Meet The Team
Chief Executive Officer
Lyn works with the team to ensure that Disability Equality Scotland promotes the value of and represents the opinions of disabled people. Lyn provides a strategic and operational understanding of access and inclusion in Scotland including establishing an evidence base that informs policy and best practice.
Deputy Chief Executive Officer
Douglas is responsible for managing a broad number of projects and initiatives. Douglas works closely with the CEO to implement the organisation’s strategy to work towards social inclusion for disabled people in Scotland.
Equality and Access Manager
Ian is our Equality and Access Manager and it is his role to support, develop and promote the Access Panel Network. Ian is also responsible for providing guidance on accessibility to external organisations and managing our Disability Equality Access and Learning training course.
Communications and Research Manager
James is responsible for sharing information such as news, events and consultations to our members in a clear and accessible manner. This includes producing our weekly poll, monthly newsletter and magazine, ‘Open Door’. James is also responsible for the upkeep and population of all digital content.
Access and Engagement Coordinator
Calum is our Access and Engagement Coordinator and he works with Ian to provide support to the Access Panel Network in Scotland through training, outreach, and capacity building. He also administers the Access Panel Grant and helps to deliver our disability roadshows and transport events.
Senior Training and Development Worker
Maggie is our Senior Training and Development Worker and part of our wider training team. Maggie will build on the excellent disability equality training work already in place, including developing and delivering learning on equality impact assessments (EQIA), active travel, and inclusive communication.
Training and Development Worker
Sonya is our Training and Development Worker. Her job is to expand and deliver our Easy Read training course. This course helps organisations and individuals produce more accessible materials, using the Easy Read format. Sonya’s background is in education, language, and editing. Outside work, she reads a lot.
Easy Read Worker
Shona produces information in Easy Read, an accessible format that makes written information easier to understand for people with a learning disability. Shona’s previous jobs have all involved working with adults with a learning disability, and she has always been a strong advocate of inclusive communication.
Easy Read Worker
Claire also translates information into Easy Read. Her background is in Primary Education, with a focus on neurodiversity, inclusion and emotional wellbeing. She values Easy Read for the wider audience who can be reached with this style of inclusive communication.
Personal Assistant to the Chief Executive Officer
Stephen is the personal assistant to our Chief Executive Officer, Lyn Pornaro. Having completed over 20 years within Traffic/Road Policing, Stephen gained a wealth of driver training and experience and was regularly used as a security escort driver. In his spare time, Stephen has numerous hobbies including spending time in the computer world of Zwift, indoor cycling in an attempt to stay reasonably fit. Dog walking in the nearby hills, Formula 1 and tinkering with classic cars are also never far from his thoughts.
Pamela Tarrida del Marmol Perez
Project Development Worker
Pamela joined Disability Equality Scotland in May 2023 and works with Ian and Dougi providing support in the management and further development of various projects. This project work currently focusses on Hate Crime and Scotland’s Hate Crime Charter. Pamela is also a registered nutritionist and comes from a background in public health, she has a strong interest in/is an advocate for closing the gap of health inequalities. Outside of work, she enjoys being active and doing yoga.
Training and Development Worker
Iain is a former police officer with 30 years’ experience. He brings a wealth of knowledge around criminality and legislation and the impact of crime on victims. His many roles within Police Scotland included being a Police College instructor, Domestic Abuse Investigation, victim support as the Ayrshire Concern Hub supervisor and he retired in October 2022 as head of Police Scotland’s National Missing Person Unit. In any spare time, Iain enjoys travelling, playing snooker, as well as being a part-time chauffeur!
Project Development Worker
Ian joined Disability Equality Scotland in May 2023 to support the development and delivery of project work. His responsibilities are to ensure that evidence-based research methods underpin our work and are as inclusive as possible. Initial work will include Ian supporting the work within Hate Crime and Face Covering Exemptions. Ian has previously worked on academic and action-based research projects, as well as working with NHS Scotland during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Social Media and Communications Intern
Yulia works with Disability Equality Scotland to spread the word on accessibility far and wide. She maintains correspondence with the Access Panels across Scotland, collecting stories about ongoing projects and personal experiences for the Access Panel Hub. Her scope of work includes reaching out to disabled members to find out and address challenges associated with accessibility and inclusion.
Kaz leads the Engagement programme for Corporate Members. She is responsible for delivering outstanding ‘membership experience’ and working on how Disability Equality Scotland strengthens and amplifies its collective voice among existing and potential audiences. Kaz is a storyteller and practical doer. For 30+ years, she has helped diverse organisations to survive and thrive; by getting their marketing communications to work harder to drive business growth.
Kayla-Megan Burns: Convener
Kayla is a climate and social justice activist who has worked locally, nationally and internationally on projects and campaigns covering areas such as the climate emergency, accessibility, the right to education for all, anti-hate, and gender equality.
Originally from Enniskillen, N.Ireland, Kayla moved to Glasgow to pursue studies in Biomedical Science at the University of Strathclyde. Since then Kayla has rapidly built their career, becoming the President and Chair of the Trustee Board at Strathclyde Students’ Union, a member of Strathclyde University Court, becoming a member of the New York Times Generation Climate, and establishing Songplistic to increase the accessibility of making music for all. They regularly speak at various conferences on topics such as business, society, and climate change, bringing their unique experiences and perspectives as a young, disabled, non-binary individual.
Kayla aspires to see a world of social and environmental justice for all, and has committed themselves to doing as much as possible to achieve this.
Carolyn Wilson-Smith: Vice Convener
Carolyn has worked in the public and private sectors, 23 years with Barclays Bank and 12 years in public sector with a Local Authority and now the NHS.
Her areas of expertise include human resource development, organisational development, project management, consultation and engagement.
Carolyn has also supported the voluntary sector, having previously spent many years as Chairman of Directors for Employability Orkney.
She was Games Maker at the London 2012 Olympics, providing support and assistance to other Games Maker volunteers, and is currently an adult volunteer with Police Scotland Youth Volunteers, the fastest growing youth organisation in the UK.
Carolyn has a strong sense of fairness and equality.
Kenny has been mainly employed in various management structures at different levels including site manager on a busy pharmaceutical site. Whilst employed as site manager Kenny had an accident at work leading him to suffer major damage to his lower back. This caused him to require four operations to attempt to repair the damage.
Unfortunately, these were not all successful and as a result Kenny now lives with the pain. Further to this he has also developed other health difficulties. Kenny uses a power chair to get around. Having been an able-bodied man and hands on dad this major change in his life was difficult for both him and his family with which to come to terms.
Kenny has since took up various volunteering roles including chairing The Three Towns Disability Forum for seven years and chairing North Ayrshire Carers Forum for six and a half years. Through these volunteering roles, Kenny was keen to pursue a career in public involvement. He has since retrained and with the continued support of his wife has took up employment with East Ayrshire Community Health Partnership in 2005 as a Public Partnership Forum Coordinator when his role was to build a Public Partnership Forum for East Ayrshire.
Kenny can bring vast experience to the role as non-executive Director with Disability and Equality Scotland. His life experience as an able-bodied person and as a disabled person. He genuinely empathizes with others who are faced with the same difficulties of becoming disabled. He also brings his managerial experience to the organisation.
Kenny’s true wish is for everyone, no matter their ability, race or religion to be treated fairly and equally and that society understand that it is the environment that disables people on many occasions and that real effort is required from everyone to make this a fairer, more equal world for us all to live in and enjoy.
Marie has been blind since birth and was brought up on the Isle of Mull and attended the Royal Blind School in Edinburgh. She trained as a physiotherapist at the RNIB school of physiotherapy in London, and qualified in 1972.
Marie has enjoyed an interesting and varied career. In 1976, Marie was selected for the British paralympic team to compete in the Paralympics in Canada. Fantastic coaching and tremendous support from family and close friends allowed her to reach the podium.
From 1997 until her retirement in 2012, she was Head Physiotherapist in Oban and North Argyll which included some of the inner Hebridean islands.
Marie continues to maintain fitness and fun with swimming, walking, horse riding, as well as enjoying listening to classical music and participating in choral singing. She also enjoys meeting people and participating in committee work, and very much appreciates spending time and socialising with family and friends.
Lauren is a full-time Youth Worker based in Dumfries and Galloway. Diagnosed with Asperger’s and mental health conditions, Lauren is a passionate advocate for equality and inclusion. Following on from the Global Changemakers Summit 2018, Lauren set up Invisible Life – a personal blog sharing her experiences of living with Asperger’s, in the hope of educating others and providing insight into her day-to-day challenges. During COVID-19, Lauren set up Handprints of Hope, a social movement aimed at providing friendship and positivity during times of uncertainty for disabled people who would find this time particularly challenging. Lauren is looking forward to being part of the board and continuing to advocate for young disabled people.
Scott’s background in supporting communities is deeply rooted in his roles in the public and third sector. As manager for Disability Information Scotland, an organisation supporting disabled people, Scott is aware of the challenges experienced by disabled people, their families and carers and constantly strives to break down the barriers that hinder the opportunities of disabled people in our society.
Scott’s career in local government carried him through many service areas, however, it was his experience as an operational manager in service support, planning, project management and financial management that allowed him to flourish in the areas he supported. As a member of the divisional management teams in both Revenues & Housing Management and Adult Social Care and through his work on the local authority’s risk management and divisional charging policy groups, Scott has extensive experience and developed a range of skills that he can bring to Disability Equality Scotland.
- Service planning and performance management of large staff groups
- Supporting on budgetary and staffing matters
- Ensuring strong financial governance working closely with auditors, accountants and regulators to mitigate risks
- Delivering organisational change through work on business service review and management review groups
- Implementing and embedding service wide initiatives, including the Scottish Public-Sector Ombudsman’s model complaints process
- Project managed the procurement and delivery of business-critical systems into the local authority including Council Tax, Housing Benefit, Sundry Debt, Cash receipting systems and document management and workflow systems
As an experienced leader and understanding of the challenges experienced by disable people in our communities, Scott is very much looking forward to supporting Disability Equality Scotland in delivering our vision of a better life for disabled people.
Zara Todd is a disability activist, researcher, trainer and facilitator. She is based in Edinburgh with her husband and two cats.
Originally from London Zara has been involved in disability activism since childhood and co-founded the European network on independent living’s youth network. She is passionate about equity and inclusion and particularly interested in supporting disabled people and young people in engaging with policy-making. She has advised organisations including the British Council, UNICEF, the UK government and the fundamental rights agency on disability and accessibility.
She is a Churchill fellow who is particularly interested in disability leadership and she is currently setting up her own organisation to support the leadership of disabled people working in the not-for-profit sector.
As well as being a trustee of Disability Equality Scotland she is also a trustee of Volunteering Matters. In her spare time she and her husband love to travel and have been to over 80 countries.