James Burberry

James Burberry

I welcome this opportunity to provide you with my election address for the role of Director of the Foundation of Hearts.

I’m a lifelong Hearts fan – which I wear as a badge of pride. I am a recently retired business advisor with circa 30 years’ experience built from a career in professional services Firms, the last 20 of which were in a leadership role as a Partner with client service, profit, risk and governance responsibilities.

In the last 15 years at RSM I have specialised in advising membership organisations with Charitable status similar to the Foundation, their Boards, Trustees and wider stakeholders, on a wide range of issues affecting their Charitable objectives, fundraising plans and future funding and wider business needs. In this area of specialism, I have built up an extensive network of business and personal contacts with similar professional and personal interests, which I would seek to bring to bear in the Role of Director to the benefit of the Foundation. This I believe shows that I have the necessary understanding of the past, current and future business and commercial issues faced by the Foundation and its members, and potentially I could act as a sounding board for matters impacting on the Football Club.

I also have experience in leading and delivering Diversity and Inclusion initiatives for stakeholders which I believe will contribute towards the stated values of the Foundation, and would ideally contribute further to a sense of inclusion amongst pledgers.

Prior to my career in professional services, I served in the Army, and therefore have a deep understanding of the history HMFC and the Armed Forces and the importance for HMFC and the Foundation to continue that historic relationship.

I am a season ticket holder, an early pledger to the Foundation, and now a proud plot owner of a part of the hallowed turf at Tynecastle. I’m Edinburgh born and bred and live, and have lived, within the sound of Tynecastle for most of my life. The Hearts DNA that I inherited from my family, which stretches way back to pre-war years, has now been passed on to the next generation, as they share and pass on their love of Hearts in the likes of London and as far afield as Australia and Uruguay. My recent retirement (June 2022) affords me the opportunity to commit as much time, and indeed more time as may be necessary, to the role of Director.

I would see my role as a new Director as an evolutionary process in the first instance. I WOUld, assume nothing and act without a preconceived agenda or lists of topics or reasons for change.

Rather, I would spend my time initially to come up to speed with current and future matters by listening and learning from pledgers together with current and departing board members and exploring areas where I may be able to have an immediate and positive impact based on my experiences. For instance, say around current initiatives to maintain, expand, broaden and deepen the pledge base, engagement initiatives with pledgers, and harnessing the passion we all have for our club.

I also see the role of Director as one of custodian. That is, custodian of the foundations laid and legacy established to date, custodian of the reputation built which has to be jealously guarded and protected. and custodian of such for the benefit of those who seek to follow us in future.

To quote the late, great Dave Mackay ” … Always Hearts … “.