Nicola Sturgeon is Scotland’s first female First Minister, and the first female leader of any devolved UK Government. In government she has held portfolio responsibilities for Health and Wellbeing, as well as Infrastructure, Investment and Cities.
As Scotland’s First Minister, she has been at the forefront of ensuring her Government is doing everything it can to make Scotland a more equal and prosperous society.
Minister for Employment and Training
As the Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn has overseen the development and launch of Scotland’s first devolved employability service, Fair Start Scotland, which is aimed at giving tailored pre and post-employment support for a minimum of 38,000 people.
Minister for Social Security
As Scotland’s first Minister for Social Security, Jeane Freeman is focused on using the Scottish Parliament’s powers to create a social security system that is based on dignity, fairness and respect. Prior to her election as an MSP, Jeane had a keen interested in employability, founding Apex Scotland, a criminal justice employment organisation.
President of the disabilities intergroup, European Parliament
Helga Stevens is the first female deaf Member of the European Parliament and a member of the N-VA, which is the leading Flemish political party in Belgium. She was elected into the European Parliament in 2014, is Vice-President of the ECR group and Co-Chair of the EP Disability Intergroup.
Graeme K Whippy
Business Disability Consultant
Graeme is a consultant who helps organisations become excellent in employing disabled people. He has been responsible for a paradigm shift in the way companies approach IT accessibility, and more recently has created an award winning Workplace Adjustments process.
He is an experienced Chair and host, who has worked for Channel 4 and has previously consulted for Viacom to improve their disability employment support.
Director for People, Scottish Water
As the Director for People for Scottish Water, Shirley believes that as a major employer, they have the responsibility to develop people’s skills and capabilities which can then be taken back to their communities.
With 16 years cross sector experience at executive level Shirley has held senior roles at Heriot Watt University, Royal and Sun Alliance and Aviva, before joining Scottish Water in 2011.
CEO, Glasgow Disability Alliance
As a founding member of GDA, Tressa has steered the Alliance from its fledgling vision of supporting disabled people’s voices and tackling isolation in 2001, to the award winning community of 4,000 that it is today.
Aside from being the CEO of GDA, Tressa has held leadership roles in several third and public sector organisations, developing a people led programme which builds on an individual’s strengths and capacity to participate, and contribute to their own lives, communities and wider society.
Business Disability Forum
Bela is the Head of Campaigns, Resources and Legal at Business Disability Forum ( BDF). She has over 20 years’ experience of all aspects of disability discrimination law and best practice.
Bela has worked closely with the financial, retail, broadcast media and health sectors and advises on a variety of subjects ranging from the law and reasonable adjustments in both employment and customer contexts to consumers in vulnerable situations and accessible technology and mental health. She is a lawyer who took some of the earliest cases under the then new Disability Discrimination Act 1995 while working for the Disability Law Service, a nationwide law centre for disabled people, and has since influenced the development of the legislation.
Managing Director, Braehead Foods
Craig joined Braehead Foods in 1998, while it was a small supplier of game products based on a farm on the Craufurdland Estate, Ayrshire. Craig loved the business so much, he bought it, and went on to achieve a £1 million turnover in the first year. Since then the company has continued to expand, continuing to grow across Scotland, and Europe as a whole.