Policy Brum Alum webinar series

Me in three – my steps to career success

Date: Thursday 10 December 2020, 12:30 - 13:30

Location: Online event

Contact: For more information on this event please contact Kate McGowan, Public Affairs Manager

Event description

To commemorate the establishment of the Policy Brum Alum network, the University of Birmingham is organising an inaugural series of career-themed webinars with a strong focus on being of practical and insightful value for those in policy and public affairs roles.

In ‘Me in three’, the third and final webinar in the current series, three speakers drawn from Birmingham’s alumni community will present their path to career success. Using only three slides, they will outline the highs and low of their career to date (and everything in between!), the steps that led them to where they are now and their aspirations going forward.

Join us for this session which will include speakers with a range of experience in different sectors and will feature alumni at different stages of their career journey. As well as providing useful insight into the career paths of fellow alumni, it will offer members the opportunity to ask questions and learn valuable tips for their own development and career progression in the field of policy and public affairs. 

The event is free to attend and will be exclusively open to members of the network and current students looking to embark on a career in policy and political engagement.


Sophia Adams Bhatti has been Head of Strategy and Policy at Simmons Wavelength since September 2019 where she drives the organisation’s work at the intersection of technology, law and policy. A policy and regulation expert with 20 years’ experience, she has worked across a number of sectors including AI, data governance and ethics, legal services, financial services, competition and consumer affairs, health care, and international diplomacy. Most recently, as the Director of Policy at the Law Society of England and Wales, Sophia is credited with spearheading its role in legal technology and most notably was the creator of the ground breaking Commission on the use of AI in Criminal Justice. She also has experience working for a range of regulators and government departments including the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), the Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA), the Office of Fair Trading, the General Medical Council and the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (the forerunner of BEIS) where she was Deputy Director, Competition. Sophia obtained a Bachelor of Laws at Birmingham, graduating in 1997. She went on to study for a Master’s in International Studies at the University which she completed in 1999. 

Peter Boxer has been Executive Director, External Relations at Isle of Man Government since April 2019. A senior career diplomat, he has had an illustrious and varied career including in complex and conflict environments. Prior to his current role, he was Deputy Director (operations) at the Cabinet Office where he also worked as Deputy NATO Summit Coordinator a few years previously. He also held a number of international roles within the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) including Deputy High Commissioner South Africa and Head of Strategy and Comms at the Northern Ireland Office and completed two tours as Deputy Ambassador in UK Embassies overseas – Baghdad in 2011-12 and before that Morocco from 2007-11. Between 2005-7, Peter worked at the British High Commission, Islamabad and was Private Secretary to the UK’s Minister for Europe at the FCO from 2003-5. In 2003, Peter was seconded to the French Foreign Ministry to assist in the preparation of their G8 Presidency after beginning his diplomatic career at the British High Commission in Nicosia. Peter graduated from Birmingham with a BA in French Language and Literature in 1993 and also has a Master’s in Public Administration from the prestigious ENA – L’Ecole Nationale d’Administration.

Thom Townsend has been OpenOwnership’s Executive Director and chief strategist since June 2019 where he supports governments around the world to implement open information about who ultimately controls and benefits from companies registered in their jurisdictions. An expert on open data, he was previously Head of Data Policy for the UK government where he published the Government's Data Ethics Framework guiding public servants to use emerging technologies and AI ethically and effectively. He has led some of the UK’s biggest open data commitments at the national and global level including the contracting elements of the 2016 London Anti-Corruption Summit while at the Government Digital Service. He also has experience working in the Cabinet Office and for the Social Change Agency where he was Head of Projects. Thom studied for a Master’s at Birmingham, obtaining an MSc in Conflict, Security; International Development within conflict environments in 2009. He graduated with a Bachelor’s in History from Kings College London in 2005.


Kathryn Stanczyszyn is a political reporter and presenter across various BBC radio and television outlets and has reported on some of the biggest stories affecting the region both locally and nationally, winning Midlands Journalist of the Year in 2016. She is also an experienced youth mentor, delivering regular sessions to schools and charities on communication. A fellow alumna of the University of Birmingham, she graduated with a BA in French and History.

Register for this free event

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