Louise Macdonald, CEO, Young Scot

Louise Macdonald and Mark Durden Smith at the Director of the Year Awards

Every day during the Christmas holidays we are profiling the winners of the recent Director of the Year Awards. Louise Macdonald, CEO, Young Scot, won the not for profit/third sector director award

The national youth information and citizenship charity for 11–25-year-olds in Scotland, Young Scot has over 650,000 members. As its chief exec since 2007, Louise Macdonald has championed young people as powerful allies for all chief executives. One of her many triumphs has been the door-opening Young Scot card, held by two out of every three youngsters in Scotland. She shares her thoughts with Director

When did you first spot your business acumen? I began my career as a print journalist, so I suppose my ability to always get the story was a sign of my entrepreneurial approach. But it was when I moved into the third sector – and began setting up, running and spinning out social enterprises – that I began to see what was possible in terms of making an impact in the world.

What makes a great leader? A genuine understanding that it isn’t about you. Leadership is less about leading an army and more about cultivating a garden. I always try hard to do more gardening.

How do you nurture talent? You need to look for potential in your employees rather than polish. We don’t look for the finished article at Young Scot, we want someone who will take their chance and grow with us. Attitude and mindset is key.

How do you network? Networks such as the IoD are vital to widening my perspective and learning from people operating at the highest level in many different sectors. I also invest a lot of time in online networking.

Where do you find your best ideas?
The best ones we are involved in are being co-created by young people. All organisations should do more to involve young people, especially at board level, it’s simply good business.


Louise Macdonald

Louise Macdonald holds a sign which reads Amazeballs

is a member of IoD Edinburgh

Director of the Year Awards – our coverage starts here

About author

Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker

Hannah Baker is deputy editor at Think Publishing. Previously she worked as a features writer and sub-editor for Director magazine

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