From our base in Edinburgh, we work across Scotland. Here's a little introduction to our staff and trustees. Please do get in touch.
Jordan is a former school and university debater who has seen firsthand the positive effect public speaking and debating can have on young people. Before joining the ESU he worked at a charity that delivered debating workshops to pupils at resource-deprived schools in South Africa. He has coached various regional and national debating teams and spoken at competitions around the world.
Jordan believes that the ability to articulate complex ideas in an understandable way is a skill needed now more than ever and that debating is a crucial tool in developing it.
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BOARD OF TRUSTEES
Dr Helen Wright is an international education specialist and a well-known school principal, having led schools in the UK and Australia for over 13 years. Since leaving Headship in 2014, Dr Wright has focused on social mobility for all young people; she has an active portfolio career, including as an executive coach of senior educational leaders, and she is a non-executive director on a number of boards in the UK and overseas.
Iain is an Edinburgh City Councillor, representing the Inverleith Ward for the Scottish Conservatives. He sits on the Housing, Homelessness and Fair Work Committee and Policy & Sustainability Committee.
Alex Orr is Managing Director of PR and public affairs company, Orbit Communications and also a board member of the European Movement in Scotland. As a glutton for punishment he is a lifetime follower of the Scottish rugby team and secretary of Liberton FF Rugby Club.
Elspeth Hough job-shares the role of Head of the Family Unit in the Scottish Government. Prior to joining the civil service shortly after devolution, Elspeth studied French and Mediaeval History and taught English abroad. In her youth she was an active participant in debating and public speaking events, which she now recognises provided invaluable training for transitions to higher education and the world of work as well as much enjoyment. She is keen to ensure that similarly high-quality opportunities remain available to young people today. (Elspeth holds this appointment in a personal capacity.)
Wendy is a retired Head Teacher whose teaching subject was English. She has worked in state and independent schools, in Scotland and England, in single sex, co-ed, boarding schools and day schools. Wendy's first degree was in English Literature and Scottish Literature, and she is a passionate believer in the importance of both the spoken word and writing, particularly for young people. Despite its infamous split infinitive - "to boldly go" - Wendy is a great fan of the original Star Trek series. She also enjoys: walking her two dogs, who come from rescue centres; reading; sleeping(!); and chocolate!
Jennifer is a retired primary school teacher and language coordinator. She continues to support education through her relationship with Edinburgh University and work judging public speaking and debate competitions, such as the ESU Mace. She firmly believes that the development of verbal communication is essential for an articulate and confident future generation. Jennifer enjoys reading, is a member of three reading groups, likes to go to poetry readings and loves the Edinburgh International Book Festival. When not reading, she is tramping the hills and footpaths in the company of her border collie, Lucy.
Cameron Wyllie retired at Christmas 2018 from the post of Principal of George Heriot’s School. He is now a freelance journalist and writer. He was the Scottish Schools Debating Coach in the 1990’s, and has extensive experience of judging school and university debating at national and international level.
Gurvinder was the Global Head of Quantitative Research & Strategy at Macquarie. Prior to joining Macquarie he was a senior analyst at Citi. His team developed Equity trading strategies using both traditional and Artificial Intelligence techniques to service Global Institutional investors (i.e. Hedge Funds, Asset Managers, Sovereign Wealth Funds). He has travelled extensively and managed teams located across global regions, appreciating the diversity in building and running successful organisations.