Lawrence Money in The Age/Sydney Morning Herald 31/12/15
Joan Saxton, Australia's lectern queen, dies at 95
The woman who founded an Australian industry in the lounge-room of her Glen Iris home – public-speaking queen Joan Saxton – has died in a Camberwell age-care centre aged 95. Mrs Saxton, a gifted speaker born in Liverpool, pioneered the now-lucrative lectern business from 1965 when she began signing up the best speakers in Victoria to talk for cash.
There was staunch resistance at first – "No one had charged for speaking before that," said Mrs Saxton – but conferences and organisations soon realised that if they wanted the top performers at the microphone, they would have to pay for them. The Joan Saxton Speakers Agency eventually represented personalities and celebrities Australia-wide, all managed from that same suburban home via a small carbon-copy docket book – one pink booking sheet for the speaker, a copy for the client and another for her.
She limited her team of speakers to 120 but they included most of the popular names – such as media personalities Peter Couchman, Phillip Adams and Kevin Arnett; publisher Ita Buttrose; sports identity Tony Rafferty and RSL chief Bruce Ruxton. Mrs Saxton was fiercely protective of her speakers and relentless at promoting their talents. [...] Read More on the Sydney Morning Herald website