Hostelling Scotland

Board Election 2022

Board election

Candidate Profiles 2022

Introduction

The Governance Committee considered applications against the skills mix required:

  • Managing operational change
  • Charity / Corporate governance
  • Law
  • Risk Management
  • Property Management

There are a total of 9 nominees for 3 elected places on the Board:

Derek Brown
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Finance
  • Property Management
  • Youth & Education
  • Outdoor Pursuits
  • IT, HR & Marketing
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

I have a strong background on Information Security/Privacy and Governance across the public sector and as organisations embrace technology changes such as cloud based services the protection of information entrusted to our care is paramount.

Understanding Risks helps people to make informed decisions about their acceptability to ensure value for money.

I spent almost 30 years in UK Civil Service in a number of roles including Finance, Fraud, IT Support, Project Management, IT Service Delivery.

Read Derek's Personal Supporting Statement

I joined SYHA in 1968 and made my first trip to Lochranza Youth Hostel. Coming from east End of Glasgow this was a great way of getting to see the countryside and meet new people in a cost effective way. That coupled with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme at school that utilised hostels at times for outdoor pursuits, combined two great passions. I soon saved up to become a life member and have supported hostelling ever since, by introducing my family and others to hostelling when I organised West Highland Way walks for the Civil Service Sports Council for 10 years or so. I have made many friends while hostelling and still enjoy the informal chats with people that I meet. I travelled through France and Switzerland staying at Youth Hostels and saw how other countries provide the service in different ways. Hostels are about all ages and as such, need to cater for a wide range of people from a wide range of places, cultures and backgrounds. Hostels have made great progress in embracing everyone who wants to use their service, in challenging economic times. Hostelling is a business and like most businesses has to understand who their customers are and their expectations and evolve, where possible, accordingly while ensuring that they keep pace with Laws and Regulations by having proper governance in place to ensure the safety of people and their information – especially in a fast paced digital world. Organisational change in any shape needs a considered and objective assessment to ensure they are introduced at the right time and in the right way and that they take place with the appropriate governance and are managed effectively. Change also requires taking people with you by helping them understand change and how they will be prepared for it.

It is impossible to do anything without risks being introduced, so the need for oversight and challenge is crucial to identify and manage risk effectively. Governance, Information Security expertise and Risk management aids good communications and is something that I could bring to Hostelling Scotland.

My experience in the public sector has helped me to understand how to interface with the public and with my internal colleagues to balance their needs. Sometimes you have to say NO however you should be able to explain why.

Martin Davidson
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Finance
  • Youth & Education
  • Outdoor Pursuits
  • IT, HR & Marketing
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

A passion and experience to help ensure that young people have the opportunities to develop the sense of independence that I did. I will bring extensive experience of the 3rd sector, particularly in the outdoor and youth sectors, and I will bring recent Board experience as a founding trustee at Glasgow Watersports. I have strong leadership, financial management, HR and operational experience.

Read Martin's Personal Supporting Statement

Hostelling generally, and specifically Hostelling Scotland (SYHA) has had a profound impact on my own development and life. I am applying to become a trustee of SYHA as I believe through my professional experience I have much to offer to help with the strategic development of the organisation and the ensuring that it thrives in the post Covid years. Having worked at a senior level in the third sector for over 10 years I will bring experience of financial stewardship, risk management, fund raising and organisation development. In particular having represented the outdoor education sector in engagement with Scottish Government, and having led on the recent successful #SaveYourOutdoorCentres campaign over the last 18 months, resulting in £4.5m of funding, I will bring lobbying, influencing and external affairs experience that will help ensure SYHA has the influence required to realise its objectives and priorities. Part of my role with The Outward Bound Trust involves the senior representation on Access Unlimited, a coalition of YHA, Scouts, Girlguides and others. Becoming a trustee of SYHA I would work with the Board and senior management to explore how a similar coalition of like minded organisations could be created in Scotland to work for greater access to away from home experiences for young people and families. Indeed it is working towards this objective of ensuring that others have the opportunity to benefit from hostelling as I have had, and continue to have, is my principle driver for applying to become a trustee of SYHA.

Kerry Donaghy
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Youth & Education
  • Hospitality
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

I will bring honestly, passion and dedication in my role as a Trustee of the Board. I will also bring my knowledge of both the tourism industry and social care to create ideas, as well as contribute to both discussions and planning. As someone with a limited experience of staying in hostels, I believe I would provide a great insight into what would engage the public in making hostels their number one choice for accommodation and a true Scottish experience.

Read Kerry's Personal Supporting Statement

As a child growing up, my parents were risk adverse and wouldn’t allow me the freedom to engage with others as much, and go travelling around Scotland. Now as an adult, I try to create these opportunities for my own boys (and for the children I support through my volunteering with the Scouts) as much as possible because Scotland is so beautiful and welcoming. I believe it is our purpose to embrace what we have both in nature and in our history, and pass it down for further generations to benefit from. The impact of Covid has made me fully appreciate what we have on our doorstep, and hostelling is a fantastic way to experience that. With the industry still in recovery, I believe the immediate priorities for SYHA would be to focus on how to make the hostelling experience as engaging as possible. Sharing compelling and engaging stories strongly and consistently from all your stakeholders will not only encourage guests to return and become members, but it will also motivate others who may have not thought hostelling was for them to begin their hostelling journey with SYHA. With international travel looking to not reach pre-COVID levels until 2025, it’s never been more important to make sure these messages are being heard throughout the UK to encourage domestic bookings. I have learnt a lot through my career about impactful storytelling, and how to do this through social media, annual reports and press releases to help stakeholders focus on the wellbeing impact it has on our communities. I would commit to the charitable aims of SYHA by sharing my knowledge and learning of how to engage local communities and businesses in partnership work. I would provide honest scrutiny of communication and marketing plans to engage our stakeholders and encourage accountability in what these plans hope to achieve and how they align with the SYHA mission. I am forward thinking, speak honestly and have a great knowledge of the diverse groups of local communities you commit to engage with. I would also welcome the challenge of being involved in a strategic role and what I could learn from this. I feel honoured at the chance of becoming a Trustee with SYHA because of the positive experience you are creating for your stakeholders. Thanks for considering my application, and I hope to be a part of this journey in future.

Yvonne Milne
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Youth & Education
  • Membership & Volunteer Development
  • Hospitality
  • Outdoor Pursuits
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

I'm a commercially astute and pro-active manager with a significant record of achievement built over a successful career in the media industry and third sector, consistently achieving or exceeding targets in performance, finance and expansion. I’m an articulate and assured communicator with the managerial acumen to establish and nurture relationships at all levels, coordinate operations across multiple locations, and undertake senior level decision making. I can demonstrate a proven capacity to lead and develop others having trained or mentored over 250 staff and volunteers within my current role, managed a team of over 200 volunteers at The Prince’s Trust, and as a lecturer at Aberdeen College.

I am an excellent listener, and approach leadership and governance collaboratively, yet am unafraid to tell truth to power.

Read Yvonne's Personal Supporting Statement

I would love the opportunity to play a part in shaping the future of SYHA, an organisation from which I’ve benefitted so much over the years. Youth hostels have enabled me to enjoy myself, learn new skills, have adventures, get outdoors and explore since I started using them as a teenager. Since then, they have provided me with clean, safe, cheap accommodation in some of the world’s most stunning cities and wild places and have provided the opportunity to meet so many people who have enriched my life – something that feels particularly important when travelling solo. After a difficult two years of the pandemic I don’t think there has ever been a more important time for people of all ages and backgrounds to be able to explore the world we live in. I know that SYHA has had to make some very tough decisions during the pandemic and this will undoubtably have impacted on staff and membership. Also, with the rise of more organisations that offer opportunities to stay in unusual places such as AirBnB, I realise SYHA faces challenges in how to ensure we change and develop our offering to stay relevant. However, I believe the SYHA holds a vital and strong space in the range of accommodation available in Scotland and I would relish the opportunity to put my shoulder to the wheel with you to move the organisation forward. As a manager of 12 staff and 30 volunteers for the Royal National Institute of Blind People, I bring a broad skill set that I’ve developed through working in radio and communications for 25 years and within the charity sector for 17 years. I’m passionate about good communication and finding creative ways to deliver strategic aims. I’m also acutely aware of the importance that staff and volunteers have in delivering our goals. I believe nurturing and developing our organisation’s people is key to ensuring that members have an optimal experience. My work champions accessibility, equality and equity and I am dedicated to ensuring opportunities are available to all. To become a Trustee with SYHA and be able to contribute to enabling both those living in Scotland and those coming from other countries to explore our environmental, cultural and historical heritage while connecting with others again, would be a huge privilege.

Joyce Orr
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Finance
  • Property Management
  • Youth & Education
  • Membership & Volunteer Development
  • Hospitality
  • Outdoor Pursuits
  • IT, HR & Marketing
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

I have a lot of experience that may be useful to the Board of Trustees, including change management (organisational restructuring experience); governance skills, knowledge and a particular interest in improving governance in the voluntary sector; knowledge and experience in property maintenance and management; and experience and interest in financial management and risk management. I am also very aware of the difference between board members and operational staff teams, and the importance of differing responsibilities

Read Joyce's Personal Supporting Statement

Whilst I have not direct experience of youth hostelling, I can appreciate the great opportunities this presents to individuals and families to enhance their life experiences. I cannot bring any direct youth hostelling experience to the position but do have skills in a number of areas which could be useful to SYHA, especially in the skills areas that the Board are currently seeking. As a staff member within a non-profit charity, I have serviced Boards for a number of years, ensuring that they have the required information to make informed strategic decisions for the benefit of the charity and its purpose. I also have experience of being a Board member and having to work collectively with other board members to make decisions and drive the strategic direction of the organisation. Much of my experience is in the registered social landlord sector, which is a heavily regulated sector. As such, I am well aware of the legal and regulatory requirements of Board Trustees. Whilst there are similarities between my housing sector experience and that of SYHA that could useful to SYHA (such as customer services, property management and maintenance, charity compliance, financial and risk management etc.), there will be sector specific requirements, skills and knowledge that I would need to acquire. I am always interested in new learning and would very much welcome this.

Paul Randall
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Property Management
  • Youth & Education
  • Outdoor Pursuits
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

Over 40 years practical experience in management and development of property portfolios, mainly in the commercial retail sector. Some years in local government, 10 years as the property manager of a retail concern and 20 years in my own practice.

Read Paul's Personal Supporting Statement

As with most businesses, the last two years have been devastating for Hostelling Scotland, with surpluses and development plans all receded. HS is very much a people and property concern, and I hope to continue to use my experience to support and assist the group through the next few years of recovery. As a retired chartered surveyor with 40 years experience, I have enjoyed the last 6 years as a trustee with HS contributing to all discussions and being actively involved in developments such as the £2m redevelopment of Glen Nevis hostel and the refurbishment of Cairngorm Lodge. I started hostelling in the Scouts and was still using hostels when ‘compleating’ the 283 Munros some 50 years later and I continued with youth engagement in various roles in the Scouts. My interests include hillwalking, travelling, photography and bird watching. I have always worked in a team environment, considering options and the views of all concerned and planning the best implementation strategy available. After years as a property manager in both local government and a retail concern, I opened my own practice as a chartered surveyor in 1999 and my activities focused on reactive maintenance/repair, dilapidations, utility procurement/management and energy performance certification for retail clients UK wide. I have recently retired from my role as a Trustee with Albion Trust (now Norton Park SCIO) which combined my interest/experience in property with my support of voluntary organisations. Norton Park is a serviced office block for charities in a converted school of 30,000 sq ft, with the adjacent former church converted to meeting rooms and a conference suite under my guidance. In summary, I would like to see continuing refurbishment of key hostels, an expansion of the network to increase the number of bed spaces on offer and the implementation of a building fabric repair/maintenance programme.

However, as a realist, I acknowledge the difficulties ahead and HS will need to move forward very cautiously to ensure the long term survival of the organisation so that HS will continue to have a hostel network where members can relax and enjoy the outdoors in Scotland at a reasonable cost for years to come. If re-elected for a final term I would use my years of experience to assist with achieving this outcome.

Campbell Spink
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Finance
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

From a professional perspective, I bring extensive risk management and corporate governance experience from my work with a variety of UK and New Zealand companies, across a range of sectors. This experience is underpinned by my Chartered Accountancy qualification.

Read Campbell's Personal Supporting Statement

My first experience of the wildness and beauty of the Scottish mountains came as a young boy when I climbed Ben Nevis with my family. In my early twenties I developed a passion for climbing Munros and found youth hostels to be the perfect base for these adventures. I am passionate that everybody should have the opportunity to experience the wonders of Scotland and believe Hostelling Scotland is in a unique position to achieve this aim through offering affordable accommodation in fantastic locations. As we begin to find the new normal, following an extremely challenging two years brought on by the pandemic, Hostelling Scotland’s immediate priority is to provide a COVID safe and welcoming environment across the network to strengthen visitor occupancy rates. Having recently celebrated the incredible achievement of reaching its 90th anniversary, it is important that Hostelling Scotland continues to be sustainable through making both financially viable and environmentally friendly strategic decisions. I believe I can help Hostelling Scotland with these challenges and opportunities as a Trustee through bringing extensive risk management and corporate governance experience from my work with a variety of UK and New Zealand companies, across a range of sectors. This experience is underpinned by my Chartered Accountancy qualification. I also feel I am able to bring practical insights into the needs of different generations of hostellers, backed by strong business acumen and passion for ensuring others get an opportunity to experience what Scotland has to offer. I have been the Member Representative on the Hostelling Scotland Audit and Risk Committee since September 2020 and therefore have had the opportunity to enhance my understanding of the charity and the challenges presented by the pandemic. I now wish to continue my commitment to Hostelling Scotland by applying to become a Trustee, to enable me to use my skills and experience at a Board level to help advance the purposes of the charity.

Mark Thorley
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Third Sector & Community
  • Finance
  • Youth & Education
  • Membership & Volunteer Development
  • Outdoor Pursuits
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

I would like to think that through my work in the legal sector, in running a business but also sitting as a tribunal chair that I have an ability to assist with decision making. Also in running a small legal practice (20 employees) I routinely deal with management accounts, cashflow etc. I have also had a lengthy history of involvement in various committees through our Law Society

Read Mark's Personal Supporting Statement

I was formerly involved with a charity in Edinburgh called Scotpep. This is a charity which promoted education in prostitution in Edinburgh which for many years was a real issue. I understood about board governance throughout that period of time. I took a great deal of satisfaction from the work I undertook in promoting the charity. It was with that experience and my workplace experience that I believe that I can contribute to the SYHA. Obviously finances are always at the core of any charitable organisation. This is particularly after the dramatic effect of Covid. I would also like to think that I have some knowledge of how to promote a business and would be able to assist with developing a plan for publicising the SYHA. My children are grown up and I have got more time on my hands to look to use profitably and I think that the SYHA is a charity well worthy of that.

Carolyn Wright
Skills
  • Business Development
  • Legal
  • Membership & Volunteer Development
  • Hospitality
  • IT, HR & Marketing
What will you bring to the Board of Trustees to ensure SYHA continues to be a success?

I think I would bring two key perspectives which would contribute to the continuing success of the SYHA. Firstly, I bring a family perspective. I know what my family has needed at different stages of my children’s lives and I know what we have appreciated in various hostels. I appreciate that many people have families, however, through my own work I see how low the representation of working parents who are currently raising children is on boards that I work with. I’d love to have the opportunity to change that and bring that voice onto a Board. The other perspective is that of my HR and OD profession. I’m currently Head of People and Organisation Development at the Lake District National Park Authority. I manage the HR, Volunteering and Member Services teams and I’m responsible for organisation development. I have spent 3 years at the Lake District National Park Authority and prior to that I worked for the University of Central Lancashire for 11 years. Both roles have involved the opportunity to positively influence young people’s lives. I’m particularly interested in contributing to strengthening a greater inclusion in the outdoors and bringing a new generation of children and young people from all different backgrounds into different spaces. In my current sector, there is a great challenge to increase diversity in our teams and Members. To effect this change, early engagement is absolutely critical. Every child should understand and experience the possibilities open to them, regardless of their particular characteristics.

Read Carolyn's Personal Supporting Statement

I'm Head of People and Organisation Development at the Lake District National Park. Prior to this I spent 11 years at the University of Central Lancashire. I’m passionate about creating opportunities for young people and broadening their horizons. At UCLan I supported this through our widening participation agenda, and at the Lake District National Park, as well as leading HR, I am also responsible for our Member services and our Volunteering team, so I get a chance to influence our outreach and engagement work with different audiences. I’ve recently led a whole organisation restructure (which included negotiating contractual changes for some employees) and introduced a hybrid working model which we are now embedding throughout the Park, so I feel well equipped to advise on organisational and operational change. As well as my people focus, I work as part of the Strategic Leadership Team to develop our commercial businesses and generate income. This enables us to deliver more than we would be able to on just our government grant alone and is an important part of our delivery model and future strategy. Post pandemic, we need to recover as a nation, and access to the outdoors and to different spaces can really support the mental and physical health strains the pandemic placed on people. We saw in the National Park how impactful initial visits to the Lake District were for new visitors during the pandemic, and it has refocused my appetite for engagement with different audiences. Inclusion and representation are a large focus in my work across all the groups I have responsibility for. From an equality and inclusion perspective, hostelling has the potential to make a huge difference to open up spaces and experiences to people and groups who may not be able to otherwise visit some areas due to financial and other limitations. I’m particularly interested in contributing to strengthening inclusion in the outdoors and bringing a new generation of children and young people from all backgrounds into different spaces. As a trustee, I would love to support work exploring how to maximise opportunities to positively impact this agenda. Along with my family (two young daughters and a husband), I am a keen hosteller and camper! I was born in Scotland and returned for university in Stirling. I would love to have the opportunity to give something back to a country I love, and a charity that is increasing access to the beautiful destinations throughout Scotland.

Board Election 2022

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 June 2022
  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 June 2022

Select up to 3 nominees (required)