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OurWhisky launches non-profit foundation to support women in whisky

This International Women’s Day (8th March), OurWhisky is launching a non-profit foundation to support women in the global whisky industry.

Published: March 8, 2022

Launched on the educational platform’s fourth anniversary, the OurWhisky Foundation is the world’s first non-profit organisation dedicated to supporting, recognising and empowering professional women in whisky across the globe, while advocating for a more inclusive and diverse industry.

The Foundation will offer qualification and internship schemes, a mentorship programme plus seminars and workshops, all designed to help women successfully progress within the industry.

On top of the educational benefits, an annual summit and awards will be held, showcasing key speakers and industry leaders, providing the opportunity for in-person networking and recognising talent.

The Foundation will also give a voice to women in the industry through its new online magazine, The Cut, with features focusing on careers advice, diversity and inclusion initiatives, interviews and much more.

The not-for-profit organisation has been launched by OurWhisky founder and whisky expert Becky Paskin, and will be assisted by an advisory board of industry leaders including Jennifer Robertson, Founder of SPEY, the best PR agency in whisky according to Whisky Magazine; Gráinne Saunders, global marketing manager for Glenfiddich; Tracie Franklin, Spirits Educator and NJAI Distillation Apprentice; and Jennie Noorish, founder of Yellow Shoes consultancy and former director of global communications for Chivas Brothers.

OurWhisky Founder Becky Paskin said: “OurWhisky began in 2018 as a social media movement to champion diversity among whisky drinkers and those within the industry.

"After four successful years of showcasing the face of the modern whisky drinker and dispelling the spirit’s many myths, it’s time to evolve.

“By working in collaboration with the global whisky community, the OurWhisky Foundation’s aim is to challenge whisky’s outdated gendered image and help women to thrive in their careers.

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“This is such an exciting time to be a woman working in whisky, and it’s my ambition that the Foundation will be a positive driver in ensuring the current and next generation reach their potential and be celebrated as part of the wonderful world of whisky.”

The Foundation is now inviting women across the global industry to apply for its mentorship programme.

A star-studded line-up of industry leaders with backgrounds spanning areas such as distilling, blending, brand ownership, bartending, ambassadorship, marketing and journalism have already been confirmed as mentors.

They include Dhavall Gandhi, whisky maker at The Lakes, Paul Hletko, founder of FEW Spirits, Louise McGuane, founder of JJ Corry, Simo Simpson, managing director of Milroy’s of Soho, Dawn Davies, head buyer at The Whisky Exchange, Nicola Riske, brand ambassador for The Macallan, Lew Bryson, whisky journalist and author, Ryan Chetiyawardana, founder of Mr Lyan, and Tommie Tardie, owner of Fine and Rare New York.

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Whether women are looking to get into distilling and blending, start their own brand or work in a non-production role in whisky, the OurWhisky Foundation’s mentorship programme is an opportunity to start or build on their career and connect with some of the most experienced people in the industry.

The Foundation will also work alongside various stakeholders within the whisky industry, providing diversity and inclusion training and workshops, and collaborating on a variety of meaningful initiatives to support and recognise women in the industry.

As one of its first initiatives, the Foundation is proud to be working with founding partner Glenfiddich on an ongoing programme exploring this year’s International Women’s Day theme, Break the Bias.

Gráinne Saunders, Global Marketing Manager for Glenfiddich, said: “We are extremely proud to come on board as founding partner for the OurWhisky Foundation and fully support the drive to recognise and celebrate the achievements of women in the whisky industry and to challenge conventions.

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"Becky has done an inspirational job in projecting a positive image of the modern whisky drinker, one we absolutely endorse.

"In collaboration with Becky and the OurWhisky Foundation we have developed a series of on-going initiatives that support our collective goal and look forward to jointly announcing these over the next few weeks”

Details of the programme will be announced later this month.

Those interested in receiving news and updates about the Foundation’s work can sign up to the newsletter.

The Foundation also launches alongside OurWhisky’s new subscription club, which has been created to provide a fun and inclusive space for whisky drinkers, regardless of experience.

Every month subscribers will receive whisky samples direct to their door to enjoy alongside an expert-led tasting.

Members will also receive discounted tickets to exclusive events, tours and tastings. Individuals can sign up to OurWhisky’s subscription club here.

Key projects of the OurWhisky foundation

Online magazine, The Cut
The editorial arm of featuring news, interviews, careers advice, diversity and inclusion initiative ideas and more. 

Qualification and internship scheme
Pilot scheme for funded qualification and internship programme, sponsoring candidates through a GCD or WSET Level 2 or 3 with the potential to go onto a paid internship within a whisky company or distillery.

Mentorship programme
Developed using the GROW model, matching mentors and mentees around the world. Set to launch May 2022.

Annual summit and awards
An annual conference showcasing key speakers, providing an opportunity for networking plus an awards ceremony recognising talented individuals and forward-thinking companies.

Reports and surveys
Including OurWhisky’s annual Women & Whisky: Female Representation in Social Media Marketing report. 

Seminars and workshops
Regular online panel discussions on key themes, and workshops with specialist guests. 

Other bespoke initiatives
OurWhisky can work with organisations on a specific project, whether it’s launching a unique D&I initiative or private consultancy. 

Becoming a direct supporter of the OurWhisky Foundation:

If you want to support the Foundation’s work in training, educating, inspiring and supporting women in whisky, you can find out more here.

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind writes for The Scotsman on all things food and drink related as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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