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All-female Leadership Team Unveiled at Digital Skills Academy

Ross Kelly



CodeClan unveiled its all-female leadership team on International Women’s Day.

Scottish digital skills academy, CodeClan, has unveiled an all-female leadership team following a series of new appointments in recent months.

Vanessa Dawson has joined CodeClan as Chief Delivery Officer, moving from the University of Edinburgh where she held the role of Senior Programme and Project Manager in the Information Services Group.

The new appointment means that the CodeClan’s leadership team boasts five senior female staff, including CEO Melinda Matthews-Clarkson, Sara Dodd, Director of Commercial & Business Development, Mary Fitzgerald, Director of Finance & HR and Chief Marketing Office Linda Scott.

Commenting on the appointment, Matthews-Clarkson said: “While we didn’t set out to have an all female leadership team, we actually tried not to, it has happened more by a process of best person for the role.

“Having said that, Scotland, like the rest of the UK and international tech sectors, continues to demonstrate pretty appalling gender balance, particularly at board and senior management level, so we don’t see our re-tooled team as a bad thing in any way – in fact, quite the opposite.

“At the same time, when we look at our overall team, we have gender parity although we are looking at our diverse backgrounds and what experiences our staff bring to the environment and not so focused on a label of gender.  I think that is the way to think about equality in the workforce.”


Matthews-Clarkson, a former IBM executive, has led CodeClan since joining as CEO in December 2017. Since her arrival, she has overseen the organisation’s move to a self-funding model and has helped establish the academy as a key driver in addressing Scotland’s digital skills gap.

She said: “Scotland is a small country and I think that makes it easier for us to make real and effective change. It was noteworthy that a female founder won CEO of the Year at the Scottish Tech Startup Awards last year and while this is a good thing, you could argue that it should not be so noteworthy as we enter a new decade.”

CodeClan celebrated its fourth anniversary in October 2019 and has campuses in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness.

More than 900 people have now graduated from the academy’s software development and data analytics programmes. The majority of those graduates now work in technical roles with a range of employers; from large corporates, financial organisations and government departments through to the startup scene.

Ross Kelly

Staff Writer

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