Meet our Helping It Happen Judges

Simon Power

Simon Power

The MacRobert Trust Estate Manager

The MacRobert Trust performs three roles: it is a dynamic charity, it is the owner of an historic legacy and it is a forward-thinking landlord with a large and vibrant estate to manage. 

In addition to managing an estate covering 7,200 acres of farm and woodland, the MacRobert Trust operates Douneside House, a 4 star Hotel, which, as part of its charitable work, provides discounted rates to support entitled serving and retired members of the armed forces and their families. 

"I support the awards because I believe it is time that rural estate businesses receive the recognition that they deserve for the significant contribution they make in co-operating with the communities they co-exist with in a wide range of activities; this also applies to the work that many rural estate businesses undertake to protect and enhance the biodiversity and landscape under their management and the welcome they provide to visitors to their areas.  I am delighted to be able to take part in judging; I am sure that it will be challenging to agree the winners in each category."

Alan Laidlaw

Alan Laidlaw

RHASS Chief Executive

Alan is Chief Executive of the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). 

RHASS are a charitable organisation supporting farmers and rural business throughout Scotland. The charity distributes over £100,000 in awards and grants each year, as well as facilitating outdoor learning for school children through their education charity, the Royal Highland Education Trust (RHET). RHASS are perhaps best known as the organisers of the Royal Highland Show; an annual 4 day country and agriculture show featuring livestock, show jumping, forestry, flowers, and food and drink. 

Prior to joining RHASS in July 2016, Alan worked at the Crown Estate, joining them in 2005 as Head of New Business Development before being promoted to Head of Property for the Scotland Portfolio in 2016. Alan is currently a Director of the Oxford Farming Conference. 

"There are so many great initiatives going on in rural Scotland that often go unseen. The Helping It Happen awards are a great opportunity to celebrate landowners, farmers and businesses working together to make our rural economy thrive.  I am delighted to be involved in recognising those who work hard to get new ideas off the ground."

Julia Latto

Julia Latto

Rural Operations Team, Scottish Enterprise Project Manager

Julia has over 25 years in economic development and currently leads on a wide portfolio of national rural programmes for Scottish Enterprise. These include the Rural Leadership Programme, Agritourism Monitor Farm, Planning to Succeed Tourism and Planning to Succeed Scottish Flowers. These programmes engage with a wide range of rural sectors including agriculture, tourism, food and drink, energy, horticulture and rural services and involve supporting rural businesses the length and breadth of Scotland.

 

Julia has travelled extensively as part of her role and has strong international linkages with America, Canada, Australia, Sweden and Finland. Julia has presented on Leadership at the International Rural Development OECD in 2017 (Memphis, USA) and participated/moderated at the OECD Rural Development Conference 2019 (Seoul, South Korea).

During 2013/14 Julia was a visiting Researcher at Edinburgh University on Rural Entrepreneurship and Rural Collaboration and in 2016 she graduated with a BA in Business and Enterprise from Edinburgh Napier University.

Julia is a member of the International Association of Programmes for Agriculture and Rural Leaders and various other networking groups relating to rural economic development.

A Borderer and native of Hawick, Julia started her career in the Textiles industry, which fuelled her passion and drive for entrepreneurship and people.

 

"Julia is delighted to be supporting the Helping It Happen Awards and be part of the judging panel. With over 25 years experience in economic development and supporting an alumni of over 800+ ambitious business leaders as part of her role in managing Scottish Enterprise's national rural programmes, Julia is particularly keen to see innovative examples of landowners on estates and farms driving economic growth, creating jobs, transitioning to net zero and benefiting the wider rural community."

Lucy Beattie

Lucy Beattie

Leckmelm Estate Owner

Lucy is the owner of Leckmelm Estate, near Ullapool in the north-west of Scotland. 

As well as being a working farm and a prime holiday destination on the shores of Loch broom, Leckmelm is a living, working community that has been in existence long before Ullapool. Currently there are 11 families who live on the estate, totalling 22 adults and 13 children. 

Lucy is a previous winner of our first-ever Highlands and Islands Region Chairman's Helping It Happen Award, which recognised the exceptional assistance Lucy provided to help pupils from Ullapool High School gain a Rural Skills Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) since 2007. 

Lucy is passionate about rural education and skills and is currently conducting a PhD study at the University of the West of Scotland School of Education and Social Sciences.

"These awards represent a chance to celebrate the unknown heroes of the communities in which they work.  I am passionate about the role of land management, agriculture and community development within rural Scotland.  I am greatly honoured to be on the judging panel and am particularly looking forward to exploring the diversity of land use and the people who manage land for the benefit of their local area."

Claudia Rowse

Claudia Rowse

NatureScot Deputy Director of Green Economy

Claudia is Deputy Director of Green Economy for NatureScot. She provides senior leadership on supporting transformative land use and investing in natural capital to address the twin challenges of biodiversity and climate change.

With over 20 years of experience on land use policy and practice, she now leads NatureScot’s peatland restoration team, and Scotland’s Natural Capital Pilot Programme to test approaches to future rural policy that combines sustainable food production, climate and nature. 

Claudia also leads on NatureScot’s work on nature-based jobs and skills, aiming to build capacity and skills across Scotland’s workforce to help Scotland implement nature-based solutions and reach its net zero targets.