Our Ambassadors

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Our Ambassadors

Dyslexia Scotland’s President, Sir Jackie Stewart, and the Board of Directors have a group of ‘Ambassadors’. These high profile Scots, who are notable within various sections of society, help the charity to advance awareness of the issues faced by people with dyslexia throughout the relevant communities in Scotland. We are delighted that the following people are part of this important group.

 

Paul McNeill, Head of Community Development at Scottish Football Association

Paul found out he was Dyslexic in 1987 and after struggling at school he returned to full time education at the age of 24 and obtained Degrees from Abertay and Glasgow University. Paul has worked in youth work, charities, health service and sport for over 20 years and is now the Head of Community Development for the Scottish Football Association. In his role within the Scottish FA he manages all the ‘grassroots’ projects that are delivered via the regions which helps to increase participation levels, develop clubs and use football to help promote social change. Paul has used his own story to help demonstrate that with the correct support and working hard you can achieve your goals and in 2017 this was highlighted via a short video clip entitled ‘Football Saved my Life’. Paul continues to champion the positive aspect of dyslexia and has delivered many talks in thisarea throughout Scotland and has worked with Rossie Stone (anotherDyslexia Scotland Ambassador) to create a schools workshop project called ‘Mission Superhero’.

Keith Cook, Director of Fencing Fun and Positive Destination

As a young child Keith was angry and confused. He grew up in a chaotic and often violent home in a disadvantaged area of Edinburgh. Being dyslexic, he found school hard but found his arena to shine... Keith's release was sport and at the age of 11 he found fencing.  Not the average sport for a child of his background, but he was able to focus his frustrations through sport to reach a “Positive Destination”. It didn’t matter what was going on at home, where he lived or how well he was doing at school, when he was fencing he felt he was no different from anyone else.  Keith says that no matter what else was going on, he discovered that if he worked hard and surrounded himself with positive people, he could achieve anything. He found out that it's ok to make mistakes, that’s how we learn. As he became more confident he realised sport could teach him so much and the skills that he learned could be transferred into changing his life for the better…..

·         British Fencing Champion

·         7 x Commonwealth Medallist

·         European Team Bronze Medallist

·         World Cup Team Medallist

·         Mentor, Coach, Modern Jedi

 Steven Naismith, Professional Footballer

Steven Naismith is a professional football player and is dyslexic. From Stewarton in Ayrshire, Steven rose through the ranks at local club Kilmarnock FC before landing his dream move to boyhood heroes Rangers FC. Performances at club and international level soon caught the attention of clubs in the English Premier League, resulting in a move to Everton FC. Steven then moved to Norwich City FC before his current loan spell at Heart of Midlothian FC back in Scotland. Steven has been capped 49 times by Scotland to date.

Mamta Singhal, Chartered Design Engineer and Consumer Goods Expert

Mamta spent her first 22 years Scotland but now works in London. She holds an affiliated degree in product design engineering from Glasgow University/Glasgow School of Art; an MSc in engineering management from Strathclyde University; and an MBA with distinction from Strathclyde International Business School. In 2004 she was a finalist for the UK’s Young Achiever Leadership and Diversity Awards, in 2007 was the Women Engineering Society Young Women Engineer of the Year winner and following that was in Global top 4 in 2008 for MBA student of the year. Since then, has used her position to empower women and promote diversity nationally as well as being a STEM ambassador. She was recently elected to the council for the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) and featured in Cosmopolitan as part of its award winning Portrait of an Engineer campaign showcasing modern engineers. She spent nine years in the international toy industry before moving into the food and drinks sector, working as a senior innovation and packaging scientist for the European branch of Mars Chocolate. She currently works for a major drinks firm. Moreover, she is also speaker on a National level for key Business and Engineering Bodies and is passionate about mentoring the next generation so that they fulfill their potential. With a total of 15 years experience in industry, 3 strong degrees and has her blogs and articles published nationally she most certainly is testament that her Dyslexia hasn't held her back...

 

 Ben Thomson

Ben is severely dyslexic. His dyslexia was identified at an early age and he later obtained a degree in Physics from Edinburgh University. He has subsequently had a successful career as Chief Executive and then Chairman of the investment bank Noble Group for over ten years. He has chaired of a number of organisations, including the National Galleries of Scotland and is a former Chairman of Barrington Stoke, a Scottish publishing company which publishes books for dyslexics and reluctant readers. He founded Inverleith as an investment firm focused on consumer sector, where he is currently Chairman. Like many other dyslexic people, Ben gained huge confidence through success at sport. He was a Scottish international athlete.

Nicola Morgan, Author

Nicola is an award-winning author of over 100 books, mostly for young people but equally read by parents and professionals working with young people. A former dyslexia specialist, she became interested in all aspects of the learning brain, including and especially the teenage brain. Author of ‘Blame My Brain – The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed’, Nicola is a professional speaker and is also the former Chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland.

Chris Tiso, Chief Executive of the Tiso Group

Chris Tiso is a well- known and award winning business man and chief executive of the Tiso Group, the leading outdoor clothes and equipment supplier. He took over the family business in 1992 at the age of 21 following the death of his father. In twenty years Chris has increased the company’s turnover from £5 million to £30 million. With dyslexia in his family, he has seen the unhappiness it can cause first hand.

Mark Stoddart, International Designer

Mark, who is dyslexic, has a workshop in Ayrshire that was founded in 1990. Mark’s tables have become highly collectable, sought after by clients the world over. Foremost among these is a range of glass-topped coffee and dining tables with bronze-bases; some are sculptured into wild animal forms and others take their inspiration from technology, among them the Apollo Lunar Landing Module table, one of which belongs to former US astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the late Sir Patrick Moore. There is also an Apollo table at the Scottish Parliament.

Rossie Stone, Founder of Dekko Comics

Rossie discovered the power of comics as a learning tool and he now creates educational comics that are helping students across the UK. Rossie struggled with dyslexia all throughout his school life and knows what it’s like to feel as if the whole world thinks you’re stupid. Reading and interpreting information through words was his big difficulty. However, he found that embracing his creativity and the things he loved in life were actually what was able to help him access information more effectively, as well as restore his self-belief. Rossie wants to spread this message of what he’s learned in his life experience to as many people as possible.

Colin Campbell, Managing Director of Bellair (Scotland) Limited

Colin is the Managing Director of Bellair (Scotland) Limited, a family run property investment and development company based in central Scotland. 

Having previously worked within the Capital Markets team of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), where he was personally involved in the acquisition and disposal of over £750m of property assets, Colin is the fourth generation of the Campbell family to manage Bellair and is focused on growing the company into a multifaceted property company through a flexible and adaptable business model.

Colin has found that dyslexia has been a positive in his life, providing drive and determination to succeed.