Board Members

Paul Smith – Chair

I worked for The Royal Bank of Scotland for most of my career, initially in the Branch Network, before moving to Internal Audit where I worked for 6 years. I was then in Retail Marketing for 3 years. Following this, I moved to the Project Team, latterly delivering Regulatory projects where I was a Project Manager which included budget responsibility. I graduated from Napier University with a BA in Business Economics in 1996 and I am a Member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland (MCIBS). I now work as a Business Advisor and Partner with 7C Consociation.

Colin Anderson – Company Secretary

I am a retired solicitor.  I worked with Shepherd & Wedderburn WS, and then with Standard Life where I worked for 26 years in various senior legal management roles until I retired in 2012.  I am a Member of the following Committees of The Law Society of Scotland – Nominations;  Admissions;  and Planning Law.   I chair the Judging Panel of The Herald Law Awards of Scotland 2023.  I am an elected Member of Fairmilehead Community Council, and was appointed Secretary in December 2022.  I am also involved in Planning matters for the community council.   I have knowledge of the legal and regulatory framework affecting charities, extensive Board/Committee experience, and experience of organising seminars and other events, including obtaining sponsorship.

Jade O’Neil

My professional background is in web development and project management. Throughout my career I have had a keen interest in accessible UX and design, and I am a very vocal advocate of inclusivity in web. As a neurodivergent wheelchair user, I am also passionate about widening accessibility and inclusion in the non-digital space — not just for wheelchair users like myself but for everyone with access needs.

I have lots of experience in the non-profit sector, both professionally and as a volunteer and campaigner, and I am excited to bring that experience to the board at Lead. I also bring with me a wealth of digital knowledge and experience as well as a proven track record of managing projects successfully.

Senga Armstrong

My career to date has mostly been in the education field and one of these posts was with Lead Scotland as Regional Manager East. In addition, I have been self-employed carrying out research and evaluation across private, public and third sector organisations across Scotland. At present I work at Newbattle Abbey College as the Adult Achievement Awards Co-ordinator and promote the Awards across different sectors. My experience includes building partnerships, managing projects and teaching SQA qualifications.

Kirsty Gemmell

I’ve spent my professional career as a Community Learning & Development (CLD) practitioner, primarily working in Adult Learning, Adult Literacies and ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages).  I have a  BA in Community Education, M.Sc in Adult & Continuing Education and a PG Certificate in Adult Guidance.  I have recently completed a HE Certificate in digital learning design.  I currently work for the CLD Standards Council Scotland, the professional body for people who work or volunteer in CLD, of which I am also a Registered Member (M.CLDSC).  I focus on supporting CLD professional learning and ensuring quality through our registration and approvals processes.  I am a keen advocate of learning as a means to promoting empowerment, enhancing inclusion and achieving social justice.

As a volunteer, I run a support group for people with a rare degenerative brain disease through the Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Association and sit on the committee of my local community development organisation.  I try to bring empathy, pragmatism, positivity and a smile to both my work and volunteering!

In my spare time, I enjoy reading, theatre, dog-sitting for friends (next best thing to having one of my own!) and exploring our lovely country with family and friends.

Gillian Brown

I have a background in strategic marketing with global brands such as The Royal Bank of Scotland, De La Rue and NCR. I was Director of Commercialisation at ITI Techmedia before becoming an independent commercialisation adviser working with technology startups to help them turn their ideas into commercial reality. For 5 years, I was CEO of a therapeutics startup. I am currently a Director of Entrepreneur Business School Ltd which allows me to indulge my passion for learning and knowledge exchange. I have mentored and coached over 40 spinouts, startups and early stage companies.

Carolyne Smith

I have worked in the Assistive Technology (AT) sector for the over 15 years, supporting end users with a variety of requirements. I currently work as Head of Education for Sight and Sound Technology, a pan-disability AT supplier and I am the Executive Director of the British Assistive Technology Association (BATA), a representative body for the AT sector across the UK. I have a passion for furthering engagement with AT, providing excellent service delivery to those with disabilities, educational strategy and policy.

Daniel Baigrie

My background is in Community Education, having worked and volunteered across the statutory and third sector in the themes of youth work, community development and adult learning. In 2016 I completed my degree at the University of Edinburgh. I am currently a Senior Communities and Lifelong in Midlothian working with adult learners and community groups. I am passionate about working with people to help them grow, learn and support them with their future ambitions. I am excited to join the board at LEAD Scotland and look forward to helping the organisation develop. In my spare time I enjoy walking with my cocker spaniel, gardening and cycling.

Rebecca Pierce

I have spent most of my career working within the educational and third sectors, predominantly within museums and heritage spaces. Most recently, I have held posts at Keele University, the National Trust, and the National Galleries Scotland. Currently, I am employed at Girlguiding Scotland working to increase diversity and widen participation. I have particular specialisms in volunteer coordination, youth engagement, and equality, diversity and inclusion.

I hold both a first-class BA in History and an MRes in Humanities (History) with distinction from Keele University. I was fortunate enough to be awarded a scholarship to complete my post-graduate degree. My studies specialised in the histories of marginalised groups and I have published several papers on the subject.

Chris McKenzie

I am a Disability & Wellbeing Manager at the University of Strathclyde, with overall responsibility for support for disabled students and staff. I have over 20 years’ of experience working to support disabled people in Higher Education, with previous roles including Assistive Technology Adviser and Disability Adviser. I am a founding member of the ATANET Assistive Technology Advisers network and currently sit on the Steering Group of Project SEARCH for the University of Strathclyde site, providing workplace education and experience for young people with autism. I have a keen interest in the development of inclusive support strategies, particularly in relation to access to education and skills development.