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Our people

Staff team

Sara Cowan

Sara Cowan

Sara joined Scottish Women’s Budget Group in September 2020. Sara has spent her career working on social justice issues, with 11 years spent in various campaigning roles at Oxfam working on inequality, climate change and humanitarian issues. Prior to that Sara worked in Glasgow as an individual advocate for people with physical and mental health difficulties.


Carmen Martinez

Carmen Martinez was appointed acting Coordinator at the Scottish Women’s Budget Group in June 2023. In this role, she oversees the organisation’s activities including policy development and projects with partners. Prior to this, Carmen completed her MSc in Public Policy at Strathclyde University after which she spent a year in Brussels working with Horizon Europe funds and the Life Programme in support of the European Green Deal.




Heather Williams Heather Williams

Heather joined the Scottish Women’s Budget Group in September 2020 as Training Lead. Heather has worked in the violence against women sector for 20 years in a variety of roles including delivering support to women, children and young people, delivering training and awareness raising.

Sara and Heather are keen to meet with groups who are interested in getting more involved with SWBG

– email us if you'd like to chat about how we can work together.


Board members

Zarina Ahmad

Zarina has 15 years experience as an environmental campaigner in Scotland amplifying the voices from ethnic minority communities in the environmental sector and boosting public engagement with urgent environmental agendas. Among her accolades Zarina was named as one of the top 30 influential women in environment by BBC’s Women’s Hour and awarded the Emma Goldman award for her work on the intersectionality of race, gender and climate justice. Zarina is currently studying for a PhD on sustainability at University of Manchester and is an advisor for the Women’s Environmental Network.


Kirsty Connell-Skinner

Kirsty is the Treasurer of SWBG, managing the charity's finances as it continues to develop and grow as an independent organisation.  In her day job, Kirsty leads the Housing, Construction and Infrastructure Skills Gateway at Edinburgh Napier University, a £6M UK and Scottish Government programme to increase inclusive and sustainable careers in construction. Kirsty lives in the Scottish Highlands, is a committed community activist, serving as community councillor and scouting leader, and is an active feminist and trade unionist.


Wendy Davies

Wendy Davies

Before jointly establishing a training consultancy (OSDC) in 1991, Wendy had a background in community development and adult education. Through OSDC she worked with hundreds of organisations in the public, private and NGO sector to provide equality training, capacity building and organisational reviews. She has written good practice guidance and training manuals always with a focus on equality, empowerment and inclusion. Her clients ranged from the Church of England to the Huddersfield Giants Rugby Club and recently she worked as an international trainer for VSO in countries as far apart as Papua New Guinea and South Africa providing training on Social Inclusion and Gender Equality. She has been a supporter of the SWBG for many years and is currently company secretary. Given her real interest is in overthrowing the patriarchy she has developed a new and surprising interest in the finer details of the constitution!

Zara Kitson

As a senior leader in Scotland’s Third Sector, Zara has been involved in management and leadership of charities in Scotland for over a decade. A Trustee of feminist advocacy organisation Engender for the past six years, Zara brings solid knowledge and experience of charity governance and of the woman’s sector in Scotland. Outside of Zara's role as a Trustee, Zara is Senior Head of Partnership’s for an established UK-wide Youth Charity, leading a team of seven in Scotland, with responsibility for securing £3mil of annual public sector investment to ensure disadvantaged young people across Scotland have the chance to succeed. Zara hopes to build on the skills and experience she brings in public affairs, fundraising, and charity management to continue to support SWBG to go from strength to strength. 

Rachel Statham

Rachel is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) Scotland. Her research focuses on progressive solutions to public policy challenges in Scotland, specialising in economic and social policy, gender and devolution. Rachel is an experienced quantitative and qualitative researcher, and has led research on social security, inclusive growth, and the economic impacts of automation and technological change. She currently leads a research programme working to secure a living income for more people in Scotland.


Clemmie Hill O'Connor

Clemmie joined the board of Scottish Women’s Budget Group in 2020 and recently took on the role of SWBG representative to the board of the UK Women’s Budget Group.

Clemmie brings both personal and professional experience to her role as a board member. As a woman and as a mother, Clemmie has direct experience of the structural issues that SWBG seeks to address. As a researcher and as an experienced board member Clemmie brings expertise to support the delivery of the ambitions of SWBG, recognising her many privileges and working hard to dismantle the structures and institutions that ignore the experiences of women.

Laura Tomson

With over 15 years’ experience in the Scottish women’s sector, Laura is a committed feminist with substantial experience of strategic planning, fundraising, organisational learning and development, people management, budgeting and financial management. Laura is familiar with the challenges of developing a small charity in a squeezed financial context, using resources effectively to have the biggest impact, and have been successful in diversifying funding, growing the ZT team, and continually increasing our reach. Laura brings knowledge of violence against women prevention to the role, supporting SWBG in its work to make the links between gender budgeting and ending VAWG.

Elisabeth Loose 

Elli is the current Leader and Data Manager for the Women’s Equality Party in Glasgow, where she leads on advocacy campaigns and explores the potential of a Feminist Foreign Policy for the party as well as the UK. Elli is also a member of the SWBG Policy & Advocacy Group. Her PhD research delved into women’s role in male-dominated spaces, underscoring her dedication to addressing gendered socio-economic factors. In her day job, Elli is the Research and External Engagement Officer for the John Smith Centre at the University of Glasgow. She continuously deepens her knowledge through extensive reading of feminist literature, focusing on socio-economic injustice and the social construction of womanhood.

Olivia (Liv) Hamilton 

Liv is a researcher specialising in health inequalities at the University of Glasgow. Her current work focuses on the relationship between income and health and explores potential options for reforming the social security system in order to reduce health inequalities. She brings expertise in quantitative research methods, and experience deliberating with a wide range of stakeholder and public groups on policy priorities and preferences. Liv gained her PhD in Translational Neuroscience from the University of Edinburgh and previously studied English Language and Linguistics at University College London and Cardiff University.


Susan (Susie) Anderson Stein 

For over sixteen years Susie has worked in voluntary organisations in varied roles, providing trauma-informed support and managing services for people affected by violent crime. She is the Chief Executive Officer at Scottish Borders Rape Crisis Centre and has been in this role since 2014. She brings years of experience and proficiency in governance, feminist leadership and management, fundraising, HR, change management, participation, and training.




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