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Meet the Committees

Alongside the BPS Birmingham Executive Team we have seven dedicated committees who plan, manage and deliver all of BPS Birmingham Future’s events, projects and initiatives. Meet the committees…


The BYPY committee has the unenviable task of making sure that, each year, we recognise and reward our membership’s rising stars.

This culminates in Birmingham Young Professional of the Year (BYPY) Awards, one of Future’s flagship events.

In addition to the night itself, the BYPY committee also prepares the nominations process, engages with previous finalists and winners, coaches future applicants, secures sponsors, organises the esteemed judging panel, and generally makes sure that the entire city is whipped up into a frenzy.

BYPY committee members are:

Sophie Carlile – Chair

Sophie Carlile (nee Taylor) is an Associate Solicitor at Squire Patton Boggs, leading the Planning team in the Birmingham office. She has been a member of the BYPY Committee for four years and is delighted to chair the committee for 2018.

Sophie cannot wait to celebrate the best of Birmingham’s business and professional services sector and crown our 2018 winner!

*Did you know*: Sophie is an avid Strictly Come Dancing fan and learnt to dance the Paso Doble back in 2015 in just 14 weeks for a Strictly inspired event – ole!


Kirn Dibra – Deputy Chair

Kirn has recently joined Experian as a Risk and Control Manager.  Prior to this Kirn has worked in a variety of roles at HSBC, Santander and most recently at Lloyds Banking Group, where she was a Senior Project Manager specialising in Regulatory Change.

Outside of work, Kirn loves playing tennis and squash… although her skills on Court could be described as ‘in need of a lot of work!’… and is a member of the Squash Committee at the Edgbaston Priory Club.

As a born and bred Brummie, Kirn is passionate about everything that Birmingham has to offer and is very much looking forward to being the Deputy Chair of BYPY 2018.


Kate Evans

Kate is a Business Development Manager for the West Midlands Growth Company sitting in the Business Birmingham team. Kate is responsible for promoting Birmingham’s Enterprise Zone as an inward investment destination, specialising in the professional and financial services sector.

Outside of work, in addition to BYPY Kate is Chair of the Alzheimer’s Research UK Birmingham Committee and focuses her efforts on fundraising and raising awareness for this cause.

*Did you know* Kate has climbed Ben Nevis for charity and is always looking for new challenges, she is currently taking part in a cycle challenge with 270 miles still to go!


Mike Raven

Mike Raven is Creative Director at RileyRaven, a creative content agency working with Mailbox Birmingham, Style Birmingham Magazine, BPS Birmingham and others. As a new member of the BYPY committee, he is committed to growing awareness of the creative industries within professional services and enhancing the BYPY brand.

As a native Brummie, he is hugely passionate about the city and its development. Mike and his team have been hard at work creating a new look for BYPY18 and is hugely excited to share it with everyone.


Natalie Barnes

Natalie is a Senior Associate in the Banking & Finance team at Irwin Mitchell. After completing her law degree at Bristol University in 2005 and her legal practice course at the College of Law Birmingham 2006, Nat headed to London. However, it was not long before she saw the error of her ways and returned to her native West Midlands in 2008 and has built her career in Birmingham ever since.

Nat was one of the first cohort on the BPS Birmingham Future Leadership Development Programme, and has been on the BYPY committee for three years.

When not working or doing all things BYPY Nat can be found walking/being dragged around by her latest rescue dog Eli.

*Did you know*: Natalie has a bizarre phobia of melted cheese!


Louise Bennett

Louise is Marketing & Communications Officer for international consultancy, RPS Group, coordinating the marketing activity for the project management, cost and building consultancy division. She is also on the Board of Birmingham-based charity, Property for Kids.

She is a huge advocate for the opportunities BPS offers professionals in the city, having started her career as BPS’ Graduate Apprentice 2014/15. After three years on BPS’ Development and Mentoring committees, Louise is thrilled to have now joined the BYPY committee. She is keen to shout about the outstanding talent our region has to offer and BYPY is the perfect platform to accomplish this.

*Did you know* Louise won a one-off “Get Your Own Back” special with Dave Benson-Phillips back in 2010, fulfilling every 90’s child’s dream of gunging someone!


Laura Gallagher

Laura is trained and qualified as a Project Quantity Surveyor and has worked within an array of clients in a variety of sectors, including offices, industrial, residential, retail and mixed-use schemes. Over the last few years, she has been working as a project manager and is working with some key clients including Brockton Capital, Milligan Retail & IM Properties.

As a previous finalist, Laura has seen first-hand the exceptional BYPY process in motion! It nurtures fresh talent within the City and creates a platform for recognition!

*Did you know* Laura loves to travel and is aiming to visit her top 10 destinations before she is 30!


Charles Pette

Charlie works in the Business Development team at Birmingham Hippodrome managing corporate partnerships, stewarding sponsorships and delivering a calendar of commercial events. An avid fan of the arts – he’s keen to bring theatrical flair to the city’s biggest event of the year and ensure 2018 is the most memorable year yet for all involved.

New to the BYPY committee, Charlie is looking forward to celebrating the city’s diverse talent pool alongside championing cultural business collaborations in the region.

*Did you know* Charlie is a qualified ski instructor and is often found in the off-piste, steep slopes and après bars of the Alps.


Sarah Groves

Sarah is a Communications Executive at law led professional services group, Gateley, looking after corporate PR, media relations and social media for the Midlands and Southern regions as well as coordinating PR for the group’s property consultancy, Gateley Hamer. She also sits on the Steering Group for Birmingham’s artist-led exhibition space, Ort Gallery, providing them with marketing, PR and strategic CSR advice to help them achieve their social mission of facilitating dialogue in the community through art.

This is Sarah’s first year on the BYPY committee and she is looking forward to getting stuck in and supporting one of Birmingham’s most prestigious events, which celebrates inspiring young professionals in the region.

*Did you know*: Sarah was once an extra on Midlands based TV soap, Doctors.


Matt Walker

Matt has recently taken the reigns as Group Marketing & PR Manager for Birmingham-based Colmore Tang Construction, heading up a marketing team to promote the contractor through a period of fast growth. A former PR agency bod, Matt rejoins the committee for his second year to shout about the city’s young talent and help recognise the impact, success and kudos that comes with being named BYPY.

A former radio producer, Matt has worked at local radio stations Free Radio, Capital and, most recently, was a producer on the Heart Breakfast Show.




The Development committee is here to help young professionals grow both professionally and personally through a targeted programme of events delivered on a regular basis, advising on key areas of professional development. Building skills and confidence is always at the core of what we offer.

They also take the lead on our prestigious Leadership Development Programme.

Development events are defined by high quality speakers delivering practical sessions, and have been specifically designed to enable our young professionals to cultivate the skills needed to ‘get ahead’ in their career. They also showcase some of the best external leadership courses in the city.

Sessions cover a wide range of key topics, catering for those just starting out on their professional journey to those who are a few years further into their career.

The Development committee is sponsored by Aston Business School.

Development committee members are:

Gemma Dipple, Shakespeare Martineau- Chair

Rachel Cox, Gately Plc- Deputy Chair

Beth Sadler, Aston Business School- Sponsorship and LDP lead

Kristina Briede, Jask Creative Group- Marketing lead

Pardeep Lagha, Gately Plc

Laura Anderson- HSBC

Katie Paddock – Colmore BID

Clare Halligan – Grant Thornton UK LLP




The Engage committee gives Future members a platform to get involved with the wider Greater Birmingham community.

With Corporate Social Responsibility at its heart, the committee runs two key initiatives that aim to connect young people with the BPS sector:

Business Walks: An opportunity for students in local secondary schools to visit a number of workplaces of businesses in the BPS sector and explore career opportunities across the professions. This one-day event is designed to inspire and motivate students who wouldn’t ordinarily have access to those working in the BPS sector, and helps to proactively raise students’ aspirations.

Dragon’s Den: Future members can volunteer to take part in a one-day Dragon’s Den workshop where pupils in schools across Greater Birmingham create a business idea and pitch it to a panel of Dragons. The event aims to equip pupils with valuable group and communication skills, give them an insight into business processes, and inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.

Addressing the Skills Agenda and talent retention, the Engage Committee also take the lead on Professional Services Week

Engage committee members are:

Katie Willems, Higgs and Sons (Co-Chair)

Hannah Green, Urban Communications (Co-Chair)

Raj Sanghera, HKA

Amy Whitehouse, Weightmans LLP

Eliza Hakes, Gowling WLG (Chair)


Rebecca Hawkins, Shoosmiths LLP

Rebecca Manders,  BDO LLP

Daniel Goddard, Trowers & Hamlins

Laura Thursfield, Mazars





The Infrastructure Committee keeps its finger on the pulse of development and innovation in Greater Birmingham, delivering a programme of events that cover all the essential updates you need to know about the space and environment in which you work.

Their events include:
Member-only round table discussions
Regular #DiscoverBirmingham behind the scenes tours
Updates on key projects in the city; from Paradise to Arena Central

The committee loves anything that involves construction, regeneration, and the economy.

Infrastructure committee members are:

Miles Drew, GVA

Martin Prince-Parrott, Gensler

Claire Biddle, Cushman & Wakefield

Sophie Drake, Story Comms

Steve Townsend, Associated Architects

Bryony Martin, AECOM

Ivan Law, AREIL

Bradley Roberts, Browne Jacobson

David Joblins, Arcadis

Dan Griffiths



Introduced at the end of 2015, our Membership Committee promotes the opportunities available across Aspire, Future and Leaders to employers and employees working in the BPS sector.

The committee regularly presents to businesses across Greater Birmingham, showcasing the reasons why BPS Birmingham membership is a must. They also run regular ‘Meet BPS’ events, where you can meet members from across Aspire, Future and Leaders, whilst enjoying a free drink.

The Membership Committee is also there to ensure that members are getting the most out of their experience. This includes organising regular Speed Networking events, to help connect members; as well as organising member only shopping events. They are also the ones behind your exclusive Member Offers.

Membership committee members are:

Cidonye Howell, Eversheds Sutherland LLP

Deanna Page, BPS Birmingham

Katherine Utton, Browne Jacobson

Helen Monro, Gowling

Guy Revell, Bruntwood

Tariva Thomas, Wright Hassall



Our Mentoring Committee runs our flagship Future Mentoring Academy, which was launched by 2015/16 Chair, Rebecca Simkiss.

The Future Mentoring Academy brings together Aspire Mentoring and Future Mentoring to partner aspiring, emerging and established leaders to learn from each other, inspire each other and provide support to each other.

Aspire Mentoring gives Future members the opportunity to mentor students aged 18-24 in higher education institutions across the region; drawing upon skills and experience that you’ve gained from working in the BPS sector.

Future Mentoring is for our members who wish to reap the rewards of being mentored by a successful professional from within the region, or who feel that they can offer their time and experience as a mentor.

To find out more visit the Mentoring page.

Mentoring committee members are:

Ria Blagburn, GrowBeyond (Chair)

Robbie Holden, Curium Solutions (Deputy Chair)

Mo Khan, Mazars

Charlie Harris, DBK

Sonia Chopra, Macmilan Davies

Daniel Thomson, D4

Subhana Anhu, Trowers & Hamlins LLP

Hannah Short, Shoosmiths LLP

Hattie D’Souza, East Village




The name says it all – the Social committee makes sure that Future members have some fun and get a little culture into their souls.

The team coordinates our seasonal get-togethers, monthly networking events, and anything else that takes their fancy.

Last year, they organised theatre trips, wine tasting, a charity poker night, and networking on Birmingham’s canals. They have the best connections in the city and arrange Future meet-ups at events like the Digbeth Dining Club and Birmingham Beer Bash!

Social committee members are:

Jamie Berry, Odysset Corporate Finance

Josh Howells, Gateley

Demi Swingler, Core Marketing

Nicola Seymore, Pinsent Mason

Harriet Rogers, Squire Patton Bogss

Catriona Lindsay, Gowling WLG

Rebecca Kennedy, Pinsent Masons LLP



If you are keen to get involved in one of our committees, email us with the subject line ‘Future Committee’.