Penny Edwards

Penny began her career in nature and woodland conservation, with an employment history spanning the Central Scotland Countryside Trust, Sussex Wildlife Trust, and the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers. Within the environmental field she has considerable experience of business and strategic planning, community engagement, volunteering and project and programme management, all of which were put to good use in her own environmental consultancy.

In her second career Penny established Falkirk Wood, a local timber processing company which provided characterful local hardwood timbers into local markets. This was sold as a going concern in 2008. She now runs Stoneybank Furniture Workshop, a small furniture and upholstery business.

Penny has worked in a voluntary capacity for a wide range of environmental organisations. She is a past Director of Transition Black Isle and is a past Chair and current Director of the Culbokie Community Trust which is working to develop a new community hub in the village.

Penny lives on the Black Isle and her spare time is spent in the garden and in the local countryside.

Martin Sherring

Most of Martin’s working life has been as a chartered accountant, including 9 years with Price Waterhouse (now PWC) in London and 12 years as Finance Director of Canvas Holidays. He also worked with Penny Edwards as a partner in Falkirk Wood, and when that was sold, he retrained and now carries out consultancy work on domestic energy. Until recently he was heavily involved supervising the construction of his and Penny’s new Passiv House, believed to be the most northerly one in Britain.

Martin is a past Chairman and current Director of Transition Black Isle and enjoys being outdoors, in the garden or the hills.

Nicholas Gubbins

Nicholas worked in the field for the Nature Conservancy Council for 10 years before joining Scottish Natural Heritage where he focused on policy and project development around the wide area of sustainable development. In 2000, he moved to Highlands and Islands Enterprise where he was Head of Community Regeneration, working on community development programmes and social enterprise initiatives. He was the founding CEO of the Highlands and Islands Community Energy Company and then Community Energy Scotland which has supported hundreds of community energy projects of all sorts across Scotland. He retired from CES in 2021. His interests include outdoor activities, sustainable retrofit of old dwellings, conservation grazing management and breadmaking.

Neil Sutherland

Neil is the business owner and Managing Director of MAKAR Ltd which delivers services in the built environment sector from design frameworks and master-plans to house design, manufacture and assembly. The company, employing around 25 people, focuses on locally sourced timber construction using progressive off-site techniques and aims to deliver high quality, healthy buildings along with environmental accountability.

Neil engages widely with the policy agenda on the build environment and has formal links with higher education establishments and the construction industry.

Based on the family farm just outside Inverness, Neil spends his weekends working with his wife on their organic vegetable farm.

Jo Cumming

Jo has a background in project management through her professional career as an occupational psychologist. She moved from the Central Belt to the
Highlands in 2000 to found Glentruim Change Agents with her husband Ian Hall. They worked with individuals, teams and organisations wanting to
change the way they did things.

From 2004-12, Jo and Ian owned and ran Laggan Stores. Over 8 years they created a ‘wee store with a big heart’, open 7 days, and renowned as a
general store. Although privately owned, the shop was very much a social enterprise.

Jo chairs a project for The Highland Good Food Partnership and enjoys gardening, international cooking, orienteering and cycling.

Stephen Carr

Stephen moved to the Highlands in 2012 to work for the Highland Council as Principal Policy Officer. As part of this, he has overseen the Council’s strategic approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change for three years. More recently he has been focusing on the Council’s policy approach to local democracy, poverty, community empowerment, and has been involved in the restructure of the Council. Before moving to the Highlands, Stephen completed a PhD in Environmental Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh, studying low-cost ways to remove pollutants from water. Before this he completed a Masters in hydrology, and he has a BSc in Physical Geography from the University of Newcastle.

Stephen grew up on a family-run farm in rural Norfolk. He is passionate about the Highlands, hill walking and cricket.

Emma Whitham

Emma is the founder of MOO Food, a community led food charity based in Muir of Ord.  In May 2021, she was appointed  as Principal Project Manager to the Highland Adapts initiative, which aims to develop a region-based, partnership approach to climate change adaptation. Currently Emma divides her time between inspiring and empowering others to grow their future through her role as a community food and sustainability consultant and enjoying family life with her husband and three teenage children in Scatwell, Strathconon.

Previous to this Emma had a career in climate change and sustainable development policy and environmental project management.  Her greatest passions after her family are growing food, cycling, yoga and reading.

Catriona Mallows

Catriona grew up on the shores of the Cromarty Firth and has since returned to her Highland roots. After her undergraduate degree, she worked for several years in community development in Scotland and New Zealand and was a trustee for the 2050 Climate Group, Scotland’s youth climate group.

In 2018, she moved to Canada and completed a Master’s in Political Ecology at the University of Victoria on Vancouver Island. Whilst there, she worked for the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions and also helped teach university courses in the School of Environmental Studies.

She currently works for Scottish Rural Action, campaigning for rural and island policy,and is also a freelance research and writer.

She is passionate about running in the hills, climbing, and has a fascination with shellfish farming.


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