Governance & Leadership

Our Chief Executive

Mark Bibbey joined Venture Trust in November 2011 following senior roles in both the public and private sectors. Mark is responsible for guiding the strategic direction of Venture Trust, as well as developing new partnerships to drive forward the future of the organisation. Throughout his career, Mark has been an advocate for personal development initiatives that encourage confidence and motivation, having experienced this first hand, working with young men and women during his time in the military. He is passionate about developing alternatives that offer individuals, who because of their life circumstances may be vulnerable or marginalised, the chance to have a stake in society and is committed to enabling Venture Trust to further its distinctive and transformational programmes.

Our Patron

We are delighted to have the support of Baroness Vivien Stern as Patron of Venture Trust’s work.

Baroness Vivien Stern

Vivien Stern, Member of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights, and renowned author on the subjects of penal reform and criminal justice, is our Patron for Venture Trust in the UK: "I am very happy to be a Patron of Venture Trust. Everything I have seen of the Trust’s work is very impressive and it is clear that their personal development wilderness journey work is very challenging and really does help young people to find strengths in themselves that they didn’t know they had".

Our Board of Directors

Mairi Brackenridge (Chair)

Mairi started her career as a social worker in London, with a number of social work roles in Glasgow and Strathclyde before becoming Head of Adult and Justice Services, in South Lanarkshire, with responsibility for a range of adult services including substance misuse, mental health, disability and justice services. In 2009, following early retirement, Mairi has moved into consultancy and holds a non-executive role with Indepen-dance, a company that offers integrated dance with disabled people.

Brian Cole

A career civil servant, Brian worked across a range of Scottish Office/Executive departments including education, home, agriculture and fisheries, industry and justice. For the 12 years, prior to retirement in late 2009, Brian held lead responsibility for community penalties and the wider criminal justice social work agenda within the Community Justice Services Division. During this period, he was responsible for the introduction of Drug Treatment and Testing Orders, drug and youth courts and pre-disposal interventions, and worked with the Association of Directors of Social Work to achieve improvements to the delivery of community service orders. Most recently he had policy lead for preparing draft legislation and operational guidance for Community Payback Orders.

Gillian Gray

Gillian is a qualified Chartered Accountant. She spent 17 years with the large professional services firm, Andersen, specialising in audit and corporate finance. Since 2002, Gillian has been providing senior financial and corporate finance services as a business consultant to high growth, predominantly technology companies. Gillian brings to the Board a track record and expertise in business start-up and growth coupled with an in depth knowledge of financial management and strategy.

Gillian is also a non executive Director of Couples Counselling Lothian and Art in Healthcare.

Dan Gunn

Dan was born in Edinburgh in 1950 but brought up in the North East of Scotland as a Son of the Manse. He attended Aberdeen University, later Birmingham, and on a part-time basis Glasgow Graduate School of Law. He spend two year teaching in Nigeria under the auspices of VSO. Dan joined the Scottish Prison Service in 1975, going on to hold various posts including Governor of Barlinnie Special Unit, Greenock, Polmont, Edinburgh and Glenochil. His particular areas of interest include Equality and Diversity, Health Care, Elderly Prisoners, Sex Offenders and Partnership Working. Dan has been the Chair of Six Circle since 1997 and Vice Chair of Scottish Association for the Study of Offending (SASO) since 1998.

Dan is married with two daughters, and lives in Dunblane. His church involvement includes as Presbytery Elder and Treasurer of Dunblane Council of Churches. He received 2008 for public and voluntary service.

Professor Peter Higgins

Peter Higgins is a Professor of Outdoor and Environmental Education at the University of Edinburgh, and is the only personal chair in the field in Europe. He holds high-level instructional awards in a wide range of outdoor activities, and teaches practical and academic aspects of postgraduate outdoor and environmental education programmes. He is a member of national and international advisory groups and EU and UNESCO educational projects, and has advised the UK and Scottish Governments on outdoor and environmental education, access to the countryside and related environmental issues. He has conducted extensive research and published widely in these fields.

Jennifer Lambert

Jennifer Lambert is a director with Blake Stevenson Ltd., an Edinburgh-based company providing social research and consultancy support to the public and third sectors in Scotland and other parts of the UK. She has been with the company for nine years, working prior to that in a senior role in the Scottish European Social Fund Objective 3 Partnership. Before returning to these roles in Scotland, Jennifer worked for a number of years in programme and project management for Price Waterhouse Vienna and another Vienna-based consultancy company in Austria. She brings to the board experience of working with young people, a comprehensive understanding of the third sector in Scotland, funding expertise and a passion for social justice.

Jill Stevenson

Jill Stevenson is a solicitor in the corporate division of Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP in Edinburgh. She advises companies on issues of securities law, mergers and acquisitions and fundraisings. In 2010, Jill undertook a secondment as a Performance Advisor with Inspiring Scotland, a venture philanthropy organisation born out of the Lloyds TSB Foundation for Scotland. In this role, Jill was able to use her experience of venture capital investment to work with organisations in the third sector.

Professor Bill Whyte

Bill Whyte is Professor of Social Work Studies in Criminal and Youth Justice at the University of Edinburgh and Director of the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre for Scotland. Bill has worked as a social work manager and field social worker in the Lothians area, as a residential care worker in a (former List D) residential school, and as an independent local authority chair of child protection. Bill is currently supervising six PhD students in the field of social work in criminal and youth justice. His current research activity involves Children and Young People subject to MAPPA in Scotland (Scottish Government funded); Children and Young People involved in Sexually Harmful Behaviour (Scottish Government funded); Routes out of Prison (Scottish Government/Big Lottery funded).

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