Can you tell us about your career before joining the Society?
I qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young, moving into the commercial world as quickly as possible. Since then I’ve worked in sectors ranging from logistics to electronics manufacturing and events. Over the last 20 years I’ve been very fortunate to be able to blend my love for sport with my professional career, first at Hibernian Football Club as finance director and latterly chief executive, and then as Director of Finance and IT at the Scottish Football Association. Currently I serve as a board member at Sportscotland, allowing me to keep a real connection to sport in Scotland.
Why did you join the Society?
I was attracted to the Society as a progressive organisation with strong and energetic leadership. I also enjoyed my time at the SFA, learning much about the workings of a membership organisation. I like to know that ultimately my work helps towards making a meaningful contribution to the profession and to broader society.
Have your perceptions of the Society changed since you joined?
Yes, definitely. Actually in a similar way to when I joined the SFA, I’ve been amazed to discover the breadth and depth of activity within the Society.
Can you explain a little bit about the work of the Coronavirus Business Continuity team and the biggest challenges so far and ahead?
This is an extremely difficult and distressing time for our members and the Business Continuity team group has been meeting on a daily basis to ensure that the Society can continue to safely provide core and critical services and support through the disruption caused by the current COVID-19 outbreak. The biggest challenge was to create a completely new way of working, where 99% of our colleagues can work effectively from home. The last few weeks have been amongst the most challenging I have ever known, but we have achieved a huge amount in that time.
On the plus side, I think I’ve also seen the Society at its best. An absolute determination to continue to serve has been clear to see, aided by a collaborative and flexible approach. I already feel proud to be here. The next phase will challenge our cohesion but we are already looking at how to improve teamworking, efficiency and employee wellbeing.
Your role covers the Society’s IT function. How important is technology to maintaining business continuity in the context of the coronavirus outbreak?
The use of technology has been absolutely fundamental. We have a small but extremely talented IT team at the Society and thankfully they made some smart decisions several weeks ago, allowing us to adapt quickly when the time came.
If you could offer one piece of advice to members of the Scottish legal profession at the moment, what would it be?
Remember that we’re all in it together and you’re not alone. Many of us are trying to solve the same problems. Reaching out to others can help in these most difficult of times; there is a refreshing willingness to cooperate. The Society of course will provide as much support, guidance and signposting as possible, but others including peers, clients, even competitors, are open to helping.
What keeps you busy outside of work?
That’s a simple one. Family and sport. We’re a pretty sporty bunch and I enjoy both watching and playing all kinds of sport. Competitive badminton keeps me going through the winter and then as much golf as I can squeeze into the summer. Living in East Lothian definitely helps with that.