Suzanne stands up to be the president

No laughing matter: Suzanne Liversidge, new Chamber of Commerce president, was hailed as 'the new Julie Walters'.
No laughing matter: Suzanne Liversidge, new Chamber of Commerce president, was hailed as 'the new Julie Walters'.
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Sheffield’s business community will be hearing the name Liversidge a quite a lot in the next 12 months.

Whilst Pam Liversidge has become the first female Master Cutler, step daughter Suzanne is the first female president of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce.

Given that her initial ambition was to tread the boards as a stand-up comic, followed by working in marketing for confectionery group Mars, the step to Chamber president seems quite a large one.

“I always wanted to be in the theatre as a stand-up, but my father said that while I should pursue my dreams, I ought to get a qualification first and then, if I wasn’t very good at stand-up, I would have something to fall back on,” says Suzanne.

“I did stand-up comedy at university – one newspaper review said I was going to be the next Julie Walters.

“I still like to think that I could have done it; it was good fun.”

Suzanne Liversidge studied marketing at Leicester University and even had a piece of research to her name on the prospects for selling Pot Noodles to the French.

Although her conclusion was a firm “Non,” the manufacturers of the instant snack took an interest, acquiring the research from the university and sending her a case of Pot Noodles, which she donated to the Cathedral Archer project.

“I wanted to go into business and, ideally food manufacturing, but on the sales and marketing side.

“At 18 I loved sweets and ate Crunchies all the time,” Suzanne explains.

However, the course included an option to study law, which allowed students to go on to gain a solicitor’s qualification, and, with the head of Leicester’s law faculty urging her on, Suzanne Liversidge put her love of sweets to one side.

“I started as a trainee with Dibb Lupton Broomhead (Now DLA Piper).

“I wanted to come back to Sheffield because I am very close to my family.

“I had still got a lot of friends here and Dibb Lupton Broomhead was the firm of choice for training,” she says.

Suzanne Liversidge’s decision to leave the firm to set up an office for expanding legal firm Halliwells meant major changes.

“I left a large, lovely firm, where I was really happy and ended up renting a room in a former church in Crookes.

“It was just me and one other person,” she says.

But, that wasn’t likely to faze someone like Suzanne Liversidge, who hates to be pigeonholed and believes people can be at their best when they are outside their comfort zone.

So she set about building the practice and putting the firm’s name on the map – most notably by launching the Halliwells Challenge, now adopted by the Cutlers’ Company as an annual charity fund raising campaign, involving local businesses.

“I encourage all the people that work for me to do other things outside their comfort zone.

“You can be so much more creative and learn so much more,” says the Chamber president who moved on from Halliwells before it hit problems at national level to open a Sheffield office for international law firm Kennedys.