Board Members

Our Board of Governors is made up of a range of industry experts, Council Leaders, Education experts, Senior Management from the College, Student Representatives and College staff. 

Below you will find information on current members of our Board of Governors. 

ALEX LINKSTON - CBE Chair of the Board

Alex Linkston, Former Chief Executive of West Lothian Council joined the Board in March 2005. Alex's successful career began when he joined the then West Lothian County Council as a Trainee Accountant. In October 1971, at the age of 21, he became the youngest student to qualify for membership of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accounting (CIPFA). 

Alex was appointed Chief Executive of West Lothian District Council in 1990 and West Lothian Council in 1995. He has been awarded various awards such as the Quality Scotland's Leadership Award in 2007, a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List in 2008 and the Prince's Trust Scotland Volunteer of the Year in 2009. Alex still has several interests following his retirement.

Alex is Chair of Forth Valley Health Board, a member the Council of the Princes' Trust Scotland and a former President of the Linlithgow and Grange Rotary Club. A family man, he enjoys travelling, gardening, walking and cycling.

JACKIE GALBRAITH - Principal and CEO/Board Member

After achieving a BSc Computer Information Systems, Jackie began her career as a computer programmer in the manufacturing sector. She moved onto the University of Paisley as a computing lecturer and was an early pioneer in online learning, a role she developed further when she became director of learning at the Scottish Council for Educational Technology.

As assistant chief executive at Learning and Teaching Scotland, she led national government digital initiatives for schools. Jackie took up a vice principal post at Ayrshire College in 2013, where her responsibilities included information systems and data analytics. She became principal of West Lothian College in August 2018.

Throughout her career, she has retained a passion for addressing the gender balance in technology and engineering, leading initiatives like This Ayrshire Girl Can.

SUE COOK - Vice Chair of the Board & Chair of the Audit Committee

Sue Cook is originally from Montreal in Canada and joined the board in June 2008, Sue is also Chair of the Audit Committee.

She started her own multimedia business at the age of 21 and the company was voted one of Scotland’s top five companies. She went on to become Chief Executive of the Interactive Media Alliance of Scotland and saw it through its merger with two other organisations to form ScotlandIS. Sue was appointed Executive Director of the DVD Association Europe and decided to consult for the interactive media industry part time. 

Sue now consults on a freelance basis for small/medium companies and specialises in strategy and communications. Sue has a Masters in Computer Science from Aberdeen University. Her external interests range from Justice of the Peace for the Sheriffdom of Lothian and Borders, Chair of Princes Trust (West Lothian), and a member of West Lothian Schools Appeal Panel. Personal interests include cycling, travel, learning to play golf and spending time with her daughter and twin boys. 

ELAINE COOK - Board Member

Dr. Elaine Cook was appointed as Depute Chief Executive in August 2015. From 2011 until 2015 she was Head of Education in West Lothian with responsibility for secondary, additional support needs, professional learning and infrastructure.

From 2005 until 2011, she was Head Teacher at two secondary schools in West Lothian – West Calder High School and Deans Community High School.

Elaine’s career in education began in 1991 in England where she taught for 6 years before moving to Scotland. Prior to that she worked in Actuarial Finance in both Glasgow and London.

VIRGINIA TOYI (VEE) - Board Member & Staff Member 

Vee’s first degree was in Economics. Before coming to the UK in 2001, Vee worked in Microfinance with a USAID project in several developing countries including Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, and Indonesia. 

At the age of 38, Vee enrolled as a Law student with the University of Strathclyde and while at the University was active in providing legal advice on a probono basis, and having graduated with an LLB and a PGD in Legal Practice, as a Development Worker with LawWorks Scotland (with a board of seven from the legal and third sector and the Law Society, facilitated the provision of legal representation to those who could not afford legal fees.  

After a short time working within the legal sector, Vee decided that to make a real difference, she needed to influence decisions at the policy level. She, therefore, made a strategic move to work as a Policy and Equalities Coordinator within Sanctuary Housing association, a UK-wide housing developer and provider of social housing. While working in this role, attained a Post Graduate Diploma at the University of Glasgow, specialising in evidence-based policymaking.  

Having completed the PGD (with merit), went on to work as Policy and Governance Officer with the Glasgow School of Art, working within the Academic Quality department ensuring the compliance function at GSA, before joining the West Lothian College as an Equalities and Widening Access Officer.  

Vee has lived in the South of Glasgow since 2002 and feels very much at home as a Glaswegian. Her interests include art, gardening and she would like to enrol in a joinery class.

ABEL ABOH - Board Member

 

Abel joined the College Board in January 2022. Abel is a respected Data Management leader with extensive experience both in the private and public sectors. Abel was part of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) that successfully delivered the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic games. He worked for BAE Systems, HSBC, EasyJet and Standard Life Aberdeen. 

Abel is a Data Management Lead for the Bank of England where he leads a key Data Management service across the Bank in the City of London. He is a self-confessed Data Management advocate and passionate about the Data Management and Technology profession both in Scotland, United Kingdom and across the world. 

Abel was nominated as the finalist for the British Data Awards – Data Leader of the Year 2021. 

Abel is a graduate from the Strathclyde Business School and University of Lincoln, where he studied Human Resource Management. He has a unique cross-cultural and functional Human Resource and Data Management experience. He is passionate about young people, social mobility, diversity, equity, inclusion, technology and data.

Abel is also the Chair of the West Lothian Community Race Forum (WLCRF) which was created to promote race understanding, diversity, equality and inclusion in West Lothian.

When he is not working, he enjoys listening to music and podcasts, watching documentaries, arts, technology, polo and football games. He does enjoy volunteering, travelling and discovering new places and meeting people to learn about cultures and architectures (African, Roman, Roman-Gothic, NeoClassic and Renaissance).

FRANK GRIBBEN - Board Member

Frank is currently a self employed Education Consultant, having recently undertaken roles in the University of Glasgow, National Galleries of Scotland and University of Edinburgh. Frank has over 25 years of university management experience in Scotland, including a period at the Scottish Funding Council. Frank holds Bachelor of Arts and Master of Philosophy degrees in English Literature from the University of Stirling, and an MBA from University College London.

Frank supports the development of business, financial and estates strategies at the National Galleries. His recent duties at the University included overall line management of 550 support staff in the College of Humanities & Social Science, responsibility for the college’s financial, business and estates planning, and for managing the college's budget.

Frank joined West Lothian College Board of Governors in September 2013. He is the Senior Independent Person on the Board, and is also a member of the College's Finance & General Purposes Committee.

IAIN McINTOSH - Chair of Learning & Teaching Committee

Dr Iain McIntosh has recently retired as a Leadership Consultant at Edinburgh Napier University having previously been Assistant Principal for Organisational, Corporate & Partnership Development. In that context, he is particularly interested in leadership development and change, and in strengthening mutually beneficial partnerships with a wide range of organisations.

Previously Dean of the Faculty of Health, Life & Social Sciences at Edinburgh Napier University, he retains an interest in the diverse disciplines which that included. By profession, Iain is a nurse, with a background in intensive care nursing.  His interests nowadays tend towards the experience of care in later life. He is also concerned with professional regulation of nursing and the relationship with higher education. Iain chaired the NMC Stakeholder Advisory Group which led to new standards for pre-registration nursing education effective from 2012. He also chaired the SGHD Delivery Group on Recruitment and Retention of nursing and midwifery students until it completed its work in 2013. 

Iain is originally from Glasgow, and now lives with his family in Dunbar, East Lothian. He spent five of his many enjoyable years in nursing education as Head of Department of Adult Nursing, based at St John’s Hospital, Livingston in the mid-90s and has retained an affinity for the hospital and West Lothian.

COLIN MILLER - Board Member

Colin joined the Board in March 2015 and is a member of the Learning and Teaching Committee. Colin has a legal background having graduated from Glasgow University with a Bachelor of Laws. He then went on to study European law at the Ludwig Maximilians University in Munich and also has a Masters Degree from the University of Bristol. Colin is a partner in a leading national firm and specialises in commercial contracts, intellectual property and competition law, including EU procurement. He is accredited as a specialist in Intellectual Property by the Law Society of Scotland and sits on the Law Society of Scotland Intellectual Property Committee. He has both a personal and professional interest in education. He has acted for Glasgow Caledonian University, The Robert Gordon University and South Lanarkshire College and enjoys teaching on the Diploma in Legal Practice at Glasgow University. His personal interests are golf, jogging and classical music.

NEIL SINCLAIR - Board Member & Staff Member

Neil is a Photography Lecturer in the Business and Creative Centre. He has worked in the College in a teaching capacity since 2006, teaching Photography and related subjects up to HNC Level. He initially worked in Clinical Photography for Wolverhampton Health Authority before leaving to join the College in 1986 as Graphic Technician in the Bathgate Campus.

Leaving in 1997 to become a Scene Examiner with Strathclyde Police for Six years. After which he pursued freelance photographic work along with teaching posts at John Wheatley College and The University of the West of Scotland.

Neil still does his own Photographic work and enjoys travel, eating out and spending time with his family and friends.              

RICHARD LOCKHART - Board Member

Richard joined the Board in August 2016 and is also a member of the Finance & General Purposes Committee. He is a commercial lawyer with breadth and depth of experience in programme and project origination and planning, co-ordinating, managing and delivering legal services in a wide range of contracts across various sectors, including education, energy, social infrastructure and transport.

He advises on PFI/PPP, commercial contracts, associated delivery models, financing and budgetary considerations, and related governance and regulatory matters.

He trained and qualified at McGrigor Donald (now Pinsent Masons) before working in London, for the healthcare specialist, Capsticks and more recently Brodies.

As well as being a qualified and practising lawyer, Richard holds an Executive Leadership Programme accreditation from Henley Business School. He currently works for the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT) in its multi-disciplinary Low Carbon Team. He is closely involved in developing and delivering infrastructure investment programmes to assist with meeting Scottish Government’s Low Carbon policy objectives, including Scotland’s Climate Change targets.

Richard also sits on the Scotland Advisory Committee of Pilotlight, a capacity building charity offering free tailored strategic planning support to charities and social enterprises that are tackling disadvantage in the UK.   

Personal interests include property renovation/development, cycling, swimming, golf and tennis.

MOIRA NIVEN - Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee

                                                                                     

Moira Niven was the Depute Chief Executive of West Lothian council with responsibility for Education, Planning and Area Services. She retired in September 2015 after some 20 years of service to the West Lothian community.

Moira had over 38 years’ experience in education. She began her teaching career in 1977 at James Gillespie’s High School in Edinburgh, as a Business Studies Teacher.

Throughout her career Moira was committed to lifelong learning and adult education. She had an interest in extra-curricular activities and was involved with outdoor education activities such as hill-walking, canoeing and hockey in the schools where she taught.

Moira was awarded an MBE for Services to Education in 2010.

On her retirement, Moira was appointed Lord Lieutenant for West Lothian. She joined West Lothian College Board in December 2016 and is a member of the Finance and General Purposes Committee.

TOM BATES - Board Member

Tom joined the Board in August 2017 and is a member of the Learning & Teaching Committee in addition to being actively involved with the STEM group within the College. Tom’s career began in the fire service in England until 1993 after which he moved to Livingston and joined NEC prior to its closure in 2002. He is currently Managing Director of Lareine Engineering Ltd after becoming involved with the engineering sector during 2002.

When he isn’t busy running the business, Tom is a member of the Chamber of Commerce and is an active Board Member of the Chamber’s Developing the Young Workforce group in West Lothian.

In his spare time, Tom enjoys spending time with family and going on holidays.

SUE STAHLY - Board Member

Sue Stahly joined the Board in November 2019.  Sue is a senior HR Professional with extensive experience at strategic level gained within the Financial Services, Insurance and Drinks industries.   She has expertise in Change Management and Business Transformation having managed and sponsored major change programmes in her career with RBS.  Sue has been a member of Executive Leadership teams working in complex environments and has broad HR technical expertise, including UK and International Employee Relations. 

Sue is a Director, Trustee and Vice Chair of the Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home and is also Chair of their Risk Committee.  She is also a Trustee of the Frisson Foundation and a Lay Member of the Faculty of Advocates Complaints Committee and Disciplinary Tribunal. 

Sue is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development and has a Diploma in Executive Coaching and an Advanced Employment Law Qualification.   Sue is married and has two children and in her spare time enjoys Skiing, walking, cycling and holidays.  She has climbed Kilimanjaro and walked the West Highland Way for charity and has cycled in Vietnam, Cambodia and Cuba.

 

SEONAID CROSBY - Board Member

Seonaid joined the College Board in September 2021, having previously spent a year as a co-opted member of the Audit Committee. 

She grew up in Aberdeen, before moving to Durham University to study Combined Social Sciences, focussing on History, Economics and Politics. She then moved to Edinburgh to start her career at PricewaterhouseCoopers where she qualified as a Chartered Accountant, with initial work based primarily around infrastructure clients. 

Seonaid currently works at Scottish Futures Trust where she is an Associate Director, leading on the financial, programme and risk aspects of the Scottish Government's Learning Estate Investment Programme. She has a passion for both Education and Infrastructure which is necessary in her current role and hopes will serve her well on the Board. 

She is also a Trustee of Link Education International, where she chairs the Finance and Risk Committee. 

Other interests include skiing, playing netball for a local Edinburgh team, walking her dog and spending time with family having recently had a baby boy. 

TONY SHARKEY - Co-opted Board Member

Tony Sharkey joined the Board as a “Co-opted Member” in March 2022. Tony is an experienced Business / Commercial Director, Consultant and HR professional with 40 years across both private, public and charity sectors. He has held senior positions in financial services with large corporate organisations, played a lead operational and strategic role with a top law firm in the UK which also incorporated asset management and offshore businesses. Tony recently completed a years consultancy with a large GP Practice which included reviewing their organisational structure, defining their strategic route map with supporting governance frameworks put in place.

Tony is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (FCIPD) and also has extensive Board experience in the private and charity sectors. He played a key role in the South East of Scotland CIPD with two terms as Vice Chair and brought together senior HR and business leaders to discuss current and future HR and business challenges.

Tony has successfully led a range of business transformation projects in various sectors utilising his extensive experience from careers in senior Operational leadership and senior HR roles. These careers were supported by skills developed from a career in IT across business transformation, programme, resource and account management while taking a risk based approach. During this journey, Tony has looked at business effectiveness and investigated how this could be refined and enhanced at both people and process levels, supported by robust Governance and Policy approaches with appropriate leadership and management skills.

Tony has lived in West Lothian for almost all of his life and his personal interests include spending time with his family, keeping fit and playing golf.

REHELA HUSSAIN - Board Member

After completing a BSc degree in Physics in 1987, Rehela started working within manufacturing industries in Scotland (mainly electronics and medical devices)

Rehela has held technical positions in Quality Assurance Engineering, Regulatory compliance and Health & Safety roles.

Working within healthcare industries in the last 20 years, Rehela has moved from working with established manufacturers to smaller start up medical device companies who develop and commercialise novel medical devices.

Rehela has worked with a variety of medical device manufacturers, some of which have been early stage spin-out Scottish companies – including a prosthetic hand with multi-articulating digits that has been designed and developed by Touch Bionics in Livingston.

In recent years Rehela has further developed herself by volunteering outside technical roles, having a particular interest in work-based skills development, mentoring and improving diversity, and is also currently a STEM Ambassador.

6 years ago, Rehela started mentoring young people in Lifesciences and Engineering having a particular interest in improving the gender balance within STEM fields by being a positive role model who comes from a BAME community, and since 2021 is a mentor with Scottish Engineering.

Rehela recently joined the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Engineering Policy Group Scotland (to look at issues facing STEM education in Scotland) a volunteer-led group which provides strategic advice to Government, responds to consultations and develops relevant materials.

Rehela was raised in Glasgow but settled in Livingston in 2003, and enjoys walking and cycling around the local area, enjoys arts and crafts and is one of the founding members of the Murieston Community garden.

BLAIR STEWART - Student President 

KARINE BOURDARIAS - Student President