The VABS Team
Karen has been working for VABS since 2007, first as Community Development Officer overseeing community-led action planning throughout the strath, then creating and managing the Strengthening Communities capacity-building programme from 2012-2015. She took on her current role as Chief Officer in 2015. She has lived in Badenoch and Strathspey since 2005 and before that in Dumfries and Galloway, so has some experience of life and community challenges in rural Scotland. Karen has an extensive training background spanning over 30 years in languages, business and project management, but still enjoys the ‘people’ side of the job most of all. She currently lives in Grantown on Spey with her daughter.
Kathryn has worked and volunteered in the third sector for the past 16 years. While living in Fife, she was involved in setting up lunch clubs and wraparound care in playgroups as well as supporting committees in all areas of running their groups. On moving to the Highlands in 2007, she found herself voted in as Chair of the local playgroup before she had even arrived! Kathryn, while born in Scotland, grew up in Essex and has lived in America, Singapore and Australia. Her various careers include a dancer, an accountant, implementation and training consultant for Oracle and now owns her own business delivering pre-school activities including swim lessons. She has always been an advocate for the benefits of volunteering; in fact she believes volunteering is what keeps her sane. Certainly it has given her many diverse skills and experiences. She now lives in Balmenach with her husband, 3 boys and various pets.
Originally from Edinburgh, Ann started her working life in the hospitality industry which saw her travelling all over the UK before finally settling in Aviemore in 1978. She moved to Nethy Bridge in 1990, where she became heavily involved as a volunteer, with both the toddlers group and what was the primary school PTA at that time. Ann started working for VABS in 2004, initially as secretary to the Chief Officer. Since then she has continued to develop her personal and professional skills to fit the changing needs of the Third Sector. Ann’s current position is Finance and Development Officer, a role which involves providing support to a wide range of organisations in Badenoch and Strathspey, as well as working alongside the Chief Officer to deliver outcomes for the communities and funders and strengthen VABS’ profile in this ever changing sector.
Mairi’s working career has mostly been within the third sector, initially with vulnerable children and young people in Edinburgh, before moving into a community development role as a VSO volunteer in Malawi. On her return to Scotland and the Highlands, she took up the position of Community Development Officer with VABS before leaving to start a family.
From these experiences, Mairi has built up a good understanding of how communities operate. She enjoys working with people at grassroots level and brings a wealth of knowledge and interest in supporting community groups to thrive and flourish.
Mairi is currently actively involved in activities for the under 5s community in Carrbridge and has been a director on the VABS board since 2014.