Sonia Cottom

Sonia Cottom



Pain Association Scotland

Notable Achievements

  • • 2023 - Gamechangers 2023 Awards – Gamechanger of the Year
  • • 2018 – Awarded CEO Monthly Leadership Excellence award
  • • 2018 – Scottish Women’s Award finalist
  • • 2017 - Awarded IoD (Institute of Directors) Scotland Emerging Director of the Year
  • • 2017 – Awarded IoD (Institute of Directors) UK Early Stage Business award
  • • 2017 – Best practice of the charity featured in the Westminster Parliamentary Review
  • • 2013 - Received award for Financial Leadership by Sayer Vincent.
  • • 2004 – STAR GALA Employee of the Year for HBOS

Sonia Aitken (Cottom) is the Director of Pain Association Scotland, a national charity based in Perthshire, dedicated to helping people in chronic pain lead a better quality of life through self-management.

Sonia is an experienced third sector CEO, and a leading expert in chronic pain healthcare management across the UK. She has strong experience of developing business models which align with key performance outcomes and service re-design. Sonia was appointed Visiting Professor at York St John University in 2021 in recognition for her accomplishments in the field of healthcare management and, as such, has been keynote speaker at numerous conferences and is now working with other world leading universities.

Her research initiatives in the field of chronic pain and raising awareness are on-going. She contributes at national level through Parliamentary committees with the UK and Scottish Governments - advising on future policy to inform future strategic decision making.

Career Overview

Sonia Aitken became the Director of Pain Association Scotland in 2010, providing strategic direction and leadership, while also acting as chairwoman at the Institute of Directors – Tayside Branch and the Royal College of General Practitioners Patient Forum Scotland since 2017 and 2019, respectively.

Since 2010 she has presided over root and branch reform of the charity and has seen success across the board with vastly improved performance outcomes. In 2017, Sonia became the recipient of the Institute of Directors’ Early Stage Business Director award.

In January 2020, Sonia Cottom appeared in a Leaders Council of Great Britain and Northern Ireland podcast, discussing the importance of leadership and the role it has played in her career and how she has used those qualities to reform Pain Association Scotland and the sector for the better.


Visiting Professor at York St John University

In the News

Pain Association Scotland CEO recognised in CEO Monthly Awards

News | Published December 4th 2023, 11:32 am

Professor Sonia Cottom, CEO of Pain Association Scotland, has been acknowledged for her achievements in the CEO Monthly 2023 CEO of the Year Awards.Read more →

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