People of Beam Suntory: Alison Winship MacKay

people of beam suntory alison winship mackay

People of Beam Suntory: Alison Winship MacKay

“Many people I work with would be surprised to know that I am a 2023 World Masters cycling champion, holding a gold medal for Women’s team competition in my age group and a silver medal for the Women’s individual competition in my age group. I have a real passion for cycling, a passion which began at a young age. Both parents and my older brother all cycled and, inspired by my older brother’s achievements in local road races and from watching the Tour de France, I asked my parents if I could have his ‘old and rusty’ bike as a gift for my 16th birthday.  

Naively, I thought that perhaps I could easily follow in his footsteps having been gifted his Flying Scot bike: my plan was to do a little training, join the local cycling club and start racing; however, I quickly discovered that the local club didn’t allow girls. Undeterred, I decided to ask my brother for some advice only to be told that bike racing wasn’t for girls – it was too tough a sport.

While these setbacks did prevent me from taking up the sport competitively in my earlier years, as my athletic confidence and tenacity grew through my university days, my passion for cycling never wavered. So, post university, I found a cycling club who embraced my desire to race and before long I was selected to ride for my country (Scotland).  

Since those early days of racing, I’ve learned so much from the sport, with many aspects being transferable into the business world: the importance of setting clear goals, having a robust plan in order to achieve those goals, building a strong team and support network of people who are open to listen and learn from each other, problem solving when things don’t quite go to plan, and continually seeking ways to improve, never settling for the status quo. As the Director of Innovation for Scotch & Irish, I use a similar mindset to the one I used in sport to motivate and lead my team in the business.

While my journey hasn’t been without some bumps on the road, I genuinely believe that the learnings from any obstacles I’ve faced, coupled with all of the incredibly supportive people in my life, have in equal measures helped shape both the athlete and business professional I am today.”    

Alison Winship MacKay, Director of Innovation — Scotch & Irish 

Beam Suntory Set to Focus Portfolio on Strategic Priorities
Beam Suntory Names Jamey Martin Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer