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Date posted: 16th February 2021

16th February 2021

Stories from an Inspiring Leader – Carolyn McLain

Stories from an Inspiring Leader – Carolyn McLain

Carolyn McLain, Transformation Director, BT

Carolyn is the beating heart of Business Transformation. A key member of the function’s senior leadership team, her passion for people and their wellbeing is evident in every interaction, and has been particularly evident since our transition to remote working. She genuinely cares about the individual needs and well-being about each of her team and is compassionate towards those whose voices go unheard.

Without personal agenda, Carolyn has been instrumental in shaping and delivering BT’s response to the Black Lives Matter campaign, mobilising a reverse-mentoring network around the business in which senior leaders have been encouraged to work with black colleagues to understand the challenges and obstacles faced as a black person in the workplace. Under Carolyn’s guidance, BT have made commitments to the development and investment in black colleagues, to really include people from different backgrounds in how the business operates.

Carolyn’s efforts are not confined to racial equality as she actively leads the Diversity and Inclusion network within BT’s Strategy and Transformation unit.

The network actively promotes equality irrespective of ethnicity, gender, sexuality or disability and delivers educational programmes in terms of what it is like to work and thrive within BT and delivers clear action plans to drive equality. These have evolved into substantial and noticeable cultural changes which would not have occurred without Carolyn. A champion for recognition using BT’s reward platform, Carolyn’s success is borne from a genuine desire to make the company a brilliant place to work and her ability to negotiate, leverage her network and follow through on commitments which have steered BT to embrace vital issues.

She takes nothing for granted, instead Carolyn’s passion and willingness to speak up for those colleagues whose voices go unheard, coupled with her diligent work ethic, sets a strong example to those around her that we must all embrace our duty in delivering cultural change. Carolyn inspires colleagues to be authentic, stand up for their beliefs and seize opportunities without reservation.


“I can honestly say that Carolyn is the best line manager I have had. It’s refreshing to be managed by someone who truly cares not just about your performance and the outcomes you drive for the company but your own personal development, satisfaction and career path that is generated while doing so. […] I particularly value the transparency with which we could talk. I feel I could talk to her about moving to another business unit or company and she would support me just the same.”

About Inspiring Leaders

The extract above is taken from the Inspiring Leaders 2020 initiative which recognised exceptional leaders during the Covid-19 pandemic. You can download the full eBook with all the leader stories here.

Inspiring Leaders was created as a vehicle to recognize people who stepped up to help individuals, teams and organizations navigate personal and business challenges, and make a contribution to make their business, their community and the world a better place.

Due to the success of IL 2020, we have brought it back in 2021. We are now open for nominations. For more information about how to enter Inspiring Leaders, dates and fees – click here.