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The Founding Trustees

Our team know from first-hand experience the immense value of being given a chance. Whether this has been as a result of being a direct recipient of support funding from the Princes Trust, delivering support initiatives for young people or by providing direct mentoring to young people, our founding Board possesses all of the skills, knowledge and experience to ensure the appropriate governance and success.

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Professor Gary McEwan (He/Him)

Chair, CEO Elevator

As recipient of ‘The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion’, Gary has invested in, operated and developed businesses as diverse as transport, training, financial services software, electronic manufacturing and business consultancy. A professional business adviser and experienced non-executive director, Gary was described by Professor John Parker from ‘The Academy of Leadership and Management’ as ‘one of the best business advisers in the world’. Since November 2008, Gary has been operating as Chief Executive of Elevator. Gary is very clear about his passion for business. He is deeply involved in the promotion of entrepreneurship to young people as a credible and viable career option. An Honorary Professor of Entrepreneurship at Dundee University, Gary is a regular contributor to the media and is an energising and motivational public speaker.


Margaret Gibson OBE (She/Her)


A long career in the charity sector with a focus on working with young people and women.  Margaret is passionate about equity of opportunity with a particular interest in supporting people to achieve their full potential. She has held senior roles in a number of organisations and is an award-winning Director. She has volunteered as a mentor, Trustee and grant assessor for a range of organisations across the UK for over thirty years. She was the first woman in Scotland to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion and her dedication to helping others was recognized with an OBE in 2017. She is now semi-retired with a portfolio of voluntary roles and non-executive positions. She is a committed swimmer and an even more committed cake eater.


Susan Dowds (She/Her)

Finance Director, Elevator

Susan has been Finance Director at Elevator for over 15 years and is responsible for ensuring Elevator’s financial integrity and compliance. She has extensive experience in providing timely and accurate financial information and audit trails for multi-million pound public sector contracts for several local authorities, European funding and Scottish Enterprise. Susan is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accounts Scotland (ICAS) and trained with KPMG with a particular focus on financial sector audits. She holds an MA (Hons) in Economic and Social History and before joining Elevator gained international accounting experience with companies based in the US and Europe

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Geoff Leask (He/Him)

Chief Executive, Young Enterprise Scotland

Geoff has 20+ years’ experience of working in the Youth Enterprise arena. Before joining Young Enterprise Scotland, he spent 14 years with the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust (PSYBT).  This included 8 years of regional responsibility before joining the senior management team and going on to serve as Director. In addition to his current role with Young Enterprise Scotland Geoff has served as a Non-Executive Director with the Economic Development Association of Scotland (EDAS) and has also been a regular commentator with the Glasgow Herald. He was awarded the Great Britain Entrepreneurial Champion Silver Award 2015, was shortlisted by the Herald Society as Social Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 and was a finalist in the IOD Scotland Third Sector Director of the Year Awards in 2019.

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Rachel Ross (She/Her)

Strengthening Communities Director, Elevator

Rachel began her career in the military before becoming the Sales and Marketing Director for Sodexo Defence Services. After meeting her husband, she moved to Sao Paulo, joining the Caledonian Society to help raise money to work with disadvantaged and challenged young people in the city’s favelas. In 2008 the family moved back to Scotland buying the Loch Melfort Hotel and setting up Red Roof Business Support, a consultancy which supports a diverse range of SMEs. In 2015 she also took on a part time role with the IOD in Scotland, running their leadership and mentoring programmes in the Highlands, at the same time becoming a Director at Scotland Food and Drink. Rachel is now also a Director at Elevator, a Non-Executive Director of Skyeskyns, Archerfield Walled Garden and Estate in East Lothian. She has won Scottish Hotelier of the Year twice in 2013 and 2019.


Stuart MacDonald (He/Him)

CEO, Seric Systems

Stuart Macdonald is founder and managing director of Seric Systems, a multi-award winning technology business based in Scotland, serving the UK. Stuart is a keen advocate of youth entrepreneurship and global ambassador for YBI following the support they provided when he established his company in 1998. Seric work with a broad range of organisations including further education, public sector, manufacturing, retail, corporate and SME’s. Recognised by the Institute of Directors as Regional Director of the Year in 2011 and Highly Commended Runner Up the IoD UK Young Director of the Year 2012, Stuart is an accomplished public speaker and regularly presents on IT Infrastructure, Social Business, Predictive Analytics and entrepreneurship. He is member of the University of West of Scotland Industry Advisory Boar, a trustee of Cancer Support Scotland and a Board member with Young Enterprise Scotland.

Become a Mentor

One of the most important services provided by The Elevator Foundation to the young people we support is that of Mentorship. As a Mentor you will be involved in coaching a young person on their entrepreneurial journey. You will draw on your experience and wisdom and deliver support via 1-to-1 meeting online or in person. If you have background in business and ready to give back we would be delighted to hear from you.

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