Conference Speakers

Karen Anderson

Karen is the co-founder of Adiante Leadership, a new international consultancy specialising in building capacity for confident leadership, good governance and sound strategy.  Adiante Leadership is particularly focused on developing women for leadership positions to improve business performance and accelerate economic growth. 

Karen is a serial Governor, having served as both Executive and Non Executive Director in Scotland and South East Asia for more than twenty years.  In her senior executive roles she has turned around stressed organisations facing serious financial and governance challenges; delivered growth strategies for a range of small, medium and large enterprises; and set up a number of voluntary and private sector companies.

She is regularly invited to address conferences, facilitate Board strategy discussions and develop bespoke Governance and Leadership Development Programmes.  Karen co-authored the strategy development tool kit, ‘New Climate, New Challenges’ with the University of Glasgow, to support organisations adapt to the challenging economic climate.


Jennifer Craw

Jennifer Craw is Chief Executive and a Board Director of Opportunity North East (ONE), a private sector led economic leadership board set up in December 2015 to support economic growth and diversification of the North East Scotland economy.

She is the Chair of the Board of Governors at Robert Gordon University and has been a Board Member for 8 years.

In addition, Jennifer is a Board Member of James Hutton Ltd and a past Board Member of regional transport partnership, Nestrans. She joined Scottish Enterprise Grampian as Head of Food in 1994, becoming Director of Competitive Business in 1999. She spent a period at Shell Expro UK leading a business transformation project, before returning to Scottish Enterprise Grampian as Chief Executive in 2002.

Jennifer has a passion for supporting business growth, strategic industry development and the growth of the North East of Scotland Economy.


Douglas Fraser

Douglas joined BBC Scotland at the moment the financial crisis struck in 2008, reporting on the meltdown at RBS and the collapse of Dunfermline Building Society.

His beat also includes close attention to the offshore oil and renewable energy sectors, and he takes a mostly professional interest in whisky.

Working in Scottish journalism since 1989, he previously worked for The Herald and The Scotsman, among other newspapers.

He has covered politics from the Holyrood parliament, as well as education, the arts and the Highlands and Islands.

He is co-author of the Political Guide to Modern Scotland.


Jim Galloway

Head of Enterprise and Innovation, the City of Edinburgh Council, Economic Development Service.

Jim has worked in Economic Development for over 26 years, the last 17 in Edinburgh where he leads on the development of business support services and innovation programmes.  These include Business Gateway, business support services, business improvement districts, innovation, knowledge transfer and commercialisation, support for key sectors including Creative & Cultural Industries, Renewable Energy and Financial Services.

As Chair of SLAED Jim represents Local Authority Economic Development Services on a number of national groups including the Scottish Economic Strategic Forum.

Jim also has a broad range of experience in employability and spent a year on secondment to the Department of Work and Pensions in Westminster working to a Ministerial Action Plan leading a UK wide programme to encourage better partnership working between Local Authorities and Jobcentre Plus.


Phil Hall

Phil Hall is Enterprise Officer at Hull City Council.

Educated at the University of Hull, his career in economic development began at Humberside County Council in 1989 before transferring to Hull City Council following Local Government Reorganisation in 1996. Since then he has led on major regeneration projects, European funding bids, international trade, sector based initiatives, flood relief, World Cup Host City Bid, business support, Enterprising Britain, European Enterprise Awards, key account management and inward investment.


Will Hutton

Will Hutton is a political economist, writer and journalist, and is currently Principal of Hertford College, University of Oxford.

Will Hutton is also Chair of the Steering Group of the Big Innovation Centre, which he co-founded.

As one of the pre-eminent economics commentators in the country, Will is regularly called on to advise senior political and business figures and comment in the national and international media. He began his career in the City before moving to the BBC where he was Economics Correspondent for Newsnight. Will spent four years as Editor-in-Chief of The Observer, for which he continues to write a weekly column. He was Chief Executive of The Work Foundation from 2000 to 2008.

Will’s many books include ‘The State We’re In’ (1996), ‘Them and Us: Changing Britain – why we need a fair society’ (2011), and ‘How Good We Can Be: Ending the Mercenary Society and Building a Great Country’ (2015).


Jenny Laing

Jenny Laing is the Leader of Aberdeen City Council.

She was elected to Aberdeen City Council in 2007, became the Convener of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee in 2012 and the Council Leader in May 2014.  She is the Chair of Aberdeen City Region Deal Joint Committee, an appointed Director on One North East Opportunity Board, an Aberdeen Inspired Board member and Convener of the Scottish Local Government Partnership.

Jenny was born in Aberdeen. She graduated from Aberdeen University with an honours degree in Economic History.

Jenny spent 25 years as Customs Officer with HM Customs and Excise; at Aberdeen Airport and Dundee Port; and throughout the North East as a VAT Inspector and Compliance Officer; latterly Jenny was a Business Education Support Officer throughout Scotland with HM Revenue and Customs.


Susan Love

Susan Love is the Policy Manager of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) in Scotland – the country’s largest direct-member business organisation, representing around 19,000 members.  The FSB Scotland campaigns for a better economic, political and social environment in which small businesses can thrive.

Susan has responsibility for the broad range of policy areas affecting small businesses, from procurement to regulation, and represents the FSB on a number of national groups. Susan also sits on the board of the Economic Development Association Scotland.

Before taking up her post with the FSB in 2002, Susan worked for the former Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament, Sir George Reid. She also served as an elected member of Stirling Council. These posts, combined with her FSB role, have given her a wide-ranging knowledge of government and public policy at both local and national level, as well as experience of both the public and private sectors.


Catriona McAuley

Caitriona McAuley is Depute Chair of SLAED  and has served on the Executive Board for a number of years.  She is Head of Economic Growth at North Ayrshire Council with responsibility for Business Development, Employability and Skills, Regeneration and Infrastructure Development, Planning and Protective Services.  Prior to this Caitriona worked for a short while at the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal PMO offices shortly after the Deal was announced and before that at North Lanarkshire Council as Economic Development Manager.  Originally from Armagh, Northern Ireland, Caitriona studied and worked in Belfast before coming to Scotland.  Caitriona has been part of the conference organising team for the first EDAS/SLAED programme.


Gary McEwan

After leaving school at 16 Gary has gone on to start a number of businesses and is, by any definition, a serial entrepreneur. 

Gary is very clear about his passion for business. He is deeply involved in the promotion of entrepreneurship to young people as a credible career option. He regularly speaks to students of all ages, young offenders and those with addiction problems. He believes in young people and supports their development as a key part of his professional life.

Gary is CEO of Elevator, with its HQ in Aberdeen.  Elevator is a social enterprise dedicated to the promotion of economic development through entrepreneurship annually supporting over 2500 businesses to start and scale each year.

Career highlights: Honorary Professor of Entrepreneurship, University of Dundee; Honorary Fellow, University of Dundee; Director, The Leaders Exchange, Entrepreneurial Scotland; Former ‘UK Entrepreneur of the Year’; Former ‘Scottish Most Significant Growth’ Award; Recipient of ‘The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion’; Scottish Council member, The Prince’s Trust.

Gary is on twitter: @garymcewan Email: [email protected]



Andy Pike

Andy Pike is Henry Daysh Professor of Regional Development Studies and Director of the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University, UK. His research interests, publications and research projects are focused on the geographical political economy of local and regional development and policy. He has undertaken research projects for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations-International Labour Organisation (UN-ILO), European Commission, UK Government and national, regional and local institutions. He is a Fellow of the Regional Studies Association and an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.


Robert Pollock

Robert has been involved in economic development and public policy for over twenty years. In that time he’s worked at senior levels in Scottish Enterprise, local government and international consultancy, including the Netherlands Economic Institute (ECORYS). He has been an advisor on economic development to a range of European governments and undertaken assignments for the EC, OECD and UN. He has developed national strategies in Scotland and overseas and has led the delivery of a variety of large capital and revenue programmes. Robert was educated at the Universities of Glasgow and Georgia and is finalising his Doctorate at the University of Newcastle on regional development. Robert is the Chair of the Economic Development Association Scotland. His interests include hillwalking, European politics and history and travel.


Pamela Smith

Pamela has worked in Local Government for 30 years starting off in community enterprises, credit unions and community regeneration before moving to employability and skills. She is currently the Manager of Falkirk Council’s Employment and Training Unit and chairs the Falkirk Employability Partnership.

In her day job Pamela oversees the management and delivery of Falkirk Council’s Employability Pipeline with a particular responsibility for the Council’s Modern Apprenticeship Programmes, ESF initiatives, Community Benefits from Procurement. Pamela also oversees engagement with the third, private and public sector partners as employers and service providers.

She is currently Vice Chair of the Scottish Local Authority Economic Development Group and attends a number of National Advisory Groups related to employability and Developing the Young Workforce representing local government’s interests. She has a personal passion and commitment to tackling poverty and disadvantage strongly advocating the prioritisation of inclusive growth.


Paul Wheelhouse


Paul was appointed as Scottish Government Minister for Business, Innovation and Energy in May 2016.

Born in Belfast, Paul was raised in Edinburgh, attending Stewart's Melville College.  He has an honours degree in Economics from the University of Aberdeen and an MBA from University of Edinburgh. He has lived in Berwickshire since 2000.


‪Paul is a professional economist and, since 1992,  specialised in higher and further education markets, policy evaluation and economic appraisal and impact assessment of capital projects.


Between May 2011 and September 2012 Paul served on the Scottish Parliament's Finance Committee, and the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee. And was the Parliamentary Liaison Officer to the Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy of the Scottish Government.  Previously, between May 2011 and Feb 2012, Paul served as Parliamentary Liaison Officer for the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment and the Minister for Climate Change.