With qualifications in Applied Foreign Languages & European Politics and EC Law, Samantha began her career as Policy Advisor in the European Parliament. This was followed by nine years as CEO of Scottish Business in the Community, led by HRH the Prince of Wales.
Since then, she has been appointed to the advisory board of Scottish Power (2007), the board of Iberdrola (2008), and spent nine years on the board at Right Track, a Scottish youth employability charity.
She is currently a Vice Chairman of the 2020 Group on Climate Change, an advisory board member for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and a board member of the Scottish European Education Trust, as well as undertaking consultancy and business coaching.
A finalist and runner-up in the IoD Scotland NED of the Year Awards in 2012, she was listed as one of the ‘Top 100 Women to Watch’ in the FTSE list compiled with Cranfield University in 2013 and 2014 and is also a member of the prestigious Global Scot and Global Board Ready Women networks.
She became Chairman of Scottish Ensemble in February 2015.
Andrew plays viola with Scottish Ensemble. See his full profile here.
Jeff Fergus was born and educated in Glasgow and has spent most of his career in advertising and marketing. After university he joined the London office of Leo Burnett, a large American advertising agency whose clients included Cadbury, Proctor & Gamble and Kellogg, among many others.
Having spent seven years as CEO of the London office he joined the main Board of the company and moved to Hong Kong as CEO of the agency’s Asia Pacific operations. He later returned to London to take responsibility for all of the company’s global operations outside America. Following retirement from the advertising industry he has continued to work as a marketing consultant for the Unipart Group. He is also Chairman of the trustees of Ronald McDonald House Charities and was a member of the Court of Strathclyde University for nine years.
Rachel is a senior civil servant in the Scottish Government. Her 25-year public service career has included executive and non-executive policy, operational and change management leadership roles across such sectors as economic development, justice, international development, and European policy.
Rachel has had a life-long interest in music and the arts, and was awarded an Exhibition in music at Oxford University. She is also a non-executive director of Scottish Ballet, a Chartered Director and a Fellow of the Institute of Directors.
Laura plays violin with Scottish Ensemble. See her full profile here.
Neil Kelly is a lawyer by profession but with a deep passion for music and opera.
Neil was described in Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession (2015) as ‘an outstanding advocate of construction and contract law’. He has over thirty years experience specialising in advising employers, contractors, subcontractors, consultants, suppliers and their insurers in the Construction Sector.
Neil has been Head of the Construction Group at MacRoberts since 2003 and was Chairman of the firm between 2011 and 2014.
Reflecting his involvement in the Construction Sector, Neil was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) in 2007 and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS) in 2012. In April 2016, the Chartered Institute of Building presented Neil with its Open Award for services to the Construction industry. Neil is Convener of the Adjudication Society, Scottish Region, and is also a past Chair of the Voices Festival held annually in St Andrews, and a past Chair of the Scottish Branch of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (CIArb).
A Board Director with over twenty years experience in supporting innovation and growth, executing mergers and acquisitions, and developing people, Stella has held a number of senior appointments within the FMCG and Drinks industries, working with Scottish & Newcastle PLC, the C&C Group and, most recently, Genius Gluten Free Foods.
She is currently CFO of Inverleith LLP, and is a keen cellist and concert-goer.
Jonathan Morton is Artistic Director and Leader of the Scottish Ensemble, and enjoys a varied career as a chamber musician, leader, soloist and teacher. His versatility finds him equally at home in the core classical repertoire, 20th and 21st Century music, and in collaborations with musicians from different musical traditions. His eclectic and engaging programming has won praise from audiences and critics alike, offering fresh perspectives on familiar repertoire as well as introducing little-known gems and championing new works. See his full profile here.
Lesley has broad experience in all aspects of arts administration, having worked at The Glasgow School of Art, The Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), The National Youth Orchestras of Scotland (NYOS) and the Scottish Ensemble. During seventeen years with NYOS, the company developed from one symphony orchestra to nine performing ensembles, including The National Children’s Orchestra of Scotland, led initially by Nicola Benedetti, and The National Youth Jazz Orchestra of Scotland. Over the years at NYOS, Lesley’s roles included orchestral management, international tour planning, marketing, office management and latterly building a rewarding fundraising programme, negotiating significant corporate sponsorships, applying to charitable Trusts and nurturing individual relationships. During that time, she created and managed major events in venues such as the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
For over five years part-time at the Scottish Ensemble, Lesley’s freelance work related to reviewing and restructuring the fundraising strategy, latterly focusing her own attention on individual giving. With a keen interest in the arts, she has been associated for many years with charitable Trusts in the arts sector, having established one, continuing to administer two and as a Trustee of others.
Lesley Watt was born and educated in Aberdeen and qualified as a solicitor before switching career and re-training as a Chartered Accountant with PwC in Edinburgh. For almost twenty years she has held CFO/ Finance Director posts across a number of sectors including the Health Service, the National Trust for Scotland and the private sector including five years at the Wine & Spirits Division of Scottish & Newcastle (now Heineken), a number of private companies in the Care Sector and is currently the Interim Finance Director for the Scottish Courts and Tribunal Service. She has served as a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of Edinburgh College of Art and Edinburgh Leisure as well as the Disciplinary and Charity Committees of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland. In her spare time Lesley enjoys keeping fit, contemporary music (previous Vice-Chairman of Edinburgh Police Choir) as well as classical music (piano and ex-French Horn player).
Nicolas Žekulin, originally from Canada, studied Classical singing at the Universities of Calgary and Toronto, performing extensively with the likes of Tafelmusik Orchestra and Opera Atelier.
On moving to the UK in 1999 he moved into arts management, working initially for the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, International Artist Managers’ Association and then Scottish Opera. In 2005, he joined the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as Head of Artistic Planning, increasing the programme of concerts, visiting artists and projects as well as overseeing scheduling for the incredibly diverse performance calendar at Scotland’s third busiest music venue.
From February 2017 he was delighted to take up the role of Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]