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Meet the Team

HELLO FROM THE HEADTORCH TEAM

At Headtorch we are privileged to have contacts with many people who work in the field of mental health and or have experience of mental health conditions themselves. We draw on this knowledge and expertise to ensure that the work we deliver resonates accurately with our clients.

Our team comprises a wealth of knowledge from a variety of industry backgrounds.  We all have one thing in common – a desire to enable people to feel good and be more productive at work.  We know that a mentally healthy workplace makes business sense.

Amy McDonald

Founder & CEO

I enjoy learning when I’m being challenged, actively participating, my senses engaged, when it’s fun - that’s when learning and development (L&D) makes a difference.

I combine a passion for respect and equality at work with theatre and L&D. I’ve strengthened these core skills with mediation, neuro-linguistic programming, coaching and the Mental Health First Aid course. For over a decade this expertise allowed me to run my sole-trading business, creating and delivering numerous dramatic learning events on subjects from family business to handling difficult conversations. During this time I established a niche in mental health and well-being.

The consistent success of The Cynthia Show – Mental Health at WORK combined with a clear market need, provided me with the catalyst to move into e-learning and launch Headtorch.

Networking has played a significant part in my career. Great learning and incredible support has come from Scottish Women in Business and the Professional Speaking Association.

Other than that you can catch me stretching out at yoga, reaching high on a climbing wall, singing, laughing, at the theatre or standing on top of a mountain breathing it all in.

Angus Robinson

Chairman of Headtorch

When the world zigs, zag – a mantra to live by. From my first real job in the shipyards to having my own companies, it’s a really interesting ride. From engineering, to business, to the nuclear industry, to the medical industry, my career has always been highly stimulating and has taken me into all sorts of areas in the UK and internationally.

I have a pattern of being attracted by innovative new ideas, and making these a reality in the market place. This has been across many different products and sectors, and in my opinion is about understanding the potential, applying intelligence, and using principles.

When I’m not working, I’m practicing extreme sports like adventure racing, mountain biking and skiing. When I’m not doing that, I’m chilling with my family.

Tom Craig

Director

I founded Craig Corporate in 1985. I am now Chairman of Craig Corporate and sit on the board (as a non-executive or Chairman) of several companies including Houston Bottling and Co-Pack. I was also delighted to have been appointed as the Chairman of the Scottish Golf Union, leading it through to its amalgamation with the LSGA.

During my early career, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Arthur Young & Co (now Ernst & Young), after which I joined ICFC (now 3i) as an Investment Controller. I then spent some time in industry before moving into management consultancy with PA.

I golf
I ski
I go to the gym (makes me healthier but I’m never happy in the gym)
I garden that’s good exercise and gives me great satisfaction - that’s the physical side.

I also do puzzles, like chess puzzles, Killer Sudoku, Wordwheels (esp like The Times puzzle section)
I like finding solutions to business problems and opportunities - that’s the brain health side.

I read a bit – usually non-fiction
I listen to music. These help me relax and make me happy

I like visiting interesting places
I like watching interesting TV programmes, like Brian Cox and history - that makes me happy.

I enjoy good food, and good wine and good company - that makes me happy, but probably isn’t very healthy!

Lynda Nicolson

Advisory Board Member

While not quite ‘Mad Men’, my early career in advertising was certainly ‘interesting’. A few years in a huge and busy advertising agency in Manchester allowed me to hone my craft and manage client advertising campaigns for subjects as diverse as shoes, college courses, foster parents and regional economic development. The phrase ‘thrown in at the deep end’ comes to mind but it was a fantastic learning experience. I was tempted home to the fabled Rex Stewart Agency in my beloved Glasgow and here I have stayed.

My career has continued in the marketing, design and advertising industry and I can now add specialist sector knowledge of education, property, construction and technology marketing to my cv. Never a dull moment!

I now have a small agency and recently managed an entrepreneurial learning programme for the University of Glasgow, helping small businesses become more innovative.

Hobbies? I read everything I can get my hands on and enjoy quality tv and film, but my favourite pastime has to be flying to the States, picking up a hire car and seeing where I end up. Heaven.

Dr Linda Craig

Advisory Board Member

I’m a Clinical Psychologist by qualification. By day you can find me working with people with mental health difficulties, such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and eating disorders. The resilience, determination and courage of those I work with never ceases to inspire me.

Is this what I set out to do in life? It's hard to say. I remember choosing my undergrad course based on a lecture I attended with a friend! But human behaviour and functioning is fascinating. What drives us and why we do what we do. And now I’m here, using this knowledge to help people improve their lives.

I am delighted to join the Advisory Board for Headtorch. Anything that helps spread understanding and compassion for those whose lives are more challenging or who face struggles with their mental health is something I believe in.

To maintain my own mental health I like to get out on the ice rink as much as possible to spin, jump and skate myself to calm or officiate at competitions to give back to the sport that has given so much. I can also be found reading, watching Netflix, doing a bit of Mindfulness or seeing friends and family.

Everything in moderation.

Andrea Woodside

Associate

I’ve worked in the organisational wellbeing field for nearly 25 years, and it’s been a privilege to be a part of the changes in approach that have occurred since. The area of mental health has really developed, particularly over the last few years, and it’s a joy to see that so many people are now speaking freely of their own experiences. Even one voice can make a huge difference.

I support employers to develop sustainable ways in which to encourage their people to stay well throughout their careers. Spotting the very early warning signs of emotional distress in ourselves and others is key to accessing the right help at the right time, and assisting managers to build their confidence around how and when to approach someone in need of support is really rewarding. The ultimate goal of my work is to help people to maintain and nurture their mental health, my philosophy being that recovery from emotional distress of any kind is always possible when people have the right tools.

My work extends across both public and private sector organisations, including banking, FMCG, retail, professional services, the NHS, and local and national government. I gained my BA in Psychology in 1993, went on to complete a BSc in Social Policy in 2011, and am currently working towards an MSc in Organisational Psychology.

A Trustee of Mind England and Wales for seven years, I am also a member of British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy Workplace, the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, and the Institute of Directors. I also regularly contribute to the media around workplace wellbeing and recovery from mental health problems.

I practice what I preach and look after my own wellbeing by knowing when to step back and relax, running (a new passion of mine), meditating and catching up with friends.

Stephen McAllister

Associate

I am a former Police Officer and retired as a Divisional Commander after a 30 year career during which I held a variety of Uniform and Specialist roles. I was a Hostage and Crisis Negotiator for 16 years and part of the United Kingdom's International Negotiating Cadre for 8 of those years, I have significant experience in the training, coaching and mentoring of Police Negotiators and crisis management. Have a BA (Hons) in Psychology, a Masters in Forensic and Legal Psychology and a Certificate in Counselling skills.

I am a trained and experienced mediator with an NVQ in the delivery of adult learning. I am also trained in Trauma Incident Management and a graduate member of the British Psychological Society.

My exposure to and responsibility for managing a wide variety of crisis encouraged me to consider ways I could look after my own mental health as well that of colleagues. As a senior Police Officer with responsibility for absence management it became apparent that a significant proportion of such absence was related to mental health. Consequently I ran a successful mental health awareness pilot with colleagues and staff in conjunction with Headtorch. This inspired me to develop a second career in the field of mental health especially in supporting senior managers to look after both their own and their staff's mental health.

I have practiced yoga and meditation regularly for over 20 years. I enjoy going to the gym and strumming the nine 9 guitar chords that I know in no particular order! I play golf, love watching football, completing jigsaw puzzles and enjoy the company of good friends over a glass of wine.

Geoff McDonald

Special Advisor

Previously the Global Vice President Human Resources, Talent, Marketing, Communications, Sustainability & Water, I recently left Unilever after 25 years in a global career. After starting work as a teacher, my career has spanned leadership, capability and talent development, organisation change, acquisitions and business transformation. I have led ground-breaking work in HR, transforming Unilever’s business model to embed PURPOSE at its core, driving growth and profitability.
I am a Senior Advisor to the Global PR firm Buson-Marsteller and its Purpose Practice. I provide consultation to organisations in the area of mental health.
My vision is to “see purposeful companies with purposeful individuals commonplace one day” for the overall benefit of society. I speak and consult at events and to organisations around the world, including Australasia; Europe; North America; and South Africa. Speaking topics include: “The Bipolar world of business – profit and purpose”; “Mental Wellbeing – a competitive advantage” with the aim of inspiring and provoking organisations to put purpose and wellbeing at the centre of everything they do.
I am an active campaigner for breaking the stigma associated with mental health in the corporate world. I have participated in a number of BBC programmes and written articles for the Huffington Post, FT and HR related journals. I am a trustee of the Charity Family Links; the Global Campaign, It’s a Penalty - combatting the exploitation of young children around the world; and an advisor to a Global Mental Health Campaign.
I previously convened a meeting with David Cameron and CEOs from FTSE 100 Companies to address their role and agree actions to break stigma in the corporate world and I have provided some support to the Royal Foundation (Prince William, Harry and Kate) in their mental health campaign.
I am married with two girls. I love the outdoors, am a passionate cyclist and swimmer and have completed a number of ultra cycling events both on and off road.

Barry McEwan QPM

Associate

Having spent 4 years in the retail sector and 30 years serving the communities of Scotland as a police officer, I have had the pleasure of working with great people organisationally, in partnership and from our communities and if I learned one thing it is that people are the backbone of every successful organisation.

I have been fortunate to have had a great job and varied career in a number of challenging uniform and specialist roles in the police, I spent my last seven years as a senior leader and retired as a Chief Superintendent in 2017. During this time I observed significant organisational change as we became Police Scotland. I had the personal responsibility of leading change in key areas including: the Stop and Search Improvement programme; the national roll out of the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse in Scotland; and merging a number of areas to improve our prevention approach within the organisation.

These were often challenging times but the one consistent element was the appetite of all staff to work hard, be professional and deliver success under pressure. My role as a senior leader was to lead and support individuals and teams to achieve this.

It is vital that we recognise the pressure often placed on individuals and teams as we strive for organisational success. It is essential that we recognise our organisational and personal responsibility to create a positive working environment that places well-being at the top of the agenda. I was delighted to see the focus on well-being being raised before I retired and the Headtorch progamme being used to raise awareness of the mental health of our staff.

I am now enjoying my time with my wife and 3 children. I enjoy socialising with family and friends, watching football, going on holiday and then doing my best to try and keep myself well and fit with some fitness classes. I am now looking forward to the next stage of working with great people and hope to use my experience and knowledge to help others improve their working environment.

Randal Charlton

Special Advisor

I have a long and varied career in journalism and business. I’ve been involved in numerous early stage companies, mostly focused on health care and agriculture and have been the CEO of two public companies.

In 2007 I spent five years as Executive Director of Techtown, the business incubator of Wayne State University, in Detroit, Michigan USA. I am currently a director of Everist Health, a health care company and also on the Board of the Luella Hannan Foundation, an organization that supports older adults in Detroit.

Although I don’t like to tell people, I’ve won a number of awards: in 2011 I won a national Purpose Prize given to older adults in the USA who demonstrate a contribution to society; in 2007 I won the National Heimlich award for contributions to medical research; I’ve also been recognized as an Entrepreneur of the Year and won two national prizes for technical journalism.

I gave a TED talk in which I discussed the increasingly important role of confidence to an aging business person and given numerous talks about the important contribution that older adults can make to economic growth.

In my spare time I write and keep very active.

Carrie Birmingham

HR Advisor

I partner with organisations to help make positive things happen. Because I am passionate about cultures where people can do their best work, and I have seen how this benefits everyone.

I am an experienced HR Director, facilitator and coach who works in the corporate, public and charity sector. My clients describe me as passionate, honest, and insightful.

In my work, I draw on my previous role as HR Director for a News UK, where I led the HR team for the newspapers and the Commercial function. This meant being accountable for the daily operational people issues, mid term workforce planning and shaping the longer term culture, design, and skills of teams. As part of the Leadership team, in Manufacturing & Commercial, I led the People work for two large scale transformation programmes.

I have a Masters in organisation and people change, am a qualified coach, facilitator & gestalt practitioner, able to use diagnostic tools, an NLP business practitioner and CIPD registered.

I am the mother of two dogs, an avid cook, who loves camping. As I run my own business , keeping my self healthy and well is crucial. To support this, my must do list is
(a) to be outside regularly : dog walks and camping
(b) to switch off my mind and stretch : so I am a huge yoga fan
(c) to give myself a yearly physical challenge : which is a 10km open water swim this year

Andrew Marrins

Associate

I am a highly experienced senior learning & development leader , facilitator , coach and mentor with a passion for people development while championing well being and mental health in the workplace.
I initially trained as an accountant and held a number of roles across the Co-operative group and Boots The Chemist before making a very brave move into the world of people!
During my time in learning & development , I've delivered and created numerous management & leadership development programmes , created pathways for high performing talent , nurtured and developed high performing teams on top of mentoring and coaching on a 1:1 basis.
While at Boots , I was heavily involved in the creation and roll out of a significant health led customer care programme , ensuring all colleagues were equipped with the behavioural skills and tools to specifically support customers with their well being needs.

Vocationally, I am a non exec board member of the Oxford Summer School , where for a period of five years facilitated week long residential programmes as a senior coach before moving into the role of chairman to lead and manage the programme through to 2018. This traditionally was a retail focused management development programme but lately has included an exceptional session on mental health in the workplace to allow delegates to fully understand the role of a leader today and why this topic is more important than stock levels.

My latest role was Head Of Learning & Development for BrewDog , the disruptive beer based business in Aberdeenshire. While holding a senior role in this fast paced , high growth organisation made me take stock and consider ways I could look after my own mental health as well as that of colleagues. Through partnering with HeadTorch to provide a solution for various teams at BrewDog inspired me to develop a third career in the field of mental health especially in supporting all mangers and leaders care for both their own and their staff's mental health & wellbeing.

In my 'spare' time i enjoy keeping as physically fit as possible , whether it be hill walking , cycling , swimming , gardening or just a simple long walk with the dog and family along one of the glorious beaches of East Lothian. Aside from that , my favourite pastime is spending quality time with my family , socialising with great friends , attending as many gigs as possible and exploring what the world has to offer.

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