Sue France, Founder of Sue France Creative Connecting in Cheshire
A freelance consultant who specialises in holding monthly networking events for businesswomen
My career background is in fashion – principally children’s wear, which I stepped into after completing my studies at Liverpool College of Art.
It was the 1970s and I found myself working as a designer in trendy Carnaby Street. I got a foothold in a hugely creative and competitive industry – eventually launching my own clothing brand which I sold into stores such as Fortnum & Mason and Fiorucci in Milan.
I remained in fashion on and off for more than 20 years, but in 2001 life changed forever when my then 27-year-old daughter Rachel died from cancer. I went to work for the Kirsty Appeal for Francis House Children’s Hospice in Manchester and discovered I had a talent for organising events. When I held my own charity ball in Rachel’s memory and raised £18,000, it led to a new career in PR and marketing for a Yorkshire-based hotel group.
Through this role my eyes were opened to a whole new world surrounding business networking – and after retiring from the hotels in 2010, I ran Forward Ladies across the North West region before branching out with my own venture: Sue France Creative Connecting in Cheshire.
I’ve always been passionate about helping women to form good business connections, but it’s important that my events have an element of fun as well! My biggest success has been my annual Literary Lunch, which is now in its seventh year. I’m so proud of how popular it has become and the way in which it has encouraged women to achieve their dream of writing a book of their own.
Alongside my business, I keep busy as a regional champion for London-based Make It Your Business (MIYB) and patron of the charity Gift of a Wedding in Manchester, which arranges weddings for couples where one partner is terminally ill. I am honoured to help this charity through my connections.
Telling my story today is particularly significant because it falls upon the anniversary of my daughter’s birthday. Each year I endeavour to pay tribute to her in a different way, so expressing my love and memories through a project that honours inspirational women felt especially fitting because Rachel inspires me every single day.