International Women's Day - The Women of SWE

International Women’s Day is celebrated each year on the 8th of March. Here at The Scotch Whisky Experience we are proud to work in an industry that empowers people of all genders and is ever-changing, evolving towards a more diverse workforce.

In celebration of IWD 2023, we spoke to some of the fabulous women that work here at SWE and asked them about working in whisky and tourism.

Group of women who work for The Scotch Whisky Experience, pictured out side of the building.
Angela Dineen pictured in the Whisky Collection

Angela Dineen – Operations Director

Who is your Scotch whisky role model (any gender!)?   

I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with some amazing people over my 20 years in the industry.  I started my whisky journey as a tour guide at Glenfiddich Distillery and the late Libby Lafferty and David Mair taught me so much about the importance of a genuine warm welcome, attention to detail and the joy of storytelling.  Our current CEO, Susan Morrison, shares all the same values and her passion for training and development, Scotland and whisky is truly inspirational. 

How do you usually drink your whisky?   

I love an old fashioned, but whisky is so versatile as long as it’s enjoyed in good company I’m happy! 

Julie Trevisan-Hunter picture holding a Quaich, next to two bottles of whisky, in the Whisky Collection

Julie Trevisan-Hunter – Marketing Director

What do you enjoy most about working in the whisky / tourism industry? 

It’s such a privilege to work with one foot in each of Scotland’s best home-grown industries.  Combining whisky and tourism means that I’ve met and worked with some of the most inspiring, generous, welcoming and encouraging people.  I truly feel that the best people are drawn to these two sectors! 

If you could go back and give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Be yourself.  It’s great to have role models, but sometimes that can encourage you to try to be something that you are not, pick the aspects of someone that you admire and let yourself grow in that direction, but always be yourself. 

Claire Crerand pictured in the Whisky Collection

Claire Crerand – Head of Visitor Experience

When did you fall in love with Scotch whisky?  

I didn’t particularly like whisky when I started working here but I went to a staff tasting in the first week I joined the company and hearing the passion, knowledge and love that goes into each individual product made it impossible not to appreciate and fall in love with whisky.  

How do you usually drink your whisky?   

I usually drink it neat however I’m also a massive fan of whisky cocktails, such as our Uiscafaidh cocktail in Amber Restaurant (a whisky twist on an espresso martini!) 

Elizabeth McGrath pictured in the Whisky Collection

Elizabeth McGrath – Bookings and Events Manager

What do you enjoy most about working in the whisky / tourism industry? 

The chance to meet new people and introduce them to the wonderful world of whisky. 

What advice would you give to anyone new to Scotch? 

Keep trying! I always say there’s a dram out there for everyone, it’s about having fun exploring and finding one that’s right for you.  

Lenka Whyles pictured in the Whisky Collection

Lenka Whyles – Senior Specialist Tours and Tastings Manager

What is your favourite whisky fact? 

Going back to my favourite smoky and medicinal Islay whiskies, you could pick them up during American prohibition on prescription from the pharmacy – aqua vitae indeed.

What advice would you give to anyone new to Scotch? 

If you’re new to whisky the choice can be overwhelming but don’t let it put you off, it’s an exciting journey that starts with small steps and will fill you with joy. Like any other sensorial delight, your experience will be purely personal. Approach it with curiosity and an open mind. 

Annika Schneider pictured in The Scotch Whisky Experience

Annika Schneider – PA to CEO

What advice would you give to anyone new to Scotch? 

Have a whisky tasting with your friends! Whisky is so diverse in flavour, there is something for everyone. Further more, there are so many interesting things to learn about distilleries, the whisky making process and all the stories attached to it. So, just have fun exploring the variety that is Scotch whisky. 

What is your favourite whisky fact?

The American energy drink Mountain Dew was originally intended as a whiskey mixer!

Holly Black pictured in front of the Whisky Collection

Holly Black – Senior Visitor Assistant

How do you usually drink your whisky?   

Normally I like to drink whisky neat and with friends, but I am partial to a boozy hot chocolate and a good whisky cocktail. 

What is, in your opinion, the biggest misconception about Scotch whisky?   

I think the biggest misconception about Scotch Whisky is that it’s an exclusive club with lots of rules to follow. Anyone can enjoy Scotch and drink it in whatever way they like.  

Lucy Connor pictured in front of Macintyre Bar whisky wall

Lucy Connor – Senior Visitor Assistant

What do you think is the future of Scotch whisky? 

We’re seeing a lot more distilleries focusing on sustainability and, although the production process is fairly sustainable itself, they’re really going the extra mile to give a second life to everything! I also expect that we’ll be seeing a lot more women in high ranking roles. Rachel Barrie and Stephanie McLeod are two of my whisky heroes and I feel they’re doing a lot to encourage women to enter the whisky industry. We’ve also seen a move towards cocktails in more recent years with many of the big brands suggesting their whisky be served in an old fashioned etc. 

What do you enjoy most about working in the whisky / tourism industry? 

I really enjoy meeting people from all over the world, especially people who have never tried whisky or don’t think whisky is for them. It’s such a wonderful experience to see someone’s face light up in realisation that Scotch whisky really is for everyone and send them home with a bottle of their new favourite dram!  

Stephanie within The Scotch Whisky Experience Whisky Collection

Stephanie Allard – Events and Bookings Coordinator

What do you enjoy most about working in the whisky / tourism industry?   

The people. Getting to meet people from all walks of life and all around the world. Hearing their experiences and what they love about Scotland. 

What advice would you give to anyone new to Scotch?   

Taste as many different types as you can. There’s always something new to find.