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Rounding up 2016 - a year in the life of BPS Birmingham Future

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I can’t believe that 2016 is over already… where did the year go?! As we get ready for a much-needed festive break (and I rush around doing the Christmas shopping I haven’t even started yet), I thought it would be nice to have a look at just how much we’ve achieved at BPS Birmingham Future this year.

We’ve had another jam-packed 12 months, running over 120 (yes, 120) events this year! Wow, our committees really have been busy. With everything from effective networking and how to nail your appraisal, through to an Arena Central hard hat tour and taster salsa session. Our monthly Cereal Networking, #DiscoverBirmingham, and Leaders’ Lunches have gone from strength to strength; giving our members unique opportunities to sit down with senior leaders and see behind the city’s top developments.

We have continued to focus on our members’ professional development, with monthly events and workshops, but we have also launched our BPS Birmingham Future Leadership Development Programme. In partnership with Aston Business School, 20 ‘emerging leaders’ are now following a nine month course to help them progress to the top. I’m so proud of this project, which Immediate Past Chair, Becky Simkiss, and I have worked hard to put together with Beth Sadler from Aston Business School.

Future remains committed to building skills and confidence, starting at school age where our members go in and take part in Dragons’ Dens events; giving the city’s dedicated and talented students a chance to showcase their business ideas. This is teamed with regular Business Walks, where schools come into the city and their students get to experience what it’s like working in the BPS sector. This work also formed part of the first-ever Professional Services Week; an initiative led by BPS Birmingham that saw our entire sector come together to showcase the breadth of opportunities out there for our young school pupils. It’s a big step in the movement for the BPS sector and I cannot wait to work alongside everyone involved to build on this for #PSW2017!

Working closely with BPS Birmingham Aspire, we have continued to reach out to students and apprentices through our Aspire Mentoring scheme; giving Future members the chance to impart knowledge and help the city’s next set of professionals. I sat on the panel for the mentees and saw just how much passion, enthusiasm and talent there is across our local universities!

Our unique Future Mentoring Academy continues to develop, and through Future Mentoring our members are paired with the city’s senior leaders. We have two mentoring cohorts a year – in the spring and autumn – and the last one alone saw over 60 mentoring relationships formed! We’ve even gone a step further and, from January, will be trialing ‘Reverse Mentoring’, where our members become the mentors to the senior leaders through Colmore Business District. I can’t wait to report on so watch this space to see how we get on!

A year in the life of Future would not be complete without mentioning our flagship Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards. Back in May, hundreds of professionals took over the ICC for an evening celebrating young and emerging talent across the sector. A huge well done to every finalist but especially to our BYPY16 winners; Ben Collins (EY), who picked up the Finance award; Russ Hill (Squire Patton Boggs), who picked up the top gong for Legal; HR, Recruitment and Training winner, Ruqia Sharif (HS2); Property and Construction winner, Mike Lally (Buro Four); and Mike Brooman (Vanti), who went home with the Technology award. And, of course, Marketing & Communications winner and overall BYPY16, Abby Corfan (CBSO), as well as our Aspiring Talent winner Mary Agbesanwa (University of Birmingham) and the 2016 Inspiring Leader, Mike Ward (Gateley).

The team has been working hard since the summer on BYPY17 and January will see tickets on sale and applications open – so get your nomination form content ready!

We achieve so much at Future, each and every week, and I am so proud to be part of it but none of it would be possible without the incredible team of people who share the same passion I do. It’s time for a shout to everyone who has been part of the Future Leadership Team this year:

BYPY16 Chair, Bina Ganatra (Santander); BYPY17 Chair, Mike Colledge (Denfield); Development Chair 2015-16, Louisa Grocott (Core Marketing); Development Chair 2016-17, Katie Fulcher (Graduate Advantage); Engage Chair 2015-16, Melissa Standford (Bevan Brittain); Engage 2016-17 Chair, Imogen Francis (Shoosmiths); Infrastructure Chair 2016, Steve Townsend (Associated Architects); Infrastructure Chair 2017, Claire Biddle (Cushman & Wakefield); Membership Chair 2016-17, Kathryn Small (Gowling WLG); Mentoring Chair 2015-16, Penny Thorp (Grayling); Mentoring Chair 2016-17, Dan Thompson (D4 Software); Social & Culture Chair 2015-16, Lucy Ainscough (EY); Social & Culture Chair 2016, Mike Lally (Buro Four); Social & Culture Chair 2016-17, Demi Swingler (Core Marketing); Sports Committee Chair 2015-16, Tom Rawlings (Edgbaston Stadium); Sports Chair 2016, Jack Etherton (Lloyds); and Sports Chair 2016-17, Olly Attifeld (Glide). You guys and your committees rock!

Added, of course, to the amazing Becky Simkiss (SimkissGuy), our Immediate Past Chair, and Kathryn Small (Gowling WLG), who is Deputy Chair and will take over the reins in August. Plus, our amazing BPS Birmingham Exec Team, led by Hilary Smyth-Allen! Plus, I can’t forget the brilliant teams leading BPS Birmingham Aspire, including their Advance and Talent committees, too.

In addition to our own professional lives, Future also remains dedicated to ‘giving back’ and we announced LoveBrum as our Charity Partner earlier this year. An amazing charity led by incredible people, LoveBrum funds brilliant projects that help make Birmingham an even better place to live. We’ll keep you updated with activity every month but why not sign up and get involved too? Find out more over on their website.

So, almost 1,000 words later (it’s like a mini dissertation), I think I have started to capture just a taster of what Future is about and what we’ve achieved together this year. There’s even more to come so rest up over Christmas because we’ve got so much planned for 2017 – head over to our Events Calendar and book yourself on to our first few events of the year.

See you on the other side… and thanks for being part of the BPS Birmingham Future journey.

Tara Tomes

Chair, BPS Birmingham Future