With an expert understanding of their individual specialist sectors, our time-served team members bring a highly personal, consultative and can-do approach to executive search.
Each of us understands the importance of forging relationships built on trust, transparency and teamwork and we are always looking for innovative ways to source and secure the very best leadership talent.
Since inception, many of Scotland’s most influential and leading organisations have put their trust in Aspen People to support their Board and Executive level recruitment campaigns. Over 90% of our clients prefer to retain our professional service, and we are indeed very proud that return to place their faith in us to deliver further recruitment services built on authenticity, action and accountability.
As every successful professional services business knows, word of mouth and referral are fundamental to ensuring ongoing success. That’s why we are delighted that so many of the candidates and clients that we have assisted are prepared to toot our trumpet.
I was immediately taken with the professionalism projected by the Aspen website and then in my initial conversation with Debbie, followed by an excellent proposal package. The scale and quality of the candidate response was really impressive – far beyond anything we could have conjured through our own efforts. Having all the legwork taken off us throughout the process was an enormous relief too, in particular not having to make the difficult calls to disappointed candidates, which is always so hard. The information provided at sift was concise and useful, and having someone to keep us on track during interviews was very useful. Overall it was a fantastic experience which I would thoroughly recommend. You managed to remove most of the stress from what could otherwise have been a really stressful experience. Thank you!
Kate Darrah – Managing Director, The Ridge
The Chamber sought Debbie’s support for the recruitment of an interim Regional Executive Director role as we required some extra help to find the right individual after some initial open advertising. Her insights were invaluable both in terms of how we were expressing what we wanted job description wise but also suggestions of how the market was currently behaving and candidate expectations. She sourced several excellent potential candidates for us to interview and we have been absolutely delighted with the candidate we appointed. She cuts right to the chase and sees and understands the needs of both the recruiting company and the candidates as equal in importance which I believe is essential to get the right fit. I would highly recommend working with Debbie and have since passed on a number of candidates to her for advice and as potential future clients.
Working with Aspen made the whole recruitment process simple and effective. Their professional approach and ability to connect with such a talented pool of candidates meant we were sure of a great result.
Victoria Corbishley – UK Director of Health and Local Crisis Response, British Red Cross
Debbie recently supported me in finding a new senior leadership role within the Third Sector. Throughout the process, Debbie was really supportive and attentive to my needs, always making sure I had the information I needed and was across all communications, reaching out continuously without leaving anything to drift. Debbie has the right balance of really making you feel she is batting for you while maintaining a professional approach to the recruitment process. I very much enjoyed the process, not something I have often felt in a recruitment and that was largely down to the way Debbie managed it. I would have absolute confidence in recommending Debbie to any organisation or individual.
Jeremy Miles – Candidate
I find Aspen to be professional, responsive and reliable. In a recent search they provided value for money, demonstrated a good understanding of the needs of the position and exercised sound judgement on the range of candidates. I valued their assistance from start of the search to the final selection.
Maureen McGinn – Convener, Children in Scotland
I’ve known Debbie in a professional capacity for some time now and have no hesitation in recommending her and her team for the professional range of services she delivers. Debbie’s personal style makes her engaging and adds immense value to the relationships that are so key in the professional appointments field. I’ve worked directly with Debbie to secure my current appointment and can assuredly say with no fear of contradiction, how perfectly she matched the requirements she was tasks with from both my perspective and that off the other party. Should you need a highly connected headhunter or senior professionals recruiter, you could do no better than to work with Debbie and her team.
Karen Morrill – Candidate
Thank you once again for your amazing support. Our Directors are genuinely grateful for the insight and expertise Aspen brings to the table.
George Houliston – Recruitment Manager, SRUC
Just completed working with Emma on an Executive appointment within my organisation. During our initial conversation through to our successful appointment I found Emma to be highly professional, knowledgeable and extremely competent in her interactions and ability to source a wide range of potential candidates. Emma was easy to deal with, an excellent communicator and was fair and honest in her interactions with me. Emma was able to be flexible to our particular needs and exceeded our expectations of the process, providing a high level of service but also being friendly and helpful throughout. If you have the pleasure of working with Emma I am sure you will say the same.
Debbie Kerr – HR, Borders College
Aspen provided an excellent executive search service for recruitment of a new Director of Customer Services, following a recent senior team restructure. The whole process was smooth, professional and produced the right result; a high quality shortlist and an excellent candidate appointed, who is keen and ready to get to work. Mike’s service was top rate throughout with very good support, advice and insights.
Jason MacGilp – Group Chief Executive, Cairn Housing
Debbie recently assisted us in the recruitment of two high profile senior roles at Scottish Canals. Debbie has a great up to date knowledge of the Executive market in Scotland across a wide range of sectors which was an enormous benefit during our recruitment process. Debbie led and managed the recruitment process professionally from beginning to end, selecting some of the best candidates at that level in Scotland for our consideration. Debbie is highly experienced and knowledgeable in her field, a highly effective and diligent professional that I would have no hesitation in reaching out to for recruitment support in the future.
Denise Miller – Head of People, Scottish Canals
“I am delighted to have secured the prestigious role of Scottish EPA Chief Executive. Donogh and his team supported me brilliantly right from the first approach and at every subsequent stage in the process, I was never in doubt. This strategy enabled me to focus on my day job and concentrate on what really mattered.”
Terry A’Hearn – SEPA Chief Executive Officer
“Aspen provided innovative recruitment solutions to ensure the involvement and support of the entire SEPA Agency Board. I was very impressed by Aspen’s service throughout the recruitment process, particularly in identifying a very competitive group of candidates.
“Aspen’s support during the interviews and subsequent discussions throughout the appointment process was invaluable.”
David Sigsworth – SEPA Chair
“Nigel Fortnum’s enthusiasm, understanding of our needs and insight into the market ensured two successful appointments into business critical roles and a field of strong candidates to choose from.”
Julia Mulloy – Scottish Borders Housing Association Chief Executive
“Working with Aspen from the start was a pleasure. Catriona Mackie understood our needs and our sector. Alongside Kelsey Sinclair, she worked with us every step of the way to deliver a very customer focussed process which I would recommend to anyone else looking to work with a recruitment organisation.”
Orla Cochrane – The Conservation Volunteers People and Change Director
“Aspen managed the process for recruitment of our new CEO. We were impressed with the efficiency and attention to detail that characterised each stage from advertisement to final appointment.
“We appreciated the quality of the guidance we received and are confident that the successful outcome is right for the Trust”.
Malcolm Noble – Royal Caledonian Education Trust Chairman
“We have used Aspen’s services to recruit twice, for Trustees and a Chief Executive. Both exercises were successful and we were highly impressed by the responsiveness, support and results. In particular, the advice and professionalism of Catriona Mackie, was first class.
“It is evident that Aspen has a strong network and understands the Scottish public sector scene well. I would recommend their services”.
Alastair MacDonald – Victim Support Scotland National Chair
“We have used the services of Aspen over a number of years to assist with our senior level recruitment. Without fail we have been impressed by their understanding of the needs of our unique organisation and the strong field of candidates they always attract. Nigel Fortnum and Kelsey Sinclair have built a very good working relationship with us.”
Alan Laidlaw – RHASS CEO
“Social Investment Scotland has now been supported by Donogh O’Brien and his team at Aspen during two cycles of recruitment for a Board Chair and other Trustees.
“During both processes, we have found Aspen’s input to be first rate – not only in terms of their networks and reach, but most importantly allowing us to focus on having quality interactions with candidates.
“We would have no hesitation in recommending Aspen to other charities and social enterprises”
Alastair Davis – Social Investment Scotland Chief Executive
“We engaged Aspen to help recruit a Head of Policy. Catriona Mackie and Katy Gall quickly established what we needed and put together a plan to achieve this. Throughout the search process the professionalism and support was first class, coupled with warmth and humour.
“Not only has it been hassle free and value for money, it has resulted in the appointment of a super candidate. I would not hesitate in recommending Aspen to other organisations”.
“We engaged Aspen to support the search and selection of a new Chief Executive for the Charity and Housing Association. Throughout the process Nigel Fortnum provided wise counsel and support whilst Kelsey Sinclair administered with great care. Aspen generated an impressive list of high quality candidates that more than met our aspirations. We were delighted with the eventual outcome of the process”.
George Lowder MBE – Scottish Veterans’ Residences and Housing Association Chair
Debbie placed me in a fantastic interim role with changing faces. She was informed, helpful and highly skilled at aligning the organisation’s and candidate’s needs. Personally and professionally she was a joy too – I highly commend her!
Marie McQuade – Candidate
“We received great support from Debbie Shields at Aspen People in our search and appointment of our new Chief Executive Officer, Dr Ron Culley”.
Alice Harper – Quarriers Chief Executive Office
“Debbie Shields is a highly professional and skilled individual who took great care when supporting me through my journey to become CEO of a remarkable charity. Never too busy to take a call or answer a message, she provided a first class service throughout the recruitment process.
“I cannot thank Debbie enough for her support, guidance and most of all her encouragement.”
Rob Murray – Cancer Support Scotland Chief Executive
“Having worked successfully with Donogh O’Brien and the team at Aspen a number of times, I would recommend them as one of the “go to” organisations for leadership appointments in Scotland and beyond”
Damien Yeates – Skills Development Scotland Chief Executive
“Nigel Fortnum, Mike Orr and Katy Gall led our efforts to cast our net widely and deeply, supporting all the candidates in their ambition to succeed our CEO.
“Throughout the process their professionalism shone through, developing the talent identification strategy and delivering the recruitment details in equal measure. The outcome? A great result!”
Ross Martin – Link Group Chair
“Debbie was very supportive through the recruitment process, taking time to get to know the organisation and candidates. She has great knowledge of the charity sector and this was really valuable throughout the recruitment process. I’d recommend Debbie and the team at Aspen for offering a professional service that delivers considerable value during executive appointments.”
Gail Burden – CEO, Sleep Scotland
Partnerships & Accreditations
APSCo (The Association of Professional Staffing Companies) is the only membership body dedicated to representing excellence in the professional recruitment industry. Since its founding in 1999 it has grown rapidly to become the authoritative, trusted and innovative voice for the professional recruitment sector, representing organisations and affiliates from sole proprietors and boutiques to international blue-chips.
The APSCo badge is recognised by candidates and employers as the differentiating quality mark in professional talent acquisition.
We are strategic partners of ACOSVO, the Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations. ACOSVO exists to inspire, excel and develop leaders by providing a wide range of topical events, development opportunities and relevant services.
Aspen is proud to be accredited by the Living Wage Foundation. The real Living Wage is the only UK wage rate that is voluntarily paid by 7,000 UK businesses who believe their staff deserve a wage which meets everyday needs – like the weekly shop, or a surprise trip to the dentist.
Cyber Essentials is a Government-backed, industry-supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common online threats. Aspen sees this accreditation as essential reassurance for our clients that our IT is secure against cyber attack.
Frameworks help public and third sector buyers to procure goods and services from a list of pre-approved suppliers, with agreed terms and conditions and legal protections. Currently Aspen People are Number 1 on the APUC Framework and ranked and approved by the following:
The Advanced Procurement for Universities and Colleges (APUC) is the procurement centre of expertise for Scotland’s universities and colleges. APUC’s vision is to maximise the value of Scotland’s investment in further and higher education by working in partnership with institutions to support and enable sustainable innovation in procurement and shared service optimisation.
NHS National Services Scotland is a Non Departmental Public Body which provides advice and services to the rest of NHS Scotland. Accountable to the Scottish Government, NSS works at the heart of the health service, providing national strategic support services and expert advice to NHS Scotland.
CCS plays an important role in helping the UK public sector save money when buying common goods and services. They are the biggest public procurement organisation in the UK and use commercial expertise to help buyers in central government and across the public and third sectors to purchase everything from locum doctors and laptops to police cars and electricity.
ESPO is a public sector owned professional buying organisation (PBO), specialising in providing a wide range of goods and services to the public sector for over 40 years. They offer a comprehensive, one-stop shop solutions to UK schools of over 27,000 catalogue products, 120 frameworks and bespoke procurement services, all with free support and advice available from our expert teams. They also offer a unique range and support for early years settings through our Eduzone brand.