Catherine McWilliam

Nations Director - Scotland, IoD Scotland

"Catherine McWilliam, Nations Director for the Institute of Directors (IoD) Scotland, stands out as an influential leader worthy of recognition due to her remarkable journey and impactful contributions, not only to the business world but to wider communities in Scotland. 

 Catherine's journey is a testament to resilience, determination, and the ability to overcome adversity. Initially adhering to a meticulously planned career path in 2017, she faced a pivotal moment at 29 following the breakdown of a long-term relationship, leaving her at a personal and professional crossroads. Despite the setback, she immersed herself in her work, demonstrating dedication and resilience while navigating challenging circumstances.

 Working for a charity supporting community-led regeneration, she travelled extensively across Scotland, showcasing commitment to her role and leveraging the opportunity for personal growth. Her relentless pursuit of excellence led to a promotion, highlighting her work ethic and determination to succeed.

 Amidst the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic, Catherine played a crucial role in distributing essential funds to community organisations, underscoring her commitment to making a positive impact in times of crisis.

 Her career took a significant turn when she joined IoD Scotland as Senior Branch Manager, and soon after she was encouraged to apply for the role of Nations Director. Catherine embraced the opportunity when it presented itself, showcasing her ability to rise to challenges and seize opportunities. 

 Her boldness and confidence during the interview process underscored her capacity to lead with conviction and vision. “I’m exactly who you want to recruit as a member – so why not have me as the face of the organisation in Scotland?”

 As the youngest-ever leader of IoD Scotland and the second female leader of the 121-year-old organisation, Catherine has been determined to diversify IoD Scotland’s membership. Moving away from the typical “businessman” stereotype, the IoD now plays host to a diverse range of leaders from across Scotland's rich community.

 In 2023, IoD Scotland welcomed over 200 new members, an achievement which also resulted in increased gender, cultural and age diversity. A renewed commitment to rural communities has also seen Catherine appoint co-chairs for the Highland and Island branches of the organisation. These strides forward ensure the organisation mirrors the dynamic essence of the country’s business landscape. 

 Catherine’s leadership extends beyond growing membership, encompassing advocacy and policy engagement. IoD Scotland's involvement in Government initiatives like the New Deal for Business aims to build bridges between business and government by creating clear channels of communication and meaningful opportunities for business leaders to engage with decision-makers. Catherine’s transformative leadership exemplifies her influence and impact within the professional sphere. Through her dedication to diversity, strategic initiatives, and advocacy efforts, she has positioned IoD Scotland as a dynamic and inclusive organisation that empowers business leaders to thrive in a rapidly evolving business landscape, and on whose behalf, takes a seat at the Government table.