Institute of Directors Scotland appoints new national director Catherine McWilliam who hopes to focus on inclusivity and diversity

Conversations around misogyny, diversity and inclusivity should be encouraged in the workforce, the newly-appointed national director of the Institute of Directors (IoD) has said

Following her appointment, Catherine McWilliam told The Scotsman more companies should have “uncomfortable” conversations around misogyny and she hopes to encourage this practice.

Founded in 1903, the IoD is a non-party political organisation for chief executives of large corporations, as well as entrepreneurs, directors of public sector bodies, charities and start-up companies.

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Ms McWilliam, who joined the IoD team in October 2021 after a decade of experience working in the Scottish business and third sector, hopes to bring a “fresh approach”.

Catherine McWilliam, Institute of Directors Scotland (Photo: Mike Wilkinson).
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She said: "We have a diversity, equality and inclusion ambassador forum where we’re looking to be really pro-active in that particular piece of work.

"We really want to lead from the front foot and have those uncomfortable, but necessary conversations to be the leaders of cultural change and set the tone for the rest of staff.

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"I am really hoping to look at ways we can learn from one another and listen to lived experiences.”

Ms McWilliam said she did not believe misogyny was a problem at the moment in her organisation, claiming there was “exponential growth” in women coming forward as members.

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"People have been commenting that they are joining the IoD because they are seeing it [the increase in women in the organisation] here when they haven’t seen it in other organisations,” she said.

Seeing the role as a long-term appointment for herself, Ms McWilliam said she hoped to continue to grow and encourage diversity and growth and inclusivity.

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The organisation is due to publish a White Paper with Lord Shinkwin on inclusivity and diversity in the workforce in October .

Jonathan Geldart, director general of the IoD said: “Catherine brilliantly reflects the tenacity of leaders in Scotland, who have been working through one crisis after another over the last three years.

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"Skills shortages, recruitment challenges and energy costs are all priorities for leaders right now, and Catherine is well placed to provide practical support and suggest innovative solutions to help assuage these concerns, or even simply to connect leaders with others experiencing the same issues.”

Ms McWilliam succeeds previous national director, Louise Macdonald, who was appointed National Director for Economy in the spring of this year.

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