Zoë Holliday


Zoë is based in Glasgow and is experienced in third sector management and strategy in Scotland and abroad, in a variety of sustainable development fields.

As CEO at CES I’m looking forward to working closely with all the team to make sure that the organisation’s strategy, structure and policies are fit for purpose and that CES continues to be an innovative organisation where team members thrive and are excited to go to work every day.

Joining CES represents a return for me to the sustainable energy sector; I started my career at a consulting firm in Bognor Regis specialising in climate change adaptation and mitigation. While there I managed the UK’s largest grants database for sustainable energy funding; managed our energy services consultancy programme; and worked on a number of Energy Saving Trust programmes. This led to my being transferred to the Energy Saving Trust in Scotland, where I managed the support services for local authorities and housing associations and led on the ‘Practical help’ service, which included an ‘ask us anything’ service – so I gained all sorts of obscure knowledge like the relative insulation factors of different types of thatch, and the environmental benefits of using different types of coffins! The five years I worked at the Energy Saving Trust were during a very dynamic time in the sector, and it was exciting to lead on some interesting projects and reports covering everything from the potential for Feed-In Tariffs in Scotland to a best practice guide for planning professionals.

My next step was to undertake a short research project at the Center for the Study of Democracy, where I looked at the potential for energy improvements in the domestic sector in Bulgaria. I then moved to the Scottish Federation of Housing Associations, where I provided research support to the policy team and managed the development of new projects relating to sustainable energy, including the launch of a funding programme to provide grants for monitoring equipment that would add value and data to innovative projects.

At this point my career took a different turn; what started as a short-term volunteering project turned into eight years working with Caritas in Bulgaria. During this time I worked for two years in an atelier for vulnerable women, managed two award-winning volunteer programmes and, when immigration reached record levels and an emergency situation was declared in the country, I collaborated with UNICEF to launch and manage the first ever full time educational activities in four refugee centres and two detention centres across Bulgaria. I then moved into the senior management team as the Head of Strategic Development and worked closely with our teams on the ground to develop new programmes with all six of our beneficiary groups.

My experience working at Caritas Sofia led to two other roles working with refugees – firstly as the coordinator of the Refugee Survival Trust in Glasgow, where for three years I was continuously saddened by the effects of the UK Government’s ‘hostile environment’ policies and looked for ways to make life a little easier for refugees facing destitution in Scotland. I then moved to a role as Executive Director of the Humans in the Loop Foundation, where I was privileged to have the opportunity to develop new partnerships to bring training and remote work opportunities to conflict-affected people in ten countries including Ukraine, Yemen, Afghanistan and DRC.

When I’m not working, I can often be found volunteering – organising activities for children with serious illnesses at Over the Wall camps, distributing donations at my local food bank, or piloting a tandem bike / pushing adaptive wheelchairs in running races to support friends with disabilities to participate in sports events. I also like to challenge myself and have done some of Europe’s toughest long distance audax cycle rides and completed an Ironman.


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