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Our trustees

Find out about our trustees and the role they play governing the organisation.

CHILDREN'S UNIVERSITY SCOTLAND

Our Trustees

 Mary De la Pena

 CHAIRPERSON

Mary De la Peña MBE

Born and educated in Bradford, Mary went on to take a degree in Spanish at Exeter University. Her career history has focused on roles involving collaboration between education and business, higher education and community outreach. Whilst working as Education Business Partnership Manager at Lincolnshire Training and Enterprise Council she completed an MA in Education and Industry through Warwick University. She was Education Liaison Manager for The Boots Company, and spent five years as Director of Aimhigher Nottinghamshire. In May 2008 Mary was appointed as Head of Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach for Nottingham Trent University.

It was her experience of managing Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Children's University within Nottingham Trent University that led to the opportunity to develop and embed Children's University in Scotland. She was CEO at Children's University Scotland from its inception in 2013 until retiring from the post in August 2017 and taking up her current trustee role.

Mary was awarded an MBE for services to higher education in the 2014 New Year Honours List.

 

Dee Bird

Currently the Head of Learning & Quality Enhancement for the Scottish Funding Council, Dee began her career as a high school English teacher in her native New Jersey. She then went on to serve as Principal Teacher of English as a Second Language at the Chinese Academy of the Social Sciences in Beijing for a year before moving to Scotland in 1997 to undertake a PhD at the University of Glasgow.  She has served as a national academic coordinator for the Higher Education Academy (now a part of Advance HE) and a lecturer at the Universities of Glasgow and Queen Margaret.   From 2016-17, while on secondment to Edinburgh Napier University, she was project lead for The Hub for SUCCESS,  a regional collaboration involving universities, colleges and local authorities to support care-experienced learners into and through college and university. Dee is a strong believer in the benefits of the outdoors for people of all ages and has been working towards her Forest and Outdoor Learning Leadership Award.

Erica Judge

Erica brings with her over 20 years’ experience in finance, strategy, change management, and commercial delivery roles.

A US native from New York City, Erica holds an MBA from the Wharton business school, and began her career as a diplomat with the US foreign service. She has subsequently worked with a variety of FTSE 50 companies, most recently in the banking and retail sectors. With an interest in children’s issues, education, and improving access to opportunity for all, Erica is motivated by a desire to make the world better by helping people and organisations achieve their objectives. Erica is currently working as a Peformance Advisor for Inspiring Scotland, a venture philanthropy fund, supporting charities to deliver better outcomes. Having lived in the UK for two decades, Scotland has been Erica’s home for more than seven years. She enjoys reading and exploring the outdoors with her two sons and adopted greyhound.

Morven Coulter

David Rennie

Donna Murray

Donna grew up in Livingston, and studied for a BSc in Horticulture at Strathclyde University, followed by a PhD in Botany at Nottingham University, before moving to Australia for a few years. Returning to Scotland in 2000, Donna started work at the University of Edinburgh running entrepreneurship training and support for science students. Since then, Donna has worked in a variety of areas at the University, and is currently Head of Taught Student Development in the Institute for Academic Development.  
Working with students has shown Donna the importance of reaching children, and young people, as early as possible in order to show them all the options which are open to them, and supporting them to develop their confidence to take their own path. 

Donna enjoys going to the theatre, and is very competitive about jigsaws, Monopoly, and Cluedo. In addition, Donna has two teenagers so spends a lot of time trying to persuade them to do their homework.

Gary Keatings

As an experienced Supply Chain Executive, Gary has worked on a global scale within project design, solutions and customer engagement; with a focus on delivering innovative solutions and resolving customer challenges.

Gary thrives on solving challenging problems whilst resolving issues, creating or simplifying processes and driving change. In his role, he manages a range of stakeholders and leads teams to leverage technology, interpret data and design cost efficient solutions in order to gain a business advantage. 

Gary has a broad variety of business experience, having headed a smaller enterprise in Scotland as well as working for major global companies. He has significant experience advising boards, working directly for board members responsible for IT Systems, sales and operations as well as serving as a technical adviser on boards controlling key business processes such as digitization and new business implementation.

Steve Dougan

As a recently retired Headteacher of Bo'ness Academy, Steve brings years of experience as an educator and a passion for improving outcomes for young people. Steve held roles as a Mathematics Teacher and Guidance Teacher before becoming a Depute Headteacher in 2000, with a focus on creating links with local primary schools. Steve was later seconded with Falkirk Council, where he worked closely with Forth Valley College, developing two award-winning projects to ensure the most vulnerable school leavers had opportunities to progress to further education. Steve was appointed Headteacher at Bo’ness Academy in 2015,  making significant changes to improve opportunities for all young people. One of his personal highlights was leading the Bo'ness Academy cluster's work with Children’s University Scotland to promote life-changing learning beyond the curriculum.

He has now moved up north to start a new life with his wife and dog, and is looking forward to sharing his expertise to support even more children to reach positive destinations through his role as a trustee with Children's University Scotland.