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

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

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.

Lisa Paton
Events & Policy Officer

I joined the Scottish Rural Network in March 2021. Before that, I worked for many years in local government in a number of different roles. I've also dabbled in the charitable and private sectors and had a period of running my own business.

My current role within the team involves event organisation and helping with the various communications channels.

Despite living in central Edinburgh, I love spending time outdoors and especially enjoy the challenge of long-distance walking. I love the islands too: since wild-camping on Barra and Vatersay for our honeymoon, my husband and I have tried to make it to a different Scottish island every year for our anniversary. For our 10th anniversary we walked the length of the Hebrides visiting 10 islands in 10 days! Otherwise, you'll find me curled up on the sofa with my cat and some quality crime.

Sophie Law

Communications Development Officer

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.