Case study: Shona Smyth

Shona Smyth

The Institute’s Marketing Manager, Hester McQueen, interviewed Shona Smyth for 2019 International Women’s Day to highlight women excelling in our profession. Help us encourage people to join our profession and make it more diverse by joining the #ILookLikeAForester campaign. Find out how you can get involved >>

Shona Smyth, Harvesting Contracts Manager, Tilhill Forestry

What do you love most about your job?

The people. Forestry has an almost community feel. Being a small industry everyone knows everyone! I also love the outdoor element of my job. No two days are the same and the need to be reactive to situations keeps you on your toes.

Why choose forestry/harvesting?

It’s a rewarding sector with so my disciplines to choose from. Whether you are interested in ecology, wildlife management, timber harvesting, sawmilling, planting and establishment… the list goes on, forestry is able to cater for all interests. I touch on many of them in my role day to day as a Harvesting Contracts Manager.

How can ICF support women in forestry, harvesting, and arboriculture?

The ICF already supports women in all aspects of forestry. Being part of a minority, I have never made me feel unwelcome and having events such as the ICF’s AGM or ICF’s National Study Tour provides the opportunity to talk to other women in the industry. Having a higher number of female chairs and speakers at conferences and events shows the progress that the industry is making.

What can professional organisations like the ICF do to attract a more diverse workforce?

As forestry is an industry still relatively hidden from career choices, developing a diverse workforce is going to be challenging. Just continuing to have a presence at careers fairs and shows is making a difference; it’s often the perception and uncertainty about the industry that deters women from pursuing a career in forestry.


Women across the professional will be posting images on social media of themselves on International Women’s Day to illustrate their work and the inspiring role they play. Follow the conversation #ILookLikeAForester