Polly came to HISEZ from the Scottish Government and Communities Scotland where she successfully managed a number of grant programmes, including setting up and running the Third Sector Resilience Fund. She also brought with her a number of years' experience of research in rural Scotland. Polly has some great insights into what makes rural communities tick, and what doesn't, and how to support change in these places. She's also built up an impressive network of contacts with local and national agencies, community groups and third sector organisations. Polly became CEO in September 2018 and aside from keeping the company on track she works on the Just Enterprise programme, and with BIG Lottery applicant referrals from Scottish Investment Business.
Brian Weaver - Business Adviser
Brian's main role is engagement and communication with various stakeholders working in the sector and the delivery of business advice and business skills workshops. He has significant skills in crisis management, particularly for groups encountering trading difficulties, and helping boards develop and strengthen. He previously worked with HIE as its business starts manager and, before that, worked in the private sector where he successfully set up and ran a business. Until recently Brian was a board member of Social Enterprise Scotland. Away from work he likes to Sing and is part of the Inverness 'Just Sing' group.
Karen Bruce - Finance Manager
Karen keeps the rest of us organised and ensures that HISEZ HQ runs like a smoothly oiled machine. She could make money from an old teabag and with a background in financial services that's not surprising. Karen has worked with HISEZ for 10 years. Her main role is handling all contract management responsibilities for the Scottish Government's Just Enterprise business support programme which HISEZ delivers across the Highlands and Islands. She also advises some of the many clients we work with, specifically in the area of developing and managing accounting systems. Before joining HISEZ Karen worked in a senior management level in the banking sector where she gained significant experience in financial planning and management, human resources and customer care.
Kate McKinley - Business Adviser
Kate is a business adviser on the Just Enterprise programme and helps enterprising third sector groups with business and financial planning, marketing, board and governance training and strategic planning. She's also part of the team working on other projects including feasibility studies, options appraisals and development plans. Before joining HISEZ Kate worked for 15 years in the private and public sectors in marketing and, what's grandly known as 'business to business communications' but which really means helping organisations and the people who work there use words more effectively. A big fan of finding ways for rural communities to thrive and not just to survive (she lives in one) Kate was, until recently, chair of a voluntary board of a charitable company and oversaw the redevelopment and expansion of her local village hall.
Karen Maclean Yuille - Business Adviser
SCIO, CIC, Charitable Company, Co-operative, Trust - the choice of legal structures for social enterprise businesses seems to grow and knowing which is the best choice for your group can be difficult. But not for Karen who is our legal structures and governance wizard (although she'd not admit it herself). Karen has worked in the enterprising third sector for 12 years and is a former Chief Executive for Social Firms Scotland. Here at HISEZ she assesses applications for business support for the Just Enterprise programme and takes them to the fortnightly case conferences with our consortium partners. She is also one of our business advisers. Karen is also vice chair of a social enterprise providing support and training to young people in Highland who experience difficulties in the transition to independent living and/or work.
Mary Riddoch - Business Adviser
Mary's the one who makes our social media presence sparkle and puts out the friendly HISEZ newsletter once a month. A native Gaelic speaker, Mary worked in the Scottish Government's Housing and Community Regeneration Department assessing grant applications from community groups before joining HISEZ. She has also worked for Communities Scotland as a Press Officer and as a Community Regeneration Co-ordinator dealing with various funding streams available to social enterprises. She began her career in the Public Sector working for Scottish Natural Heritage as a Press Officer covering the Highlands and Islands and Grampian and as their Gaelic spokesperson.