Our Team

 
 
 

Welcome to the West Midlands Young Combined Authority 2019-2020. After weeks of shortlisting, interviews and the hardest process, we have our board in place and want to share them all with you!

Our board is made up of a range of young people aged 15-25 from around the West Midlands. The number of young people in each area is based on population to make it as representative as possible.

Hover over their pictures and read more about them!

 

Lead Facilitator

Sophia Griffin is a Project Manager at Young Giant, a part of Beatfreeks Collective. She is also the Lead Facilitator for the Young Combined Authority 2019-2020.  Sophia is an actor, writer and performance poet using art to question society and the world. She creates work to connect to herself, connect to others and nourish her soul.

Sophia Griffin is a Project Manager at Young Giant, a part of Beatfreeks Collective. She is also the Lead Facilitator for the Young Combined Authority 2019-2020.

Sophia is an actor, writer and performance poet using art to question society and the world. She creates work to connect to herself, connect to others and nourish her soul.

Birmingham

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Lele Tankam

Thoroughly enjoys taking part in wild sporting activities and prefers the colder temperatures. An alum member of the mountaineering society who continues to hike and climb when time allows. Loves to immerse in different cultures although Morocco is top favourite as is learning the Darija language. Currently suffering from Commonwealth fever ever since its announcement and excited for the games to hit the city.

Thoroughly enjoys taking part in wild sporting activities and prefers the colder temperatures. An alum member of the mountaineering society who continues to hike and climb when time allows. Loves to immerse in different cultures although Morocco is top favourite as is learning the Darija language. Currently suffering from Commonwealth fever ever since its announcement and excited for the games to hit the city.

Aisha Masood

I have just graduated in Law from university and am now about to commence study/training to become a barrister. I am super passionate about current affairs and so have a range of experiences to offer such as being a member of the Travel for West Midlands forum. I very much look forward to engaging!

I have just graduated in Law from university and am now about to commence study/training to become a barrister. I am super passionate about current affairs and so have a range of experiences to offer such as being a member of the Travel for West Midlands forum. I very much look forward to engaging!

Ibrahim Mohammed Ilyas

I am an 18 year old student and I help run the LGBTQ+ society at college. I have been on Stonewall's first BAME/POC Young Campaigners Programme and the Campaign Bootcamp programme. Also, I have attended a variety of conferences including the Albert Kennedy Trust's Youth Conference and Dianne's Abbotts event on Decriminalising Homosexuality in the Commonwealth. I'm excited to be a part of the first YCA!

I am an 18 year old student and I help run the LGBTQ+ society at college. I have been on Stonewall's first BAME/POC Young Campaigners Programme and the Campaign Bootcamp programme. Also, I have attended a variety of conferences including the Albert Kennedy Trust's Youth Conference and Dianne's Abbotts event on Decriminalising Homosexuality in the Commonwealth. I'm excited to be a part of the first YCA!

Georgia Wiggin

I am a small person with a big mouth and big ideas. I like to push limits and challenge everything. I was also vice president of Birmingham City University at 19 years old making me the first and youngest person to be elected in.

I am a small person with a big mouth and big ideas. I like to push limits and challenge everything. I was also vice president of Birmingham City University at 19 years old making me the first and youngest person to be elected in.

Lucky Uddin

Young ambitious individual, that is aiming to make positive changes in the great community we live in. I currently work in finance for a global conglomerate and about to begin studying to be an accountant. During my time at school i gain experience in charity work by raising money for the homeless charity St.basils.

Young ambitious individual, that is aiming to make positive changes in the great community we live in. I currently work in finance for a global conglomerate and about to begin studying to be an accountant. During my time at school i gain experience in charity work by raising money for the homeless charity St.basils.

Tyler Smith

I am Olivia and I have recently finished secondary education and will soon be going on to study History,English Lit, Spanish and Sociology for my A-levels. I am an individual who enjoys researching events of the past and their impact on the world today, sparking my passion for History and English Literature. I enjoy public speaking and have a passion for subjects surrounding Social Justice and Human Rights. I saw this as an opportunity to further my leadership skills while also working with a group of other young change-makers seeking a shift in our societies.

I am Olivia and I have recently finished secondary education and will soon be going on to study History,English Lit, Spanish and Sociology for my A-levels. I am an individual who enjoys researching events of the past and their impact on the world today, sparking my passion for History and English Literature. I enjoy public speaking and have a passion for subjects surrounding Social Justice and Human Rights. I saw this as an opportunity to further my leadership skills while also working with a group of other young change-makers seeking a shift in our societies.

Olivia Agbe

I am passionate about social action and bringing change in our communities locally, nationally and internationally. I have experience in leadership as I was team director and project manager at NCS last summer, where we spread awareness about homelessness in the local area. I also was invited to give and speech and sing at the International Human Rights Day celebrations and I have also become a part of the ToomuchpassionCIC which teaches young people the importance of cooking healthier meals and how we can cross culture our dishes. So far we have carried out cooking master classes and "Food Expos" an event where we network with chefs across the UK and the public get to explore different food stalls and try their food.

I am passionate about social action and bringing change in our communities locally, nationally and internationally. I have experience in leadership as I was team director and project manager at NCS last summer, where we spread awareness about homelessness in the local area. I also was invited to give and speech and sing at the International Human Rights Day celebrations and I have also become a part of the ToomuchpassionCIC which teaches young people the importance of cooking healthier meals and how we can cross culture our dishes. So far we have carried out cooking master classes and "Food Expos" an event where we network with chefs across the UK and the public get to explore different food stalls and try their food.

Eman Mowatt

Michael is an aspiring creative based in Birmingham who spends much of his free time volunteering in his local community whilst also caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s in Coventry. As one of the 6% of care leavers who progress to university and part of the 1.9% of Black Students admitted to Oxford, Michael is accustomed to beating the odds and is passionate about helping even the playing field for forgotten and underrepresented groups. He demonstrates this through his work asStudents with Disabilities officer and Access and Equal Opportunities officer at his Uni. He’s currently reading PPE and has social entrepreneurial future aspirations as well as making music, poetry and films. He’s joined to board with a sole aim to make the voices of young people heard and encourage stakeholders to assess the impacts of their policies on young people.

Michael is an aspiring creative based in Birmingham who spends much of his free time volunteering in his local community whilst also caring for a loved one suffering from Alzheimer’s in Coventry. As one of the 6% of care leavers who progress to university and part of the 1.9% of Black Students admitted to Oxford, Michael is accustomed to beating the odds and is passionate about helping even the playing field for forgotten and underrepresented groups. He demonstrates this through his work asStudents with Disabilities officer and Access and Equal Opportunities officer at his Uni. He’s currently reading PPE and has social entrepreneurial future aspirations as well as making music, poetry and films. He’s joined to board with a sole aim to make the voices of young people heard and encourage stakeholders to assess the impacts of their policies on young people.

Michael-Akolade Ayodeji

Hi! My name is Ayan. I am 19 years of age and a politics and economics student at Aston university. I also happen to be a spoken word artist, activist and just someone who is genuinely active in bettering the conditions of my local community!

Hi! My name is Ayan. I am 19 years of age and a politics and economics student at Aston university. I also happen to be a spoken word artist, activist and just someone who is genuinely active in bettering the conditions of my local community!

Ayan Aden

During my life, I have lived in some of the worst places in Birmingham: Aston, Handsworth and Kingstanding, and so have witnessed the worst Birmingham has to offer. On my own street, my own neighbour stabbed an innocent man over a silly quarrel, so I know where I am coming from when I say I know Birmingham. These different experiences led me to want to change the UK for the better – through politics, and I would like to begin this change through the WMYCA. I one day aspire to be the (hopefully not) first non-white Prime Minister of the UK.

During my life, I have lived in some of the worst places in Birmingham: Aston, Handsworth and Kingstanding, and so have witnessed the worst Birmingham has to offer. On my own street, my own neighbour stabbed an innocent man over a silly quarrel, so I know where I am coming from when I say I know Birmingham. These different experiences led me to want to change the UK for the better – through politics, and I would like to begin this change through the WMYCA. I one day aspire to be the (hopefully not) first non-white Prime Minister of the UK.

Daniel Ndaty

Wolverhampton

 
I am an Autistic, BA Politics Grad and International Relations and Global Crises Masters Student at Sheffield Hallam University, who has had the honour of in previous years of being a Youth MP, Youth Councillor and has heavily engaged within charity work - particularly around youth engagement and those with disabilities. Knowing that engagement helped shape my life, I am very honoured to be part of what will be a game-changing group, of outstanding young people!

I am an Autistic, BA Politics Grad and International Relations and Global Crises Masters Student at Sheffield Hallam University, who has had the honour of in previous years of being a Youth MP, Youth Councillor and has heavily engaged within charity work - particularly around youth engagement and those with disabilities. Knowing that engagement helped shape my life, I am very honoured to be part of what will be a game-changing group, of outstanding young people!

Kashmire Hawker

 
I am a University of Birmingham and University of Wolverhampton Alumnus, and a Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages in Sandwell. Proud Wulfrunian.

I am a University of Birmingham and University of Wolverhampton Alumnus, and a Teacher of Modern Foreign Languages in Sandwell. Proud Wulfrunian.

Chris Burden

 
I'm a full time in-house digital marketing executive with a passion for mindfulness, mental health awareness and equality. I'm a proud big sister to 3 siblings but carry that responsibility across everything I do and believe in. I'm proud to always speak up for what I believe in and try to push change in order to better the lives of as many people as possible. I was head girl throughout post 16, selected to become a representative of the Holocaust Educational Trust and also sat on the debate team who became the first comprehensive school to compete at Oxford University.

I'm a full time in-house digital marketing executive with a passion for mindfulness, mental health awareness and equality. I'm a proud big sister to 3 siblings but carry that responsibility across everything I do and believe in. I'm proud to always speak up for what I believe in and try to push change in order to better the lives of as many people as possible. I was head girl throughout post 16, selected to become a representative of the Holocaust Educational Trust and also sat on the debate team who became the first comprehensive school to compete at Oxford University.

Dion Fanthom

 

Solihull

 
I’m James Tilsley from Solihull, I’m very passionate about the West Midlands, I believe this is the best place to live in the UK and we can make it even better with exciting new projects like the Commonwealth Games. At uni I was part of several committees and also helped organise some in my internship at a chamber of commerce in the West Midlands. I currently work in retail so have a variety of different things to call on in this very important role!

I’m James Tilsley from Solihull, I’m very passionate about the West Midlands, I believe this is the best place to live in the UK and we can make it even better with exciting new projects like the Commonwealth Games. At uni I was part of several committees and also helped organise some in my internship at a chamber of commerce in the West Midlands. I currently work in retail so have a variety of different things to call on in this very important role!

James Tilsley

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Zara Hussain

Kari Lawler was accepted onto the E4F incubator at just 14, where she became the youngest ever entrepreneur on the Innovation Birmingham campus. Now at 16 and with the mentorship from Barclays Eagle Lab she helps start-ups to large enterprises understand & deploy AI, through development & education. Kari’s rapid rise within the tech world has been acknowledged with multiple awards, including winning the UK Space Agency SatelLife challenge. Plus, most recently Barclays Entrepreneur Awards Midlands Icon of the Year. Additionally, she has become an in-demand speaker and has spent the last year trialling her AI youth initiative, Youth4AI. Through which she has introduced over 1000 teens to the topic of AI.

Kari Lawler was accepted onto the E4F incubator at just 14, where she became the youngest ever entrepreneur on the Innovation Birmingham campus. Now at 16 and with the mentorship from Barclays Eagle Lab she helps start-ups to large enterprises understand & deploy AI, through development & education. Kari’s rapid rise within the tech world has been acknowledged with multiple awards, including winning the UK Space Agency SatelLife challenge. Plus, most recently Barclays Entrepreneur Awards Midlands Icon of the Year. Additionally, she has become an in-demand speaker and has spent the last year trialling her AI youth initiative, Youth4AI. Through which she has introduced over 1000 teens to the topic of AI.

Kari Lawler

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Grace Lynskey

 

Dudley

17, student at Dudley College, youth police and crime commissioner for Dudley, passionate about politics and the community.

17, student at Dudley College, youth police and crime commissioner for Dudley, passionate about politics and the community.

Emmerson Hanslip

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Yolanda Mapfurire

My name is Mohammed Lukeman. I am 24 years. I am going to study Level 3 Administration at Dudley College in September. I recently got elected as a Social Media Member at the Dudley Youth Council.

My name is Mohammed Lukeman. I am 24 years. I am going to study Level 3 Administration at Dudley College in September. I recently got elected as a Social Media Member at the Dudley Youth Council.

Mohammed Lukeman

 

Sandwell

 
I'm a passionate young woman who has spoken out for the rights of people with disabilities over the years prior to joining the Board. I'm excited to be able to join the Board because over of the years, people in power have told me what I need and what I should be doing. To me, this is wrong because they aren't in my shoes or appreciate the challenges I and many other young people face. It will be an honour to work alongside 29 other young people on the Board to ensure young people’s voices are heard across the region!

I'm a passionate young woman who has spoken out for the rights of people with disabilities over the years prior to joining the Board. I'm excited to be able to join the Board because over of the years, people in power have told me what I need and what I should be doing. To me, this is wrong because they aren't in my shoes or appreciate the challenges I and many other young people face. It will be an honour to work alongside 29 other young people on the Board to ensure young people’s voices are heard across the region!

Gina Patel

 
Studying Level 3 IT Diploma at Bournville College; progressing to university to enhance my IT knowledge and skills. I am quite new to activism but given the current situation politically, environmentally and economically around the globe I feel like I can no longer be a passenger. Having volunteered with numerous grassroots community organisations, I have noticed the impact, whether good or bad, rarely enables lasting changes. Ideas come and go and yet still the problems persist. For real change to happen we need to be heard in all the right places and ensure any future ventures have enduring legacies.

Studying Level 3 IT Diploma at Bournville College; progressing to university to enhance my IT knowledge and skills. I am quite new to activism but given the current situation politically, environmentally and economically around the globe I feel like I can no longer be a passenger. Having volunteered with numerous grassroots community organisations, I have noticed the impact, whether good or bad, rarely enables lasting changes. Ideas come and go and yet still the problems persist. For real change to happen we need to be heard in all the right places and ensure any future ventures have enduring legacies.

Avtar Purewal

 
My name is Jessica and I love getting involved with al sorts of projects. Last year I was nominated to be IWILLCAMPAIGN ambassador and it’s been such a great experience so far. On a more local level,I am the Chair of SHAPE Youth forum, a place for the Young people of Sandwell to share their views and experiences. I am also part of my local navy cadet unit and a young leader in my local girl guiding unit.As well as all that I find time to be part of a Girls football team.

My name is Jessica and I love getting involved with al sorts of projects. Last year I was nominated to be IWILLCAMPAIGN ambassador and it’s been such a great experience so far. On a more local level,I am the Chair of SHAPE Youth forum, a place for the Young people of Sandwell to share their views and experiences. I am also part of my local navy cadet unit and a young leader in my local girl guiding unit.As well as all that I find time to be part of a Girls football team.

Jessica Mansell

 
I’m Briony and I have experience with mental health and the school system and I want to make a change

I’m Briony and I have experience with mental health and the school system and I want to make a change

Briony Langley

 

Walsall

 
My name is Asad and I’m 16 years old and I’m currently in year 12 studying for my GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. I’m really excited to be part of the WMYCA as I am committed to help shape a future for the West Midlands that reflects the needs of our young people and embraces our diversity. The West Midlands at the moment is on the cusp of change with exciting projects which bring with them exciting opportunities such as HS2, Coventry City of Culture and the Commonwealth games , it is the chance for our region to show to the world our incredible vibrant and diverse region which is truly the best region in the world.

My name is Asad and I’m 16 years old and I’m currently in year 12 studying for my GCSEs in Biology, Chemistry and Maths. I’m really excited to be part of the WMYCA as I am committed to help shape a future for the West Midlands that reflects the needs of our young people and embraces our diversity. The West Midlands at the moment is on the cusp of change with exciting projects which bring with them exciting opportunities such as HS2, Coventry City of Culture and the Commonwealth games , it is the chance for our region to show to the world our incredible vibrant and diverse region which is truly the best region in the world.

Asad Kalang

 
I’m a highly motivated student of both Economics and Government and Politics, and wish to see business innovation flourish amongst young people in Walsall. I have Aspergers Syndrome but don’t let this stop me, as people often say that communication is one of my strengths and that I have come a long way to develop this. I feel that I have great problem solving techniques especially through my love of chess, which has also helped develop my critical thinking skills. I hope to use these in finding a way forwards in helping young people and their business ideas grow.

I’m a highly motivated student of both Economics and Government and Politics, and wish to see business innovation flourish amongst young people in Walsall. I have Aspergers Syndrome but don’t let this stop me, as people often say that communication is one of my strengths and that I have come a long way to develop this. I feel that I have great problem solving techniques especially through my love of chess, which has also helped develop my critical thinking skills. I hope to use these in finding a way forwards in helping young people and their business ideas grow.

Ben Williams

 
I am a Deputy Member of Youth Parliament, I attend a youth group in Walsall our aims currently are around creating Knife crime awareness, some of my personal aims include, making transport more available and accessible to all regardless of income age or race, I also vision a more accepting and culturally aware community where no one feels alone and where everyone is comfortable and can fit in. I want somewhere where young people can thrive where they are faced with plenty of oportunities and are listened to, especially when it involves decisions which affect them.

I am a Deputy Member of Youth Parliament, I attend a youth group in Walsall our aims currently are around creating Knife crime awareness, some of my personal aims include, making transport more available and accessible to all regardless of income age or race, I also vision a more accepting and culturally aware community where no one feels alone and where everyone is comfortable and can fit in. I want somewhere where young people can thrive where they are faced with plenty of oportunities and are listened to, especially when it involves decisions which affect them.

Ibrahim Sohail

 
My names Iram, I am 19 years of age, I have volunteered with many boards in college. Including being BME officer, student board, i have worked with special needs and disabled children. I also volunteer at a homeless kitchen

My names Iram, I am 19 years of age, I have volunteered with many boards in college. Including being BME officer, student board, i have worked with special needs and disabled children. I also volunteer at a homeless kitchen

Iram Arshad

 

Coventry

 
I'm Aleks, a 20 year old Politics student at University of Leicester starting my second year. I've formerly held the Chair position within Coventry Youth Council, proudly representing my local community, and have sat on several committees across my city to advise on local initiatives that have taken place, from social service provisions to youth crime boards. My hobbies and interests include debating, reading, delving into sci-fi, expanding my record collection, and having a great time with friends! I am therefore a well rounded person, with a drive to serve the public, and better myself in the process.

I'm Aleks, a 20 year old Politics student at University of Leicester starting my second year. I've formerly held the Chair position within Coventry Youth Council, proudly representing my local community, and have sat on several committees across my city to advise on local initiatives that have taken place, from social service provisions to youth crime boards. My hobbies and interests include debating, reading, delving into sci-fi, expanding my record collection, and having a great time with friends! I am therefore a well rounded person, with a drive to serve the public, and better myself in the process.

Aleksandar Damjanovic

 
I am Lily Eaves and I am 16 years old. I have, recently, finished my secondary school education and I will attend sixth form at the start of the academic year. I was born in Wales but my family moved back to Coventry when I was 2. I live with my mum and twin brother. My nan also lives in Coventry, she moved here from the Punjab, India in the 1960s. I am very involved with my community and I enjoy volunteering for Cats Protection and Scope.

I am Lily Eaves and I am 16 years old. I have, recently, finished my secondary school education and I will attend sixth form at the start of the academic year. I was born in Wales but my family moved back to Coventry when I was 2. I live with my mum and twin brother. My nan also lives in Coventry, she moved here from the Punjab, India in the 1960s. I am very involved with my community and I enjoy volunteering for Cats Protection and Scope.

Lily Eaves

 
I am a PhD student at the University of Warwick looking at big genetic datasets investigating the underlying cause of recurrent pregnancy loss. I have experience in a variety of teaching roles both academic and sporting. In my spare time I enjoy triathlon, climbing and cooking.

I am a PhD student at the University of Warwick looking at big genetic datasets investigating the underlying cause of recurrent pregnancy loss. I have experience in a variety of teaching roles both academic and sporting. In my spare time I enjoy triathlon, climbing and cooking.

Alexandra Haigh

 
I’m an English and Creative Writing student who has completed my second year of uni, I am currently taking a gap year before going back to complete my third year. I love poetry and flash fiction as a form of artistic expression and it makes me happy to see people actively participating in the poetry scene within the community. Also a big cinema fan, I could discuss film for hours. I would like to get into writing short screenplays. I am half Turkish on my mother’s side of the family. Growing up, this was something I would hide, although now, I believe I am lucky to have grown up between two cultures, and the subculture that emerged from this, both in my community and various others is something I am highly interested in.

I’m an English and Creative Writing student who has completed my second year of uni, I am currently taking a gap year before going back to complete my third year. I love poetry and flash fiction as a form of artistic expression and it makes me happy to see people actively participating in the poetry scene within the community. Also a big cinema fan, I could discuss film for hours. I would like to get into writing short screenplays. I am half Turkish on my mother’s side of the family. Growing up, this was something I would hide, although now, I believe I am lucky to have grown up between two cultures, and the subculture that emerged from this, both in my community and various others is something I am highly interested in.

Yasmin Bywater