Alison Burns LL.B Dip LP NP FRSA – who started her career as an engineer, lawyer, and jazz singer – is now an in-demand futurist keynote speaker on ethical futurism and business ethics. For over 30 years, she has been a trailblazer in the fields of engineering, entertainment, technology and the law. Today as an Ethical Futurist™ she helps organisations and individuals think and act more ethically through her entertaining and inspiring keynote speeches on ethical leadership, future trends, sustainability, diversity, inclusion and the ethical implications of technology. She is a recipient of Asia Pacific Foundation’s Brand Laureate Award whose past recipients include Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Aretha Franklin, Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.
Born in Dundee, an industrial city on the east coast of Scotland, to British and Canadian parents, her dreams was always of being on the stage. Today she has spoken or performed on some of the world’s biggest stages across the USA, China, Japan, Canada, Australia, Singapore, India, Italy and the UK.
Prior to becoming an in-demand keynote speaker she achieved success as one of the first female mechanical engineers in her native Scotland, as an actor for stage and screen, a BBC TV presenter, and an intellectual property lawyer working with biotechnologists and businesses.
Alison has been featured in countless media outlets through her speaking, acting and singing work and her fans range from tech CEO’s and movie directors, to royalty and billionaires. She recently performed a star-studded concert for Prince William at Windsor Castle in England in advance of HRH announcing his engagement to Kate Middleton.
As a jazz singer she released her debut album ‘Kissing Bug’ in 2007 and it was received with universal acclaim, becoming the first album by a Scottish jazz singer to reach the Jazz Top 10. These albums were soon followed by 1:AM, Last Train to Hauteville (where she sang in French), and I’ll Be Home For Christmas. Touring to promote these albums resulted in concerts in Tokyo, New York, San Francisco, Cannes, London, Singapore, Bangkok, Sydney and Shanghai.
Alison has also performed as guest soloist with the BBC Big Band, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Guy Barker Big Band and at legendary concert halls including London’s Royal Albert Hall where she performed alongside Bill Wyman and Ronnie Woods from the Rolling Stones, Mick Hucknall of Simply Red and Mel C of the Spice Girls.
As a campaigner for human rights, non-human rights, diversity and inclusion, Alison is actively involved in supporting organisations including Lion Aid, Animals Asia, Tiger Time, Soi Dogs Foundation (Thailand), All Dogs Matter, Story Book Farm Primate Sanctuary (Canada). She has served as a board member, committee member or fundraising committee member of Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Trust, Napa Valley Land Trust (USA), Kirkmichael International Guitar Festival and Dundee University Students Association. She is a member of the Scottish committee of the UK Centre for Animal Law (A-Law) which promotes interest in animal law and provides a hub of legal expertise, education and resources to improve the law protecting animal interests.
Today Alison is perhaps most well known as an Ethical Futurist™, business ethics expert and keynote speaker on the topics of ethical leadership, future trends, sustainability, diversity and inclusion and the ethical implications of technologies such as AI, robotics, cybersecurity and biotech.
Alison is a Fellow of the prestigious Royal Society of the Arts (F.R.S.A.) whose Fellows have included other trailblazers and innovators including Marie Curie, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, President Benjamin Franklin, Bob Dylan, Adam Smith,Professor Stephen Hawking and Oscar award-winning actor Dame Judi Dench.
When not travelling to speak or perform Alison divides her time between Scotland and Italy.