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Postcards from Scotland

Letting Go: Speaker biographies

Jean Urquhart MSP

Jean joined the Scottish National Party in 1989 and was a Councillor for Wester Ross, Lochalsh and Strathpeffer from 2003-2012 within Highland Council, where she chaired the Audit and Scrutiny Committee and was a member of the Education, Culture and Sport Committee. As well as being the SNP Group’s Deputy Leader in the Council, Jean was selected as the SNP’s 2010 General Election candidate for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross and was the 2011 constituency candidate for Shetland before her election via the regional list system to the Scottish Parliament.

Jean, a long-time member of CND, resigned from the SNP in October 2012 following the Party’s decision at its Annual Conference to adopt a pro-NATO stance as part of an updated defence policy. As a result of this, Jean is now an independent MSP for the Highlands & Islands Region in the Scottish Parliament and is continuing to represent her constituents on matters that affect the Highlands and Islands.

In the Parliament, Jean is the Deputy Convener of the Cross-Party Group on Crofting, and is involved to varying extents with the CPGs on Architecture & the Built Environment, Epilepsy,  Human Trafficking, Palestine, Poland, and Rural Policy. Jean is also involved in the establishment of two new CPGs on Culture and Adult Learning.

Jean is a member of the Postcards from Scotland Advisory Group.

Stephen Boyd

Stephen is STUC Assistant Secretary with responsibility for economic and industrial policy, the environment, utilities, transport and arts and culture.
He is currently a member of the First Minister’s Energy Advisory Board for Scotland, the Aerospace, Defence and Marine Industry Advisory Group, the National Textiles Forum, the Highland Economic Forum, the Scottish Council for Development and Industry’s Executive Committee, the Scottish Government’s Public Procurement Advisory Group and the Scottish Government’s Regulatory Review Group.
Prior to joining the STUC in 2003, Stephen was a policy officer with the Scottish Government.

Tony Miller

After graduating from Aberdeen University, Tony worked for several years in industry as an electronics engineer.  He then spent time in Holland as a computer consultant, working in the field of industrial control and data communications.  He returned to Aberdeen and joined the Robert Gordon University as a lecturer in the engineering department.  His research interest focussed on system complexity, and the reliability of large engineering systems.  Over the last two decades his interests led him to research safety management and he lectured at postgraduate level on the principles of management based on the work of W. Edwards Deming.  He quickly realised that many of the ideas behind current management practice were harmful to both workers and organisations.
Tony has been involved in an Aberdeen based initiative called the Deming Learning Network (DLN), which originated from a discussion group formed by the late David Kerridge, then Professor of Statistics at Aberdeen University and an authority on the ideas of Deming.  The DLN, with Gordon Hall and David McAra, became a source of new thinking about management.  For nearly a decade now the group has run discussion seminars, open to the public, related to managing organisations.
Having recently retired from University life, he is an enthusiastic advocate of a more humane and thoughtful approach to management, based on a new science of systems thinking which engages with complexity, and includes at its core the spiritual and emotional needs of all those involved.

Tony's first book, Letting Go: Breathing New Life into Organisations was co-written with Gordon Hall, and is the 5th book in the Postcards from Scotland

Professor Phil Hanlon

Phil’s medical degree led first to clinical work and then to the leadership of a vaccine trial in The Gambia. That experience persuaded him that public health approaches were needed not just in Africa but also at home in the West of Scotland. That insight led in time to a leadership role in Health Promotion in Greater Glasgow and research in public health at Glasgow University. Although he pursued all of these activities with energy and enthusiasm and he was enormously impressed by the commitment of staff and communities, his experiences led him to the conclusion that the approaches that were being used were insufficient to meet the scale and complexity of Scotland’s public health challenges. Phil, and Dr Sandra Carlisle, have written the first book in the Centre's Postcards from Scotland series. It is called AfterNow: what's next for a healthy Scotland.

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