Birmingham's Professional NetworkJoin Today

Birmingham Future’s Own stars of 30 under 30

News Categories: aspirefuture

Hattie D’Souza, Chair of BPS Birmingham Aspire’s Advance Committee and member of BPS Birmingham Future’s Mentoring Committee, and Sophie Drake, of BPS Birmingham Future’s Infrastructure Committee, have both been recognised by Birmingham Live’s inaugural 30 Under 30 campaign, a celebration of the young talent putting the city on the map.

Hattie was part of the team that founded Let’s Feed Brum, a collective of volunteers who gather at the same city centre locale six evenings a week to hand out hot food to those who need it most. In her day job, Hattie is account manager for PR agency EAST VILLAGE.

Sophie was appointed as the UK’s first LEP board director for young people, where she is tasked with driving greater engagement among the region’s population of 18 to 30 year-olds. Sophie now sits alongside 20 other non-executive directors to give young people a voice in the big decisions being made in the city. Away from the LEP, she works for PR agency Story Comms which she joined as a founding team member in 2015.

How does Birmingham benefit from being diverse?

Hattie: “It’s a really supportive city where the people will help one another up the ladder. One can get into a culture where everyone’s competitive but that doesn’t seem to be the case here.

“One thing I really like is the amount of great young female role models there are. I admire Anisa Haghdadi, who founded arts organisation Beatfreeks, and Kiran Kaur and Amna Akhtar who founded Girl Dreamers which is a platform for young women and girls of colour. And obviously, you’d be hard-pushed to find a more supportive girl-squad than the EAST VILLAGE. team.”

Sophie: “I’ve been able to tap into lots of networks in the city such as BPS Birmingham Future and the LEP, meeting many inspiring people along the way. We have a really vibrant business community so if someone throws themselves into it, they will get a lot out in return, both in a personal and professional capacity.

“There are so many opportunities for young people in Birmingham, not just within business community but in a range of thriving sectors such as social enterprise, life sciences and high-speed rail. These opportunities are not just for those who have already embarked on a career but school and college pupils as well.”

Are we making the most of our status as the youngest city in Europe?

Hattie: “…For the young people on the fringes of the city…The opportunities and things that are happening here are not always being translated to them. We should do more to bring them on board.”**

Sophie: “The business community could be a bit more diverse and strive to involve more young people in high-level discussions. We’ve started to see some change but there’s still a long way to go.”

What advice would you give to other young people in Birmingham?

Sophie: “Birmingham is one of the youngest cities in Europe so the LEP recognising that this collective voice needs to play a role in the decisions being made about our region’s future is very refreshing. Young people should break down doors and seize the opportunities open to them.

“Everybody I’ve been involved with through work or the LEP is keen to engage with and develop young people so I’d encourage them to start early and throw themselves into as much as they can.”

**Note to readers: help us change this by getting involved with Professional Services Week, with a record number of schools signed up, this year’s is set to be the biggest yet!