Meet the team

Meet the team

The Scottish Rural Network is supported by a small team in the Scottish Government called the Network Support Unit. Find out more about the members of the team and their roles below.

Alan Robertson
Scottish Rural Network Manager
Email: alan@ruralnetwork.scot

I have worked in the Scottish Government (SG) since 2009, starting in the agency Disclosure Scotland and then moving into core SG.  I worked across Justice and Public Health Directorates (“Diet” Officer if you can believe that) until obtaining my current post as Network Manager within the Scottish Rural Network.

Prior to joining Scottish Government, I worked in the public and the private sector within a variety of roles. Taking a career break, I returned to education as a ”mature” student completing an HND in furniture making and design - just in time for the financial crash of 2008/9!  This led me into SG (as jobs for apprentice 40 something furniture makers were thin on the ground at this point).

In my free time I like exploring the Perthshire countryside (where I live), buying and listening to music (much to my wife’s annoyance) and seeking the perfect pint of IPA.


Katharine Johnston
Stakeholder Engagement & Business Officer
Email: katharine@ruralnetwork.scot

I joined the Scottish Government in 2007 and spent nearly 13 years working in various teams within the Crofting Commission. At the end of November 2019 I joined the Scottish Rural Network (SRN) - just in time for the Christmas party! 

My role within the team includes the organisation and facilitation of events involving the SRN. I also support the team by coordinating and managing SRN’s programme of case studies and contributing content for the SRN’s website and newsletter. 

I live in the Black Isle just north of Inverness with my husband and kids and our cat and dog. In my younger years I was a long-term committee member of my local Young Farmers Club which has resulted in a love of agricultural shows.

 


Sophie Law

Development Officer
Email: Sophie.law@gov.scot

I joined the Scottish Government in 2019 starting as an Agricultural Officer within the Rural Payments and Inspections Division. I was responsible for carrying out sheep and cattle inspections, capital grant inspections and general enquiries relating to the farming sector and current schemes. My role also involved working with farmers and external stakeholders, building strong relationships where possible.

Previous to working for the Scottish Government I was a qualified Registered Veterinary Nurse for 6 years and trained in practice for 2 years before qualifying. I worked with the general public on a daily basis as well as doing patient anaesthetics, blood tests and x-rays, to name but a few.

My role within the SRN involves building relationships with other teams in the Scottish Government and external stakeholders to help communities and the rural sector benefit from what schemes and grants are available. I really enjoy this job and working from home has definitely got it’s perks!

At home I live with my husband and young son on our 100 acre farm. We have around 130 beef cattle and the young stock are sold on at our local markets.

Living on the farm and brining our young family up here has always been our dream, and we still can’t believe we are here; although we do both work off farm so life is never dull!

When we do have some down time, we can be found relaxing in front of the log burner or spending holidays in the Lake District.

Susan Thomson

Project Officer
Email: SusanThomson2@gov.scot

I have worked in the Scottish Government since 2019. I starting in the Social Security Scotland agency before moving to the Scottish Rural Network.

Prior to working for the Scottish Government, I worked for a bank for twenty something years. After having my children I decided to leave the bank and return to full-time education study for a BA in Sociology and Social Policy. Since graduating I have worked for Local Authorities and in the Third Sector.

My role in the Scottish Rural Network team involves scoping and delivery of projects and initiatives aimed at developing and strengthening rural communities and businesses.

I live in the Western Isles with my family and our two dogs.