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As International Women’s Day approaches, we are shining a spotlight on another of the valued women in senior leadership roles across Scotland’s independent schools.

Kay Wilson is Director of Admissions at Merchiston, the only all-boys' independent boarding school in Scotland. She has the vital role of communicating with prospective parents as they get to know the school and its values.

Learn about Kay’s experience as a woman in leadership and her advice to the next generation of women as they enter the workplace - as told by Kay in this blog.

The journey to leadership

After leaving university I took a year to travel around the world and then on my return I took up some temping jobs before moving to Manchester for personal reasons, where I worked in IT sales for around 10 years.

On my return to Scotland I joined a pharmaceutical research company working In Phase 1 clinical trials and recruiting volunteers to take part in these studies before joining Merchiston as an Admissions Assistant in January 2009 and I am now Director of Admissions.

Becoming Director of Admissions at Merchiston has been the proudest moment of my career. My favourite part of the role is at the start of the new academic year when I see all the boys in uniform in our Memorial Hall, ready to embark on their Merchiston journey.

Kay WIlson

A woman in leadership

I feel lucky to say that I have not faced any significant barriers as a female in the workplace as most of my positions have been long term roles where I feel that I have earned the respect of my peers irrespective of theirs or my gender, although I may suspect that my remunerations may have been lower.

In general, I think that unconscious bias and lack of real understanding of what diversity actually means from a female perspective would be one of the barriers for some females in leadership.

Throughout my career and as a mother, I have felt that women bring benefits to leadership, such as a different perspective. It is important, particularly at this time, that we have diverse and inclusive workplaces and women are an essential part of that. Lastly, I would say that women bring patience!

Supporting women in the workplace

From my experience, I have seen that women can support other women in the workplace by continuing to talk and by not letting situations get out of control. It is good to always try to keep things in perspective.

If I could give a few words of advice to the next generation of female leaders, I would say - “Keep pressing forward and believe in yourself and your abilities.”


Many thanks to Kay Wilson and Merchiston for their contribution to this blog.


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