Find out about the range of speakers joining us for 'Our Voice, Our Rights, Our Future', our 2024 annual conference.

Chair

Pennie Taylor, Journalist and broadcaster

Pennie is an award-winning freelance journalist and broadcaster who specialises in health and care issues. A passionate promoter of innovation, she was BBC Scotland’s first Health Correspondent and has also worked on the newsdesks of a number of national newspapers. A former Head of Communications for a large NHS Trust, Pennie has inside knowledge of how public services work, giving her an informed perspective from which to approach and stimulate debate. 


Speakers

Neil Gray, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care.

Neil Gray was born and brought up in Orkney and graduated from the University of Stirling in 2008 with a first-class Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in politics and journalism.

He was elected to represent Airdrie and Shotts Constituency at the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. He had previously won the Airdrie and Shotts Westminster seat in 2015 and held it on two subsequent occasions before resigning to stand for the same area in the 2021 Scottish Parliament election. Prior to becoming an MP, Mr Gray worked for former Scottish Government Health Secretary Alex Neil MSP as his Airdrie and Shotts constituency office manager.

Neil Gray has held a variety of parliamentary roles. He was appointed Minister for Culture, Europe and International Development in January 2022. In March 2022 he additionally became Minister with special responsibility for Refugees from Ukraine. He was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Wellbeing Economy, Fair Work and Energy in March 2023. Most recently, Gray was appointed Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care in February 2024.


Professor Donna Hall, CBE

As leader of his Public Service Reform in the City Region, Donna was described as a “public service pioneer” by Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester. Donna has been awarded a CBE for innovation in public service and has received gender equality leadership awards. She has a background predominantly in local government, having been appointed the Chief Executive of Wigan Council in which she and her team developed the Wigan Deal, and Chief Executive at Chorley Council. Donna has firm experience of the health and social care sector, having been an NHS Chair and an integrated care system advisor to NHS England, as well as the Chair of PossAbilities, an innovative social care enterprise supporting people with learning disabilities. She was appointed Hon Professor of Politics at the University of Manchester and is also a non-executive advisor to Carnall Farrar, CIPFA CCo and Mutual Ventures Limited.

For the last five years she has chaired the think tank New Local which works to explore shifting power to communities. Her experience of being adopted as a child has fostered a passion for high quality, person-centred public services.


Professor Dame Anna Dominiczak DBE, MD, FRCP, FAHA, FRSE, FMedSci

Professor Dominiczak is a world-leading cardiovascular scientist and clinical academic. She has published extensively in top peer-reviewed journals (over 500 publications, an h-index of 118). Between 2010 and 2020 she was Vice-Principal and Head of the College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences at the University of Glasgow. Anna developed new clinical academic campus at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, where she led a triple helix partnership between academia, the NHS and industry to accelerate innovation, maximize patient benefits and economic growth. Dame Anna is a member of several editorial boards and, from 2012 – 2022, was Editor-in-Chief of Hypertension, journal of the American Heart Association, currently she is Editor-in Chief of Precision Medicine, a new Prism journal of the Cambridge Press.   In March 2020, Anna led the establishment of Lighthouse Laboratory in Glasgow to provide rapid Covid–19 diagnostics, and then was asked to become Director of Laboratories at the UK Department of Health and Social Care to lead all 10 Lighthouse Laboratories across the UK, the role she fulfilled until 2022. In July 2022 she was appointed as a Chief Scientist (Health) for the Scottish Government. She works with the Chief Scientist Office to formulate and implement research and innovation strategy with a focus on transformative innovations that improve health of Scottish communities.


Marianne McCallum, Deep End GP

Marianne McCallum is a long-term member of the GPs at the Deep End Scotland group. The Deep End is a GP advocacy group advocating for primary care-based solutions to improving health inequalities within Scotland’s most vulnerable patient populations. Amongst others, the ALLIANCE partnered with the GPs at the Deep End to successfully oppose the decision to stop funding for the Community Links Worker programme. Given the crucial role that Community Links Workers and embedded welfare rights workers play in Deep End General Practices, the group continues to campaign for these critical members of the primary care team to be funded sustainably. 

Marianne has just completed a PhD at the University of Glasgow in which she has explored how individual and community factors interact to influence the management of multiple long-term conditions in the context of poverty. She has an advisory role on health inequalities in the Primary Care Clinical Faculty within Health Improvement Scotland. Working in Deep End communities throughout her professional life has increased her awareness of the significant resilience and strengths within communities which are commonly referred to as ‘deprived’. Marianne believes that future health solutions for tackling health inequalities must be created through co-production with the communities most affected by structural inequality.  


Naina Minhas, Director of Networking Key Services Ltd

Naina Minhas is a passionate advocate for social change, dedicating over 30 years to working for Networking Key Services Ltd (NKS). NKS is a platform for women and their families to collectively address issues of concern to them living in Scottish society. As the Director of NKS, Naina works to improve the quality of life for families by combating isolation and deprivation, striving to make a meaningful impact for South Asian communities in Edinburgh. Naina moved from India to Scotland 40 years ago and, prior to working for NKS, volunteered with community organisations including Shakti Women’s Aid and Saheliya. She also worked as an interpreter and translator for two years, and as a researcher in the early 1990s to assess the needs of ethnic minority women in West Lothian.

With a postgraduate degree in Economics, a masters degree in Community Development, and a postgraduate diploma in Housing Studies, Naina brings a unique blend of expertise and empathy to her role, guiding NKS towards positive change and community empowerment. Volunteering with community organisations has allowed Naina to develop her interest in working for communities, with NKS focusing heavily on addressing health and socio-economic inequalities issues faced by ethnic minority communities.

Naina has helped NKS to expand and grow over the last three decades, and the organisation now runs several courses and training programmes. Personally, Naina has ran courses on health issues in the community, training for volunteers, confidence building sessions and storytelling sessions at NKS. 


Sara Redmond, Chief Officer of Development at the ALLIANCE

Sara is Chief Officer of Development at the ALLIANCE, responsible for leading and continuing to shape the vision of the organisation in partnership with the Chief Officer of Operations.

Sara is responsible for developing the strategic direction of the organisation, overseeing the ALLIANCE’s portfolio of programmes. Central to this is ensuring a strong voice for disabled people, people living with long term conditions and unpaid carers and opportunity to influence change based on their lived experiences.

Sara’s work involves working closely with ALLIANCE members, developing innovative partnerships that show how change can be achieved, and promoting the role of the third sector as a key innovator and partner in realising Scotland’s national health and wellbeing outcomes.

Since her time at the ALLIANCE Sara has had key policy roles in our health and social care integration and self management programmes.

Previously Sara has worked at Scottish Government as a researcher in the equalities and tackling poverty division and has worked in a number of frontline roles supporting people who have claimed asylum, survivors of sexual violence, and with people experiencing homelessness.  


Rt. Hon Henry McLeish

The Right Honourable Henry McLeish, a former professional football player, and graduate of Heriot Watt University began his political career in Fife, Scotland in the early 1970’s. McLeish worked his way through the ranks of elected office, including the Kirkcaldy District Council and the Fife Regional Council. Elected to the United Kingdom Parliament in 1987, he became a member of the Blair Government in 1997, As Minister for Devolution and Home Affairs, at the Scottish Office from 1997 to 1999, he was instrumental in shaping Scotland’s first Parliament in almost 300 years. He was also responsible for Law and Order including the Police, the legal system, and the Prison Service. 

Elected to the Scottish Parliament in 1999, he was Minister for Enterprise and Life -Long Learning, overseeing higher education, industry, science, technology, and the economy. He became First Minister of Scotland in 2000, taking responsibility for Scotland’s emerging role on the European and World stage, leading official government missions internationally and implementing Scotland’s social and economic policies. He became a member of the Privy Council (Rt Hon) the same year; an honour bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen. He played a key role in the process of devolution, which transferred key aspects of legislative power and Government authority from the UK to Scotland. 

After 30 years, Henry McLeish retired from elected public office and has continued in public service for the past 20 years. During the last few years, he has been visiting professor and lecturer at universities in the US, teaching European Union studies, UK Government and Politics. Formerly, he was Visiting Professor of European Studies at the University of Arkansas and Honorary Professor at Edinburgh University. He has also lectured at the University of South Florida and has taken take up a lecturing post for the next three years. 

Other lecturing posts include, University of Oklahoma, the United States Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, and the School of International Studies at Denver University. McLeish also has particular experience and expertise in the four nation politics of the UK, including post Brexit Britain and Devolution of Government in Scotland. Most recently, Henry McLeish was Visiting Professor of European Studies at St Mary’s University Law School, San Antonio, Texas. 

McLeish has advised the LEED programme of the OECD in Paris and the European foundation for the Improvement of Working and Living Conditions in Dublin. He has worked for the European Commission and CEDEFOP as a consultant and retains an enthusiasm for the EU and all aspects of Life -Long Learning and Education. Now involved in writing, lecturing, conferences, and broadcasting. He has authored nine books and is a regular contributor to the media on politics, public affairs, US politics, European Union, and football. Previously, he was columnist for the Holyrood Political Magazine in Scotland and columnist for the Scotsman newspaper. 

McLeish was a member of the Broadcasting Commission and Chair of the Scottish Prisons Commission, both set up by the Scottish Government. Furthermore, he was Chair of a major review of Scottish football, as well as Chair of Sports Commission for the Scottish Government looking at the possible impact of Independence. Rt. Hon Henry McLeish’s achievements also include acting as Chair of City of Glasgow College and Glasgow Regional College Board, Former Chair of the Fife Elite Football Academy, board member of the “Scottish Football Supporters Association. He also recently Chaired the Commission for Alzheimer’s Society in Scotland on advanced dementia, and now overseeing a research forum for Dementia. Continuing his work within dementia, Henry McLeish is also an Ambassador for Alzheimer Scotland 

Formerly, Henry McLeish was member of the Open University Advisory Group in Scotland. He was Chair of the National Mining Museum of Scotland and is a fellow of the RSA (Royal Society of the Arts). 

On leaving office, McLeish published “Scotland First”, a political autobiography. Along with Kenny Macaskill and Tom Brown, McLeish has gone on to publish several other books focusing on Scottish organisations and diaspora, as well as the future of the union of the United Kingdom. Continuing his work within literature and publishing, McLeish has published several other books on the political landscape within Scotland. McLeish is currently working on two new books.  

End of page.