential part in my career,’ she says. ‘It’s given me the confidence to tackle communications challenges in creative ways. And through it, I’ve met some utterly fabulous people who’ve changed my life.’ She has also co-authored two books for Dark Angels, including On Writing, ‘a compendium of advice for business writing’.

Becoming a Chartered Governance Institute author

It was through On Writing that Claire came to write for The Chartered Governance Institute. A blog she wrote about the book was picked up by the Institute’s Business Development Director, Charis Evans (who knew Claire through her sister Verity, who’d been on Claire’s first Dark Angels course). The Chartered Governance Institute was looking for an author for a ‘how-to’ book on writing annual reports, and Claire fitted the bill perfectly. ‘I was thrilled to be asked, because it meant I could get my message about the crucial importance of reporting out to the wider world, not just to the individual clients I work with. Anyone working in reporting – even if we spend our whole working lives on it – can still only touch a tiny percentage of UK, or indeed global PLC. But, producing this book means I can reach a whole lot more. I think The Chartered Governance Institute got more than they bargained for, though – a manifesto as well as a manual!’ laughs Claire.  With her guidance, the ‘manual’ evolved into Trust me, I’m listed: why the annual report matters, and how to do it well.

Claire’s experience of collective writing, both as a corporate copywriter and an author, was eminently suited to the book’s purposes. She brought a team of specialist authors and contributors on board, so that the book itself embodied the huge collaborative effort required to produce a good annual report: from planning and project management, to research, writing and editing, to design, production and marketing.

Life beyond work

For someone who thrives on socialising, entertaining, and sharing energy and ideas with others, 2020 was an especially tough year. But Claire kept her spirits up through weekly church (preferably not online), choral singing (her choir Vox Cordis recently recorded their annual carol service for the Charlie Waller Trust), and running on Hampstead Heath, where she gets her best ideas. In the time left after work and family – Claire is married to author David Bodanis, and has a 12-year-old son – she can often be found buried in a book. Her eclectic favourite authors list runs from Jane Austen and Maeve Binchy, to Stella Gibbons and Dick Francis, to Tolstoy and Tolkien, and she’s currently enjoying Philip Kerr thrillers.

Writer's habits

‘I used to love working and writing in bed, but when you’re a mum you have to be more readily available! So I have a lovely desk overlooking the garden. When I’m not typing, I always write in pencil. It feels softer than a pen and more like an idea, an extension of my brain. And of course I have a ready supply of Falcon Windsor pencils.’

Claire is author of the Institute’s Trust me, I'm listed: why the annual report matters, and how to do it well, which you can buy from our bookshop.

Get involved

Claire will be joining us for a Q&A blog in the future. To submit a question, please email us here.

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