Alumni Services

Linsay Given Black

Linsay Given Black has changed course a few times in her university and professional careers.

Name Linsay Given Black
Degree Course MA Hons History
Year of Graduation 1982
Linsay Given Black

Your time at the University

I started my university career at Heriot Watt and Edinburgh College of Art in 1977, studying architecture. But I didn’t find it to be what I expected and visited a careers adviser who suggested that I choose a subject that I had loved at school. So I transferred to study my favourite subject - History.

I became involved very quickly with Edinburgh University Theatre Company, becoming secretary in my second year and even producing a Fringe show. I have very fond memories of the move from Hill Street (our first theatre) to Bedlam, redecorating the venue and planning our productions, staying up all night to get shows ready for the Fringe.

Probably my favourite experience was my dissertation. I chose to write about African and US newspapers during the First World War and spent many hours reading old newspapers on microfiche in the University Library. I also loved the National Library of Scotland on George IV Bridge, which you were allowed to use once you were on the Honours course in third year.

Tell us about your Experiences since leaving the University

I left university in 1982 with a desire to work in communications so I did a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication at Boston University. I was lucky to get a scholarship from Shell as my father worked for the company. I also worked as a Teaching Assistant on the undergraduate classes.

After the postgraduate degree, I got my first job as a graduate trainee at Profile Public Relations in London, working on corporate and business-to-business accounts, before becoming the first ever Marketing Communications Manager of the largest law firm in the world at the time, Clifford Chance.

This was a fabulous job - I travelled to Paris, Madrid, Brussels and New York to work with our offices in each of those cities and managed a six figure budget covering publications, public relations, media training and events such as conferences and seminars.

After a few years though Edinburgh called me back and I took a similar job with a large Scottish law firm.

I feel that if I achieve nothing else in my career, it does not matter if I can help this little boy and others in the Asian community to find life-saving bone marrow donations.

Linsay Given Black

Eventually, I set up my own business, which I had always wanted to do, offering PR consultancy advice to professional firms and small companies. I got married and had my daughter and refocused on the charity sector, which is still my area of operation.

I look after public relations, marketing communications and fundraising for a range of charities and sit on the Board of two: ICE Store and the Jaskomal Foundation, as well as working with the North West Edinburgh Food Bank, St Columba’s Hospice and Unique Home, a charity which helps young girls in the Punjab.

I am proudest of Gaurav’s Campaign: Give Hope a Chance, which I am working on now. Gaurav is a two year old Sikh boy who has a rare condition called Monosomy 7. If he does not receive a bone marrow transplant he will develop a very aggressive form of blood cancer. His family are not matches for him, so we are looking for a non-related donor.

I write a blog which has been hugely successful with nearly 10,000 views in just four weeks, and responses from all over the world offering to donate and help. I feel that if I achieve nothing else in my career, it does not matter if I can help this little boy and others in the Asian community to find life-saving bone marrow donations.

Alumni wisdom

Study what you love and volunteer in areas which interest you as a career.