We always enjoy bringing you news about the amazing talent pool of businesses and individuals we are fortunate to have as members of Shropshire Chamber of Commerce.
Today we focus on lawyer Sandy Edwards whose association with the Chamber began eight years ago. Sandy qualified in 2000 and built up a wealth of experience working with two local law firms before beginning a new career as a Consultant Solicitor in May 2019. Sandy now practices with Nexa Law Limited, a national consultancy whose head office is in Oswestry.
She works mainly in the area of matrimonial finances and private child law matters, is Collaboratively trained, a longstanding member of Resolution and a member of the Law Society’s Advanced Family Law Panel. We asked Sandy for her thoughts on being a member of the Chamber and here is what she had to say:
Q: When and why did you join the Chamber?
Sandy: “I first became involved with the Chamber in 2014 when I moved to a firm that had a completely different approach to marketing and attracting and maintaining quality clients. I had never networked before and found the prospect terrifying!
“The firm was already a member of the Oswestry Breakfast Club and, as I lived locally, I was asked to go along - I have never looked back! The members were so experienced and the Chamber representative so encouraging that, before I knew it, I was Vice Chair and then Chair of the meeting.
“I started to get good quality work due to the connections I made and I developed some true friendships that continue to this day. When I decided to become a consultant and, in effect self-employed, I worried that the work might dry up but through my continued attendance at the breakfast club and other Chamber events, I have maintained a network of referrers and can honestly say that I have never been short of work.”
Q: What are the advantages of being a Chamber member?
Sandy: “I would say the regular breakfast meetings and other face-to-face events are the Chamber’s strongest and most effective networking opportunities. Even during Covid the breakfast meetings continued online and provided us all with a vital lifeline.
“The variety of events is excellent and includes anything from net walks and ladies’ events to prestigious awards with 500 plus guests in attendance. I also take advantage of the excellent training. Working from home, I spend most of my time on my own and without the Chamber and the events they hold I would be a very lonely divorce lawyer.”
Q: What are the areas of support you have accessed from the Chamber?
Sandy: “The Chamber have been kind enough to let me ‘rent’ a room in their Shrewsbury office to see clients, which has been a godsend. They couldn’t be more accommodating! I have now seen the Chamber from both ends of the spectrum having worked with a Patron firm and now as a self-employed individual. They are great in all respects and are able to tailor their support to meet specific needs.”
Q: How valuable is it for you to exhibit at the expos, network and use the Chamber training programmes?
Sandy: “If I didn’t network, I would have no new work. It is not just about the person I might meet and speak to at a specific meeting, it is about the people who have got to know me - knowing who and where I am if they or someone they know needs some advice. The training is also excellent and cost-effective, which is more important now that I am self-employed.”
Q: “How important do you think it is for members to use the Chamber to its full advantage?
Sandy: “As part of my membership I can visit other breakfast meetings twice a year, which is great as I get to meet new faces and old friends in other areas of the county. I meet different people at different events and have heard from so many inspirational speakers over the years.
“I am probably guilty of not using the Chamber to its full advantage and shall make it my mission to do so going forwards!”
Q: What would your advice be to someone starting out in business or looking to grow and develop a business?
Sandy: “Join the Chamber! The members are friendly and not at all pushy. You will make real and lasting friendships and whether you are a large company who can enjoy membership as a Patron or a self-employed lawyer like I am, there is something for everyone.”
In conclusion . . .
Sandy: “If it was not for the Chamber, the recent pandemic would have been unbearable. The connections maintained by online meetings and the opportunity for training meant that I was never alone - albeit sat in an office on my own most of the time. Thank you!”