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International Women’s Day 2024: Karen Meechan, Chief Executive

For International Women’s Day 2024, we’re featuring some of the hardworking and talented women behind the scenes at ScotlandIS.

Read the below interview to find out more about our ScotlandIS CEO, Karen Meechan.

Describe your role at ScotlandIS.

Having held nearly every role at ScotlandIS over the last 20 years, I am now CEO.

Can you tell us more about your background and how you ended up in this role?

I have always been engaged with or been in a technology field. I left school at 16 and secured a YTS (Young Training Scheme) placement with a training company that upskilled people who were unemployed to be able to start and run their own businesses.

I left this to join NEC Semiconductors, where I worked with mechanical and electrical engineers. I later moved to Blaven Technologies, a nanotech company who worked with universities across Scotland to commercialise their near-to-market nanotechnologies. 

Finally, I joined ScotlandIS in 2004 as the membership officer, which eventually led to CEO.

What is the best part about your job in STEM?

I love the organisations we get to work with and support, and learning about the new innovative products and services our sector is creating before the wider world gets to see them.

What has been your experience as a Woman in STEM?

I’ve had a great experience as a woman in STEM; I’ve a very, very supportive network who have championed me in all the roles I’ve held in ScotlandIS, and all the work ScotlandIS has done and continues to do. 

What are some of the biggest challenges you see in the sector for diversity?

To me, one of the biggest problems is access; we need to encourage more women into the sector, to fulfil the roles available. We need to ensure that at school our young people know the tech sector is for everyone.  But its not just women we need more of, we need and want more people from across all protected characteristics.

Why do you think it’s important that we have greater gender diversity?

Diversity is important in every sector. In our sector it helps drive innovation, diverse teams bring together a variety of perspectives, experiences and ideas.  In the tech industry, where innovation is the key to staying competitive, having diverse teams leads to the development of more inclusive and impactful products and services. 

Is there a Woman in STEM that is an inspirational or influential figure to you?

The list is endless, obviously Polly Purvis and Nicola Taylor are at top of that list, followed very closely by Maggie Morrison, Mandy Haeburn-Little, Elizabeth Vega to name just a few. 

However I’ve had great support as a woman in STEM from lots of men across the industry throughout the years, including Peter Proud, Callum Sinclair, Richard Marshall, Dermot Murray, Andrew Williams – again that list goes on and on.  I’ve been extremely lucky to have such a supportive network across the whole of the country and the whole of the sector. 

Fun Facts

Guilty Pleasure

Reality TV – all reality TV and true gory crime! 

Secret Talent

Knowing all the words to most songs from 80’s onwards (and a fair few songs from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s!)

‘Don’t Forget the Lyrics!’ was a show created for my only talent

First Ever Concert

Bros – and I’m not even embarrassed to admit it 

Favourite Animal


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