Our board

The SOSE Board and Senior Leadership Team draw on an exceptional range of skills and experience in business and public service. Find out about their roles and expertise below.

 
  • Photo of Professor Russel Griggs OBE

    Professor Russel Griggs OBE

    Chair, South of Scotland Enterprise Contact Now

    Professor Russel Griggs OBE was also Chair of SOSEP, the body that created SOSE.

    Russel chairs the Scottish Government’s independent Regulatory Review Group, who advise and work on better regulation in Scotland. He is a member of the Scottish Government’s Aquaculture Council, Chair of Scottish Mines Restoration Trust, is a board member and senior independent director on the oversight board for the Comptroller and Auditor General for the States of Jersey, and board member of the financial services company, Lenlyn Holdings Ltd.

    He is honorary professor at the University of Glasgow, and was an associate professor at Boston University, and a member of the board of the Business School at Georgia Southern University. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in 2008 for services to Scottish industry.

  • Jeremy Sainsbury

    Jeremy Sainsbury, OBE, FRICS

    Board Member specialising in energy Contact Now

    Jeremy has over 30 years’ experience in the renewable energy sector.  He has been instrumental in the growth of international renewable energy consultancy Natural Power. The company employed just seven people when he joined as a director, now has 420 staff across 14 offices in four countries, and is still growing at 10% per annum. He is responsible for policy and regulation issues, natural power, photovoltaics, hydro, biomass and renewable heat.

    They permit sites, carry out site investigation works, design sites, manage construction, and carry out asset management and operations. Their Galloway-based control centre is the largest in the UK with the exception of the National Grid. Jeremy is based at the international headquarters of Natural Power, Forrest Estate, in the heart of rural Dumfries and Galloway.

    Jeremy is a serving director of Energy UK, chairing their Renewable Energy Committee, and is a member of the Generation Committee. He works closely with the Scottish Government on policy for the renewable sector. He regularly works with Scottish ministers on industry working groups. Jeremy was a founder member of Scottish Renewables, serving as chairman, vice chairman and chair of the grid group. He served on the Scottish Renewables board from 2000-2019. In 2013, he was awarded an OBE for services to renewable energy and to the community of Dumfries and Galloway. 

  • Helen Forsyth

    Helen Forsyth

    Board Member Contact Now

    Helen Forsyth is the Deputy Chair at SOSE, and holds a number of board appointments in third sector and housing bodies in Scotland. She also chairs the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, Space@the Broomhouse Hub, and The Forth Act, a community theatre company. She is on a housing association board in England and mentors up-and-coming leaders in the third sector.

    Helen was the Chief Executive of Berwickshire Housing Association for over 13 years, during which time she inspired staff to become number nine in the Sunday Times Best Companies 'not for profit' section. To help solve the problem of building new homes at a time when funding was in decline, she led the team who developed the groundbreaking 'Fisherman Three' Community Wind Farm, near Cockburnspath.

    Helen joined Berwickshire Housing Association from Places for People in 2007, where her role was Regeneration Director. Prior to this, Helen was Chief Executive at Edinvar Housing Association.

    Helen’s work background has included the public sector, health and social care, and not-for-profit organisations. She has many current links with the South of Scotland, and is passionate about promoting its economic development, and ensuring rural communities thrive.

  • Lindsay McDowall

    Lindsay McDowall

    Board Member Contact Now

    Lindsay McDowall worked across the private and public sectors both in the UK and overseas, before moving into the third sector, where she has been a senior manager for the past ten years.

    Currently Lindsay is Head of Family Engagement for the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS), managing services across the UK. She also runs a holiday let business in Dumfries.

    Previously, Lindsay was Head of Services for Visibility Scotland, managing projects and services across Scotland. Locally, Lindsay led and developed an award-winning community project in Dumfries and Galloway for Visibility Scotland, and has a strong interest in building community resilience, as well as improving opportunities for young people across the South of Scotland.

    Lindsay has spent time overseas working and living across South-East Asia. On her return, she called Dumfries and Galloway home, and has brought her family up in the area.

  • Paul Winstanley

    Paul Winstanley

    Board Member / CEO CENSIS (Centre for Sensing, Imaging Systems and Internet of Things) Contact Now

    Paul runs one of the Scottish Innovation Centres, CENSIS. Their primary mission is to create economic activity (new companies, new products, new jobs) in their thematic area. They do this by building and supporting relationships between companies and academic institutions, or by supporting the company directly.

    Paul grew up north of Sheffield, where he attended university in the 1980s to study Applied Physics. His first role was in UK Government, working in a research and development lab. This evolved into a managerial role, and he moved to the private sector in the early 2000s, where he went on to lead a large part of QinetiQ’s US business from 2007-2009. When he moved back to the UK, he did a period of consulting, and founded his own company. This developed his interest in economic development, and laid the foundation for his current role.

    Paul brings two areas of expertise to the board. Firstly, he has deep expertise in digital transformation, and supports Scottish Government on the digital transformation of manufacturing. Secondly, he has worked on the development and delivery of innovative projects for a number of years, and is passionate about using innovation to deliver beneficial outcomes.

    Paul was attracted to SOSE by the mission, values and people associated with the organisation. He is motivated by a desire to stimulate and support new innovative economic, societal and environmental outcomes in the South, while acting as a pathfinder for all of Scotland.

    In his first professional role, he spent time at West Freugh in the late 1980s, including the night of the October 1987 storm. He really enjoyed this time, and has continued to enjoy his time in the South.

  • Alistair Cameron

    Alistair Cameron

    Contact Now

    Alistair leads the SOSE Just Transition Committee and was previously a member of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership that led to the creation of SOSE.

    Alistair has built his career in the Life and Chemical sciences sector, scaling a 2 person, home based business to becoming a major local employer, exporting to 32 countries Worldwide. Alistair strongly believes that investment in innovation, advanced manufacturing technologies and people development can lead to sustainable economic growth in the region.

    Having led an entrepreneurial business through good times and bad, Alistair is well placed to understand the challenges and opportunities being faced by businesses across the region. Having worked in a variety of International markets, he has an excellent awareness of how others see our region, and the unique opportunities that we can exploit as a centre for opportunity and growth.

    Having previously volunteered his time to Industry Leadership Groups and Innovation Centres, Alistair was keen to guide the strategy of the new economic development agency to provide practical, people centred support to organisations of all sizes and scope throughout the region.

    Alistair lives and works in the Scottish Borders with his wife and young family.

  • Sara Carter

    Sara Carter

    Board Member / Vice-Principal & Head of College of Social Sciences, University of Glasgow Contact Now

    Sara leads a large academic unit comprising the Adam Smith Business School, the Schools of Education, Law, Social & Political Sciences, and the School of Interdisciplinary Studies at The Crichton, Dumfries.

    As Professor of Entrepreneurship, her research focuses on the small business sector and self-employment, with a particular focus on the agriculture, rural and food sectors; the experiences and attitudes of small business owners; gender differences in access to business finance; and the economic wellbeing of entrepreneurial households. Formerly, she was Associate Principal and head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde. She has held several international appointments in Europe, North America and Australasia.

    Sara has served on various national and international bodies, including the UK Women’s Enterprise Taskforce, the Council of Economic Advisers to the First Minister of Scotland, and as co-chair of the British Bankers' Association Diversity & Inclusion Council. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of Women's Enterprise Scotland (WES).

    She has spent her career teaching, studying and advocating for small businesses, particularly women-owned enterprises, increasing our understanding of the importance of this sector of the economy, especially in rural areas, and improving policy support and resource access to small businesses. She hopes to bring this learning to the South of Scotland Enterprise board.

    Sara provides strategic leadership and support for the University of Glasgow’s School of Interdisciplinary Studies in Dumfries, and is helping to shape the portfolio of teaching, research and outreach activities in the South of Scotland.

  • Kirsten Hannay

    Kirsten Hannay

    Board Member / Managing Partner, Kirkdale Estate Contact Now

    Kirsten's role includes responsibilities for land management, farming, rural diversification, forestry, native woodland creation, and long and short-term property management.

    Kirsten has over ten years’ experience in global publishing firms in London, where she ran the global print marketing arm for The Economist Intelligence Unit, a division of the Economist Group. She subsequently established and ran a property management firm in Edinburgh. For the last 15 years, Kirsten has worked as managing partner for Kirkdale Estate on the Solway Firth.

    Kirsten's expertise includes rural, land, forestry, woodland and property management skills with a south of Scotland perspective. She has set up and runs a holiday let business, worked on native woodland planting, and created a lodge park on the estate. She lives and works in Dumfries and Galloway, and is very attached to the south of Scotland, and keen to see it flourish.

    Kirsten has lived in southwest Scotland for the last 15 years and brought up three children in the area.

  • Duncan McConchie

    Duncan McConchie

    Board Member / Managing Director, Laggan Contact Now

    Duncan is managing director of Laggan, a rural destination of excellence with tourism, hospitality and sustainability at its core. He also serves as chair of the Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance.

    Duncan and his wife Vicki have transformed the family farm over the last six years, with the creation of on-site accommodation, GG’s Yard wedding and conference venue, and Gather, their hillside kitchen-bistro. Their aim is to create new opportunities, grow the business to sustain future generations on the land, and focus on becoming a carbon positive organisation.

    Duncan also cofounded the Scottish Wedding Industry Alliance, to give the industry a voice during the Covid-19 pandemic. He continues as chair of the organisation, which is now working to promote Scotland as the wedding destination of choice.

    He brings to the SOSE board an understanding of rural businesses, and a can-do attitude aimed at getting things done, with a special focus on business operations. He is passionate about creating a thriving rural economy, and getting the South of Scotland the representation and share of the pie that it deserves.

    Duncan was born and bred just outside Gatehouse of Fleet, and loves water sports, rugby and travel.

  • Emma Guy

    Emma Guy

    Board Member / Project Manager for ESO Sports, 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, Glentress, and founding Director of Scottish Community Tourism (SCOTO). Contact Now

    Emma is Project Manager for the 2023 UCI Cycling World Championships, which take place at Glentress in August 2023. She is also Founding Director of Scottish Community Tourism (SCOTO).

    Emma is a graduate of fine art turned professional downhill mountain biker. She has represented Great Britain at European and World Championship level, as well as travelling internationally, and racing on the mountain bike World Cup circuit as a sponsored rider. 

    Following retirement from racing, Emma set up a mountain bike cafe, bike shop, and skills school with her partner at Glentress Forest, which operated for ten years. Since then, she has been involved in various tourism projects in the South of Scotland, including Scottish Community Tourism, which represents community-led tourism enterprises in Scotland.

    Emma has a wealth of knowledge of mountain biking and tourism, combined with a creative approach and a passion for the potential of community, and the power of the bike. She was drawn to SOSE to play a part in an organisation that is making a huge difference to the South of Scotland, and providing leadership in a different way. Having joined the board, she is now even more excited and motivated about helping the region and its people to reach their potential.

    Emma has lived and worked in the Tweed Valley for over 20 years, and feels very much rooted in the area. She is a keen cyclist, and her life has been very much influenced by her journey through biking. She also loves the outdoors on foot with her dogs, and can’t think of anywhere better to live and work.

  • Vivienne Cockburn

    Vivienne Cockburn

    Board Member Contact Now

    Vivienne is self-employed and serves on number of boards, as well as undertaking advisory work. Within the South of Scotland, she is vice-chair of Berwickshire Housing Association, and Public Interest Director with High Wood Health, the company responsible for developing and maintaining the Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary.

    Her director roles straddle a range of sectors, including health care, low carbon energy and the just transition to Net Zero, and social housing. She was previously a director with Museums Galleries Scotland.

    Vivienne is a chartered accountant who has specialised in public finance, including infrastructure investment. While working with Scottish Futures Trust, she was variously responsible for the development of low carbon programmes across the public sector, and corporate services director, including responsibility for SFT’s investments, and director responsible for the hub programme.

    Vivienne chairs the Audit & Risk Committee.

    The South of Scotland is an exceptional area where SOSE has the opportunity to make a real difference to the economy and wellbeing of its population. Vivienne’s role in social housing and healthcare across the region reflect her commitment to the area where her family lives.