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Together at the top - the Chair and CEO relationship

Date 27 September 2022
Time 15:30 - 18:15
Venue Scottish Storytelling Centre, EH1 1SR
Organiser Arts & Business Scotland
  • Members: FREE for Arts & Business Scotland members


  • Non-Members: £20 + VAT for non-members

About the Event

The CEO and Chair relationship – how can you create a mutually supportive environment to thrive? This event is for chairs of Scottish heritage & mixed arts/heritage charities.

Arts & Business Scotland’s Building Capacity: Developing Skills programme is providing fantastic opportunities for Chairs of heritage or mixed arts/heritage organisations to network and learn from experts and peers in a mini-series called ‘The Heritage Chairs Network Exchange’.

The sessions focus on challenges chairs might be facing having come out of lockdown, and the wider context organisations need to respond to. The sessions will bring together chairs to allow participants to expand their peer networks and share experience.

This event is on 27 September 2022, from 4pm to 6.15pm at the Storytelling Centre in Edinburgh. Please feel free to join from 3.30pm for registration and pre-event networking.

We will cover:

A good Chair/CEO relationship is crucial to a successful organisation and requires openness and honesty on both sides. Catherine Holden will examine the leadership role played by each and how to develop an effective professional relationship. Open and confidential discussion will enable exploration of different approaches to this sometimes sensitive issue. At this event you’ll understand what the respective roles are of the chair, board and CEO, and what you can do to create a working environment that is mutually supportive.

Governance and strategy expert Catherine will facilitate this learning event and workshop, bringing her own experience as chair of Craft Scotland and Trustee for Clore Leadership, Art UK and Fruitmarket in Edinburgh.

We’ll also welcome pairs of Chairs and CEOs to talk about how they operate and deal with challenges, including Irene Kernan, CEO of Craft Scotland, who works alongside Catherine.

More information to follow on further speakers at this event, as we will be inviting more Chair / CEO pairings to talk about how they make it work and deal with any challenges.

Networking and presented material

This is an interactive session – you will have the opportunity to share ideas and network with fellow chairs of Heritage and Mixed Arts/Heritage organisations before the session, during the workshops and afterwards. An attendee list will be distributed prior to the event.

Materials presented will be made digitally available after the event.

The agenda:

Content will include:

  • Registration and networking from 15.30
  • Start at 16.00
  • Welcome by Arts & Business Scotland
  • Presentation by Catherine Holden
  • Break-outs
  • Presentation by guest speaker/s
  • Q&A
  • Networking at 17.45
  • Event ends at 18.15

Coffees and teas will be available throughout.


Catherine Holden

Catherine Holden is a strategic consultant, facilitator and coach. Her practice spans organisational change and governance; personal and team development; brands, marketing and audience engagement; and capital and revenue fundraising.

Catherine’s clients cover a wide range of national and local culture and heritage bodies across Scotland, the UK and beyond. These include museums, galleries, festivals, science centres, visual and performing arts organisations, historic houses, heritage campaigns, membership and leadership networks.

Catherine chairs the national development agency Craft Scotland and is a trustee of Clore Leadership, Art UK and Fruitmarket in Edinburgh.

Before founding her consultancy in 2016, Catherine held full-time leadership roles for over 25 years in marketing, fundraising and organisational development for a series of leading creative institutions including National Museums Scotland, the Natural History Museum, Tate (launching Tate Modern) and the National Theatre. She began her career in the business sector, working on national commercial grocery brands.

For A&BS, Catherine has co-developed and facilitated regional panels for the Resourcing Scotland's Heritage programme, bringing together board chairs in Edinburgh and Aberdeen to explore fundraising approaches. She has spoken at the Chair Matters forum, hosted a number of A&BS member events, and often attends A&BS gatherings as a delegate. Catherine’s Craft Scotland board host a talented recruit from the New Voices, Fresh Perspectives scheme and regularly use A&BS trustee training. Whilst working at National Museums Scotland Catherine and her Development team won a number of A&BS awards alongside valued business partners.


If you have any concerns, requests or questions about accessibility at this event, please contact

Chatham House Rules

This event will be under Chatham House Rule to facilitate an open conversation. When a meeting, or part thereof, is held under the Chatham House Rule, participants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), nor that of any other participant, may be revealed. These rules are in place to facilitate an open and honest discussion.

Cancellation policy

Cancellations can be made free of charge up to 1 week before the event date with a full refund. After this date a 100% cancellation charge will apply. Substitutions (ie transferring your place to another person) for the course or event booked can be made free of charge at any time.

Arts & Business Scotland reserves the right to cancel any event or course two weeks prior to the event date. You will be entitled to a full refund or given the opportunity to transfer to an alternative date. However, we regret we cannot refund any travel or accommodation costs incurred.

It may be necessary for reasons beyond our control to change the date, time or venue at any time prior to the course or event. If this happens, you will be given the opportunity to cancel or transfer to an alternative date.

Arts & Business Scotland reserves the right to amend the content of the programme of speakers where necessary.

Register online