Meet our Board
Chris Bruce - Chair
Chris Bruce has been a member of the Thistle Board since 2017 and became Chair in June 2019.
Chris tries to contribute to local community life through the Community Council and Village Hall in rural East Lothian where he lives with his wife and two high school children.
A learning disability nurse by background, Chris led the Personal Outcomes work within the Joint Improvement Team, seeking to support a focus on what matters to people in the work of staff in health, social care and housing, in performance systems, and in commissioning. He is part of the Pioneering Collaborative Leadership work sponsored by Workforce Scotland, with a particular interest in the deepening and broadening of the use of u.lab in Scotland. As a real job, he is the NHS Lothian Lead on Equalities & Human Rights, and Lead for Healthcare Improvement Scotland’s work on Neighbourhood Care – testing the principles of Buurtzorg. He is also a keen cyclist!
Ian has over thirty years of experience in the development and delivery of person centred health and support services both in statutory and voluntary sectors across the United Kingdom.
A former Director at Thistle until 2009, Ian has held a number of Director roles within the Scottish third sector. He is passionate about change and improving services in partnership with the people who use them, their families, and pratitioners from health and social work.
Gwen Currie is a freelance coach and facilitator. Her work has always involved supporting people to come to terms with unexpected change or to create positive change in their health, work roles, relationships and their lives.
She has worked for thirty years within roles or organisations undergoing explicit and usually exciting changes, benefitting from great opportunities to experience and learn from the change or to influence and facilitate change.
In 2009, she completed a fascinating one year executive education programme 'Consulting and Coaching for Change' looking at the theory and the future of organisational change.
She specialises in using a solution-focused approach to communication; bringing a strengths-based perspective to healthcare; promoting partnerships in healthcare between carers and professionals or carers and patients and all three.
Debbie Kong has been involved with Thistle as a volunteer since 2008. She is actively involved in the Health & Wellbeing service, running Lifestyle Management and Nutrition courses as a peer facilitator, and is also part of Thistle’s Big Conversation group.
She has contributed to a number of local projects, and is currently collecting stories to inform Thistle’s Health and Wellbeing work, as part of the Collective Voice and House of Care projects across Edinburgh and Midlothian. Previously she was involved in Craigmillar Connect, working with Carr Gomm from Craigmillar Library to signpost people to local services.
A language graduate, she comes from a health background, running a pharmacy business with her husband, involved in all aspects of the business. Latterly she also trained as a pharmacy technician.
Gillian Wilson has spent most of her career working in the NHS and has been in NHS Lothian since 1978.
Gillian has worked in Mental Health both as a practitioner and in service development. More recently she has been working to support others deliver better person centred care.
Gary is an experienced fundraising leader, with specialist skills in community, events and supporter care. He has an excellent track record of developing and delivering diverse, cost effective, income generation activities to achieve growth in sustainable income. He has led fundraising teams at Cancer Research UK, the National Autistic Society and Muscular Dystrophy UK before joining THINK Consultancy Solutions in 2017.
He is actively involved in the development of fundraising expertise across the sector through a number of volunteer roles with the Institute of Fundraising which has included serving as Vice-Chair for the IOF in Scotland, Chair of the Scottish fundraising conference and Chair of the Professional Development committee.
Mandy is a Partner in the Employment team at Burness Paull. She previously worked at Dundas & Wilson where she was a Partner for 8 years and has been a practising solicitor for over 23 years. Mandy has been a Board member of Move On, a charity supporting young people and the vulnerable affected by homelessness and regularly provides pro bono legal advice to charities through Inspiring Scotland. She is the current Fiscal to Her Majesty’s Writers to the Signet.
John joined the Board in 2019. A former Chartered Quantity Surveyor and Executive Recruiter in both the Public and Private Sectors he has worked at Director level and Business Owner before retiring from his day jobs in 2018.
Other positions held include Children’s Panel member, Chair of the Ravelrig Riding for the Disabled and Rugby Coach in youth rugby.
Nigel Ferguson is the father of a young lady (Rachel) who is supported to live independently in her own flat by a team of Thistle’s Wellbeing Practitioners. His involvement with Thistle started in 2005 and has evolved through the Family Forum, the Big Conversation and, since the summer of 2019, the Thistle Board.
He is an enthusiastic advocate of the Buurtzorg methodology for Self-Managed Teams and is looking forward to seeing the benefits accrue to the whole business.
Having taken early retirement in 2000 from a career as an analyst (computer operations and business), Nigel has enjoyed indulging in his interests of garden design and build for friends and neighbours.