Bessie Williamson (1910-1982) was a woman in a man's industry. She ran a whisky distillery in Scotland at a time when women weren't managers in any business, let alone the whisky business. But Williamson worked her way up from a typist to the owner and CEO of the Laphroaig [lah-FROYG] distillery, becoming a well-respected boss and highly successful manager. She brought Laphroaig distillery through difficult times during WWII and began a far-reaching modernization process before retiring.
Williamson was known in the business as the "Islay Labour Exchange" because she found a job for almost everyone who needed one. And if workers didn't have a pension plan, she kept them on well past the usual age of retirement. Her employees were always first in her mind, even in the hard times.
Bessie Williamson's most important legacy, however, is showing that women can be as successful as men, even in the traditionally male whisky business. It was quite an accomplishment in her time, and she remains an inspiration to women today.