Suzy Walton

Inspirational board director, corporate governance expert, broadcaster and mother of six.

With an incredibly diverse career, Suzy frequently speaks publicly about her life. Suzy was originally a West End actress before moving to a career as a producer presenter and editor in radio and television. With two degrees under her belt she then worked as a government scientist and policy advisor in the Ministry of Defence and the Cabinet Office. She gained a third degree – a PhD, for classified military research and then over the last decade has sat on the boards of over a dozen national and international companies and all while raising a family of 6.

Suzy is an expert at balancing complex responsibilities and achieving success in the face of significant barriers.

In her presentations, Suzy inspires her audience to believe that with courage, anything can be achieved.

Videos of Suzy Walton

Q&A with Simon Stevens
Suzy Walton speaker | 2015

Speaker Profile

About Suzy Walton

Suzy Walton has made it to the top of several different professions. She started life (by default, not design) as a West End actress playing the role of Lydia the young deaf girl in the award-winning play “Children of a Lesser God.” She stayed with the show for three and a half years before then entering the media. She had her own travel programme “Time Off” on LBC Radio for a number of years as well as stints as a reporter for BBC Television and a producer for Sky News.

Suzy then went to university as a mature student gaining a first class honours degree followed by a master’s degree in science. This propelled her into immediate employment as a Research Scientist with the Ministry of Defence (MoD). She started off in a hut at the end of the runway in Farnborough and before long was moved to the sharp end in Whitehall. Suzy worked in classified duties as a military psychologist for a number of years and gained a PhD for groundbreaking research into suicide.

Suzy, now a Senior Civil Servant, joined the Cabinet Office. She had a long stint in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit running a programme of strategy work that reported direct to Tony Blair. She worked also in the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit.

Suzy is a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Occupational Psychologist and after leaving government she also added Chartered Director to her qualifications.

For the last decade, she has sat on various government committees and been a board director of various national and international companies.

She is currently on the boards of the Royal Society of Medicine, the Institute of Directors (IoD) and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) for whom she also chairs the global Qualifications Board. She is also on the board of Combat Stress which runs hospitals for veterans with PTSD. She is also a member of the State Honours Committee which makes recommendations for awards to the Prime Minister and the Queen. She is also on the disciplinary panel of the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office which removes judges from office.

She is the former Deputy Chairman of the Royal Society of Arts, the University of Westminster and the Internet Watch Foundation which seeks to eradicate child sexual abuse from the internet.

She is also a former board member of Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).

She has also been on government’s Science Advisory Council, the Ethics Group of the National DNA Database (Home Office) and the National Specialist Commissioning Group (Department of Health).

Suzy has managed the above alongside being a widow for much of her adult life and raising a large family of 6.

Through her open and honest speaking style, Suzy inspires and motivates her audience by telling people "how it is" and helping them to learn how to overcome their barriers to success. Suzy offers reflections from the stage to the boardroom about what she sees are the key traits needed to be effective in any job and how to overcome common barriers.

Speaking Topics

  • Leadership and corporate governance
  • Women and diversity in the workplace
  • Portfolio careers
  • Juggling responsibilities


"Suzy was Chair for the inaugural event in London of the KPMG forum Women in Aerospace, Defence and Intelligence. We had an international audience across government, the military and industry including guests from the U.S.Air Force and the Pentagon. Suzy chaired the event skilfully including sharing her own reflections on key issues in relation to women in leadership."
Jonathon Gill, Partner, KPMG 2016

"Suzy spoke for a second time at our Annual Convention at the Royal Albert Hall. As before she was a phenomenal success!"
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors (IoD) 2015

"Suzy gave a keynote address at a London event of the 30% Club. She spoke about how “you don’t always have to have a plan to succeed.” She shared how she came to prominence in a number of professions, not through setting a strategy but rather through a series of ‘lucky escapes’. Where one door closed another opened and Suzy exploited it. Our audience very much enjoyed Suzy’s keynote and took away a lot of learning. Suzy was engaging, humorous and brutally honest. I can honestly say I’ve never before introduced someone where my opening line is "between us we have 15 children…..!"
Helena Morrissey, CEO Newton Investment Management and founder of the 30% Club 2015

"Suzy hosted an inspiring session entitled ‘Overcoming Challenges and Building Resilience’ drawing extensively on her own remarkable experiences and insight. We found her incredibly open and approachable. A very enjoyable and unique session."
Sue Wilson, Chair Diversity and Inclusion, a City Bank 2014

"Many thanks for last night. Everyone was impressed by your positive attitude and your determination to succeed: this kind of role-modelling is so important to give people the courage to make the most of their lives and to overcome things that can get in the way. Female role models such as yourself are very important to help us become more equal and more inclusive – particularly at senior levels."
A J Walker CPFA FCIPD, Director General HR & Change, House of Commons 2013

“Thank you very much for coming to the University of Hertfordshire to talk to us. I genuinely felt moved and absolutely inspired by your life and work. You have made my experience on the programme so much more valuable and I hope to have an ounce of the strength you have going forward.”
LB, Marketing Undergraduate, University of Hertfordshire 2017

“Suzy spoke at our Annual Convention at the Royal Albert Hall as well as chairing a panel of global business leaders. With an audience of two thousand it’s challenging for any speaker. Suzy handled her session with flair and panache. Suzy also spoke at our Women in Business conference in Pall Mall. She gave a compelling outline of her career and the “lucky escapes” which led to her extraordinary success as a director. I know many of those attending found Suzy’s talk to be exceptionally motivating. On both occasions she was terrific.”
Simon Walker, Director General, Institute of Directors (IoD) 2014

“Suzy was an inspirational voice at a major conference we ran. Her openness and experience make her an articulate role model for women in leadership and those aspiring to be leaders. She was also very approachable, spending time with our delegates, speakers and staff, and being a guest blogger on our website. This is a valuable combination: a member of the boardroom who remembers what it takes to build your career.”
Ruth Wilson, Director, GetSet Women Conference, QEII Conference Centre, Westminster, London 2010

“Suzy talked to our women’s network about the barriers she’d overcome in her various careers and on body language techniques that anybody can use anywhere. We found the talk ‘Climbing the Glass Cliff’ inspirational and at the end she had everyone in the room using the techniques in a simulated briefing to 400 bagpipe players – a memorable day!”
Sarah Bryant, Senior Executive, London Borough of Barking and Dagenham 2008

“Many thanks for the session. You were truly a hit. The impact you had was one of awe – for what you had achieved, the amount you had crammed into your life and that you were still human!”
Janet Waters and Pauline Dixon, National School of Government 2004

“Thank you so much for coming. The sensitive and analytical way in which you presented gave the girls an extremely clear view of the ways they could improve. Your coverage of technique, public speaking, the cut and thrust of debate etc were all excellent in providing the girls with feedback. To have someone who has achieved so much provides an awe-inspiring role model to have someone who has managed to combine a variety of roles with being a mother of three gives the girls an excellent example of what they too can achieve.”
Dr Yvonne Burne, Headmistress, City of London School for Girls 2004

“A high-flying civil servant, Suzy Walton overcame many of the barriers that prevent working mothers getting to the top.”
The Guardian 2008

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