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Annual Conference


IoD Scotland Annual Conference: 31 October & 1 November 2019

This year’s conference took as its theme Architects of the new Scottish Economy. Scotland is looking to its business leaders to build an economy fit for the modern age – one that is open, dynamic and connected, delivering the financial results needed for growth but at the same time, grounded in the principles of inclusivity, diversity and trust.

Meeting these goals takes great leadership and vision as the nation looks to learn from the stories of its past and present and build on them to transform the future. How do we create the economy of tomorrow?

The Conference speakers refelcted on their experiences in tackling the challenges ahead and shared their own views on leadership in changing times. They were drawn from a broad cross-section of business and society, with representatives from cutting-edge tech sector joining charities, retail experts and big business to give an over-arching view on the future. The 2019 line up included:

  • David Beurle, CEO, Future iQ
  • Chris Brodie, Head of Sector Development & Skills Planning, Skills Development Scotland
  • David Cutter, President, Global Supply & Procurement & Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo
  • David Ferbrache OBE, Chair, Scottish National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board
  • Jonathan Geldart, Director General, Institute of Directors
  • Poonam Gupta OBE, Chief Executive, PG Paper Company Ltd
  • Edel Harris, Chief Executive, Cornerstone
  • Rachel Jones, Head Dragon/CEO, SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd
  • David Black, Senior Director, Google UK
  • Jamie McGowan, Director, Essence of Harris
  • James Quinn, President-Elect, The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)
  • Jenny Shiers, Senior Director, Employee Success Business Partner, Salesforce UK
  • Charlotte Valeur, Chair, Institute of Directors
  • Dr Kim Winser OBE, Founder & CEO, Winser London

Workshops from Salesforce, Where Now Consulting and the Scottish Government, Cyber Resilience Unit, a Panel Discussion chaired by Insights Group CEO, Andy Lothian, the Scottish Business Insider Leadership Conversation, as well as all-important networking time, ensured a Conference of new ideas, new faces and new perspectives and created a vibrant forum in which attendees had the opportunity to become better informed and to be challenged.

The Conference opened on Thursday, October 31 with our Leadership Lecture: Building a Better Foundation for Leadership in Scotland, delivered by newly appointed Director General of the Institute of Directors, Jonathan Geldart, together with Director Development taster sessions, including  "Top Issues Facing Family Businesses as They Move Through the Generations" delivered by Mairi Mickel's Business Families, and "Nudging Towards Inclusion".  The evening concluded with an informal networking supper in the magnificent, freshly-refurbished Ballroom.

Leslie Evans, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government addressed guests at the black-tie dinner, which concluded the conference on Friday.

For further information, call First City Events on 01577 865498 / 07711 432745 / 07483 812596 or email

Some highlights from the 2019 Conference

IoD Scotland Annual Conference: Architects of the new Scottish Economy

Select a tab for more information about the line-up, the lecture, sponsors, workshops and summary agenda.

David Beurle

Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Future iQ

David is a world-renowned expert on urban, community, regional and organisational economic revitalisation. His work extends from the local and regional, through to corporate and governmental levels, with a focus on future thinking and long-term planning. He specialises in creating innovative future planning approaches for use in regional and organisational settings. He developed the ground-breaking Future Game as a widely used planning and workshop tool. He pioneered the application of Scenario Planning to regions and rural industries around the world.

David has led over 200 community visioning sessions across North America, Australia and Europe; he has delivered numerous keynote addresses and workshop presentations across the globe. David has worked in the remotest parts of Australia through to the highest levels of government, with eight years as the ‘right-hand man’ to the Western Australian Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries. He has held a position on the Board of the Western Australian Community Foundation and has a BSc in Agriculture from Sydney University. David’s work in community and economic development has earned international, national and state awards, including twice receiving the International Community Development Society’s Innovative Project Award.

Chris Brodie

Head of Skills Planning and Sector Development, Skills Development Scotland


Chris leads a team of more than 40 staff who are responsible for developing a robust, industry informed evidence base to inform the skills system in Scotland. His team support skills planning across all regions and across growth and other key sectors to drive stronger alignment of the skills system with the needs of the economy.

Chris joined SDS in 2012 and has 20 years’ experience in economic and skills development, previously as Managing Director of Slims Consulting and with UK economic and regeneration consultancies

David Cutter

President, Global Supply & Procurement & Chief Sustainability Officer, Diageo


David was appointed President, Global Supply & Procurement in 2014. He is based at the Global Supply headquarters in Edinburgh and responsible for a world-class supply chain delivering Diageo’s brands to 180 markets around the world from over 100 production facilities in more than 30 countries. In December 2018, he was appointed Diageo’s inaugural Chief Sustainability Officer in addition to his role as President of Global Supply & Procurement.

Previously David was Supply Director of Diageo’s International Supply Centre, responsible for spirit and beer production operations in Europe, which included global brands such as Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Baileys, Smirnoff, Gordon’s and Tanqueray. Before this, David was President, Diageo, America Supply, overseeing the company’s end-to-end supply operations for the Americas (North America, Latin America and Caribbean markets). David also led the creation of a new distillery in the US Virgin Islands. Prior to this, David led Diageo’s Asia Pacific Supply business based in Singapore. He has worked in manufacturing, supply and product management for more than 20 years and prior to Diageo held leadership roles at other leading consumer goods companies including Frito-Lay and SC Johnson.

David Ferbrache OBE

Chair, Scottish National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board

David Ferbrache OBE is the Managing Director of Beyond Blue. David is the Chair of the Scottish National Cyber Resilience Leaders’ Board, advising Ministers on the Scottish Cyber Resilience strategy.

David is also the Head of Global Cyber Futures for KPMG, leading KPMG’s cyber innovation programmes. He was the winner of the 2018 Cyber security personality of the year award. 

David has over 30 years’ experience of cyber security, including as the Head of Cyber and Space for the Ministry of Defence. He was made an Officer of the British Empire for his contribution to national security post 9/11







Jonathan Geldart

Director General, Institute of Directors

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Jonathan Geldart was appointed Director General of the Institute of Directors in October 2019. Prior to this Jon spent 30 years working in the professional services sector, most recently at Grant Thornton International Ltd responsible for the organisation’s interest in China and previously as a global board member responsible for the brand.  

Jon has a long-standing connection with the IoD, as Chair of IoD Yorkshire and North East region prior to his appointment as Director General. He is the author of three books on China and in addition to being a Fellow of the IoD he is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. He studied Geography and Archaeology at St Andrews University specialising in underwater archaeology.   

Outside of work, Jon’s interests include hill walking and fell running. He was the navigator in a rally team for 20 years and following two years of training in extreme environments walked to the North Pole in 2016. He has completed other expeditions in Norway, the Canadian Arctic and the Everest region.


Poonam Gupta OBE

Cheif Executive, PG Paper Company Ltd

Gupta, Poonam

Poonam Gupta, OBE is a Scottish-Indian Entrepreneur and Philanthropist.
In 2003, Poonam founded PG Paper Company Ltd and has developed the business into a hugely successful and globally recognised brand, exporting to over 55 countries across the globe. The company now have offices in India, Turkey and will be opening further offices in the USA and China in 2019. Poonam is continuously striving to expand into new markets and finding new opportunities, she has also expanded into other successfully growing businesses including real estate, hospitality, dental and recruitment.

Most recently, Poonam’s ambitious nature was recognised when she was named as Ernst and Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Scotland, 2019. Throughout her career, Poonam has maintained a strong interest in enabling collaboration between Scotland and India, she was appointed as a Director for Scottish Chambers of Commerce to continue to grow and strengthen this relationship, as part of a Scottish Government Strategy to see international exports double by 2029. She was recently featured in the 100 UK Most Influential People in UK India Relations list for her efforts.  Her charitable interests include women-centric issues, underprivileged children, animal conservation, and gender equality.



Edel Harris

Chief Executive, Cornerstone


Harris, Edel


Edel joined Cornerstone, one of Scotland’s largest charities, as Chief Executive in 2008, having previously been Deputy Chief Executive of Aberdeen Foyer. A former Metropolitan Police Officer, Edel’s background is in health promotion, holding a 1st class honours degree in Health and Social Care. She spent eight years working for NHS Grampian and has significant experience in setting up and leading successful social enterprises and in developing new social care services.

Edel, until recently, was a Director of the Aberdeen Football Club Community Trust, Director of Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) and served as the first female President of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce. She is a Director of Robertson Trust and was one of the first Directors of Opportunity North East (ONE), former Chair of The Life Changes Trust and former Chair of the Scottish Government’s Social Investment Fund.

Edel was awarded the 2015 IoD Scotland Aberdeen & Grampian Regional Director accolade and in 2017 became the Scottish EY Entrepreneur of the Year. On International Women’s Day 2018, Edel was awarded an honorary doctorate from Robert Gordon University for her contribution to charity and business in Scotland.


Rachel Jones

Head Dragon/CEO, SnapDragon Monitoring Ltd

Panel, Jones, Rachel

An optimistic, resilient entrepreneur Rachel founded SnapDragon as ‘a bit of a pivot’ after the baby product she had created, and was exporting to 40 countries, was counterfeited. Horrified by potential dangers which could ensue, and frustrated by the complexity and cost of traditional, legal solutions, Rachel was ‘mission driven’ to develop and deliver affordable, effective brand protection software for SMEs anywhere in the world. 

Delivering brand protection to some of the world’s most respected companies, SnapDragon now also works with investor networks, lawyers and IP professionals to protect the revenues and reputations of clients and end consumers. The team of 30 Dragons, of 10 nationalities, is spread between Edinburgh and Lerwick. Rachel was awarded ‘Innovator of the Year’ by Computing Magazine 2018 and was a finalist for Entrepreneur of the Year 2019. 






David Black

Senior Director, Google UK


David is senior director at Google UK and MD of Financial Services, Services & Government, leading Google’s business, growth and partnerships in some of Britain’s biggest industries. He joined Google in 2011 and has held a number of senior business leadership roles.

Previously, he was Group Digital Director at Trinity Mirror plc, the newspaper publisher. And at Virgin, he worked on digital business development and product development.

David read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he now serves on the remuneration committee. He has served on the Board and Executive Committee of the UK Association of Online Publishers and on the Technology Leadership Council of the Prince’s Trust. He lives in North London.



Jamie McGowan

Director, Essence of Harris

Jamie McGowan is the director of Essence of Harris, a candle and home living company based on the Isle of Harris. 

Following an ethos of staying as local and natural as possible, Jamie and the team attempt to bring their customers the ultimate peace and calm with their hand poured, natural products.

Jamie is committed to developing the Isle of Harris as a desirable place to live, work and visit; and in particular, to reducing the out-migration of talented young people. His dedicated team of 20, who work from production to marketing and graphic design, demonstrate that you can build a career and a future in the Outer Hebrides.

Recently, the team have moved into international markets, allowing them to showcase their Hebridean products to consumers across the Atlantic. Jamie manages Essence of Harris alongside his two other businesses, Loomshed Hebridean Brewery and Norserv Facilities Management, helping to boost the island economy of Harris through stable, year-round job creation and retention.





James Quinn

President-Elect, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health


James Quinn, President-Elect, Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH)

After a very successful career in the British Army, for 24 years, James attained the rank of Warrant Officer before leaving in 2011.

In the last six years he saw the benefits of Health and Safety as a second career and using his army appointments started to train as a Health and Safety Advisor/Trainer in 2006. Five years later, after leaving the army, having worked on many army health and safety projects, he worked for Babcock International PLC as a HSE Trainer, then Advisor before becoming a Health and Safety Manager for a large Middle East transport group. He is now working as an HSE Lead in Construction Consultancy after leaving Abu Dhabi as the Area OHS Manager, Abu Dhabi, for Multiplex where they were the main contractor.

A Chartered member of IOSH and CIOB, James is also a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute as well as IOSH Council member, IOSH President-Elect, part of IOSH Construction Group.




Jenny Shiers

Senior Director of Employee Success, Salesforce UK

Shiers Jenny

Jenny is Senior Director of Employee Success at Salesforce UK which, in 2019 was named as the #1 Best Place to Work in the UK by Great Place to Work for the first time, and the #1 Best Place to Work in Europe for the second year in a row.

Jenny works with business leaders to develop and execute against the Salesforce UK people strategy, which is designed to support our business strategy, particularly focussing on attracting, developing and retaining the best talent in the market and maintaining Salesforce’s strong and unique culture to support its phenomenal growth. Before her current role, Jenny led Salesforce’s employment law team for EMEA and worked as an employment lawyer in City law firms.



Charlotte Valeur

Chair, Institute of Directors


Charlotte Valeur was appointed Chair of the Institute in September 2018. As Chair, Charlotte is responsible for championing the IoD’s values, promoting its objectives and providing leadership to the Institute, ensuring it delivers maximum impact for its members and stakeholders. Over the last decade, Charlotte has been a director of seven public companies, including three appointments as chair. During that period she has taken part in a complete restructuring of NTR Plc, the sale of REG to BlackRock and, as Chair, overseen a $8bln Merger of Kennedy Wilson Europe Real Estate Plc with its US NYSE listed parent. Charlotte also has a range of unlisted board experience with companies including international engineering firm Laing O’Rourke. She has been a member of the IoD for over a decade.

Charlotte is a corporate governance expert and a keen advocate for diversity in the boardroom, underpinning this advocacy with action by founding Board Apprentice. This not-for-profit organisation provides individuals hands-on experience at the very top of business and has been cited in the Government’s recent reviews on ethnic and gender diversity in UK boardrooms as a resource for bringing about real change. Before entering the field of governance, Charlotte worked in finance, where she has over 30 years’ experience. Her career included stints with Société Générale, BNP-Paribas, and S.G. Warburg.

Charlotte grew up and studied in Copenhagen and is conversant in six languages.


Dr Kim Winser OBE

Founder & CEO, Winser London

winser-obe-kim-bwKim was born in Helensburgh, Scotland and is one of Europe’s most internationally renowned businesswomen. Kim was appointed as the youngest ever first female Director of Marks & Spencer, she then held posts as investor and CEO of Pringle of Scotland and CEO of Aquascutum. She was a special adviser to Natalie Massenet at Net-A-Porter. In 2013 Kim launched her own digitally-based fashion business,

Kim was awarded a Doctorate by Heriot-Watt University, an OBE for her contribution to the British fashion industry and in 2013 she was appointed by the British Prime Minister as Board Trustee of the Natural History Museum. She also serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director of the Hongkong & Shanghai Hotel & Property Group (Peninsula Hotels).

Thursday Leadership Lecture

Building a Better Foundation for Leadership in Scotland

In his lecture Jonathan Geldart, newly appointed Director General of the Institute of Directors, drew on his international experience and reflected on the leadership lessons in his career to explore how Scotland can knit together the best of public, private and third sectors to build a stronger economy.  As the new leader of the IoD, Jon offered his own perspective on the framework for success, linking it to Scotland’s unique characteristics and how we can draw on the new and vibrant economies that will succeed in the future.

During a Q&A Session facilitated by Aidan O’Carroll, Chair of IoD Scotland, the audience responded with their own observations and questions, sharing views from the diverse range of sectors represented.


Salesforce is a global technology company founded on four core values of Trust, customer Success, Innovation and Eqaulity. Many of the worlds leading companioes use the salesforce platform to bring their business into the Fouth Industrial Revolution, and beyond. During the conference, we will share our unique view on how technology is changing the world of business, and where there are opportunites for Scottish businesses to excel in the future.

For more information, visit

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Where Now Consulting is a leading management consultancy that specialises in helping companies and organisations to develop effective growth and operational plans, and to convert these into actions and results. Focusing on the development of business models for growth, we advise on sales and channel strategy, market entry strategies, mergers and acquisitions, alliance partnerships, customer experience and operational excellence.

Our team of professionals have extensive experience in leading the growth and development of companies across a variety of sectors. From strategy to implementation we will help you to grow and compete.

For more information, visit

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Scottish Government, Cyber Resilience Unit

The Cyber Resilient Unit is a small team with the Scottish Government that has responsibility for cyber policy and strategy development. the team are increasing Scotland's cybe resilience by:

  • ensuring citizens have access to basic and specialist learning and skills to help keep them safe and secure online
  • working with partners in the public, private and third sectors to enhance cyber resilience
  • raising awareness of the importance of cyber resilience and how to achieve it, by providing easier access to authoritative advice and support
  • taking advantage of the economic opportunities resulting from greater cyber resilience

For further information, visit




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Qatar Airways connects travellers across more than 160 business and leisure destinations. Operating a daily service from Edinburgh Airport, Qatar Airways is one of the fastest-growing airlines operating one of the youngest fleets in the world. A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was recently named Airline of the Year by the 2019 Skytrax World Airline Awards. 


For further information, visit

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The Institution of Occupational Safety and Health is the Chartered body and largest membership organisation for safety and health professionals.

We act as a champion, adviser, advocate and trainer for more than 47,000 members, who work for organisations of all sizes, in 130 countries. Our focus is to support their efforts to create workplaces that are safer, healthier and more productive.

Our accredited training courses provide valuable knowledge, skills and qualifications for members and their colleagues – our market-leading courses for workers, managers and business leaders are delivered to over 180,000 people in more than 70 countries each year.

Chartered Membership of IOSH is recognised worldwide as the hallmark of professional excellence in workplace safety and health and our members are instrumental, from technical to board level, in enabling businesses to succeed in a responsible, sustainable way.

For further information, visit

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As Scotland's national skills agency, Skills Development Scotland works to create a more agile, dynamic and responsive skills system. Working collaboratively with the Enterprise and Skills Strategic Board as well as local, regional and national partners, SDS drives productvity and inclusive growth, ensuring there is a focus on evidence-based skills investment at the earliest stages of planning.

SDS helps large and small businesses attract, retain and develop a diverse pool of talent; and helps people make informed choices and fulfil their potential throught the delivery of local careers services and access to learning providers, enabling them to train, re-skill and up-skill throughout their working lives.

For further information, visit





Decision Time ensures that the right people have the right information at the right time to help senior leaders make better informed decisions quicker. Our solutions remove the barrier of cumbersome piles of paper or partial solutions based on email or file sharing services, giving you time to focus on what’s important.
Using Decision Time for Board, Committee or Senior Management meetings, helps you promote good governance, hold effective meetings and manage Risk & Performance.

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The Emirates story started in 1985 when we launched operations with just two aircraft. Today, we are the world’s largest international airline, flying the world’s biggest fleets of Airbus A380s and Boeing 777s from our hub in Dubai, inspiring travel across more than 157 destinations in 84 countries.
On board our modern and efficient fleet we offer our customers the comforts of the latest and most efficient wide-body aircraft in the skies.  Passengers can enjoy world-class service, regionally inspired gourmet cuisine and over 4,500 channels of award-winning entertainment – plus free Wi-Fi connectivity from every seat. On the ground, First Class and Business Class passengers can take advantage of a complimentary Chauffeur-drive service, expedited check-in, dedicated baggage handling and luxurious lounge access – ensuring a seamless journey from start to finish.

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Scottish Business Pledge

The Scottish Business Pledge is a values-led partnership between Government and business that is based on boosting productivity and competitiveness through fairness, equality and sustainable employment.  Making your Business Pledge is voluntary and free. Why not join the growing community of like minded, forward thinking businesses who recognise these principles are good for business and good for Scotland.


For further information, visit


VISTRA is one of the world’s leading corporate service providers. We work with clients of all sizes and types, including corporations, family businesses, investment funds, private equity firms and private clients to expand and support them around the world. Our 4,300 professionals working across 46 jurisdictions throughout the Americas, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East maximize the global potential of businesses, funds and portfolios. We consistently deliver solutions with unrivalled speed and accuracy, which allows our clients to stay ahead of the game.

For further information, visit;


Conference Workshops

Thursday Director Development Workshops

DD1: Top Issues Facing Family Businesses as They Move Through the Generations

Family businesses are unique – to future-proof for the next generation, planning is needed for both family success and business success – it’s a parallel process. The alternative, continuing to tolerate the difficulties, can often lead to conflict that impacts business continuity.

Attending this participative session allowed delegates to learn more about how this process can tackle the hallmarks present at a family business’ generational transition points. 

Delivered by: Mairi Mickel, Founder, Mairi Mickel’s Business Families

DD2:  Nudging Towards Inclusion
The business case for diversity is well established, but it is clear that it is necessary to create an inclusive environment in order to take make the most of a diverse workforce. Leaders in the field discussed how businesses in Scotland can take small but impactful steps towards creating an inclusive workplace.

Delivered by: Lynne Connolly, Global Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Aberdeen Standard Life; Professor Lynne Cadenhead, Chair, Women’s Enterprise Scotland. 

Friday Workshops

WS1: Getting in the Mindset for Growth

Achieving sustainable and profitable growth is a common goal for most organisations. Despite the investments made in sales, marketing and in acquisitions, too often growth expectations are missed. This workshop looked at some of the inherent internal challenges to delivering growth as well as looking at opportunities and tools for increasing sales. The discussion was supported by examples and case studies, as well as analysis on the growth performance of companies in Scotland.   

Delivered by: Where Now Consulting

WS2: Securing Scotland’s Digital Future

In today’s digital age, Scotland’s economy will rely heavily on digital innovation to improve business efficiency, drive customer engagement and develop new products or services.
Digital technologies bring enormous opportunities, but they also bring with them new threats and vulnerabilities.

The workshop explored the growing threat from cyber-crime to business and demonstrate how it innovates, operates at pace and scale. It identified the practical steps that business leaders can take to counter this. 
cyber resilience is your responsibility, not the IT team.

Delivered by: Scottish Government, Cyber Resilience Unit

WS3: CxO Mindsets: How innovative organisations drive customer transformations from the top

The workshop covered the new context for business and looked at practical ways in which delegated can help drive true customer-centric transformation.

It focused on the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how it is fundamentally changing every industry. Using insight gained from over 400 innovation engagements worldwide, it introduced Salesforces's view of the common CxO mindsets and how they influence an organisation’s ability to digitally transform. It then looked at practical ways to consider an organisation's digital transformation challenges by organising around four key customer transformation disciplines.
The aim of the session was for attendee's to leave with a greater understanding of the needs and challenges of digital transformation and armed with some tools to help them.

Delivered by: Aaron Tunesi, Senior Director, Customer Innovation EMEA, Salesforce

For more information, please contact

0131 557 5488


Branch and staff contacts can be found on the main Contacts tab

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