SWA announces 2016 Conference theme and speaker line-up

Entrepreneur, Big Issue founder and parliamentarian Lord John Bird will be the keynote speaker at the 2016 Scottish Wholesale Association Annual Conference.

Lord Bird of Notting Hill, 70, who was brought up in an orphanage and served time in a young offenders’ institution before he was out of his teens and slept rough as one of London’s homeless, founded the Big Issue in 1991.

Bird (pictured above) has since become a globally admired social entrepreneur. Although non-political, he has been consulted by Prime Ministers and Cabinet ministers on how best to lift people out of poverty through harnessing their own energies.

He will be the main guest speaker closing the final business session of the conference, taking place at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire from June 10-12.

Themed “Grasp the Thistle”, the conference has also attracted a “stellar” line-up, including: Andrew Selley, chief executive, Bidvest Foodservice; Stewart Gilliland, non-executive chairman, Booker; Craig Stevenson, chief executive, Braehead Foods; Martin Race, group trading director, Bestway Batleys; Peppi Cremona, sales director (off-trade wholesale and convenience), AB InBev; Rez Hassan, vice-president sales, Mars Chocolate UK; Katie Hemmings, director, him!; Andy Stevens, head of sales UK, JTI; Nigel Paine, sales director, Britvic; Mark Winter, sales director, United Biscuits; Jonathan Kemp, commercial director, AG Barr; Iain Hill, MD, Iain Hill Ltd; Jim Cummiskey, joint managing director, Fáilte Foods; and Paul Waterson, chief executive, SLTA

SWA president Eddie Lynagh will open and close the conference while vice-president Julie Dunn will open proceedings on the Saturday and introduce participants in the organisation’s current Mentoring Programme who will talk about the benefits to them as individuals and also their employers.

Kate Salmon, SWA executive director, said: “Once again we have secured an outstanding group of high-profile speakers who will inspire and motivate our members, and share best industry practice. Our our sector is a key contributor to the Scottish economy – and the calibre of those who are prepared to give up their time to share their views clearly reflects this.

“Striving for best practice and learning from others will help strengthen our industry and encourage more effective engagement between wholesalers and suppliers.”

To book your place, contact: joanne@scottishwholesale.co.uk.


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