Mrs. Scotland 2018, Alana Stott, is Using Her Crown and Her Family to Help Combat Human Trafficking
Alana Stott is a wife, mother of 2, business owner, philanthropist, activist, speaker, and avid wine enthusiast. She firmly believes nothing is impossible and having it all is a choice completely within your own power. Alana was the force behind the Pan American Highway Campaign in 2018 which saw her and her husband, Dean, raise over $1 million dollars for a mental health campaign in the UK. During the challenge Dean broke 2 world records cycling 14,000 miles while Alana ran the campaign, raised the funds, ran their multiple businesses, including their construction company which currently has Alana planning and developing a high-class independent wine bar and club, as well as developing their own charity focusing on Alana’s biggest passion, ending human trafficking, in particular, fighting sexual trafficking of children worldwide. Her charity work has taken her to the silver screen with a number of TV appearances and was recognisable as she joined the likes of Oprah Winfrey and Elton John to celebrate the nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
Alana does not like to dwell on her upbringing, however, losing her mum at a young age made Alana grow up fast. In order to support her family, (inheriting her strong work ethic from her mother) she got her first job when she was 11 years old. By 14, she was running a small telesales team. With no qualification, she became a Bank Manager at 25-years-old and was troubleshooting for Santander Bank throughout the UK. She is also a fully qualified bodyguard, advanced sports nutritionist, wine enthusiast-studying towards her level 3 diploma, property developer, charity director, volunteer for Rape Crisis Centre, Ambassador for Best Beginnings Charity and Honorary Member of The SBSA, a charity supporting injured Special Forces soldiers. Her most important role, however, is raising her 2 beautiful children, Mollie 8 and Tommy 3, who both already show signs of following in their mummy’s philanthropic ways.
I asked Alana some questions to allow her to share in her own words some insights about her work and philosophy on giving. What follows are her responses.
Q & A with Alana:
Q: It’s easy to see how your Beauty Queen Titles would have you traveling, speaking, and getting involved in humanitarian efforts, but, you’ve been working on humanitarian issues for some time. What brought you to impact work?
A: My humanitarian and philanthropic work actual brought me to the world of pageant. Since as far back as I can remember I was raised to help other people, we were taught that those who can, should always help those who can’t and to respect and treat everyone equally. We all go through ebbs and flows in life and ups and downs. When someone is not in a good place and you have the ability to help them you should do it, no questions asked and for no other reason than that it’s the right thing to do. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the way in the world, I spent a lot of time fighting the battles and causes on my own until I was lucky enough to meet my husband. He was a strong Alpha Male in himself and together, we became an unstoppable force.
Q: As a role model for young women all over the world, what words of empowerment do you share, especially to those who live in countries that haven’t embraced equality?
A: A day will not go by when you won’t come across injustice, discrimination, or inequality as a woman in the world. I have worked with some of the toughest men in the world; I have worked in some of the most male-dominated environments around and my one piece of advice for anyone is that respect cannot be commanded; it must be earned. When I was pregnant with my first child I completed my bodyguard course and as the only female in the class, along with my certificate, I gained friendships based on respect. At 7 months pregnant I completed my ship security officer course and became one of the first-ever Company Security Officer protecting vessels from piracy at sea. I qualified along with 19 Marines that day and, as I collected my diploma, I was told by my instructor that it was a shame, as I would have made an excellent CSO. I didn’t understand what he meant by ‘would have’ at the time. Later I learned that, as there were no toilet provisions for women on these ships, I would never be able to work. I didn’t let this deter me; I still work in the industry; I just do it in different ways. I put people on the ground while I do planning; I adapt. I don’t dwell on what I can’t do; instead, I use my skills to improve and enhance whatever industry I work in.
As a property developer, I have invited my husband to a meeting with me when he has been at a loose end. I can’t tell you how many times I have asked a question to the architect only for him answer my husband. Bless his heart, but he is only here for the free biscuits – if you want a result you need to speak to me. I deal with that by repeating the question. I don’t stamp my feet, get angry, and allow them to box me into the angry female zone. I keep my cool and show them why my seat is at that table and they very soon realise they can actually benefit from this relationship. I am not just saying men are simple creatures; in these scenarios, I have had women behave in the same way. I am a 5ft 9 blonde whose favourite colour is pink so even my fellow females will judge, however, I simply apply the same rules. I do not command; I earn – it is worth so much more.
Q: You cannot Google your name without coming up with your world-record cyclist husband, also. As your husband has a friendship with Prince Harry and you have helped with one of his charities, can you share your family’s involvement toward assisting with that charity?
A: Everything myself and Dean do, we do together. Most people will describe us as the brains and the brawn. When it comes to the physical side of it, say cycling 14,000 miles, I leave that to my husband; when it comes to strategy, planning, and fundraising, that sits with me. We do always work together on everything and, by together, I mean the whole family gets involved. I was pregnant with my second child when the campaign started. My waters broke during a meeting and I had another meeting straight after which was an important one; the contractions were still far apart so I attended the meeting before rushing to the hospital to have my beautiful baby boy. That meeting secured us sponsorship so it was worth it! The gentleman I was meeting apparently still uses that story with his staff when discussing time management and the argument of ‘I don’t have time!”
Q: It’s my understanding that your primary focus in humanitarian work centers on human trafficking. Can you tell us what moves you about this subject and what do you feel needs to be done to stop this problem?
A: I have had a strong connection in this field from a young age, there are over 40 million slaves in the world today and we have more slaves than any other time in history. When I ran the mental health campaign I was initially met with a bit of skepticism; the stigma was still very real when we started and many still didn’t want to talk about it. Roll forward to 2019 and mental health has never been more talked about; this is what I want for Modern Slavery; we need to talk, take notice, take action, and make some real inroads to ending this practice. My particular focus is ending sexual slavery in women and children. When I hear of brothels in Uganda where 8-year-old-children are sold at $1 at a time, I see no choice but to take action. I will never turn a blind eye or pretend it isn’t happening. I have big plans coming up in the next 6 months and I can’t wait to share more.
Q: What legacy do you feel you are building for yourself and your family?
A: I want to be known as someone who makes a difference, talks the talk, walks the walk and makes the change. I don’t just want to be the person behind the desk making the plans; I want to be on the ground taking action. It is important that the whole family is involved. My children get involved as often as they can and as much as is safe to do so. My daughter cut off all of her hair last year raising over $1000 which she donated to the campaign. Kindness is an addictive drug and counteracts the effects of stress. If I am very stressed at work, I do some random acts of kindness – always helps reduce the cortisol!
The Stott family would like to be known as the family who teaches that nothing is impossible and that helping others should be second nature. The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.
Alana’s Networking Interests:
- Policy developers around the world working on human trafficking and those who can be interested in her future campaigns on the subject
- Professional women’s groups in the UK interested in a motivational speaker with a strong personal story
- Other philanthropists and humanitarians anywhere with similar charitable interests