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Deborah Benson

Every course leader brings a unique wealth of insights from within the boardroom and wider business community to the programmes they deliver; the IoD gives you exclusive access to their expertise.

IoD course leader


Business experience

Deborah was the first and youngest female director to be appointed at large Scottish construction company the Miller Group, after starting her career in advertising and marketing in London and gaining an MBA. On moving to Scotland, she first became national marketing director for the Miller homes division and then, still in her thirties, became regional managing director of partnership, and subsequently mainstream housing businesses with turnovers of up to £40m (c. £100m in today's values), negotiating single contracts with values of up to £38m. She was head-hunted to lead Wilcon Homes as MD for Scotland, becoming the first female MD of a large-scale company in the construction sector in Scotland.

Later, after running her own property and consultancy businesses, she returned to academia part-time, achieving a Doctorate in Business, specialising in leadership. This led to her establishing her leadership research with classic leadership theory, underpinned by her wide business experience. Deborah has over 20 years of experience as both an executive and non-executive director, in the commercial, public and voluntary sectors. She is currently an NXD of the EDI Group (property and urban regeneration) and Scottish Canals (waterways, tourism and regeneration), and a trustee of Edinburgh Women's Aid (refugees and support services). She also sits on the Scottish Advisory Board of Common Purpose, the leadership charity.

Professional credentials and training experience

Deborah is a Fellow of the Institute of Leadership and Management and a member of the Scottish Environmental Technology Network. She regularly speaks about leadership at conferences and events, and guest lectures at university business schools in Scotland and Germany.