Speakers – Sunday

Camilla G. Hellman, MBE – President, American Scottish Foundation

Camilla Hellman’s career has been transatlantic relations, undertaking projects both in Britain and the United States to further  collaboration between the two countries.

Camilla joined the American-Scottish Foundation in 2009 as Development Director, becoming  Executive Director in 2012 and was elected President in 2017. In addition to increasing the ASF’s  charitable work, Camilla has developed diverse event programs, often involving exhibits and performances, with a strong multimedia platform.

Camilla represents the ASF on the National Tartan Day New York Committee. Camilla serves on the Board of The Foreign Press Association and Make Music New York.

In 2007, Camilla was honored by HM Queen Elizabeth II and awarded the MBE for services to British-American relations.

The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Thurso

The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Thurso was appointed VisitScotland Chairman in 2016, and as such also serves as an Ex-Officio Board Member of VisitBritain.

Lord Thurso’s industry experience is considerable. At 27 he became Europe’s youngest 5 star hotel manager as Managing Director of the Savoy Group’s Lancaster Hotel in Paris. He then went on to lead a number of hospitality businesses to success
including Blakeney Hotels of Cliveden, which became the UK’s highest rated hotel under his leadership, East Sussex National Golf Course and Fitness & Leisure Holdings.

Having served as a non-executive on a number of public company boards including The Savoy PLC, Millenium and Copthorne PLC, Lord Thurso is also Chairman of his family company in Caithness.
He sat in the House of Lords between 1995 and 1999 and from 2001 to 2015 was MP for Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross. In 2003 he was awarded a ‘Catey’ for services to tourism, was made an honorary DBA by Oxford Brookes in 2004, is a Master Innholder, a Fellow of The Institute of Hospitality and is President of the Tourism Society. In 2014 he was made a Privy Councillor by Her Majesty The Queen.

Janie Neumann – Sustainable Tourism Manager, VisitScotland

Janie Neumann is the Sustainable Tourism Manager at VisitScotland. She plays a key role in VisitScotland’s Responsible Tourism activity, with a focus on industry engagement on sustainable practices and the transition to a low-carbon future, supporting Scotland’s ambitious NetZero 2045 targets. She has 20 years of experience in the travel and tourism industry, working to continuously improve and support the delivery of responsible tourism, which benefits businesses, provides enriching quality experiences for visitors, enhances the communities it operates in and protects the natural and cultural heritage it depends on.

Alex Stoddart – CEO, Clan Donald Lands Trust

Mr Stoddart is an experienced leader who combines
extensive senior level experience in land and business management with a background in community representation.

Born and raised on the Isle of Skye, Mr Stoddart comes from the position of Managing Director for the Scottish Association for Country Sports (SACS), the not-for-profit representative body for field sports in Scotland. He previously worked overseas in a number of senior roles in real estate and investment management. His personal interests include sustainability, community engagement and Hebridean cultural heritage.

Mary Jane Brett
Customer Development Manager – Travel Trade, Johnnie Walker Princes Street and Scotland
Distillery Whisky Experiences, Diageo

Mary Jane moved to the Scottish Borders from London in 2014 following a varied career in the Music, Film and Games Industries.
Combining her passions for Scotch Whisky and tourism, she first joined Diageo as an Experience Ambassador at Glenkinchie Distillery, sharing the stories behind this delicate lowland single malt whisky with visitors from around the world.

In her current role Mary Jane enjoys engaging with the Travel Industry to promote Diageo’s 13 Whisky Brand Homes across Scotland to an International Audience.

Siobhan Mackenzie

Siobhan Mackenzie was established in 2014 and is an authentic self-named Scottish fashion label. The brand takes its inspiration from its roots in the Scottish Highlands- fusing innovative design with traditional craftsmanship.

Siobhan graduated in 2014 with a First-Class BA Honours Degree in Fashion Design & Production and founded her label five days after graduating at the age of twenty-one. An advocate for slow fashion the designer is proud to work in contrast to the fast fashion industry. Mackenzie’s upbringing influenced the choices within her business, her father, an environment officer for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency installed sustainability into her as a child.

Renowned for her contemporary take on kilts, the designer champions Scottish textiles and a Made in Scotland approach- where high quality craftsmanship & sustainability are key.
Awarded Best New Scottish Designer in 2016 the brand has been featured worldwide in Forbes, Elle US, WWD, Harper’s Bazaar US & starred in a Visit Britain Worldwide Campaign. Clients include mega-star Justin Bieber & The Commonwealth Games 2018 where Mackenzie designed Team Scotland’s Opening Ceremony outfit.

Chris Hunt – Founder, Genuine Scotland

Chris Hunt is a Stylist, PR and Event Director at www.genuine.scot, and founded and runs fashion and textiles not-for-profit organisation Scotland Re:Design (www.redesign.scot).

Formerly London based, Chris’ 25 years experience is rooted in luxury brands and retail PR, as well as journalism contributing to media from Scotland on Sunday, BBC Scotland and STV to Vogue.

After moving to Glasgow in the early 2000’s, Chris set up niche communications agency Genuine, working within food & drink, music, fashion, events and travel. During this time, Chris also formed Scotland’s first Design Collective concept and
among many events and other outcomes, introduced designer Christopher Kane to Johnstons of Elgin Cashmere. Chris now lives on the East Coast in Fife and works on a consultancy basis.

Clare Campbell – Founder, Prickly Thistle

Prickly Thistle is a sustainable tartan weaving mill located in the Scottish Highlands, where local artisans create ‘tartan with intention’ from 100% natural materials; woven on century-old looms then crafted into zero-waste pieces to last a lifetime.

After restoring the textile to its ancestral home, Prickly Thistle champions authenticity and a true definition of ‘Made in Scotland’ through a local supply chain to rebuild Scotland’s domestic craft industry, with sustainability and integrity at the core. Clare sits on the Board of the Scottish Tartan Authority.

Dr Fiona Armstrong, (Lady MacGregor of MacGregor)

Lady MacGregor of MacGregor, aka Fiona Armstrong, is a British
broadcaster and writer. She currently presents ITV’s ‘Border Life,’ a current affairs programme in the south of Scotland, but has worked as a news anchor and reporter for ITN and BBC News for Sky TV and NBC. Filming has taken her to Europe, Africa, America, and the Far East, covering subjects from politics to business, from health to landmine removal.

On a lighter note, Fiona has made programmes on clans, cooking and angling. She writes columns for newspapers and magazines,
including the ‘Scotbanner’. She has a PhD on the phenomenon of
‘Highlandism’, or how Scotland came to have a tartan face. She also
has an honorary doctorate from Glasgow University.

For many years Fiona ran an Armstrong clan society. Today she is a
Vice President of the ‘Clan Gregor Society’. Fiona is one of the UK’s best-known female fly-fishers and has written two books on the subject. She loves swimming, cooking and gardening – and is writing a biography of an aristocratic MacGregor lady who worked for Queen Victoria. Fiona is also Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of
Dumfries, one of thirty people in Scotland who serve as the Queen’s personal representative.

Professor Caroline McCracken-Flesher

Professor Caroline McCracken-Flesher is a past Convenor of the International Association for the Study of Scottish Literature, an
honorary fellow of the Association for Scottish Literary Studies, and holds the Order of the Stag from the Clan Scott Society.

In 2015, she gave the Scottish Literature International lecture at the Scottish Parliament, focused on Scotland and the post-human. Dr. McCracken-Flesher teaches English at the University of Wyoming, where she has received the President’s Award for Research and the Ellbogen Award for Teaching, and was named George Duke Humphrey Distinguished Professor for 2016. She directs the university’s Center for Global Studies.

Dr. McCracken-Flesher heads the University of Wyoming in Scotland program, centered on Walter Scott’s house at Abbotsford. Faculty, students and Abbotsford staff work together in a unique environment to accomplish experiential and transdisciplinary
research and education. She is building internship opportunities for Wyoming students in Scotland, and scholarship opportunities for Scottish students in Wyoming.

Keith MacGregor

Keith MacGregor is the North American Representative for the Clan Gregor Society of Scotland and has served on the Society’s Council for twenty six years. He is co-administrator of the MacGregor Surname Project/FTDNA and tour director/guide for the clan’s International Gathering 2022 in Scotland. He has organized and led eight years of professional archaeological outings in Glenorchy and Glenstray, the original MacGregor homelands, which uncovered a trove of information about the early clan’s medieval settlements and were published for the Society during “The Year of Archaeology – Scotland 2017”.

He is currently involved in the preservation of the carved
stone monuments of the MacGregor chiefs, discovered at Dalmally church in Argyll. Keith’s professional career in media spans decades as Executive Director for the Fox Broadcasting Networks, New York.

Clark Scott, Vice President of the Clan Scott Society and Board member and Treasurer for COSCA

Clark Scott, is currently Vice President of the Clan Scott Society Inc. in North America and Board member and Treasurer for COSCA – The Council of Scottish Clans & Associations.

With over 35 years diversified experience in the air transportation industry, he held worldwide positions with Pan American World Airways and Air Transport Association of America. Clark is retired from the US Department of Homeland Security in Washington DC.

He is a Life Member of the National Defense Transportation Association, the Pan American Historical Foundation, a member of the St. Andrew’s Society in Richmond, Virginia, and a member of the National Capital Tartan Day Committee of Washington DC. Clark is married to Judith Campos-Betancourt, an anthropologist retired from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Clark and Judith make their home in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Major General Buster Howes CB OBE – Chief Executive, The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo

Buster was appointed Chief Executive of the Tattoo in June 2020, having been on its Board since September 2015. Prior to this he served in the Royal Marines, as Commandant General of the Corps and simultaneously as the Commander of the European Counter Piracy Force in the Indian Ocean. His final MOD post was Head of the British Defence Staff in the embassy in Washington DC, working under the Obama administration. His first job as a civilian was CEO of Here Be Dragons, a hybrid commercial-charitable venture dedicated to the sustainable and ecologically sensitive development of the isolated, oceanic, UNESCO biosphere Island of Principe in the Gulf of Guinea, for the benefit its populace and the environment.

Anthony Alderson -Director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust

Anthony Alderson is Director of the Pleasance Theatre Trust, a charitable trust that runs three theatre spaces in London and has been presenting festival seasons at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for 35 years. Anthony studied Stage Management at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and is the former ViceChairman of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Amina Shah -Chief Executive and National Librarian, National Library of Scotland

Amina Shah has more than 25 years’ experience in the sector, including public and academic libraries. In addition to her wealth of leadership experience, she was recently a member of the Library’s Board.

As former Chief Executive Officer of the Scottish Library and Information Council, she led on the development of Scotland’s first National Strategy for Public Libraries. She has a strong interest in diversity and inclusion and the role libraries, literature and culture play in empowering individuals and communities. In her previous role of Director of Programme at the Scottish Book Trust, Shah worked to promote literacy and a diverse reading and writing community in Scotland.

Kirstin Bridier – Executive Director, the National Trust for Scotland USA

Kirstin is responsible for implementing all aspects of NTSUSA’s mission, from strategic partnerships and fundraising to Board development and grants management. Kirstin, who previously worked at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and the Nantucket Historical Association, is a graduate of Smith College and holds an M.Sc. in historic preservation from the University of Pennsylvania.

Aileen Crawford – Head of Tourism & Conventions, Glasgow Convention Bureau

Aileen is Head of Tourism & Conventions at the award-winning Glasgow Convention Bureau, responsible for the successful positioning of Glasgow as a conference destination for national and international association meetings. In addition, Aileen’s role includes Destination Management, working in partnership with industry, VisitScotland and Glasgow City Council in collaboration to develop and improve the visitor experience.

As a keen supporter of the meetings industry, Aileen currently sits on the ICCA Board as Destination Sector Co-Chair. For Aileen, collaboration is key, it’s all about Glasgow’s team approach, where working together, building alliances and successful partnerships benefits the client and ultimately this enhances the delegate and visitor experience.

Giles Ingram – Chief Executive of The Abbotsford Trust

Giles is responsible for one of Scotland’s most valued heritage attractions; Abbotsford, the home of Sir Walter Scott. With a degree in history followed by many years in the tourism industry, Giles has led Abbotsford’s renaissance since 2015, joining shortly after a substantial restoration programme of the house. He is now leading on plans for further restoration of the gardens and estate buildings, and improvements to the visitor experience.

The Abbotsford Trust is a small independent charity in the Scottish Borders which cares for and welcomes visitors to Scott’s home and the internationally significant historic collection and library he amassed in his lifetime. An adjoining wing built by Scott’s descendants is today luxurious self catering, largely furnished with original artwork and furniture. The Trust is leading an international celebration of the 250th anniversary of Scott’s birth in 2021 and 2022.

Lt. Governor John Cherry, Jr. – Chairman of The Trustees, St Andrew’s Society of Detroit

John Cherry became Michigan’s Lt. Governor in 2003 when he was elected along with Governor Jennifer Granholm. Together, they served as Michigan’s Executive leaders for the constitutionally allotted eight years. Before that Lt. Governor Cherry served the people of Michigan for more than 20 years as a State Representative and as State Senator. 

For  six of those years, he served as the Senate Democratic Leader. During  his nearly three decades of state public service, John Cherry developed a  reputation as a fair-minded legislator who forged relationships with  other legislators regardless of political party. During his service, John authored and co-sponsored several Michigan laws dealing with  political reform, environmental protection and conservation.

The  Cherry Commission on Higher Education & Economic Growth brought higher education into the larger discussion of creating and retaining  jobs in Michigan. It was also recognized nationally as a road map for  higher education policy, and it won praises from President Obama when he came to Michigan to unveil his National Community College Initiative.  During his tenure as Lt. Governor, John Cherry was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Saginaw Valley State University, an Honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from Central Michigan University and a gubernatorial appointment to the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.