Susan was born in Glasgow and moved to Oxford when she was two, attending local schools before studying Government and History at the LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science) and then English and Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
Susan then returned to Oxford, working in publishing and then in communications, notably for the Labour Party and currently for Oxford University Hospitals where she is Head of Media and Staff Communications.
Susan first stood for election (unsuccessfully) to Oxfordshire County Council when she was 23. The following year she was elected a city councillor for Wood Farm Ward and was a councillor representing that area for 12 years until she stood down. During her period on council she was Chair of the Personnel Committee, Vice Chair of the Housing Committee and appointed to the City Executive Board when the committee system ended. She held the Community Safety Portfolio on the executive board. Susan was given a police commendation for her work in supporting community safety in Oxford which included working with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour and introduce better partnership working with the police.
In 1997 Susan stood as the parliamentary candidate for Labour in Oxford West and Abingdon. The formerly Conservative seat swung to the Liberal Democrats but Susan was pleased to still manage to raise the Labour vote.
After 12 years, Susan stood down from the council but came back onto the council and the City Executive Board five years ago where she held the portfolio for Financial Inclusion and Customer Services. She was elected Deputy Leader in October 2017 and then Leader in January 2018. As Leader of Oxford City Council, Susan also leads on Economic Development and partnership working.
Susan sits on a local charity, St Mary Magdalen Parish Charities, is a Director of Oxford Local Economic Partnership and a member of the Oxfordshire Growth Board.