Hostelling Scotland

Board Election 2020

Board election

Candidate Profiles & Ballot Paper

Click on any of the Nominees names to view their profiles

My childhood memories of trekking in the Himalayas – thrilling but scary bus rides, breathtaking scenery, long walks and meeting generous local people – set up my passion for mountain walking.

Scotland has amazing scenery and this summer I took my two young girls to Isle of Skye where we stayed at the Glenbrittle hostel. My aim was to introduce them to Scotland and youth hostels, a mode of travel to use when they grow up and travel around the world. They were genuinely impressed by the quality, cleanliness and safety of the hostels, helpful staff and enjoyed meeting international travellers.

My professional experience is in the field of Investment Banking where I've worked with global investment managers for the past twenty years. My contribution to SYHA would be to help with business strategy/organisation in order for it to remain relevant to future generations.

For SYHA to be a sustainable organisation, focus has to be on generating a surplus so that it can continue to serve its stakeholders - customers, employees and local businesses.

SYHA Board has highlighted a comprehensive set of objectives, but I will focus on three complex challenges facing the organisation:

  1. How to manage the immense pressure on generating a surplus due to a combination of rising costs and limited pricing power?
  2. How to remain relevant and deliver to changing demographics whose definition of experiences is different to earlier members?
  3. How to engage with young adults so they join and become future cheerleaders of SYHA?

I am a Trustee of English Speaking Union, an organisation whose aim is to help young children improve their communication skills so they make a positive impact in public life and private careers. SYHA aim of providing an opportunity for young adults to travel, explore the Scottish natural beauty and meet diverse group of people aligns with my interests. Working in the Third sector provides me with an opportunity to contribute back to the society. By giving time I believe I can bring about a positive change in the lives of our next generation.

I have been a member of SYHA since I was a teenager and actively used them for most of my life. I have also been a Trustee of Hostelling Scotland for the last 6 years.

A lot has been achieved in these years with the mass sale of hostels halted, the purchase of a hostel at Portree, the major refurbishment of Aberdeen and Glen Nevis and the modernisation of facilities such as more ensuite rooms, the introduction of free Wi-Fi and direct debit and the Explorers Fund. These demonstrate that Hostelling Scotland is determined to provide the accommodation and facilities we seek in places we want to go and to make them freely available to the young and disadvantaged.

But the world does not stand still and peoples’ desires and expectations change. New travel hotspots emerge, yes even in Scotland, and the demand for others decline. The acceptance of new technologies and lifestyles continue apace along with the need for assured safety and security. To ensure that Hostelling Scotland adapts and guests continue to stay, requires investment from income and donations and failing those from the further sale of hostels.

During my business life, I was a business consultant helping companies improve their Operational Eff ectiveness. Now I am retired I can now give freely of my time to help Hostelling Scotland attain its strategies and secure its network for future generations.

There are always improvements that can be made but we must continue to improve the living experience for hostellers young and not so young by providing an environment that embraces the technologies and lifestyle of their generation, fuelling their thirst for more and their continued return to our hostels in later years.

I have been a life member of SYHA for over 40 years and a member before that. Hostelling introduced me to a lifelong passion for the Scottish countryside and I have continued to use hostels in Scotland, introduced my own children to hostelling and taken groups of their friends hostelling. I have seen the nature of hostelling change, the loss of many of my early hostels and I want to ensure that hostelling will be available for future generations as it was for me. I hope by becoming a trustee I can help this process and make SYHA relevant to more of Scotland`s population as well as overseas visitors. I have a background in employment and as a trustee that will help in this respect.

I have a professional background in technical and property services with a major Council giving me an understanding of many of the infrastructure issues facing SYHA. I have also been a trustee of National Museums and Historic Environment Scotland so have experience of corporate governance. Within this I have served on a Property Committee overseeing multi-million pound refurbishment and new construction and on Audit and Risk Committees. I also was a member for 7 years of the Mobility and Access Committee for Scotland, advising government on issues for people with mobility difficulties and I want to see Hostels available for all.

I have been involved in tourism as chairman of a Destination Management Organisation and want to see increases in visitors that will at the least, sustain our current network of Hostels.I would also like to explore through partnership opportunities to extend the network.

I have a wider passion for the outdoors and have travelled in the Alps and in mountains as far afield as New Zealand and used the extensive hostel network in that country.At home I am also a member of the John Muir Trust and the Scottish Wildlife Trust and involved in outdoor volunteer activities.

I have found the last 3 years as a Trustee of Hostelling Scotland to be extremely rewarding and have enjoyed giving something back to an organisation which has given me so much in terms of adventure, friendships and a safe haven. I believe that my 28 year career in Marketing brings an additional dimension and skillset to what is already a very competent, well rounded Board. I am particularly passionate about the Youth and Community Engagement work which the organisation carries out and I’d be keen to see a further broadening of the scope of the Explorer Fund programme. I truly believe that these programmes have a long-lasting impact on the lives of young disadvantaged people. The value of teaching young people skills to allow them to enjoy the outdoors is immeasurable in terms of building confidence and learning to work together as a team. Equally the programme offers the opportunity for young people from rural backgrounds to experience the amazing cultural and historical aspects of Scotland’s towns and cities which they might not otherwise see. Hostelling is a great leveller, social status becomes irrelevant and friendships are formed, regardless of background. I believe SYHA epitomises this and I would love to continue to work with SYHA to help young people, whatever their background, to enjoy what this amazing country has to offer.

I'm also very interested in tapping into corporate ESG – looking at how SYHA can help businesses to achieve their own targets in terms of Environmental, Social and Governance, whether through charitable donations, fundraising or volunteering.

In addition to my Marketing experience, I am able to offer SYHA dedication and enthusiasm. I ask pertinent and challenging questions and bring to SYHA my own experiences of the organisation and a deep - seated love of Scotland and the great outdoors.

Three years ago, I moved to Glasgow bringing with me a determination to experience the very best of Scotland. Aiming to (one day) keep up with my mum, I joined a hill running club soon after. Though I’m average at best, running has taken me all over Scotland. As a nervous camper, hostels have been an integral part of some of my most memorable days outdoors, providing a social, affordable base for adventures of all sizes.

Living in Glasgow, a city known as much for its rich cultural life as its inequality, I’m keenly aware that my weekend adventures are not the norm for many of my neighbours. I’m currently Ladies Captain of my hill-running club. I have taken an active, and successful, approach to increasing female participation at all levels of the club but I want to do more. I’d love to join the HS board to play a part in making sure adventure, whether a trip to the Fringe or a walk up a hill, is accessible to all.

I would bring a unique combination of professional and personal experience to the board. I spent four years working for campaigning charities and am now a civil servant at the Department for International Development (DFID). Charities are vital partners for the department and my job includes managing 80 high-risk grants for projects in 20 countries, including in very fragile states.

A challenge for HS over the coming years will be continuing to deliver excellence for guests while remaining focused on the organisation’s charitable mission in an economically and politically uncertain period. My experience managing and mitigating strategic and operational risks across a diverse grant portfolio as well as in high-profile campaigning environments will allow me to contribute to the Board’s ability to guide HS through these challenges. My team led the UK Government’s response to 2018’s aid sector safeguarding crisis so I also have particular expertise relating to safeguarding and, having led a process to reform the way DFID pays overheads to charity partners, I have a detailed understanding of charity finance.

HS's organisational focus on sustainability and green issues has been a key driver for many friends and family members choosing hostel accommodation. Growing awareness of the impact of foreign travel presents an opportunity for HS; ensuring the organisation is well placed to engage eco-conscious travellers would be a key focus of mine if elected.

I have been privileged to see fi rst-hand the positive impact that a visit to a Scottish Youth Hostel can have on a group of children. Opening their eyes to the beautiful country that we live in, enhancing their learning experiences by connecting with historic and cultural venues and increasing the possibility of visiting ‘far-away’ places, by offering affordable, comfortable accommodation.

I would like to be a Trustee of the Board as I would love to see these opportunities increase. These young people are the next cohort of ‘hostellers’. They are the future users and if they are ‘captured and enthralled’ as children then they are more likely to continue as adults, life-long members, accessing the hostels.

The charitable status of SYHA is important to me, it provides the grounds of equitable and just, governance, it puts public benefit at the centre of its objectives.It allows SYHA to offer opportunities to all, and it can encourage and enhance the green tourism ‘offer’ across Scotland.The societal shift in climate issues awareness is impacting our engagement of activities in our leisure time, people are looking for ‘greener’ alternatives.Youth hostels provide us with fantastic venues from which to explore Scotland, being active, healthy and adventurous.They encourage us to explore new places, challenge ourselves and be inspired.I believe that SYHA could be holding a very prominent role, leading the way in authentic, environmentally friendly holidays.

SYHA has much to offer society, I would love to be a Trustee so I can use my experiences and skills to support the continued great work it aims to achieve.

Board Election 2020

Validity of Board Ballot Polling Cards

  1. It must be from a hostel member aged 16 years or over
  2. One polling card per membership card regardless of category type
  3. It must contain your name and your valid Membership number as at 30th April 2020
  4. It must clearly indicate your preferred candidates for election; up to the 3 vacancies for election or less
  5. It must be received by the Company Secretary by noon on 30th April 2020

Select up to 3 nominees