Our Team

The Circle has the support of an enthusiastic team with a range of experience and interests.

Our Staff

Kirsty Thomson

Kirsty is our Founder and Chief Executive Officer. Kirsty is a serial social entrepreneur who has set up and runs two Community Interest Companies over the past 7 years – ACK Third Sector Consultants CIC (formerly Along Came Kirsty) and Circle Scotland CIC (The Circle).

Kirsty has a wealth of knowledge and experience working in and with charities and social enterprises over 20 years to secure more than £13 million in funding. She helps them become better businesses to help communities thrive.

Kirsty is also a Saltire Fellow through Entrepreneurial Scotland and in 2017 Kirsty was recognised as a Women of Inspiration by the Association of Scottish Businesswomen. Last year The Circle won Social Impact Business of Year in The Courier Business Awards. Kirsty was also listed in The Courier’s Impact 100 list and is on the NatWest WISE100 2018 list, which recognises the most inspiring and influential women in social enterprise, impact investment and mission-driven businesses in the UK.

Paul Hastie

Paul is The Circle Manager. Responsible for motivating and leading the team to achieve incredible things, alongside ensuring the building and business operations run smoothly. He loves that The Circle is a fantastic example of an organisation striving to bring about positive change while maintaining commercial viability.

Paul originally joined Kirsty Thomson’s consultancy, ACK, as a volunteer. Impressing from the outset, Paul was quickly offered a part-time position as the ACK Champions Programme Manager. Nearing the end of the ACK contract an opportunity to join The Circle arose which Paul was delighted to accept, knowing how ambitious an organisation The Circle is. Paul is looking forward to doing everything he can to support the team and continue the great work already being done by The Circle.

Jenny McCarthy

Jenny is our Trainee Associate Consultant. She joined the team in January 2019 after four years working with ACK Third Sector Consultancy CIC. While at ACK Jenny helped support a number of charities, social enterprises, community groups and individuals in the third sector. She also provided marketing support to The Circle during the two years that ACK were based here.

Jenny is passionate about supporting and promoting the work of third sector organisations, especially the tenant organisations at The Circle.

Jennifer Gall

Jennifer has been Bookings and Training Administrator for The Circle since November 2018. Her job mostly involves handling bookings of our rooms and providing refreshments for people using these spaces. We can accommodate a variety of events from one-to-one meetings to events for up to 80 people.

If you need a room for your meeting, training course or event and would like to use one of our spaces, you can get in touch with Jennifer at bookings@theircledundee.org.uk. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kara Swankie

Kara is our new Academy Manager. She has just recently joined the Circle and will be developing The Circle Academy which is a new initiative that will be launching this year.

Kara has a background in business having opened her first business at 19 whilst still at University, which her and her business partner went on to sell. They then opened Dundee Strength Unit. D.S.U. which they also sold recently, leaving her in an exciting position to go out and develop her own skill base. Kara will be bringing her incredible skills and experience in business to enhance our More Than Profit model.

On a personal level, she’s a Power-lifter with winning Gold at the Commonwealth Power-lifting Championships being her biggest achievement.

Ruth Finnan

Ruth is our new Financial Controller, working closely with the CEO and The Circle Manager to deliver the financial strategy of the business.

Until recently, she was employed as the Financial Controller of a construction company at the same time as running her own bookkeeping/accountancy business.

Due to the retirement and closure of the company she found herself reconsidering her future career. This offered her a chance to utilise her financial experience at the same time as being involved in a business which is working towards the benefit of the local and wider community in Dundee.

Michael Ratcliffe

Michael is our facilities assistant at The Circle. Michael joined us as a volunteer at first and made such a great impression that he was offered a full-time job with funding from Community Jobs Scotland.

Stephen McLennan

Stephen is our new Cafe Manager for The Circle Cafe which is an Employability and Training programme for looked after young people and care leavers. Stephen has over 5 years of previous experience worked with third sector and social enterprises.

Caitlin Collins

Caitlin is our Café supervisor working alongside Stephen to set up the new employability and training programme for young people and care leavers. Caitlin has first-hand knowledge of the challenges facing the trainees having been through the care system herself.

Christina Thomson

Christina Thomson is our Facilities Supervisor. She works closely with our Facilities Assistant Michael to ensure that the building is in the best possible condition.

Our Board

Donald McPherson

Rod Mountain

Donald McPherson is the Chair of The Circle’s Board of Directors. Donald worked in legal and governance roles in listed companies for 30 years, latterly as Company Secretary of Alliance Trust PLC, where he was responsible for setting up and chairing the Alliance Trust Foundation.

Rod is based at Ninewells with a real interest in developing collaborations between the creative industries and the health / social care sectors. He aspires to focus on the value of Design and “Design thinking” and help grow new economies in Tayside through collaboration between the public, private, voluntary and third sectors.

Pete Baillie

Pete’s in a leadership role at WL Gore & Associates in Dundee and deals with complex high frequency electronics in the world of aerospace. Having spent the early part of his childhood growing up just a few hundred yards from The Circle, he enjoys being back ‘home’ and collaborating with folk on the ongoing evolution of the hub that supports so many different groups and outlooks. Pete’s still trying to convince himself that running to get fit can be ‘fun’ whilst secretly preferring a hill climb that at least brings the reward of a view or two.

Mary Sneddon

I have been in post at the manager of Dundee Independent Advocacy Support, an organisation helping others who struggle to have their voice heard since October 2017.  Prior to that I was involved at the start of the opening & shaping the future of the Brae Riding for The Disabled as the manager for 10 years. The bulk of my 43 years working life was with TSB Bank, with a range of roles starting with the tea girl, risk management & productivity roles, amongst many others.

I have 2 grown up children, and an amazing 6 grandchildren, 3 of whom live in Ireland. I’m a busy lady between working, supporting the 3 grandchildren that live locally, treasurer to my grandson’s football club and on the planning committee for an amazing yearly event called Dream night at Camperdown. Whilst family are so important, equally are my friends, and when time allows, I love spending time with them.

The Circle is an inspiring and welcoming place and as a tenant, I can see on a day to day basis the support & nurturing it gives to so many people and organisations, allowing them to reach their potential and more. I hope that my experience in working in the charitable sector for 12 years along with my passion for the delivery in excellent customer service, no matter what your organisation does, will help contribute to the future success and sustainability of the Circle.

Natalie Lafferty

I’ve worked at the University of Dundee for 20 years with much of that time spent in the medical school working in medical education, specifically focusing on the role of technology in education. I now head the digital education team in the University’s Centre for Technology and Innovation in Learning and I’m also one of the project leads for the University’s annual Global Health Challenge. This initiative aims to foster enterprising creativity and sees students from across the University working on challenges with local organisations to address problems and needs in the community. I enjoy teaching and working with students, encouraging them to be creative and think outside the lines as they apply their knowledge and skills to authentic learning activities.

It’s through the Global Health Challenge that I connected with The Circle. I was inspired by the innovative approach that Kirsty has developed to social enterprise and innovation. Having previously worked in the voluntary sector in health I’m particularly keen to serve and support The Circle on its pioneering journey.

I’m married and although not a native of Dundee have lived here for over 30 years. I’m a keen football fan, enjoy the arts, reading, travel, and am a member of a local church.

Ron Smith

I was born and now live in Dundee. My family have had business interests in the city since the 1800’s. I studies accounting and business law and worked for an investment bank before returning to take over running my family’s retail and finance business.

I now operate an investment business in Dundee and on the Isle of Man that provides capital, advice and management support to innovative entrepreneurs.

I am married with six children (two step-children) and Ollie, my dog. My wife also runs a local business. I am a keen tennis player, snow skier and walker.

I would like to see the community take greater ‘ownership’ of their city by having the confidence and support to start new ventures, create employment, make important community decisions and to prosper. I see The Circle having a key role in facilitating these objectives.

Ann Gillies

I retired from my work in HR with a large global manufacturing company (W L Gore & Associates) where I enjoyed a long and happy career working with individuals, teams and leaders across a wide spectre of HR functions and where I was a participative member of local and global business leadership teams.   My unpaid worklife is as happy as ever – I have a clinic in a local GP surgery, working for the NHS and I run pre-retirement workshops for AGE Scotland in addition to my role on the board of The Circle.

Jim and I have been married for almost four decades and we enjoy travel and social activities. Our (now adult) nieces and nephew provide us with links to younger views.  I am the local organiser of the NWR (National Women’s Register), a national organisation for lively minded women, meeting monthly to discuss predetermined topics, visit interesting places and generally stretch our minds.  A local  book group is another activity I enjoy.

For me, The Circle is an exciting organisation with sound values where I can use my HR and business skills to good use, at the same time satisfying a desire to give something back to society.

Join the team

The Circle is seeking driven and professional people to join the team. These are the exciting opportunities to join the motivated team of one of Dundee’s most thriving new Social Enterprises. Find out more about how you can join the team here.