Speaker biographies

Keynote speakers


Tjaša Ficko, Deputy Mayor, City of Ljubljana

City councillor on the Zoran Janković List and a Deputy Mayor of Ljubljana since 2010. Tjaša promotes Ljubljana’s vision, activities and achievements at many events at home and abroad. In 2013 she was in charge of the candidacy and implementation of the European Green Capital 2016 project, which successfully put Ljubljana on the European map as a city committed to following the green vision and improving quality of life.

At the global conference Women Economic Forum in New Delhi she received the Woman of the Decade award as the head of the project Ljubljana, European Green Capital 2016.


Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Transport Infrastructure and Connectivity

Appointed to his current position of Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity in June 2018. He was the Minister for Public Health and Sport in 2011 and prior to that, the Vice Convenor of the European and External Relations Committee.

He also sat on the Scottish Parliament's Health and Sport Committee, and previously served on the Justice and Enterprise and Culture Committees. Michael Matheson was appointed Cabinet Secretary for Justice in November 2014 and reappointed in May 2016.


Councillor Adam McVey, Leader of City of Edinburgh Council

Leader of City of Edinburgh Council and the SNP Group and represents Leith Ward. He was first elected in 2012 and served as the City’s transport Vice Convenor for 3 years prior to the Council elections in 2017. Adam represents Edinburgh on COSLA and Chairs the City of Edinburgh Partnership Board.


Bill Scott, Chair, Poverty and Inequality Commission

Director of Policy at Inclusion Scotland as well as part of a number of Scottish Government social security/welfare reform related reference and scrutiny groups including Ill Health & Disability Benefits Stakeholder Reference Group, Welfare Reform Health Impact Delivery Group, Social Security Agency Operations Reference Group and the Ministerial Advisory Group on Employability.

Before joining the voluntary sector, in 1989, Bill worked in the Department of Employment and at the SSP Group in the Scottish Parliament where he was responsible for the Free School Meals and Free Prescriptions Bills.


Sue Flack, former Director of Planning and Transport at Nottingham City Council

Transport and planning consultant, specialising in Workplace Parking Levy. She was the Director of Planning and Transport at Nottingham City Council from 2012 to 2016, having previously been responsible for developing the levy in Nottingham from its initial stages and also developing travel plans across the city.

More recently she has advised various local authorities in England who want to develop Workplace Parking Levy in their area and is currently working for Transport for London on advice to Boroughs. She is a trustee for the Campaign for Better Transport and for the URBED Trust.


Conference chair

Patricia Armstrong OBE

Chief Executive of ACOSVO, the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations. She has worked in the third sector since 1988 and has experience of leading both local and national voluntary organisations.

Pat has an MBA from Heriot Watt University and has a particular interest in leadership development in the third sector which led her to establish a range of programmes for third sector leaders and an interim exec programme to support organisations between leaders.

Some of Pat’s other involvements include:

  • Vice Chair of OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator)
  • Chair of Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum
  • Board Member of EUCLID, the European Network of Third Sector Leaders
  • Fellow of the RSA (and was previously Chair of the RSA Scotland Committee)

As part of the 2018 New Year's Honours List Pat was recognised with an OBE for services to voluntary organisations.