fb-pixel
header image
Our Story:

Governance and Leadership

Linn-Moor-School-autism-specialist-education.jpg

VSA, like all charities, is governed by a Board of Trustees (non-executive directors).


The Board of Trustees, led by the Chair, works with VSA's senior leadership team to provide strategic direction and guidance to the charity and ensure the charity is fulfilling its mission.

page divide

Board of Trustees

VSA's Board of Trustees is made up of a Chairperson, Treasurer and up to 18 Trustees.

All members of the Board of Trustees are volunteers who dedicate their time, experience and professional expertise to help govern and lead the charity.

The Board formally meets four times a year; each Trustee is allocated based on their skills and area of expertise to one of four sub committees which meet four times a year, plus feed directly into the overarching Board.

Maggie Wilson

Maggie Wilson

Chair of Trustees

Maggie, an Ex-British Army Forces veteran served her country for 13 years and held various positions in the army. On leaving the forces, Maggie joined the National Trust for Scotland as a guide at a local tourist attraction in Aberdeenshire, and during her time oversaw all corporate sales for the NTS in the North East.

Her journey with VSA started in 2004 when Maggie became a member of the Board of Trustees. Maggie served on our board from 2004-2014 and in her later years held the position of Chair. To thank Maggie for her service and dedication to the vulnerable people of Aberdeen, she was appointed as a Vice President of the association.

Due to many changes on our Board of Trustees in 2018, and our previous Chair (Alex Hunter) who had served her time, an opportunity arose for a new chair of the board. As many members of the board were new the Trustees sought to appointment someone with an in-depth understanding of our organisation and reached out to Maggie (Who had a wealth of knowledge and experience) to become Chair in 2018. The appointment was made for a period of three years in order to give our board time to grow, and for our trustees to gain an in depth understanding of our organisation. This has provided VSA with much needed stability during some of the most challenging years in our history.

James Knowles

James Knowles

Vice Chair of Trustees

Jim has over 40 years’ experience working in local government across the North East of Scotland and prior to his retirement held the position of Head of Economic Development for Aberdeenshire Council.

Following his retirement James, has used his wealth of skills and knowledge to help raise over a million pounds for third sector organisations and uses his strong business and economic skills to mentor SMEs across Scotland.

Joining VSA in 2019, he was appointed Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees. As well as supporting VSA, Jim also holds the following positions at organisations across the North East: Vice Chair of AFCCT, Chair of Balmoral Road Races Ltd and Chairman of Langstane Housing Association.

Gordon Edwards

Gordon Edwards

Honorary Treasurer

Gordon, has over 40 years’ experience in holding senior leadership roles across the public, private and third sector. Gordon specialises in financial management, budgeting, corporate governance, sustainable business/ resource planning, and strategic risk management. Gordon joined VSA in 2017 as Director of Finance and brought with him a wealth of experience before retiring in the summer of 2019.

Gordon is passionate about changing peoples lives and he has held a number of voluntary board positions at third sector organisations across the city; and in late 2020 we were delighted to welcome back to the VSA family as a member of our Board of Trustees where he was appointed as our Honorary Treasurer at our AGM.

Gordon is also Convener of our Corporate and Audit and Risk committees

Kathleen Sinclair

Kathleen Sinclair

Trustee

Kathleen has a wealth of knowledge and experience in social care and social services, and prior to her retirement was one of the city’s senior social workers. During her career Kathleen spent many years leading teams dealing with patients with serious illness, disability, rehabilitation, and terminal illness across the North East.

Harnessing her knowledge and experience, Kathleen, is convener of our services committee.

Amanda Powe

Amanda Powe

Trustee

Amanda has spent her career working for the NHS and is a clinical and managerial expert in a wide range of specialties including primary and secondary care and holds a master’s degree level in both Adult Education and Health and Nursing.

View Amanda Powe LinkedIn Profile
Adrian McBurnie

Adrian McBurnie

Trustee

Adrian McBurnie is a qualified professional with over 20 years of experience working within the oil and gas industry. Adrian spends a lot of his spare time volunteering including practical involvement with youth work and presenting classes for secondary school pupils. He is also an experienced trustee and member of The Scottish Mathematical Council and as a treasurer and chair of an Aberdeen Orchestra.

Dr David Watson

Dr David Watson

Trustee

David Watson is an Aberdeen graduate (1984) and GP Partner at Hamilton Medical Group in Aberdeen since 1990. He is a full time doctor who as well as working as a GP has worked since 2005 as a GP with special interest in headache in the Neurology Department at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

David is also a part time lecturer at Aberdeen University working in the medical school. He has been involved in Scottish national work in neurology and headache. Outside of work he is a keen cyclist.

Claire Wilkie

Claire Wilkie

Trustee

Claire Wilkie is a qualified nurse and social worker that has experience working in the NHS, local authority, private and voluntary sectors. Claire has a great deal of expertise supporting and meeting the needs of people with mental health problems and substance misuse.

Graeme Watt

Graeme Watt

Trustee

Graeme is one of FG Burnett’s industrial agency specialists and has more than 30 years’ experience in the sector. Graeme is also a RICS registered valuer and has overall board responsibility for the FG Burnett valuation and rating departments. Graeme has a broad range of experience, providing strategic advice to a wide cross selection of clients he is also a specialist in the appraisal of development projects.

Gregory Poon

Gregory Poon

Trustee

Gregory has held various senior management posts within NHS Grampian and retired in 2010 after 41 years of service. He worked as the Lead Nurse for Aberdeen City for over ten years before retirement with a specific remit in supporting the Director of Nursing and joint working with Robert University in curriculum development and workforce planning. Gregory was awarded an MBE in Nursing and Racial Equality in 2004.

Gregory was also appointed as Deputy Lieutenant of Aberdeen city in April 2015 and has been a Burgess of the city of Aberdeen since 2014.

Hugh Ouston

Hugh Ouston

Trustee

Hugh is a qualified teacher and educational leader, with over 37 years of experience working in state and independent sectors, with headteacher experience. Since his retirement, Hugh has worked as an independent consultant and writer. Hugh also has experience in education and training, strategic planning, writing and communications, and integrated marketing.


Kevin Shand

Kevin Shand

Trustee

Kevin is an experienced senior manager/director with over 20 years of experience working within the industrial rental market. Kevin has also developed his own thriving storage business whilst simultaneously acting as MD of a multi-million portable and modular building hire company. Before becoming a Trustee at VSA, Kevin was Chair of Befriend a Child.

Lillian Fenn

Lillian Fenn

Trustee

Lilian is a qualified social worker, qualifying at the London School of Economics in 1976. After graduation, Lilian spent over 30 years working in the north-east supporting various service users, before specialising in the delivery of services working with children and families. Following her retirement in 2010, Lilian undertook work for a voluntary agency and with Aberdeen City Council.

Lilian also sits as an independent member of the Alternative Family Care Panel.

Peter Murray

Peter Murray

Trustee

Peter Murray is a graduate of Aberdeen University, a solicitor and has been a partner in Ledingham Chalmers LLP since 2002. He heads his firm’s corporate department. Peter is the chairman of Golden Square Wealth Management Limited and a former vice chairman of Albyn School. Peter serves as the Registrar to the Episcopal Diocese of Aberdeen & Orkney and is a member of the Weaver Incorporation of Aberdeen. He is a Burgess of the City of Aberdeen.

Stephen Burt

Stephen Burt

Trustee

Stephen is an IT professional, who set up his own organisation Motion Software in 2005. His company has grown to be the industry leader in inspection and compliance software solutions across a wide range of industry sectors including Renewables, Oil and Gas, Construction, and Insurance. Stephen has also been chairman of the Guide Dogs for the Blind charity committee.

Margaret Gibson

Margaret Gibson

Trustee

Margaret Gibson is a qualified lawyer, with over 30 years of experience in practice. Margaret has spent most of her professional life as a partner in the legal firm now known as Burness Paull LLP. Margaret has specialised in tribunal and other court advocacy with predominantly oil and gas sector clients. Margaret has also been the primary legal advisor to third sector organisations.

Steve Heys

Steve Heys

Trustee

Professor Heys is a consultant surgeon at Albyn Hospital, having retired in 2019 from the NHS and University where he had been a consultant surgeon for almost 30 years.

He has previously been a member of the Governing Body of the University of Aberdeen and its associated committees, the University Senate, and has been a member of several national committees for research, clinical practice, and led the guideline development for the treatment of breast cancer. Prof Heys was also been a member of the Board of NHS Grampian from 2017 to 2019 and a member of the Joint Integration Board for Health and Social Care for Aberdeen City from 2017 to 2019.

page divide

Leadership Team

VSA's day-to-day operations is led by a Chief Executive and a team of six Directors who have strategic and functional responsibilities.

The Chief Executive reports directly to the Chair of the Board of Trustees; the Directors report directly to the Chief Executive.

Dr Kenneth Simpson

Dr Kenneth Simpson

Chief Executive

Dr Kenneth Simpson BA, BSc, MPA, DBA, CMgr FCMI, FloD, FRSA, is a qualified Rehabilitation Worker, Chartered Manager and is a graduate of the Robert Gordon University.

Kenneth worked in Health and Social Services before joining Guide Dogs for the Blind in 1989. He served in a number of senior roles including Regional Director, Deputy Director of Operations and Director of Development before joining VSA as Chief Executive in 2004.

He has 30 years of experience in the voluntary sector and has served on a number of Voluntary Sector Committees and Boards.

John Booth

John Booth

Chief Operating Officer

John has over 26 years experience working in both public and oil and gas sectors. Born and educated in Aberdeen, John graduated from Robert Gordon’s University and went on to hold various senior management positions at a wide range of companies before joining VSA in 2007. John joined VSA as a HR Director, before becoming Deputy Chief Executive in 2011, he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the charity and leads his team in ensuring the best standards of care are delivered so that the vulnerable people we support can lead the best of lives

John is also a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and the CMI and has recently been appointed as Governor on the board of Robert Gordon’s University.


Jenny Ewen

Jenny Ewen

Director of Adult Services

I have worked for VSA for 25 years in varying roles across the whole of the charity. I am driven to continually improve services to ensure that we provide the best of care for those who use our services. I am systematic and thorough in my methods ensuring that standards are not only met but exceeded. I have a proven track record of reviewing and redesigning services that are underperforming and transforming them into services which are innovative and sector leading. Prior to my employment with VSA my background was in psychiatric nursing.

Anna Garden

Anna Garden

Director of Children, Families and Education Services

Anna joined VSA in 2013 as a relief staff member whilst working as a social worker within the local authority.

As a qualified social worker, Anna has worked in various settings including adult learning disability and mental health services before settling in children and families.

Throughout her VSA journey, she has had various roles including Depute, Manager, General Manager, and Director positions within our children’s services. More recently within her role as Director it was expanded to include Linn Moor School and Easter Anguston Farm, taking Anna back to her roots within learning disabilities.

Carol Nicholson

Carol Nicholson

Director of HR

Carol is an experienced HR Professional with over 25 years of experience, having worked across a wide range of sectors including; Health and Social Care, Finance, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Higher Education, and Independent Consultancy. Having joined VSA in 2016, Carol successfully leads our HR, Recruitment, Learning, and Development teams. Together with her team, she ensures that VSA is an employer of choice, offering equality of opportunity and, providing our staff with a supportive environment where they will acquire the skills, knowledge, and competencies to ensure that they can confidently provide the very best standards of care to people who use our services so that they can lead the very best of lives.

Jennifer Mitchell

Jennifer Mitchell

Director of External Relations

With over 20 years experience across the private and third sector, Jennifer joined VSA in 2017.

In her role she oversees our philanthropy, communications, marketing, and public affairs functions. Over her career she has raised millions for the benefit of the people of Aberdeen and she brought with her a wealth of knowledge and experience from financial services and the third sector.

Jennifer holds a strong passion for helping to change vulnerable peoples lives, and is a strong advocate for more collaborative working from across the third sector, local authorities and government to truly help transform lives.

In her own time, Jennifer is a Trustee of Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations (ACVO).

Anne Corbin

Anne Corbin

Finance and Procurement Director

A fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, Anne has been Finance Director at VSA since July 2019. With over 20 years of experience in finance and accounting, Anne leads the teams responsible for the organisation’s financial operations and procurement. Her focus is on financial resilience, good governance, and social responsibility. Anne has previously held posts at a senior level for large companies in a number of different industries. For several years, she also served as Director and Treasurer of North-East children's’ charity, Charlie House. Prior to joining VSA, Anne headed up the finance department at Aberdeen Council of Voluntary Organisations which gave her valued exposure to many of the city’s charities and not for profit organisations. Anne was educated at the University of Aberdeen where she studied Economics and Management.

Back to top