Last Thursday saw the Birmingham Young Professional of the Year 2016 finalists battle it out in front of a stellar line up of judges. The eighteen candidates have been put through their paces by the judging panel, chaired by SCC’s Executive Director, Tracy Westall. The eighteen finalists, which were announced earlier this month, have faced the judges and now have the gruelling wait until the awards night on Thursday 12 May. Winners will be crowned in each of the six categories: Finance; HR, Recruitment & Training; Legal; Marketing & Communications; Property & Construction and Technology. An overall BYPY16 winner will also be announced, in addition to the Aspiring Talent and Inspiring Leader titles. A leading figure in the technology industry, panel chair Tracy Westall is responsible for SCC Corporate Services, overseeing supplier and partner management and procurement, public sector policy, business performance, marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility.

“This year’s judging panel is a great representation of Greater Birmingham’s BPS sector, with expertise across our six awards categories. It was really important for us to find a blend of professionals who could not only identify people excelling in their careers, but who are also true advocates for the city and showcase their passion,” said Bina Ganatra, chair of this year’s Birmingham young professional organising committee.

Bina continued: “The judging day was as competitive as ever and the finalists made the decision extremely difficult. Awards night is going to be amazing and I can’t wait for the BYPY16 winners to be revealed.”

High Court Judge, The Honourable Mr Justice Ian Dove, sat alongside Tracy on the judging panel. He was appointed a High Court Judge in October 2014 and is an Honorary Professor of Law at Birmingham University. The BYPY16 panel included two financial services experts: Mike Steventon from KPMG and Wesleyan’s Ahmed Farooq. Senior Partner at KPMG’s Birmingham Office and RegionalChairman for the Midlands, Mike Steventon brought over 30 years’ experience to the judging table. Chief Financial Officer for Wesleyan Assurance Society, Ahmed Farooq was previously Managing Director of General Insurance for the Birmingham-born firm. He is chair of BPS Birmingham and is the local enterprise partnership’s sector champion for business and professional services. Clive Bawden and Jason MacKenzie brought corporate finance, marketing and PR expertise to the judging line up. Clive is Commercial Director at Breaking Free Group, trained at KPMG Birmingham and worked for Inchcape plc, Saint-Gobain and Catalyst Corporate Finance before starting his own business in 2013. Jason is Managing Director of award-winning PR and marketing consultancy Liquid PR and President-Elect of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR). Katie Kershaw, who was awarded the Property & Construction category and overall winner of BYPY winner in 2015, also featured on the judging panel. She is a Director at Node, an award- winning urban design, landscape architecture and heritage practice, based in Birmingham. Completing the impressive BYPY16 judging panel was Rebecca Simkiss, joint Managing Director of SimkissGuy Recruitment and Chair of BPS Birmingham Future. She has spent the last 12 years working in the city as an office support and graduate recruitment specialist, and is incredibly passionate about promoting Birmingham as a fantastic place to live and work. Tickets and tables for BYPY16 are already selling fast.

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