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ASSC Conference Speakers 2017

Willie Cameron

Director of Visit Loch Ness Director of Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards & Founding Member of the Cobbs Group

Willie is a true Highlander who can trace his ancestry back to Conchra Kintail in the fourteenth century and has been brought up on salmon and, venison from Wester Ross and lamb and salt herring from the Island of Lewis and presently lives with his wife in Drumnadrochit, Loch Ness where they dine very well.

Willie has been at the forefront of The Food, Drink and Hospitality Industry in the Highlands of Scotland for the last 25 years. In 1994 he set up Loch Ness Marketing a creative marketing consultancy dealing with film, tv and media and went into business with Fraser Campbell at The Drumnadrochit Hotel. He went on to be Director of Highland Feast for ten years the food and drink festival of the Highlands.  Willie was founding director of Visit Loch Ness; was a board member of the UHI -Inverness College; sits on the Tourism Awards board and on the fundraising board of The Archie Foundation; is a founding director of the Cobbs Group of companies and as Business Development Director has helped in growing the company to 20 coffee shops, 3 hotels, 1 public house and an incredibly brilliant bakery based on the shores of Loch Ness in the village of Drumnadrochit. It started with one bakery 14 years ago now employs up to 40 personnel and will turnover in excess of £2million and have just secured a contract worth £250,000 with Aldi for their award winning Gluten Free Chocolate Brownie. Cobbs has been the official cake supplier to The Scottish Open Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games to name just a few of the high profile client list they have.

Willie has been a member of Scotland Food and Drink since their inception, The Scottish Bakers Federation, and acknowledges all the help he and Cobbs have had from HIE and Inverness Chamber.  He was awarded Highland Tourism Ambassador in 2005 and Cobbs were Highland Business of the Year in 2014 and also Highlands and Islands Food and Drink Ambassador 2016. Willie is a sought after after-dinner speaker, MC, auctioneer for charity, voice-over, story teller and tour guide.  A creative writer, an odd ode composer, a Burns Supper afficionado and general all round good guy.

Willie is known globally as “Mr. Loch Ness” for his frequent TV and radio appearances talking about a certain lady.  And although on the wrong side of twenty one he has just taken up the International Business Development Director role for Scotland’s first multi food and drink sector export collaboration incorporating a large number of high end quality producers from iconic areas of Scotland from Unst in Shetland to The Island of Arran. In 2017 Willie took this organisation to win The Scottish Export Awards Collaboration Prize of £10,000.  He has travelled this year to Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Austria/Germany/Ireland and China promoting Scottish Food and Drink. Whilst in China he signed a deal with Nanhu Travel of Guanghzou to bring 12,000 Chinese Tourists to Scotland.

His personal ambition at the moment is to get all of his cornucopia of Scottish food into the high end American food deli chain Dean and Deluca. If he succeeds – job done!!!!!!

David Smythe

Chairman, ASSC

David’s main occupation is farming, but 25 years ago, before e-mail and the internet, he diversified usefully into self-catering by developing on-farm cottages. Passionate about the wider self-catering and tourism industry in Scotland, David has chaired the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers ‘roughly since foot and mouth’ ensuring the sector is promoted and represented. He also currently chairs the Perthshire Tourism Partnership. A practical self-catering enthusiast and advocate, his holidays are always self-catering whether in Scotland, UK or European cities. It is the real holiday experience.

Fiona Campbell

Chief Executive, ASSC

Fiona was appointed as the ASSC’s first Chief Executive in February 2015. She owns and runs Mansefield House, a four star self-catering house in Argyll, while developing two other successful businesses concurrently. Until recently she sat on the board of the local
Community Development Trust. As a member of the ASSC for 15 years, she is proud to be a part of the critical role that the organisation plays in supporting self-catering in Scotland.

Provost Dennis Melloy

Provost of Perth & Kinross

Born in Perth and brought up in Provost Road, Blairgowrie, the Provost was educated at the local primary school and Blairgowrie High School. He worked in sales and marketing before starting his own business. The Provost has been involved in amateur dramatics and musicals, and started the first Folk Club in Blairgowrie in 1970. He is a long-time member of Blairgowrie Golf Club and a keen hill walker when he has the time.

The Provost is married to Libby for thirty years. They have a boarding Cattery which they built seventeen years ago, which Libby looks after. He is a qualified Ballroom Dance Teacher and he and his wife have taught dance classes throughout Perthshire for many years. He is a former Dance Star of Tomorrow and a Twist & Jive Champion.

The Provost lives in Alyth and was Chairman of the Alyth Community Council, and is a former Citizen of the Year. He takes a keen interest in youth activities and is Chairman of the Alyth Youth Partnership; was first elected to Perth & Kinross Council in 2007 as a Conservative Councillor for the Strathmore Ward; sat on several Council committees such as Environment; Education & Children’s Services; Housing & Health; Community Safety; Civic Licensing; Financial Services Committee and the Licensing Board.

Dr Alasdair Allan MSP

Minister for International Development and Europe, Scottish Government

Dr Alasdair Allan was appointed Minister for International Development and Europe in May 2016.  He was born in Ashkirk in the Scottish Borders in 1971 and attended Glasgow and Aberdeen Universities, gaining a PhD in Scots Language in 1998.  Prior to becoming an MSP Alasdair was senior media relations officer for the Church of Scotland. He was named Gaelic journalist of the year in 2006. He was also the National Secretary of the SNP from 2003 to 2006. Alasdair was elected MSP for the Western Isles in the 2007 election. He served on the Local Government and Communities Committee, the Education, Lifelong Learning and Culture Committee and the Transport, Infrastructure and Climate Change Committee, before becoming Minister for Learning, Science and Scotland’s Languages in 2011.

When not working, he sings with the Back District Gaelic Choir in Lewis, with whom he has competed in the National Mod. He is learning Norwegian in his spare time.

Jackie McCamon

Customer Service Specialist, SuperControl

Jackie joined the SuperControl Support team in June 2015, bringing with her a wealth of knowledge from 17 years’ experience of managing marketing and events at a busy family run holiday park. Jackie has a real passion for people. She enjoys getting to know clients and associates, and offering the best advice possible using the skills and experience she has gained from working in the hospitality industry.

 Katie Stovell

Marketing Consultant, SuperControl

A key member of the marketing team at SuperControl, Katie’s expertise are in digital marketing and connecting businesses. She also helps manage three self-catering properties owned by Robert and Melinda Kennedy and is passionate about sharing best practice with fellow SuperControl clients to help them excel and prosper.


Malcolm Roughead OBE

Chief Executive, VisitScotland

A graduate in Modern Languages from the University of Glasgow in 1981, Malcolm joined VisitScotland as Director of Visitor Engagement in 2001 from Guinness World Records where he was Global Sales and Marketing Director and held a number of senior marketing positions over a 17 year period with Guinness Brewing in Africa, Europe, the Middle East and North America. He began in marketing at Nestle, followed by Beechams.

Malcolm has been responsible for the repositioning of Scotland as a leading tourism destination and appointed as VisitScotland’s Chief Executive in 2010.

In March 2004 Malcolm was awarded Scottish Marketer of the Year at the Scottish Marketing Awards and, in the January 2006 Honours List, he was awarded an OBE for services to Tourism.

Grant Seaton

Senior Business Lending Manager, Cumberland Business, Cumberland Building Society

Grant Seaton has worked in frontline lending for a successful mutual building society for the last 16 years.  Over the last 5 years he has seen the rise in popularity of the self catering sector and in turn has seen requests for finance increase three fold.  He is experienced in lending and supporting self catering enterprises all over Scotland, including the islands.  Identifying that supporting the business is as important as the initial lending proposition; Grant regularly speaks with business owners to consider how best to move the enterprises forward which can sometimes involve further lending, or a change to the structure of the finance, or both.  Grant looks forward to sharing his thoughts on how he believes a lender should work together with their clients for the benefit of all parties.

 For more information visit – 

Brian Wright

Director, FBD Consultancy (Scotland) Ltd – Business Growth Specialists & Chartered Accountant

Brian is a qualified Chartered Accountant and Chartered Management Accountant.  He has worked and advised in numerous private and public sector organisations.  He has been advising small businesses, trusts, charities, community interest companies and amateur clubs in many areas of business since 1991.  Areas of expertise include business structures, business growth, funding, accounts, tax and systems.

In 2003, Brian founded his own business growth, accounting and tax advisory business, FBD Consultancy (Scotland) Ltd with the clear remit of helping small business owners achieve more success, gain greater clarity and understanding within their businesses and gain greater peace of mind.

With a special interest in the world of property lending, property management, serviced accommodation and property development, Brian is delighted to be contributing to this year’s ASSC conference, where he hopes to spark a few ideas and light some fires within the attendees.

For more information visit –

 Keith McDevitt

Cyber Resilience Integrator, Defence, Security and Cyber Resilience Division, Safer Communities Directorate, Scottish Government

Keith McDevitt served as a police officer over 30 years. A career detective with experience in intelligence and covert policing he served a number of secondments to national organisations. The last five years of his police service he served as the Head of the eCrime Unit at the Scottish Crime and Drugs Enforcement Agency (SCDEA) working closely with the UK and international law enforcement agencies involved in online investigations.

In November 2010 he retired as a police officer to take up a position with Fife Constabulary as their eCrime Forensic Manager with responsibilities for managing the force eCrime Unit which incorporates dedicated online investigation and digital examination teams.

In March 2013 joined the Scottish Government, as a civil servant, to continue this work within the new Security, Defence and Cyber Resilience Division. In November 2015 the Scottish Government launched Safe, Secure, Prosperous a Cyber Strategy for Scotland.

Henry Bankes

Head of Legal Affairs, Wyndham Destination Network EMEAI

Henry is Head of Legal Affairs, Wyndham Destination Network EMEAI, whose brands include, Hoseasons, James Villa Holidays, Blue Chip Holidays, Landal GreenParks and Novasol.

Henry also holds a number of Industry positions, notably, as a member of ABTA’s Policy Affairs Committee, the Legislative Council of the Resort Development Organisation, The Tourism Alliance Board and The European Holiday Homes Association Board.

Carlos Villaro Lassen

Secretary General, Europe

Carlos is working intensely in the holiday home industry to create a greater understanding among politicians, decision makers and the public of the industry’s contribution and importance as well as to provide the best conditions for the companies and tourists in the sector. With a Master in Economics from the University of Copenhagen and with a background as director of communication at the Danish Chamber of Commerce together with experience in the political sector in several European countries and in the European Union, Carlos’ aim is to unify the short term rental industry internationally.

Karen Spencer

Founder, The Business of Holiday Rental

Karen helps owners release the potential in themselves as business owners and run their holiday home as a business, not an expensive hobby. To ultimately earn more, to feel empowered, to be in control and to run the business they first dreamed of.  She is an experienced, quality holiday cottage owner.  On a budget, she took her cottage from bland to something rather special.  She now attracts guests at the higher end of the market, earning 20% more per booking than comparable properties in her area.

Karen has combined her corporate coaching background, her qualification as a home staging stylist, her experience working for a self-catering company and her years of knowledge as a holiday home owner to create her business and help other owners.

For more information about Karen and her business please visit –


More information to follow.

*Programme, Speakers and Panel subject to change



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