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Group tackles gender gap

Business leaders unite to mentor executive women

Tracy Black

Tracy Black: ‘We need more women in the senior ranks’

Some of Scotland’s senior business leaders are to deliver a new mentoring programme to help increase the number of women in senior executive roles.

Eighteen leaders, who will each mentor three women for 12 months, met for the first time today at the headquarters of ScottishPower which is driving the initiative with CBI Scotland.

The group agreed to regular contact and feedback to ensure the programme maximises the experience for the women being mentored.

CBI Scotland director Tracy Black will act as a mentor and her organisation will oversee the programme.

Keith Anderson, ScottishPower CEO, said: “A common factor raised in a lot of organisations when reporting on their gender pay gap is the under-representation of women in senior roles.

“This was the case for ScottishPower, and we are already reviewing how we identify talent and enhance career opportunities internally.

“The issue is greater than one company or one industry though, and we want to work with leaders in all organisations across to Scotland so that collectively we can identify weaknesses and improve practices.

“It has been very encouraging to see so many organisations and individuals agreeing to be part of this mentoring scheme, and I am sure everyone involved will benefit from the experience.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I commend ScottishPower and CBI Scotland for launching this initiative and committing to narrowing the gender pay gap in sectors traditionally difficult for women to both enter and progress in. 

“I am delighted to see that so many people in leadership roles across industry are pledging their time to help women achieve their potential.

“As the first year of the ‘First Mentor’ initiative has taught me, mentoring is a quite unique, rewarding experience: by sharing our experiences we are not just supporting a new generation of women leaders, but we are also learning from them in return. 

“Equality for women is at the heart of the Scottish Government’s vision for an equal Scotland. As set out in our 2017 Programme for Government, we are taking concrete steps in ensuring gender balance is maintained on public sector boards and in helping women back into the workplace after a career break.” 

Ms Black said: “Many businesses are already doing more to build inclusive working environments that enable people to be their best.  But we’re not there yet. 

“While women are joining boards in greater numbers than ever, it’s often as non-executive directors. These are important roles but they are not the day-to-day leaders of UK firms.

“We need more women in the senior ranks of our companies.  Mentoring is an extremely powerful tool in our arsenal – it gives aspiring women the chance to learn leadership skills from the best minds in business and helps them access the kind of networks that can too often feel closed off to them. That’s why we’re delighted to support this initiative.”

The full list of mentors /organisations who will take part in the scheme is: 


Company / Organisation

Keith Anderson


Tracy Black

CBI Scotland

Dr Lena Wilson

ScottishPower Renewables / RBS / Intertek Group PLC

Debbie Crosbie

Clydesdale Bank PLC

Graham Hutcheon

Edrington Group

Damien Yeates – SDS

Skills Development Scotland

Sir Anton Muscatelli

University of Glasgow

Catherine Burnet


Brendan Dick

BT Scotland

Susan Deacon

Scottish Police Authority

Claire Reid


Mark Harvey


Lynne Connolly

Standard Life Aberdeen PLC

Councillor Susan Aitken

Glasgow City Council

Marie Macklin

HALO Urban Regeneration

Sir Jim McDonald

University of Strathclyde

Louise Kingham

Energy Institute

Jacqui Ferguson

Wood plc / Tesco Bank / DocuSign


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