March has been a month set aside to reflect and celebrate women’s history. And to that end, OurWhisky has launched a nonprofit foundation to support women in the global whisky industry.
The OurWhisky Foundation is a non-profit organization built to support, recognize and empower professional women in whisky across the world, while advocating for a more inclusive and diverse industry.
Foundation organizers say they will offer qualification and internship schemes, a mentorship program, along with seminars and workshops, all designed to help women successfully progress within the whisky industry.
A yearly summit and awards are planned, as well, showcasing key speakers and industry leaders, giving opportunities for in-person networking and recognition of talent.
The foundation plans to help give a voice to women in the whisky industry through its new online magazine, The Cut, which will feature a spotlight on career advice, diversity and inclusion initiatives, interviews and more.
The new non-profit was launched by OurWhisky founder and whisky expert, Becky Paskin, who will be assisted by an advisory board of industry leaders including Jennifer Robertson, Founder of PR firm SPEY; 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 began in 2018 as a social media movement to champion diversity among whisky drinkers and those within the industry,” Paskin said in a prepared statement. “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.”
She said that by working in collaboration with the global whisky community, OurWhisky Foundation’s aim is to challenge whisky’s outdated gendered image and help women to thrive in their careers.
“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,” Paskin said.
Invites are going out now for women across the global industry to apply for the foundation’s mentorship program. A 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.
Foundation members 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.
Gary Carter has been at the helm of metro newspapers, magazines, and television news programs as well as a radio host and marketing manager. He is a writer/editor/photographer/designer by trade, with more than 30 years experience in the publishing and marketing field. Gary enjoys working to build something great, whether...