BPS Birmingham Futures graduates

Graduates of the BPS Birmingham Futures leadership development programmes

Celebrating leadership success

More than 90 professionals have attended a dinner to celebrate graduates from BPS Birmingham Future’s first Leadership Development Programme.

Held in partnership with Aston Business School, the programme saw 18 delegates develop core leadership skills during a series of monthly evening workshops on a range of topics.

The participants were presented with their certificates by Professor Caroline Elliott, Deputy Dean of Aston Business School, at the event on Thursday 8 June in the McGregor’s Suite at Villa Park.

Professor Elliot said: “It’s been really great to hear and find out more about how we’re working with BPS Future, which is a very important relationship.

“Aston University and Aston Business School’s ethos has always been to work with business. Our catchphrase is to be the number one for businesses and professionals. Long may this continue and flourish with BPS Birmingham.

“The graduates here tonight all have high-pressured jobs, and I’m sure there were some days when they could have stayed working in their offices until 11pm, or could have gone home to relax with takeaways and wine.

“But instead they did this programme, throughout the winter months. And so tonight’s for all of you graduating. I hope you found it interesting and stimulating.”

Tara Tomes, chair of BPS Birmingham Future and managing director of EAST VILLAGE, who was also one of the programme’s graduates, addressed the dinner audience.

She said: “Tonight’s all about celebrating talent in a programme that’s making a real difference in the city. Aston Business School has been brilliant and has worked with us every step of the way in helping us how to take our learnings back into our day jobs, and taking our ideas forward into our teams.

“Birmingham Future is dedicated to attracting, retaining and developing young professionals, and this unique programme, in partnership with Aston Business School, allows us to support our emerging leaders and provide them with core leadership skills and style advice ready to take back to their places of work.”

Rebecca Simkiss, immediate past chair of BPS Birmingham Future and joint managing director of SimkissGuy Recruitment, was another of the graduates, and also spoke on the evening.

She said: “I am so excited to see how this programme matures in the future. Leadership isn’t about a job title. It isn’t about how many staff you manage, about how much money you earn, or about telling people what to do.

“I believe that leadership is about knowing who you are, and what you want to achieve, about knowing your strengths, but recognising your personal areas of development.

“I believe leadership is about listening to the advice of those who have strengths you admire, helping those around you, being supportive and encouraging to those who seek your advice.”

Rebecca also announced the Overall Star Student Award, which was presented to Alex Nicholson-Evans, commercial director at Birmingham Museums Trust.

She added: “To all of you who have taken part in the very first BPS Birmingham Future Leadership Development Programme: thank you and congratulations.”

Beth Sadler, of Aston Business School, who is also a committee member at BPS Birmingham Future, was another of the programme graduates, and largely organised the celebratory dinner.

Compering the evening, she said: “Thanks to everyone involved at Aston and BPS Birmingham for providing many moments of insight, laughter and innovation. We all made new friendships and new networks. It was great to work with all these people who want to be part of Birmingham’s future.”

Jamie De Souza, a solicitor at Higgs & Sons, was another of the graduates. Talking during the networking part of the evening, he said: “It was a really interesting and useful programme. It was so refreshing to go back to doing something that makes you think and learn from other people in different sectors.”

Also graduating was Roxana Raileanu, executive manager at BPS Birmingham. She said: “It’s been a journey towards discovering what sort of leader I am and putting it into practice. The programme has really helped to put everything into context, to understand the cultural and personality differences and how to communicate better. My favourite workshops were ‘organisational leadership’ and ‘public speaking’ modules.”

During the evening, it was announced that the Leadership Development Programme would continue for a second year from this September for another 20 professionals.

Graduates from the BPS Birmingham Future Leadership Development Programme who received their certificates at the dinner:

  • Sameera Amarasiri, Manager, BDO LLP
  • Jane Anderson, Associate Solicitor, Irwin Mitchell LLP
  • Victoria Ball, Senior Associate, Trowers and Hamlins LLP
  • Natalie Barnes, Associate Solicitor, Irwin Mitchell LLP
  • Rebecca Blaymires, Associate Director Business Development, Lloyds Bank Corporate Finance
  • Jamie De Souza, Associate, Higgs and Sons
  • Jonathan Halberda, Senior Financial Consultant, Wesleyan
  • Glenn Karlsson, Head of Technical Services, Green Frog Power Group
  • Errol Lawson, Director, Emerge Leadership UK
  • Sangeeta Mall, Project Manager, Wesleyan
  • Bryony Martin, Director, AECOM
  • Alex Nicholson-Evans, Commercial Director, Birmingham Museums Trust
  • Roxana Raileanu, Executive Manager, BPS Birmingham
  • Beth Sadler, Business Partnerships and Community Engagement Consultant, Aston Business School
  • Rebecca Simkiss, Managing Director, SimkissGuy Recruitment
  • Kathryn Small, Head of Clients and Markets, Gowling WLG
  • Sophie Taylor, Associate, Squire Patton Boggs
  • Tara Tomes, Managing Director, EAST VILLAGE