INSPIRE’s Director: Stephen Croft BSc(Hons) MBA

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Stephen Croft: Director, The INSPIRE Foundation

Stephen was a Royal Signals officer in the British Army for 29 years, serving overseas for 27 of them. He was a military diplomat and linguist, having been a British Liaison Officer with the French Armed Forces for 5 years, the UK’s Military Attaché to Poland and the UK’s Defence Attaché to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).  Stephen has also enjoyed two United Nations (UN) tours, one in BiH in the very early part of the war there and one in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) as the Senior Military Adviser to the Commander of UN Forces in the DRC.

On leaving the Army, Stephen went to work in the UK’s defence industry. He has spent the last 11 years in sales operations and business development for British companies manufacturing world leading microwave equipment.  He was most recently Head of Sales and Business Development for a company that exports its helicopter datalink systems to more than 50 countries worldwide, mainly for use by their border forces and police services.

Technology and its use to benefit people has always been important to Stephen, as a piece of well developed and well designed equipment can help alleviate mundane tasks, often doing so more efficiently and more quickly than a human being.  Machinery does not have to be complex, but it does have to be easy to use and make life better for the user.  This is why Stephen’s industrial career was spent with products designed for efficient, easy use.

Stephen is based in Salisbury with his wife Jean, a freelance translator.  He sought a new, very different challenge and saw the role of Director at INSPIRE as a way to make best use of his desire to make life better for people, using technology to do so.  The current and planned projects at INSPIRE are both inspiring and useful for those with SCI, coming directly from the needs expressed by the SCI user or recipient.  Stephen has a son who is very profoundly autistic, so he has personal empathy with the disabled and how we can work to make their lives better and more enjoyable. He hopes some of these skills may be transferrable to SCI research.

Stephen is very much looking forward to meeting the disparate members of the INSPIRE Community, especially the SCI users, the scientists assessing and working on projects, the Trustees and INSPIRE’S Patrons.  He intends to listen and learn, continuing to lead INSPIRE on its journey to help all those with SCI wherever they may be in the country.


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