Introducing LEP committee member Andrea Cropley
Andrea Cropley, member of the Local Enterprise Partnership Professional Services and Finance sub committees
Sheffield corporate lawyer Andrea Cropley began her career in the bright lights of the entertainment world in London – dealing with legal matters for the likes of Sky, Sir Richard Attenborough and Universal Studios
Then she moved over to business, first with City law firm Theodore Goddard and next with a global accountancy firm, learning to reach out to another set of clients altogether, helping them work out exactly what they needed in terms of advice.
“I had to take myself out and about to meet clients and generate interest,” she says. I had to think strategically, be open to new ideas, and to move away from purely traditional ways of getting to my ‘market’.”
Eight years ago she moved to Sheffield and is a partner at national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, where she advises both big business and small and medium-sized enterprises.
“This region is a great environment to work in. I can feel part of the business world – I can go and see clients in their factories and their offices and really grasp what they do and what their issues are. Previously I sat in London often miles from where the client was based. It’s opened my eyes to what’s going on and made me a far better advisor.
I believe we are seeing a modern-day industrial revolution, particularly with small businesses and the move into digital communications. We have the opportunity to be more open minded about the world out there.
And the experience she has gained advising the business world also underpins her work with the Sheffield City Region.
LEP Professional Services
I hope I make a useful contribution because I am part of the sector myself. I’m very pleased that we are trying to attract big professional services firms to the region. I am however very aware from being in that world that we have to demonstrate to them how much we can offer– they want worthwhile remunerative work or a way in which to deliver excellence at lower cost.
We need to attract the best quality people and that means having good quality jobs at all stages of a career process to stimulate the wider market.
I bring a unique experience from my time in London where I acted on many corporate finance transactions in the financial services market. This coupled with years of experience acting for corporates and owner managers means that I can bring a perspective from all sides.
I understand financial needs and have a good grasp of complex financial structuring, institutional constraints and how to reach compromise. With an insight and knowledge of sophisticated structured products, an understanding of European funding and a working knowledge of business constraints for companies across a breadth of sectors, I believe I contribute a balanced perspective.
Having worked as the lawyer on behalf of the Lyceum Theatres Trust and seen first-hand the passion and enthusiasm that local business leaders and professionals have for ensuring a rich cultural, as well as business heritage, I feel privileged to be part of a community committed to the wider City Region.
I act for Finance Yorkshire, set up to fund SMEs. It’s very rewarding to be able to contribute to an initiative that has created significant new jobs and opportunity for many businesses that may never have got off the ground otherwise.
At home, where we have a horse and five ponies, I enjoy a completely different world – I relax with a cup of tea and muck out the animals. I spend a lot of time ferrying our two young daughters to riding, show-jumping and tennis. I watch them show jumping and worry as they compete – and am ridiculously proud if they win!
And I have two dogs – a grumpy Jack Russell who completely rules the roost, and a Cocker Spaniel who’s quite bonkers!