Ben Thomson founded Inverleith, an investment firm focused on consumer sector, where he is currently Chairman. He is severely dyslexic but luckily his dyslexia was identified at an early age. He obtained a degree in Physics from Edinburgh University and has subsequently had a successful career as Chief Executive and then Chairman of the investment bank Noble Group for over ten years. He has chaired of a number of organisations, including the National Galleries of Scotland and is a former Chairman of Barrington Stoke, a Scottish publishing company which publishes books for dyslexic children and reluctant readers. Like many other dyslexics, Ben gained huge confidence through success at sport. He was a Scottish international athlete.
Chris Tiso is a well known and award winning business man and chief executive of the Tiso Group, the leading outdoor clothes and equipment supplier. He took over the family business in 1992 at the age of 21 following the death of his father. In twenty years Chris Tiso has increased the company’s turnover from £5 million to £30 million. With dyslexia in his family, he has seen the unhappiness it can cause first hand.
Colin Campbell is the Managing Director of Bellair (Scotland) Limited, a family run property investment and development company based in central Scotland.
Having previously worked within the Capital Markets team of Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), where he was personally involved in the acquisition and disposal of over £750m of property assets, Colin is the fourth generation of the Campbell family to manage Bellair. He is focused on growing the company into a multifaceted property company through a flexible and adaptable business model.
Colin has found that dyslexia has been a positive in his life, providing drive and determination to succeed.
Jennifer Ewan is a professional singer-songwriter who was born in Glasgow. She began her working career in acting but she soon realised that her true passion was for singing and songwriting and now works full time with her band.
Her song "Disappear" was inspired by her experiences growing up dyslexic and the music video of this song can be found on her band website: www.jenniferewan.com
Her dyslexia led to ridicule from some teachers at her first primary school and this severely affected her self-confidence when she was young. However, with help, she persevered at school and gained good academic qualifications whilst, through youth theatre, she developed the confidence to perform before an audience. She has performed at Celtic Connections at Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and been interviewed and performed live on various BBC Radio shows such as their flagship Edinburgh Festival show, and The Afternoon Show with Janice Forsyth. She first brought her own show, Bonnie Bayou, to the Edinburgh Festival in 2017 and performed to sell-out audiences throughout its twelve-night run, building on this success at the 2018 and 2019 Festivals with highly acclaimed runs at The Jazz Bar.
She now believes that her dyslexia has been a gift because it meant she learned to work hard to achieve things that came more easily to her classmates. She also believes that dyslexia has helped her to see the world a little differently, something that she has used to good effect in her songwriting.
Keith Cook is the Director of Fencing Fun and Positive Destination.
- British Fencing Champion
- 7 x Commonwealth Medallist
- European Team Bronze Medallist
- World Cup Team Medallist
- Mentor, Coach, Modern Jedi
As a young child, Keith was angry and confused. He grew up in a chaotic, often violent home in a disadvantaged area of Edinburgh. Being dyslexic, he found school hard but sport was his release and where he shone. At the age of 11 he found fencing - not the average sport for a child of his background, but he focused his frustrations through the sport to reach a “Positive Destination”.
As he became more confident he realised sport could teach him so much and the skills that he learned transferred his life for the better.
Mamta Singhal is a Chartered Design Engineer and Consumer Goods Expert. She spent her first 22 years in Scotland but now works in London. She holds an affiliated degree in product design engineering from Glasgow University/Glasgow School of Art; an MSc in Engineering Management from Strathclyde University and an MBA with distinction from Strathclyde International Business School.
In 2004 she was a finalist for the UK’s Young Achiever Leadership and Diversity Awards. In 2007 she was the Women Engineering Society Young Women Engineer of the Year and in 2008 was in the Global top 4 for MBA student of the year. Since then, Mamta has used her position to empower women and promote diversity nationally as well as being a STEM ambassador. She currently works for a major drinks firm. She most certainly is testament that dyslexia hasn't held her back.
Mark Stoddart is an International Designer. Mark, who is dyslexic, has a workshop in Ayrshire that was founded in 1990. Mark’s tables have become highly collectable, sought after by clients the world over. Foremost among these is a range of glass-topped coffee and dining tables with bronze-bases; some are sculptured into wild animal forms and others take their inspiration from technology, among them the Apollo Lunar Landing Module table, one of which belongs to former US astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the late Sir Patrick Moore. There is also an Apollo table at the Scottish Parliament.
Nicola Morgan is an award-winning author of over 100 books, mostly for young people but equally read by parents and professionals working with young people. A former dyslexia specialist, she became interested in all aspects of the learning brain, including and especially the teenage brain. Author of ‘Blame My Brain - The Amazing Teenage Brain Revealed’, Nicola is a professional speaker and is also the former Chair of the Society of Authors in Scotland.
Paul McNeill is the Head of Community Development for the Scottish Football Association. He discovered he was dyslexic in 1987, struggled at school and returned to full time education aged 24, obtaining degrees from Abertay and Glasgow University. In his role within the Scottish FA he manages all the ‘grassroots’ projects that are delivered via the regions which helps to increase participation levels, develop clubs and use football to help promote social change.
Paul champions the positive aspects of dyslexia and delivers talks about this throughout Scotland. He worked with Rossie Stone (another Dyslexia Scotland Ambassador) to create a schools workshop project called ‘Mission Superhero’.
Rossie Stone is the Founder of Dekko Comics. He discovered the power of comics as a learning tool and he now creates educational comics that help students across the UK. Rossie struggled with dyslexia throughout his school life and knows what it’s like to feel as if the whole world thinks you’re stupid. Reading and interpreting information through words was his big difficulty. However, he found that embracing his creativity and the things he loved in life were in fact what helped him access information better, as well as restore a lot of self-esteem in himself. Furthermore, he now wishes to spread this message of his life experience to as many people as possible.
Steven Naismith is a professional football player and is dyslexic. From Stewarton in Ayrshire, Steven rose through the ranks at local club Kilmarnock FC before landing his dream move to boyhood heroes Rangers FC. Performances at club and international level soon caught the attention of clubs in the English Premier League, resulting in a move to Everton FC. Steven then moved to Norwich City FC before his current loan spell at Heart of Midlothian FC back in Scotland.
Steven has been capped 49 times by Scotland to date.
Our young ambassadors come from all over Scotland. But this isn’t the only thing that they have in common – they all have dyslexia and are proud of it!
[Left to right] Eilidh, Hamish, Emma, Innes, Emma, Mark, Rachel, Yasmine, John and Kate work with our youth groups and local schools and colleges to help educate teachers, empower children and raise awareness of dyslexia. They've spoken at our conferences, Youth Days and starred in films and documentaries all about dyslexia. It's wonderful to have such positive young advocates raising awareness and supporting young people in our communities.
You can find out more about our Young Ambassadors and Young Ambassador mentors on our young persons website, Dyslexia Unwrapped