Ceannas - means leadership in Scots Gaelic


Ceannas® is an exclusive leadership development service reserved for the top two tiers in high performing organisations and those identified to be in succession or high potential categories.

To enable leaders to make high impact changes to their leadership behaviour that will add value to their orgainsation.

To consistently do the ‘right’ thing – where ’right’ is ethical, authentic, sincere and understated, which enables us to build long-term trusted relationships with senior leaders.


Our logo is based upon the Golden Spiral, which often appears in nature where the spiral grows at an exponential rate without losing its shape. The Ceannas proposition mirrors this phenonemon by identifying small changes to leadership behaviour that can have an exponential effect upon an organisation – without distorting its shape.


Small, observable and achieveable changes in leadership behaviour can have an exponential impact upon a leader’s effectiveness. Ceannas allows the leader to focus on changes to their behaviour that will have the greatest value.


Every company is different and what works with one company won’t always transfer to another. The Ceannas leadership design process takes those differences into account and generates a singular approach for each client .


Leadership behaviour must align with the company’s values or it cannot be consistent or effective. Ceannas help to make a company’s leadership culture explicit and enables leaders to align their behaviour with that culture.


How do you view yourself as a leader?


Ceannas have designed and developed a suite of integrated analytical tools that provide a foundation for a personal leadership change strategy


The Ceannas Leadership Sonar measures the extent to which a leader behaves in line with their organisation’s values as seen through the eyes of those they lead. It identifies blindspots; opportunities for change; elements of improving behaviour; and definite leadership assets.


The Ceannas Leadership Radar gathers the opinion of peers and seniors relating to the extent to which the leader has delivered against the key leadership behaviours identified by that organisation as being critical to its success.


The Ceannas Leadership Team Index is based on an Effectiveness to the Power of Team® score that shows a leadership team’s capacity to work in productive synergy. The individual and collective scores can be used to plan productive changes to team behaviour.



A differentiating feature of our practice is when we work with leaders on a one-to-one basis, where we spend a full day with them in the home of the Ceannas mentor as part of a series of such sessions. 


A Ceannas Gathering brings leaders together in a confidential, innovative and collaborative space where they can develop and share their leadership assets, all with a view to enhancing their collective impact upon the organisation.


We assist companies to design and deliver coherent vision, mission and values statements that translate and connect to productive leadership behaviour.

Ceannas Company Brochure

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Geoff Aitkenhead is a Director with Ceannas and has a long track record of successful leadership in industry. From 2002 to 2016 he was a member of the Group Board and Executive Leadership Team of Scottish Water, playing a significant leadership role in the remarkable transformation of the water industry in Scotland. During the 2002-16 period Geoff oversaw the successful delivery of c£8 billion of capital projects, accounting for a third of all civil engineering in Scotland. Geoff chaired the Boards of two plc companies established as special purpose vehicles for the delivery of capital investment programmes.

These companies involved a variety of utility, engineering and construction companies as shareholders and delivery partners. He is currently Chairman of Scottish Water International and former Chairman of WaterAid (Scotland), an organisation dedicated to the provision of clean water and sanitation in the developing world. Geoff is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a member of the Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management, and a graduate of Newcastle University. He is the father of three daughters and likes nothing more than walking in his beloved Cumbrian hills.



Mary Horsburgh is Business Manager at Ceannas Ltd.  Mary has a long career in administration, having worked in both the public and private sector for many years, with a proven background in delivering a high standard of administrative and personal support to senior executives.  She has been fortunate to work with individuals with true leadership values and this has greatly influenced her thinking.       

Mary embarked upon an Executive MBA later in life, juggling a high pressure working life and personal responsibilities, and this has enabled her to further develop her passion for leadership, motivation and organisational development while at the same time honing her business and management skills to a deeper level. 



Don Ledingham, is the founder and Chief Executive of Ceannas. He has had a lifelong interest in education and leadership. It led him earlier in his career to become a teacher, university lecturer, headteacher, and executive director of education in two local authorities. As his career progressed his interest in the learning process connected with this natural curiosity about the behaviours that translate into great leadership. He completed an MPhil in leadership and then spent two decades researching the characteristics of successful leaders.

Emerging from his own leadership experience; research into high performing organisations; and personal innovation came the Ceannas methodology, which allowed him to focus on his twin passions of teaching and leadership. He is the author of ’A Small Step to Wise Leadership, (2017) and an honorary professor of leadership at Queen Margaret University Edinburgh. He subscribes to the words of T.S Elliot, who said,“Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.”  



Sarah Ledingham is Chief Operating Officer for Ceannas. She is responsible for ensuring the quality of our services, data analysis and data protection. Sarah holds an MA Law and Sociology degree from Edinburgh University. She started her career in Human Resources with Morton Fraser, one of Scotland’s leading law firms, who subsequently sponsored her to complete a master’s degree in human resource management. She further developed her experience by joining Scotland’s Rural College, a large public service organisation, where she developed her interest in leadership.

Following a move to Australia, she joined the global investment management company Fidelity International as an HR business partner working with the Australian business and wider Asia Pacific team. As befits someone with a legal background Sarah brings a rigour and precision to the services we provide to our clients. Aligned with her professional experience this allows Ceannas to understand and connect to the HR needs and challenges facing large organisations.



Yvonne McCracken has a national reputation as a Learning Designer. She is highly sought after by government and organisations to design and deliver units of learning, learning activities and learning environments for senior leaders. Yvonne holds a Master’s Degree in Education, and MSc in Research, Advanced Policy and Practice combined with extensive and significant experience of senior leadership positions at directorate level – with a focus on education and training.

Yvonne is responsible for developing the Ceannas Academy programmes, which focus on delivering practical advice and strategies for emerging senior leaders across the commercial sector. Her skill lies in being able to translate complex concepts of learning and leadership into activities, resources and content that inspire, inform and enable people to make a positive difference to the lives of those they lead and the businesses in which they work. Her expertise extends to delivery and supporting others to deliver Ceannas Academy Programmes.



Dr Mairi O’Keefe MBE is a Director with Ceannas, and has a mission to change people’s lives for the better. As Chief Executive of Leuchie House, the national respite centre, she averted its closure when funding was suddenly withdrawn leaving 450 families without access to specialist respite care. Undaunted, she set up an independent charity, established a board and advisory group, and took on the employment of over 90 staff. Over the course of seven years she and her remarkable team delivered 33,457 nights of respite care for people with a wide range of long-term conditions including MND, MS and stroke.

Through her vision to ensure that people with such conditions are not just a “disease in a wheelchair”, she has inspired people and communities and raised over £6 million to translate the vision into a reality. An innovator at heart she is highly sought after by government and other organisations for advice. Mairi combines a very strong practical perspective with an energy, passion and enthusiasm that, in the words of one chief executive, “lights a fire that cannot be extinguished”. Mairi’s leadership abilities have been recognised by an MBE in 2014 New Year’s honours list.


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Melvin is a Director with Ceannas and has more than 30 years successful international experience in management and executive leadership roles within customer focused and highly regulated markets. Melvin has had significant impact in culturally diverse professional environments across the luxury hospitality, management consulting and private healthcare sectors. As the Manager of the Oriental Hotel in Bangkok he worked with a team of 1200 to deliver outstanding service resulting in the hotel being repeatedly recognised as number one in the world.

Having further developed his leadership education at the Wharton Business School and the London Business School he joined BUPA, the not for profit healthcare company. It was here that he translated his experience of the hospitality industry to great effect contributing to the transformation of one of the world’s most successful private hospital providers. As a flagship hospital director and subsequently as a director of new ventures he has a unique perspective on delivering strategic market growth aligned to a values-led approach where “customers come first”.


We build our business through conversations. We do not advertise or promote our services. Our client list is deliberately restricted and exclusive thereby allowing us to dedicate our service to maximise value. If you think that we might be a suitable partner for your business then please contact our business manager, Mary Horsburgh, at maryhorsburgh@ceannas.com.