Growth at Royal College of Surgeons leads to new HR role

Downard headhunted from role at Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club 

Recent expansion and ambitious plans for growth have led a historic Edinburgh venue to grow its team and land a highly experienced human resources manager.
Recruited from her post at Dalmahoy Hotel and Country Club, Lorraine Downard joins the commercial arm of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh (RCSEd) as HR manager.
After posting revenues of £4.25million and growing to a base of 90 staff, the decision was made for the RCSEd Commercial Enterprises team to recruit a full time, senior HR professional – in order to help facilitate sustained future growth.
In her new role, Downard has been tasked with motivating and building the team across RCSEd’s four iconic buildings, as well as the successful Ten Hill Place Hotel, Café 1505, No.10 Restaurant and 10 Wine Bar.
Downard said: “It’s an exciting time to be joining with the many successes of last year and some fantastic plans to expand across the business even further.
“Thanks to demand in the summer season, the team is likely to grow once again to more than a hundred people – and I’m looking forward to the challenges that brings.
“It is also a great motivation to know that profit generated at my new workplace goes back into training surgeons and advancing the important work of the college, all around the world.”
Making the move to the charitable organisation after more than two decades working in hospitality management and HR, Downard developed her expertise working with brands including Marriott, Barcelo and Ramada.
Scott Mitchell, commercial director at Surgeon’s Hall, said: “Lorraine has a wealth of experience working with staff at some of the country’s most respected hotels. She is an ideal fit for Surgeons’ Hall and we are delighted to have her working with us.
“Not only do we have our own hotel, but our conferencing and venues require an increasing number of team members to uphold the high standards we pride ourselves on.
“It is vital we have someone with real calibre taking on this responsibility – that is why we created this permanent, full-time role for Lorraine.
“We all very much look forward to working with Lorraine to help ensure the College thrives for years to come.”
The College is best known for its magnificent Playfair Building, dating back to 1832. Other venues include the King Khalid Building, formerly St Michael’s Church, which has been transformed into an outstanding 158-seated auditorium.
The Prince Phillip building opened in 2015 following the transformation of a former Edinburgh University language school and the modern Quincentenary Conference Centre was created in 2005 to celebrate the institution’s 500th anniversary.
Launched in 2006, the Commercial Enterprises team promotes, sells and manages conferences, corporate events, weddings and other events across the College’s buildings.
It has also helped establish the College as a Festival-Fringe venue and last August hosted seven theatres frequented by 75,000 customers, while also delivering significant food and beverage sales through its partnership with Edinburgh based Heritage Portfolio.
The Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh is one of the world’s oldest medical institutions founded in 1505 after receiving a Royal Seal of Cause from King James IV. All proceeds made by Commercial Enterprises support the charitable aims of the College which are education, assessment and advancement in surgery.
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Hannah Hamilton, who is a former Fife College student, is a reporter and assistant content editor for Scotland B2B, specialising in B2B news and features. She can be contacted via