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DLA Piper’s Joint Managing Director Europe, Sandra Wallace, has chaired an esteemed panel of judges at Millennium Point to determine winners of BPS Birmingham Future’s flagship awards, Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY), which is taking place on Thursday 16th May at the ICC.

Wallace was joined on the panel by some of the region’s top professionals, including Paul Bramwell, Managing Director of MediaCom Birmingham; Anne Brookes, Head of the Brown Shipley Birmingham office; Tim Rayner, Partner at Irwin Mitchell; Katie Fulcher, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership, and Chair of BPS Birmingham Future; and Laura Thursfield, Independent Financial Adviser at Mazars LLP and winner of BYPY 2018.

The judging panel commented on the ‘very high standard across all of the categories’ and had to make some ‘really difficult decisions’ picking the winners.

Sandra Wallace, Joint Managing Director Europe at DLA Piper

Sandra Wallace has worked in the legal profession for over 20 years as an experienced, client focused employment lawyer. She advises global clients on the full remit of employment services and provides strategic advice to boards and businesses particularly on global restructurings and diversity and inclusion. Sandra has seen the importance of supporting talent in the Birmingham region during her professional career and has resisted any moves to London even whilst she rose in seniority within her firm.

She has held the position of UK Employment Group head, UK Managing Partner and now sits on the international Executive Board at DLA Piper in her Managing Director capacity. Sandra is also the Birmingham Chair of City UK, the industry led body representing UK-based financial and professional services. In December, she was also selected to become a Social Mobility Commissioner. The Social Mobility Commission monitors progress and makes recommendations on improving social mobility in the UK and promotes social mobility in England.

Sandra was one of the 2019 Legal 500 winners for outstanding achievement. She has featured for 3 years running in the power list 100 of the most influential and powerful black people in Britain and last year won the Birmingham Law Society Leadership award. She was also BYPY’s very own legal category winner in 2001.

Paul Bramwell, Managing Director of MediaCom Birmingham

Paul Bramwell started his career in London working at both advertising agencies and media independents but has spent the last 20 years building media businesses in the West Midlands. Most recently he launched the Birmingham office of MediaCom, the UK’s largest media planning and buying agency. The business specialises in building integrated communication plans across all offline and online media channels. Clients include Universal Orlando Resorts, Help for Heroes, Continental Tyres, Tetley Tea, Topps Tiles, Slimming World and Isuzu. A former President of the BPA (Birmingham Publicity Association) Paul is committed to helping the region’s creative, marketing and digital industries grow.

Anne Brookes, Head of the Brown Shipley Birmingham office

Anne Brookes has been the Head of the Brown Shipley Birmingham office since January 2011. Having established the team in Birmingham, Anne continues to be responsible for leading the team alongside managing a client portfolio with a variety of high net worth and ultra-high net worth clients, including a number of business owners and entrepreneurs. Before joining Brown Shipley, Anne previously held positions at NatWest in private banking and financial planning, and then Coutts.

Tim Rayner, Partner at Irwin Mitchell

Tim Rayner is a partner at Irwin Mitchell and jointly heads up their national Real Estates Disputes team. He deals with the full spectrum of property-related issues both in relation to actual litigation but also on an advisory basis, working alongside his transactional property colleagues and clients to try and avoid disputes.

His clients include landlord-investors and funds, as well as corporate occupiers. He has a particular specialism in dilapidations and has acted in two of the biggest dilapidations cases in recent years.

Tim sits on the board and is a director of BPS Birmingham, and he chairs the Leaders division which is currently undergoing an exciting revamp. He was also co-lead for professional services in respect of the WMCA Leadership Commission.

Tim has a young family and in his spare time he cycles as much as possible.

Katie Fulcher, Stakeholder Engagement Manager at GBS LEP and Chair of BPS Birmingham Future

Katie Fulcher is Stakeholder Engagement Manager at Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership where she leads on increasing the LEP’s depth of engagement with the business community, as well as other key stakeholders both regionally and nationally.

Katie is passionate about regional development and inclusive growth, and enjoys bringing people together around a common aim. With a primary focus on developing and realising the potential of the region’s strengths in key sectors and technologies, and identifying interventions that can deliver benefits for all sections of society. She has a bird’s-eye view of economic growth areas.

Her dedication to developing young professionals and taking an active role in the business community led her to be appointed as Chair of BPS Birmingham Future (September 2018). Katie participates in numerous initiatives to support young people, all contributing towards the goal of creating a supportive environment in which all who live and work in the region can thrive.

Laura Thursfield, Independent Financial Adviser at Mazars LLP and BYPY 2018

Laura is an FCA-authorised Independent Financial Adviser at Mazars LLP. Laura is responsible for Midlands-based clients worth £53 million in assets under management, and has experience advising a wide range of private clients, from senior partners, directors and business owners through to independently wealthy individuals.

As BYPY 2018, Laura has acted as an ambassador for Birmingham and is committed to improving the financial literacy of the city, in particular working alongside our inner-city schools to develop key skills and self-development opportunities. Alongside studying her Executive MBA at Aston Business School, in the past year Laura has been named ‘Rising Star’ at the Women in Financial Advice Awards, named in Citywire’s Top 35 Next Generation Advisers 2018 and named #6 in Accountancy Age ’35 Under 35’.