Event Speakers

Councillor Jenny Laing is the Leader of Aberdeen City Council and Chair of Community Planning Aberdeen; the City’s strategic partnership of public, private, third sector organisations and community groups. Since 2015 Councillor Laing has successfully led the Partnership in the development and delivery of the Aberdeen City Local Outcome Improvement Plan (LOIP), which sets out a vision of Aberdeen as a place where all people can prosper, regardless of their background or circumstances.

Alan Thornburrow

Alan Thornburrow is the Director of Business in the Community (BITC) Scotland, working across the public, private and third sectors to support inclusive economic growth and widespread adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  Alan has over 20 years experience within the financial markets. He is an Honorary Professor at Glasgow Caledonian University’s School for Business & Society, a past Vice Chairman of Career Ready in Scotland and a current member of Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention Leadership Group.

Michelle Cochlan

Michelle Cochlan is the Community Planning Manager for Aberdeen City Council and is leading change across the City through partnership working with the public, private, third sector and communities. Michelle is passionate about reducing inequalities in opportunity for people by listening to communities and changing systems. An expert in using Quality Improvement to achieve results and Chair of the Community Empowerment Group, Michelle brings together the discipline of taking an evidence based approach with the voice of people and communities to ensure we test and implement changes which result in improvement.

Tanita Addario

Tanita Addario is a Project Officer for Aberdeen City Council and works with contractors to support the delivery of community benefits. She has experience of working collaboratively with public, private, third sector and communities. Tanita has a doctorate from the University of Aberdeen in social research and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA).

John Cairns

John Cairns has worked with Balfour Beatty in his Social Impact Advisor role since 2017, supporting local projects to deliver upon their CSR/Community Benefit aspirations. John is interested in developing our Future Workforce, promoting construction apprenticeships and future career pathways for young people. John supports Balfour Beatty project teams across the North East to demonstrate the social and economic impacts which are delivered through the investment and construction of major infrastructure projects, developing employment and skills initiatives and engage with local community groups. 

Dan McAteer

Daniel McAteer is the Vice President Energy, Aberdeen. He joined Worley in October 2019 as the Head of Project Management and most recently had been the Senior Project Manager on the bp CGLP project before taking on his new role in March 2021. Prior to joining Worley, Daniel has held senior leadership positions both in the UK and Internationally with organisations spanning a 20+ year period such as, KCA Deutag, Global Energy Group, Petrofac and BAE Systems. Daniel holds a MEng in Manufacturing Engineering and Management from the University of Strathclyde (UK).

Martin Barry

Martin Barry is an Engagement Partner within the Place Team of Scottish Enterprise – co-ordinating their activity with key partners and stakeholders including the Local Authorities, Community Planning Partnerships, Business Groups, Politicians and Academia across north east Scotland.  He is a member of the Aberdeen Prospers group of Community Planning Aberdeen and currently leads the project to increase uptake of the Real Living Wage in the city.  A graduate in Politics & International Relations from the University of Aberdeen, Martin’s professional interests lie in partnership working to create opportunities for all across the region.

Kelly Simms

Kelly Simms is a Community Impact Advisor for Robertson Group who regionally supports the Eastern business across the North East of Scotland. Kelly has worked for Robertson Group since 2018 and has over 14 years of experience working with young people and communities in various settings. Kelly supports each project to add social value to the community by delivering real opportunities to learn and benefit from our projects. Kelly does this by building positive relationships in the community and supporting/creating opportunities to deliver a lasting legacy. Kelly is passionate about creating a positive impact on communities.Throughout Kelly’s career, she has supported and championed mental health awareness. She is currently a fully trained mental health first aider for the business.  

George Hunter

Stuart Brown

George Hunter has been Branch Managaer at Barclays for almost 9 years. He has worked in banking and finance for over 30 years. His key work interests are customer service and managing and developing team.


Stuart Brown is Head of Branch and Business banking in Scotland for Barclays Bank.  He has a wealth of experience in supporting businesses over his 34 year career as well as now leading the Personal retail offering to customers.  He has a strong passion for supporting the community through the various resources of Barclays and being lead in Scotland for Social Enterprise support and Rebuilding Thriving Local Economies pilot in Kilmarnock. On a personal basis he is a Trustee of local Charity and Social Enterprise Inspire PTL and involved in new charity Cancer Card. 


Gordon Forbes

Gordon Forbes joined Newmachar Golf Club in 2018 and is now working as a Business Development Manager, building relationships with the corporate community, corporate memberships for client engagement and staff health & wellbeing. Gordon created Connect Golf Network in 2020, connecting businesses and building corporate relationships via golf. During lockdown, he created the Technology Poverty Initiative to repurpose equipment such as computers, laptops, phones, monitors and printers, which have been distributed to schools, community groups and charities. 

Emily Stone

Emily Stone is Edinburgh Science’s Climate and Sustainability Business Development Manager. With a background in Earth Sciences, and an early career in business engagement at the Energy Saving Trust, Emily has always been eager to tackle the climate emergency in a collaborative and constructive way. Edinburgh Science may be best known for running the annual Edinburgh Science Festival, but since 2019 they have been using their convening power to bring businesses together to find tangible and actionable solutions to the climate opportunity. Emily will introduce Edinburgh Science’s NetZeroToolkit, a free, 8-step resource to help get SMEs on the road to Net Zero by 2040.