Margot was born in Falkirk and spent the first half of her childhood growing up in the beautiful and historic village of Torphichen. When she was 10 years old her family moved to England and settled in Lincolnshire. After studying Business Studies at Bournemouth University in the early ’80s Margot embarked on a research and marketing career in London working for Quaker where she met her husband Neil.
She maintained a career trajectory in marketing research and planning at Rothmans, United Biscuits, and Terrys of York. In 1996 she joined Neil at WDG Research as a director and partner combining a busy work life with being a mother to three children. This move coincided with relocating the agency from Islington to the end of the Metropolitan line in sleepy Chesham where Margot now lives with her family. During a recent 5-year sabbatical Margot turned her hand to supporting SME’s in Scotland providing mentoring, networking and training. Now back at WDG, she is involved with Buckinghamshire Education Business Partnership as a mentor going into schools and working with senior school students to develop their business thinking.
Margot is currently Business Development Director at WDG. This role includes planning and implementing the marketing strategy, networking and introducing new clients to the business, developing the relationship with existing clients, working with industry partners to promote joint business initiatives, and keeping abreast of technology advancements in the industry.
- How did you first become involved in business (eg business degree, apprenticeship, enterprise, family, etc)?
After leaving college with a business degree in 1982 I initially wanted to get into advertising. This was a highly competitive field so I temp’d for a while at a merchandising and retail research agency owned by Quaker. Within a few weeks the retail research manager left the company and I was handed his role. I had to learn quickly as I had no experience of managing staff or fieldwork operatives, I had to write and present reports for the clients who included Quaker marketing department, Asda merchandising team, Bejam/Iceland head office, and a petfood manufacturer.
- What advice would you give to women starting in business?
Be confident and resourceful, have a ‘can-do’ attitude and learn from all your experiences – good and bad – and NEVER think you are not good enough
- Have you had any issues specific to you being a woman in business?
I was refused applying for a role as Southern Europe Marketing Research Manager by my marketing director because I was ‘newly married and the role would take me away from my husband’ and it seemed I would be ‘unable to cope with landing at Nicosia airport, alone on a wet Sunday evening’. The other experience was many years later managing a department and being a new mother – I used to work 10-12 hour days full time in my pre-baby life and could only manage 8 hours days for 4 days a week post-baby. I felt less professional in my business role, and not the mum I wanted to be to my child. I received no sympathy at work for any post 5pm meetings I missed. In the end my full time career trajectory levelled out.
- How do you see things changing for women in business in the next (3-5) years?
There is a lot of talk around greater provision of work-based support for working mums and enabling women to have a career break without detriment to their careers. I don’t think this will make policy within the next 5 years, but it is good that there is greater awareness around the issue. It is important that we continue to put pressure on Govt.
- Are you involved in any initiatives to support women?
Not specifically – I am working with teenagers in a business learning capacity and I want to develop this further with the local high school to support girls thinking about their future. I believe creating the right attitude towards women in business starts at school with boys and girls.