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Female Scots changing the game: thank you to all these women for helping us feel we can take on the world

We happily attended the FutureX Festive Social on Wednesday, and it was a really fantastic evening. While we left with our heads buzzing with ideas around building a strong Scottish business ecosystem, diversity, and encouraging entrepreneurship – there was, in some ways, a more dominant take-away.

Rachael Brown, of the Creative Entrepreneurs Club and the CAN DO Collective, spoke on this evening’s panel. All the speakers were engaging and interesting, but Rachael stood out. She was and is, an inspiring female Scot: emanating down-to-earth warmth, entrepreneurship expertise, humorous anecdotes, and a no-nonsense attitude to the importance of being yourself. 

Listening to Rachael, and leaving the event feeling a fraction stronger as a woman, I thought about how lucky I was to have come across so many powerful, female, Scottish role models over the last year or so. 

Rachael was remarkable, and she isn’t an anomaly – far from it. So here is a small round-up and shout out to some of the strong female Scots who’ve helped inspire us, and drive us to grow our business, and ourselves.

Celia Hodson

Celia is the founder and CEO of ‘HeyGirls’, a Scottish social enterprise tackling period poverty in the UK. We were lucky enough to hear Celia speak twice in the last year and a half: at the Impact Summit this year, and at the last FutureX Social. 

Both times, Celia’s ‘get things done’, and ‘aim higher’ attitudes have left us feeling like anything is achievable. HeyGirls’ upwards trajectory is something of wonder; starting as an idea between Celia and her daughters, HeyGirls is now a multi-award winning social enterprise, with eco products stocked in supermarkets across the country. Through their Buy One Give One model, they have donated nearly 2.5million period products to communities in need, in just 12 months. 

Celia is also funny, engaging and inspiring. Like Rachael, she emits a no-nonsense approach to her own self-worth and ability. This makes her a truly valuable female, Scottish role model. 

We hope to hear her speak again, as we at Hidden Trax are huge fans.

Arusa Qureshi

Arusa became the editor of The List Magazine, aged just 25!!

The List has a regular audience of over 2 million, employs around 25 staff members, and produces monthly print magazines (weekly during the Edinburgh Festival). They also maintain a huge online database of listings, reviews, and articles, covering all things events, entertainment, art, and culture – in Scotland and beyond. 

For Arusa to have been chosen as the editor at such a young age is something that we at Hidden Trax are in awe of. We were lucky enough to work with Arusa and The List during August, when we collaborated on a series of Festival Edition podcasts. 

Arusa is quietly passionate about gender equality, taking the remarkable decision in 2018 to create the first ever all female Hot 100. This annual list gathers together all the exciting talent in Scotland. The revelatory decision to create an all-female list puts things like the TRNSMT line-up to shame. Having the guts to suggest – and facilitate – something like this, is the kind of inspiring act that sets a strong precedent for young women in Scotland. 

Go Arusa!

Nicola Sturgeon

We had the privilege of hearing the First Minister speak a couple of years ago, at the Startup Summit in Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms.

It is hard to put into words quite how much of an impact Nicola Sturgeon has made on Scotland, and particularly to our ideas around aspiration, and what is possible. 

Agree with her politics or not, the FM is supremely competent, dedicated, brave and hugely inspiring. Her tendency towards common decency, her belief in helping others, and her refusal to allow male politicians to dominate or overshadow her at any point, is what makes this true.

It is an honour to be lead by someone of the calibre of Nicola Sturgeon. We are very lucky. 

Briana Pegado 

Briana Pegado is a Hidden Trax collaborator, having created our ‘Universityland’ Trax. The reason for this is because she was the first ever black, female president of the Edinburgh University Student Association. 

She also founded the Edinburgh Students Arts Festival, a social enterprise that aimed to increase accessibility to the arts for young people in Scotland. 

She was named as one of Scotland’s ‘Top Ten Social Innovators’, and as one of Scotland’s ‘30 under 30’ by The Young Women’s Movement. 

Briana is exceptionally driven and is now the Executive Director of Creative Edinburgh. It is some CV…

On the matter of a message to young women in Scotland, she said:

“My message to them is to fiercely and unapologetically be yourself, even if it’s dangerous, if you’re scared, even if it’s really difficult. At the end of the day only by being yourself will you change the world. I think the more that people have the courage and bravery to be authentic, the more that we will be able to change hearts and minds and how backwards society can be.” 


We think this is a pretty great place to leave things.

Thank you to all these incredible women, and those everywhere, who help us feel ready to take on the world. 

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