Meet the trainers

We work with a network of carefully selected and trusted associates, all of whom are quality-assessed and experts in their particular fields. 

Kirsty Bathgate

Portrait of Kirsty Bathgate

Kirsty Bathgate is the founder of Gearing for Growth, a strategic business consultancy supporting growing businesses to develop strong leadership; values led cultures, high performance teams and effective boards. An experienced MD, having built, led a leading short break tourism business to deliver consistent double digit growth. Kirsty is an accredited executive coach, with over 20 years experience in growing businesses, leading and coaching both, individuals and teams and is passionate about supporting businesses to succeed. 

Julian Blake

Portrait of Julian Blake

Julian Blake is a Director of an e-Commerce Consultancy working with a range of clients from start-ups to highly successful e-Commerce websites. His hands-on experience working with all aspects of e-Commerce includes strategy, finance, operations, marketing and technology, and provides a wealth of knowledge, along with a sound understanding of e-Commerce frameworks, methodologies and best practice. He is Google Certified, has an MBA from Edinburgh University and is a Chartered IT Professional. He has worked as a management consultant with PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) and been an IT Director.

Catherine Bowie

Portrait of Catherine Bowie

Catherine Bowie, a Director of CBTS training, is acknowledged as one of the leading tourism and customer service trainers in Scotland and a Fellow of the Tourism Society.  Catherine has been training since 1995 and can offer a wealth of experience in training with tourism, leisure, retail and hospitality sectors. Catherine’s background in tourism started working with Visit Scotland,  she then became an in-bound tour operator and went on to lecturing in Tourism and Hospitality in Edinburgh colleges.  She has now been training in CBTS for the past 20 years. Her training experience has given her the opportunity to work at all levels from front-line team members, team leaders, supervisors and management.

Tim Bradshaw

Portrait of Tim Bradshaw

A former Intelligence officer, Tim is a skilled and resourceful facilitator with twenty years’ experience in improving organizations’ ability to deliver key messaging. A training delivery specialist whose areas of expertise include leadership development, team dynamics, critical decision-making, problem solving, crisis management and negotiating.

An Everest mountaineer Tim is engaging, challenging and motivational. Has a perceptive, tenacious and calm leadership style and strong project management skills. He combines an effective military approach to decision making and crisis management with the ability to communicate to corporate clients in a language that they understand and are able to relate to.



Mark Douglas

Portrait of Mark Douglas

Mark is an experienced business leader with a proven track record of delivering significant business improvements and results. His business, Blue Ptarmigan, partners companies to ‘unlock their potential and unleash growth’. As well has running his own company, Mark has led various functions including HR, Learning & Development, Supply Chain & Operations and Property Development for a major multinational company. He has extensive experience in the design and delivery of leadership and management training programmes for both small businesses and large corporations. In addition, he is an associate lecturer with Dundee Business School and a business mentor and coach with the Princes Trust (Youth Business Scotland).

Anne Farr

Portrait of Anne Farr

Anne formed the Rothera Group LTD several years ago to address a need for high quality, focused help which gives companies a competitive edge. She ensures her training supplements the publically funded assistance, and does not duplicate it. All training is delivered professionally, with enthusiasm, and full course notes are issued to supplement the on-the-day learning.

Anne works with companies of all sizes, in all sectors and sees dozens of tenders every week. It is this experience which is translated into the one-day course where you will learn how to structure and write a high impact document. Practical examples are used throughout the course and participants are encouraged to bring their own material to use within the training.

Peter Fleming

Portrait of Peter Fleming

Peter Fleming delivers our short courses in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), Google AdWords and Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO). He is a Director of the e-Commerce Factory, a consultancy which works with a range of clients from website start-ups to highly successful internet retailing sites. Peter has had great success in SEO, dominating the UK’s country clothing search results pages. He has implemented many successful Adwords campaigns and helped clients double and triple their conversion rates. Peter has experience both in design agencies and in London’s corporate world and started his own consultancy nearly 10 years ago.

Colin Gilchrist

Portrait of Colin Gilchrist

Digital Marketing Director and Planner for web based marketing and communication projects. Colin has been working in digital marketing project management and business development since 2000. In 2005 he worked on Myspace pages for EMI and Universal.  Colin created a world first in social media by developing a social network that alleviated traffic congestion and in 2008 went on to develop Facebook applications for Trip Advisor.  In 2009 he spent time in Las Vegas with Zappos.com, where he developed Tweetabits the location based, lead generator for business. Since 2010 Colin has been providing social media strategy planning and training for multiple organisations.

Cameron Leask

Portrait of Cameron Leask

eCommerce specialist Cameron Leask has seen first-hand the impact that technology has had on how businesses operate. With over 20 years of professional experience as a Chartered Accountant and Digital Business advisor, Cameron’s skillset spans the worlds of business and technology. He has worked on an extensive range of ecommerce projects and business systems, from web-based applications for a global audience to simple webpages and PayPal buttons. He has worked with clients in multiple sectors, and with organisations of every size from owner-managed businesses to global enterprises.

Bryan Leslie

Portrait of Bryan Leslie

Bryan designs and delivers training courses for the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, is an accredited coach and trainer, and qualified in DISC personality and PIAV personal motivator profiling.

His main areas of expertise are:

  • Growing leadership and management skills throughout organisations
  • Facilitating behavioural change through high impact training
  • Project and programme management
  • Developing high performance teams

Jeff Lewis

Portrait of Jeff Lewis

Jeff Lewis has worked at all levels of business across a wide range of industries throughout the world. Since 2004, as Director of Resultz Ltd, Jeff has designed and delivered accredited international training courses for the Insitute of Export, Chambers of Commerce, plus direct in-house courses to clients that include Erdington, Famous Grouse, Macallan, Waitrose and PokerStars. Jeff's previous experience includes having been International Sales and Marketing Manager for Recoton USA and Export Sales and Marketing Manager for Maplin Electronics.

Derek Liddle

Portrait of Derek Liddle

Derek is an experienced Human Resources specialist, and delivers HR focused training courses for the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce. He worked as a HR Manager and HR Business Partner for nearly 20 years, and now delivers training and consulting services to organisations, covering:

  • Employment contracts, people policies and procedures
  • Conflict and dispute resolution
  • People issues such as discipline or grievances
  • Coaching senior management and executives
  • Changes to people plans during times of change
  • Effective performance management procedures to get the most out of staff

Annie Lindsay

Portrait of Annie Lindsay

After a varied and exciting career in training with a focus on the leisure and hospitality sector, Annie Lindsay founded Tickety Boo Training in 1998, a Scottish company that specialises in organisational development, with clients that includes leading four and five-star quality hotels, visitor attractions and retail destination properties. Annie holds a Level 7 Diploma for Professional Executive Coaches and Leadership Mentors with the Institute of Leadership Management and is an NLP Master Practitioner through the Association for Integrative Psychology. A Specialist for Investors in People and a fellow of The Institute of Leadership and Management, she is an accomplished trainer with impeccable credentials and a penchant for fun, bringing her vibrant personality to the training room each and every day.

Ken Lofthouse

Ken Lofthouse has spent the majority of his working life as an Export Manager within the Whisky Industry.  For the past 20 years he has been involved in the development and delivery of Export related training courses and programmes as a training consultant.  He has developed and delivered programmes for amongst others, European Union, British Chambers of Commerce, Scottish Enterprise and Scottish Chambers of Commerce. Ken is a member of the Institute of Export.

William McMillan

Portrait of William McMillan

William is a business coach for Shirlaws UK, joining them in 2014 after 10 years in corporate manufacturing and over 25 years running his own Automotive Retail Dealership.    

His Corporate career began with IBM UK Manufacturing in management accountancy; he spent 3 years on international assignment working in Corporate HQ in Paris, where he gained experience of their European manufacturing locations in the field of ‘best practice management ‘ within operational functions including, Finance, Purchasing, Production Control and Scheduling. He then joined his rapidly expanding, multi-franchised and successful family automotive retail business. He has run his own business as Managing Director, operating with Renault and Nissan franchises and is acutely aware of the pressures and responsibilities of such duties. 

Growing and exiting his own successful enterprise was indeed a learning process and he is able to use this experience with clients who are considering sale or succession of their business. 

Hilary Phillips

Portrait of Hillary Phillips

Hilary Phillips is a leading copywriting practitioner who spends an increasing amount of her time working with others to help them develop their writing skills. She continues to be very active as a writer too, writing about Scotland’s cities and towns, its buildings, its waterways, its food, its nature, its products and services. Hilary has provided in house training for a wide range of organisations including Global Energy, Wood McKenzie, Shepherd and Wedderburn, Scottish Arts Council, National Trust for Scotland, West Lothian Council and many more.

Ann Robb

Portrait of Ann Rob

Founder of Edinburgh’s The Marketing Mentor, strategist and trainer Ann Robb combines up-to-the-minute expertise in digital marketing and social media with an extensive, 20-year background in traditional marketing and entrepreneurship. As the Marketing Mentor, Ann uses her expertise to guide corporates and start-ups in how to focus investment in marketing for the maximum possible return.

She is evangelical about the power and possibilities of LinkedIn, which she believes is “the world’s best B2B social media platform”. Her own research, conducted in 2015, confirms that people are aware of the potential of LinkedIn for business development but that most don’t know how to use it properly. Ann’s mission is to put this right with her LinkedIn training, which has been described as “excellent, providing useful tips and advice gleaned from her real passion for the subject”.

Vickie de Vries

Portrait of Vickie de Vries

Vickie de Vries is a highly experienced consultant and trainer with over 20 years of related success. She has an infectious enthusiasm, energy and a passion for the design, development, delivery and evaluation of training solutions aimed at improving behaviour at all levels in any organisation. Vickie has successfully completed consultancy and learning and development projects in management and leadership development, employee engagement, team development, sales development and customer service excellence in many sectors including food and beverage, financial services, logistics, construction, local and national government in the UK and UAE.

Vickie has been trained to accreditation level in a number of development tools including Strength Development Inventory by Personal Strengths Publishing Ltd, UK, Team Management System by Team Management System Training, UK and to NVQ Level 4 Training Development in Human Resource Development by the Chartered Institute of Personal Development.

Brendan Walsh

Portrait of Brendan Walsh

Brendan Walsh has worked with organisations in Australia, New Zealand and the UK to help them build vibrant sales & service cultures. Helping people realise that proper selling is not hard selling, it’s about understanding the needs of their clients.  It’s about building strong relationships. It’s about the ability to influence people and get them on board and it’s driving effective sales behaviours in individuals and teams.

At Hawthorn Business Group we focus on developing vibrant sales & service cultures. This can be summarised as follows:

  • Sales & service cultural development
  • Sales strategy
  • Sales & service management
  • Sales & service & sales management skills

Kenny Wiggins 

Portrait of Kenny Wiggins

Kenny Wiggins is a successful commercially led operations, supply chain & project leader who combines 25 years demonstrable international multi-sector experience of achievement in senior leadership roles with a strong academic background. Experience gained at senior levels in General, Operational, Project, and Sales Management within the Energy, Technology, Product Branding, and Packaging sectors for Corporate, SME & start-up organisations gives Kenny the right platform to support operational & service businesses within a variety of sectors. Kenny holds a BSc (Hons) in Production Engineering & Management as well as an MBA. 

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