Speaker biographies

Our 2023 keynote speakers were:

Patrick Harvie MSP

Co-Leader, Scottish Greens and Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenant’s Rights

Photo of Patrick Harvey

Patrick Harvie spent his childhood in Dumbarton, and attended Dumbarton Academy followed by Manchester Metropolitan University.

Before becoming an MSP he worked for a sexual health charity as an LGBT youth worker in Glasgow, and was involved in the campaign to repeal Section 28 during the Scottish Parliament's first session.

Patrick was elected as an MSP for the Glasgow region in 2003, has served as Convenor of the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee during session 3, and as Co-Leader or Co-Convenor of the Scottish Green Party since 2008. He was appointed Minister for Zero Carbon Buildings, Active Travel and Tenants’ Rights in September 2021.

Sally Thomas

Chief Executive at the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations (SFHA)

Sally has worked for several housing associations in London and the North East of England. Her career has also included roles at the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), on regeneration at an urban development corporation, and as director of a consultancy specialising in community-based development.  

She has co-authored several publications for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Chartered Institute of Housing, the Housing Associations Charitable Trust, think tanks and government departments. 

Currently a member of several national boards and groups, the Homelessness Prevention Strategy Group, the Housing to 2040 Strategic Board and the Heat and Energy Efficiency Board. 

In 2021, she co-chaired the Social Renewal Advisory Board, convened by government ministers to make recommendations for delivering transformational economic and social change in a post-pandemic Scotland, and the Zero Emissions Social Housing Taskforce (ZEST) which reported on achieving net zero in social housing. She was also on the Stewarding Group of Scotland’s Climate Assembly.

Professor Devi Sridhar

Professor of Global Public Health

photo of Devi Sridhar

Devi Sridhar is a Professor at the University of Edinburgh Medical School and holds a Personal Chair in Global Public Health. She is the founding Director of the Global Health Governance Programme and holds a Wellcome Trust Investigator Award.

She was previously Associate Professor in Global Health Politics and a Fellow at Wolfson College, Oxford University and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at All Souls College, Oxford University. She was also a visiting Associate Professor at LMU-Munich and guest lecturer at the Harvard School of Public Health and the Public Health Foundation of India.

Her books include ‘Preventable - How a pandemic changed the world & how to stop the next one’ (Penguin, 2022), ‘Governing Global Health: Who Runs the World and Why?’ (OUP, 2017) and ‘the Battle against Hunger: Choice, Circumstance and the World Bank’ (OUP, 2007) and she has published in Nature, Science, the New England Journal of Medicine, the Lancet and the British Medical Journal.

She served on the board of Save the Children UK, on the World Economic Forum Council on the Health Industry and co-chaired the Harvard/LSHTM Independent Panel on the Global Response to Ebola. She holds a DPhil and MPhil from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a B.S. from the University of Miami in the Honors Medical Program. Her work is concentrated in three areas: international health organizations, financing of global public health and developing better tools for priority-setting.

Catriona Stewart

Conference Chair

photo of Catriona Stewart

Catriona Stewart is a columnist and writer-at-large for The Herald, taking an in-depth look at a range of issues from politics and crime to social affairs and current events.

She was previously Chief Reporter for the Glasgow Times where she built a reputation as a cycling advocate over many years supporting and advocating for campaigns to make the city more cycle friendly. Catriona also teaches journalism at the University of Glasgow, is a regular contributor on radio, television and podcasts and is a children’s panel member.