A young creative who has transformed the education, community, talent development and access programmes at one of the region’s leading arts venues has been named the Greater Birmingham Young Professional of the Year.

Zaylie-Dawn Wilson, head of creative partnerships at Birmingham’s Hippodrome theatre, took home the top prize at Friday night’s Greater Birmingham Young Professional of the Year Awards, having also triumphed in the Creative Arts and Culture Category. The awards ceremony, hosted by Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce’s young professionals arm Future Faces, took place at the Eastside Rooms, with around 600 people in attendance.

Headline sponsors were Aston University and Schumacher Packaging, while the event was compered by BBC 1XTRA DJ and presenter Kaylee Goulding. Judges commented that Zaylie-Dawn “brought creativity and energy to all areas of her interview.”

They added: “She showed mastery of her craft, whilst clearly understanding how her impact can continue to benefit the city and its people.” In her role at the Hippodrome, the 35-year-old has supported young creatives, artists, schools and communities from across the Birmingham area – particularly those from disadvantaged programmes – by developing the region’s biggest theatre education programme.

She worked with young people from the city-region to develop a young advocates programme, which has become a central voice in the theatre’s development. In addition to her duties at the Hippodrome, Zaylie-Dawn supported the Birmingham 2022 cultural, schools and legacy teams ahead of last summer’s Commonwealth Games, earning praise from Games organising committee chair Sir John Crabtree for her knowledge and commitment.

Zaylie-Dawn says: “I have always believed passionately in the power of the arts, culture and creativity to positively impact lives, strengthen and develop talent and transform communities.

“I have spent my career working closely with young people and communities, developing projects which have empowered individuals to make a change in their lives.” Zaylie-Dawn will receive a fully-funded MBA from award sponsors Aston University.

Meanwhile, Future Faces president Kasim Choudhry presented his President’s Award to CJ Lloyd Webley, the entrepreneur and playwright who founded the Black Pounds Project.

The winners:

Greater Birmingham Apprentice of the Year - sponsored by Staffordshire University       
Abbie Veasey, WSP  

Change and Sustainability  
Philippa Beard, Jacobs          

Creative Arts and Culture
Zaylie-Dawn Wilson, Birmingham Hippodrome        

Engineering and Manufacturing - sponsored by BMet College
Alexander Vickers, Jacobs    

Harriet Saunders, The FSE Group    

Alice Kinder, Bexley Beaumont Limited        

People and Wellbeing – sponsored by PI-KEM      
Mandeep Kaur Sidhu, BBC   

Retail and Hospitality – sponsored by Radisson Blu
Georgina Butler, Blackberry Events  

Sales, Marketing and Communications – sponsored by F1 Arcade
Tom Green, mSix&Partners  

GBYPY - Start-ups, Enterprise and Entrepreneurship – sponsored by mfg Solicitors        
Wesley Foster, Eleven Views

Technology and Innovation – sponsored by Birmingham City University 
Andrew Ward, Scorchsoft Ltd

Third Sector
Gabriel Imevbore, YMCA Heart of England  

Training and Education – sponsored by Arup
Ilisha Masaun, Econominds   

Greater Birmingham Young Professional of the Year 2023 – sponsored by Aston University
Zaylie-Dawn Wilson, Birmingham Hippodrome        

Future Faces Ambassador Award 2023 – sponsored by Common Purpose       
Adam Gadsby, PI-KEM         

Future Faces President’s Award 2023      
CJ Lloyd Webley, The Black Pounds Project