Hello and a huge welcome to the Women in Rail Scottish Regional Group.

The WR Scotland Group aims to provide its members, women and men in the Rail industry, with a supportive and friendly local network for their professional development, personal growth and professional confidence.

I would like to ask for volunteers from our industry, both women and men, to help with the operation of the WR Scotland Group, working in partnership with organisations such as Young Rail Professionals (YRP), the National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR) and others at Women in Rail.

Please let me know if you are interested in helping me with this great opportunity and leading Scotland to help progress and grow industry diversity and inclusion.

The objectives for the WR Scotland Group are to:

  • Provide a forum to support operational and non-operational professional development for women in rail in Scotland.
  • Attract more women into rail; we must do more to encourage female talent from schools, colleges and universities, inspire the next generation and support the UK wide Women in Rail campaign for industry.
  • Develop a Scottish awards programme to showcase the talent and achievements in both operational and non‐operational rail industry roles across the country.

We will be organising a variety of events for members including networking events, development workshops, speaker events and of course some relaxing and fun get-togethers.

To make sure you don’t miss out on any of these activities organised by the Scottish Group, register on Contact Us and join the Women in Rail community in Scotland. Membership is completely free and will give you access to local and national events.

We hope to hear from you soon,

Email: Scotland@womeninrail.org

Lorna Gibson, Training Director, QTS Group Ltd

Lorna Gibson is Training Director for the QTS Group, a large railway maintenance engineering company owned by Renew Holdings and supplying Railway Infrastructure Engineering services throughout the United Kingdom. Lorna’s key role within the Group is that of Managing Director of QTS Training Ltd, a subsidiary company which supplies railway safety, on-track plant, health and safety and construction management training to the rail and wider industries.

Lorna is Chair of the Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire regional group, a member of the Rail Industry Association Scotland Skills and EDI Work Group, Past President of the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and a founding member of Women in Rail Scotland.

Lorna has over 30 years’ experience of business management and business development within the private sector, initially a senior business manager within Doig & Smith, a UK wide Chartered Surveying practice, followed by a directorship with Paligap Brands Ltd, a digital marketing agency, and now for over 10 years, a Director within the QTS Group.

A passionate member of the Rail Industry and local business community Lorna is involved with a wide range of business activities particularly with regard to employer engagement with education and encouraging young people towards the rail and STEM industries.

Eva Maclnnes - Vice President, COWI UK Limited

Eva MacInnes is Vice President for COWI UK Limited in Scotland, a multidisciplinary engineering design consultancy based in Glasgow.

Eva graduated with a Masters degree in Civil Engineering with International Studies, MEng (hons), in 2005 from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, including a year at the University of Calgary in Canada.  Eva is a chartered Civil Engineer (CEng MICE) with the Institution of Civil Engineers and is a professional member of the UK Register of Ground Engineering Professionals (RoGEP). Eva is also a member of the British Geotechnical Association (BGA).

Eva’s engineering skills lie in the design, construction, and project management on a wide range of civil and geotechnical engineering projects.  Key experience has been gained through her work on the Scottish Railway Network where she is COWI UK’s design lead and project manager of the RCDP Contract with QTS Group and Network Rail.  In addition to railway improvement works, Eva has experience on large earthwork contracts, highways infrastructure, healthcare and wind farm developments as well as smaller residential and local authority schemes.

Eva is dedicated to encouraging and promoting the development of young engineers, she is a Delegated Engineer at COWI UK, supporting graduates pursuing chartered status.  Eva is also a member of the University of Strathclyde’s Industry Advisory Board and has presented to final year female engineering students at Napier University. ​

Eva will act as treasurer for the Women in Rail Scotland Regional Group.

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Laura McWilliams, Programme Manager, Capital Delivery Network Rail

Laura is a Programme Manager in Capital Delivery Network Rail. Laura has worked in Network Rail for 19 years and has held various Project Management roles in that time, developing and delivering across the Renewals and Enhancement portfolios. Laura has focussed her academic skills and achievements to become a Chartered Project Manager accredited by the Association for Project Management and became the first female Capital Delivery Programme Manager in Scotland in 2020.

Laura is focussed on working collaboratively with our Supply Chain partners to ensure positive and engaged relationships are formed to allow a Team Scotland approach for delivery. Laura is keen to find innovative solutions, learn from novel ideas and drive sustainable and efficient solutions within the industry.

Laura works as a coach and mentor within the Project Management community in Network Rail to ensure new talent is nurtured and supported in order to achieve success.

An interesting fact about Laura is that after leaving University, Laura joined Network Rail as a Team Organiser and progressed her career over a number of years, showing that there are several routes to career development within the industry. Laura is keen to discuss and explore all options available to encourage people into the industry.

Lisa McKellar – Marketing & Social Value Director, QTS Group

Lisa has over 15 years of experience in the marketing and communications industry, having started her career working with Scotland’s leading PR agency.

Latterly, Lisa spent six years working at Trump Turnberry, where she managed the marketing and PR efforts for the resort. She oversaw the marketing strategy for the relaunch of the five-star hotel and Championship golf course in 2016.

Since joining QTS in January 2018, Lisa is responsible for all marketing and brand activity for the company. She is actively involved in work with young people, through schools’ activity and the Youth Athlete programme, plus she is a keen member of the Women in Rail steering group.

Lorna McDonald - Business Manager, Hitachi

Lorna originates from East Yorkshire and from the age of 16 began her career as a motor vehicle engineer, working across all aspects of the industry for several years.

In her early 20’s she successfully applied to be a police officer in Humberside Police.

During her first 15yrs she was the force lead for community cohesion as well as a child protection officer. Dealing with some high profile investigations, she worked with vulnerable young people and children. She decided she would do her bit to support these families by becoming a foster carer. Juggling parenting her own child, fostering and policing for several years she decided in 2010 to look for a new challenge, she moved to London and joined the Counter Terrorism Command.

Having spent 22yrs in policing, Lorna decided that joining the rail industry would be an exciting career change. After a year in central government at BEIS as the lead for the UK rail supply chain, she joined Hitachi as a business manager. Working for a global high-speed train company, she travels extensively across the UK and the rest of the world nurturing existing relationships and building new ones.

She is currently responsible for introducing battery technology into the UK rail market. She is committed to supporting the UK supply chain and works alongside various rail trade associations supporting new entrants into the market place.  As the lead for Scotland, Lorna spends much of her time in Scotland with her colleagues. Be it at depots, within the control rooms or working alongside government stakeholders, the investment into Scotland is very much for the long term.

Lorna juggles being a mother, a mentor, a school governor and encourages women and apprenticeships into the rail industry.

Johanna Randall, Founder and Stakeholder Director, Future Travel Studio

Johannah is a freelance strategic operations advisor and user experience consultant. Her skills encompass policy, strategy, delivery and project management gained across transport operators, government agencies and construction. She has led multi- disciplinary project teams to deliver transformational change and infrastructure projects. She is a subject matter expert in station operations, innovation and continuous improvement, design thinking and accessibility.

Her current portfolio includes a new design and mobility business, Future Travel Studio; stakeholder and project management for Scottish Rural and Islands Transport Community (SRITC); supporting asset management company – Contrax on transport and hospital projects; leading transport business for communications agency, Fuel; and, promoting innovation and diversity through the not-for-profit community, Rail Innovation Group.

Johannah’s experience encompasses leading the development of the HS2 Station Vision and operational concept that set out the customer experience, operational excellence, and creating sustainable business during her time as Head of Station Operations. Previously, at the Department for Transport (UK) she directed franchise specifications and policy development and managed the re-development of King’s Cross station on behalf of the train operator, InterCity East Coast, including heading the design and specification of all customer and staff facilities, managing the customer operations during the construction, and leading on the opening programme.

Johannah is a politics graduate and holds qualifications in systems thinking and design. She is currently studying for an MSc in Strategic Management and Innovation at the University of York.

Johannah lives in Pitlochry with her husband, Chris.

Alexa Schleger, Operations Management Graduate, Network Rail

Alexa is an Operations Management Graduate at Network Rail who, more than 5 years ago, moved from Hungary to Scotland to study and lay down the foundations of her career. She worked in the hospitality sector and as a community support worker alongside her studies. Afterwards, she found herself beginning a career on the railway in the autumn of 2022. After only two months in the graduate programme, Alexa was selected from her cohort to enrol in Network Rail’s Initial Signaller Training, which helped her understand the crucial role that signalling plays in the world of operations. Alexa was then seconded to work with the Restoring Your Railways team, based in England. The projects she contributed to gave her valuable insights into business cases, project and relationship management.
Despite being considerably new to the industry, Alexa believes that harnessing the talent of young professionals, being one herself, is key to the industry’s future. Alexa is confident that being a steering group member of Women in Rail Scotland, the Chartered Management Institute, and the Chartered Institution of Railway Operators will help her encourage younger generations’ interest in joining the railway family

Allison Sutherland, Commercial Manager, Capital Delivery – Scotland’s Railway

Allison has worked in the rail industry since 1994, however it has always been an important part of her life, with her mother being part of the industry while Allison was growing up. With that influence in her life, when Allison started at Railtrack 30 years ago, it felt like she was coming home, the place she was meant to be, and Allison still feels that way to this day in her current role as a Commercial Manager for Scotland’s Railway.

Allison is passionate about the industry and also about mental health and women’s health, particularly menopause and neurodiversity. She has created and co-host Scotland’s Railway Menopause Café in collaboration with ScotRail colleagues, as well as taking on the role of National Menopause Lead for Inspire, Network Rail’s Gender Equality Network.

Lotus Aherne, Business Development Manager, Story Contracting

Lotus Aherne is Business Development Manager for Story Contracting Ltd, an award-winning family-owned infrastructure company that provides innovative rail and civil infrastructure solutions to clients across the UK.
With 20 years of operational experience in the civil, rail, and construction markets, Lotus joined Story in 2019 as the Business Development Manager for Scotland.
Her primary responsibilities include pursuing strategic opportunities in both the rail and civil engineering sectors, cultivating partnerships, identifying new markets, and building commercial relationships, along with building strong relationships in the communities that Story serves.
Lotus spent her childhood on the island of Iona, which is located on the west coast of Scotland. For the past five years, she has served as a Director and Treasurer of The Mull & Iona Association, which was established in 1866 with the aim of supporting charitable causes related to arts, literature, and music in the islands.

Lisa Kabaso, Quality Advisor, SPL Powerlines

Lisa started her career within the Highways industry, taking the opportunity to join the rail industry in 2023 to take up the role of Quality Advisor for SPL Powerlines.

Since joining the rail industry it is apparent to Lisa that there are very similar challenges with diversity and inclusion in the workforce as in the highways industry. Lisa’s ambition is to help promote work that will be dynamic in encouraging women from ethnic minority or disadvantaged backgrounds join the rail industry and develop in their careers. In addition to Lisa is also keen to develop clear career pathways, mentorship programmes and encourage STEM to young women.