International Women’s Day 2024 – Cara Laing of Douglas Laing & Co

Celebrating influential women across the drinks industry

Cara Laing

Managing Director of Douglas Laing & Co


How is diversity & inclusion a key foundation at your own organisation?

“Diversity and inclusion is a key foundation at Douglas Laing & Co as we promote a diverse workforce that reflects different backgrounds, perspectives and experiences.

“We believe that by embracing diversity, this can lead to innovation, creativity and a more inclusive work environment.

“We achieve this through our recruitment practices that value diversity, inclusive policies and programmes and a culture that respects and celebrates individual differences.”


Do you feel a positive culture being in place helps you cement business relationships?

“A positive culture at Douglas Laing & Co plays a crucial role in cementing business relationships by fostering trust, collaboration and mutual respect. Our positive work culture enhances employee engagement, productivity and satisfaction, which translates into stronger relationships with customers, partners and stakeholders.”


Tell us about your own success story, positive experiences etc?

“Our success stories and positive experiences exemplify our dedication to excellence in the Whisky industry. We take great pride in our accolades, including prestigious awards such as the Gold award in 2023 for both Timorous Beastie Meet the Beast and King of Scots 50-year-old at The Spirits Business Design & Packaging Masters.

“Additionally, in 2023, we were honoured with awards at the San Francisco Spirits Awards and London Spirits Competition, where two of our Old Particular expressions received gold recognition.

“Furthermore, our Provenance range was awarded a gold medal at the International Wine and Spirits Competition 2023. These achievements reflect our commitment to producing exceptional whiskies that are recognised and celebrated on a global scale.

“In recent years, Douglas Laing & Co has experienced significant growth, leading to an expansion in our workforce. With more employees than ever before, we are dedicated to recruiting and retaining the most talented individuals in the industry.

“Our goal is to nurture a team of passionate and skilled professionals who contribute to our continued success and innovation in the Whisky sector.”


What opportunities are there for career evolution within your company?

“Our commitment to training and developing our team is at the core of our values. We prioritise the professional growth of our employees by providing comprehensive training programmes, skill development opportunities and ongoing support to help them excel in their roles.

“Our focus is on empowering individuals to advance within the organisation and we actively promote career progression and leadership development.

“We place a strong emphasis on enhancing the capabilities of our Line Managers to ensure consistency in how our team members are managed on a daily basis. By investing in the development of our managers, we create a supportive and nurturing environment that fosters employee growth and engagement.

“Moreover, we actively seek out cross-functional assignments that allow employees to broaden their knowledge and expertise, offering them opportunities to expand their skill set and advance their careers within the dynamic and exciting whisky industry.”


What has your experience been like as a woman working in your field?

“Over my 18 years in the Whisky industry, I’ve had the great opportunity to work with some incredible women who I have learned so much from… to this day I still lean on much of what they have taught me.

“That said, I have also encountered, and still do encounter, the “you’re female, I bet you don’t actually drink Whisky” and that’s a frustration for sure. On the whole, however, I would say the industry is on a journey in terms of women playing a more apparent, key role and it’s moving in the right direction.”


What challenges have you overcome in the past in this regard?

“The biggest challenge has been the stereotype that women don’t drink or enjoy Scotch Whisky. It doesn’t impact my day-to-day role but it is a frustrating element of being a female in Whisky that you find yourself continually justifying and explaining that you do indeed drink Whisky, know about it and have a genuine love and enjoyment of it.”


Douglas Laing & Co

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