Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP appoints first Non-Executive Director for Young People

  • GBSLEP welcomes Sophie Drake to its Board as Non-Executive Director (NED) for Young People
  • First LEP in the country to have a Director representing young people
  • Role designed to ensure area’s young people have a voice in growing the local economy

Today the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) announces the appointment of its first Non-Executive Director (NED) for Young People, in a move designed to drive engagement and inspire the region’s burgeoning 18-30-year-old population.

Sophie Drake, a graduate of Birmingham City University and currently senior account executive at Birmingham-based communications agency Story Comms, has been appointed following a rigorous recruitment process that saw 40 applications for the role.

Drake will join 19 other Non-Executive Directors from across the private, public and educational sectors as they pursue the LEP’s ambitious agenda to add £29bn to Greater Birmingham’s economy by 2030.

She will also be responsible for supporting a group of young representatives to sit on the LEP’s sub-boards for business, people and place, working with them to forge links between the organisation, its partners and the region’s youth.

In her current position at Story Comms, Drake delivers strategic communications for some of the region’s leading organisations.

Her clients include Marketing Birmingham, John Lewis, Mills & Reeve, The FA, Goodman Group, CEG Property, Drive Midlands, and Berwick Partners.

For her work at Story, she was recognised by the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce as the Future Face of Communications 2016.

The appointment follows a number of strong results for the GBSLEP which was last month highlighted as the top core city LEP for economic growth.

Key indicators such as job creation, quality of life, economic output, foreign direct investment and business start-up activity show that the region is harnessing its potential and increasing its position on global city rankings.

Chris Loughran, Chair of the Nominations Committee and Board Director for the Greater Birmingham and Solihull LEP, said:

“During such an exciting time for Greater Birmingham, GBSLEP is really pleased to welcome Sophie to its Board.

We were impressed with her knowledge, passion and commitment to the region and her ideas on how to build strong relationships between young people across Greater Birmingham and those leading on the delivery of its large-scale economic development priorities.

“In deciding to create this role, the GBSLEP Board recognised the importance of young people in influencing the area’s future.

The application process was very competitive and we were impressed with the quality and variety of candidates that came forward, proving a real appetite for young people to have a voice in the area’s decision making.

We look forward to Sophie helping to drive forward the LEP’s ambitious Strategic Economic Plan across its three ‘Pillars’ of Business, People and Place along with the soon to be appointed sub-board representatives.”

Sophie Drake, said:

“The fact that the GBSLEP has created this pioneering position shows that the region and its business community is taking stock of its uniquely youthful profile and the contribution that young people can and will make to its future success.

“The decisions being made about the region’s future now will impact the lives, careers and families of our young people – they should have a say in those decisions.

“After moving to Birmingham to study, I fell in love with the area and after graduating chose to stay, build a career and a life here.

As one of the 38% of young people aged 18-30 invested in Greater Birmingham’s future I’m looking forward to listening to the views of my peers, understanding their perspectives and representing their voice on the big issues affecting the region’s future.”

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