Highlands and Islands Enterprise's new Area Manager for the Outer Hebrides says one of her top priorities is to help her team develop even closer relationships with local people at the heart of businesses and communities throughout the islands.
Rachel Mackenzie, who took up her new job this week, said: “HIE’s Innse Gall area team is already working closely with a wide variety of businesses, social enterprises and communities to support growth in all parts of the Outer Hebrides. Having grown up here and run my own business, I am well acquainted with the challenges and opportunities facing the islands and really excited at being given this opportunity to lead a team which makes a difference to our economy and our future.
“One of my first priorities is to get out and about, meeting key people in partner organisations, and ensuring that our Innse Gall team is close to our customers. It's vital for a development agency like HIE to be well connected and play its part in the many local networks that really drive progress in the islands. To be truly effective, we need to grasp an understanding of our customers' ambitions, and make sure they know how we can support them.
“There is excellent progress being made in the Outer Hebrides and HIE is leading or involved with a number of incredibly ambitious projects, from Connected Communities and the regeneration of Lochboisdale to Ardveenish Harbour and Arnish. It's not only the big projects that matter, however, and I'm determined to retain a strong focus on our work to support local entrepreneurs and develop resilient rural communities, particularly in some of our more fragile areas.
"HIE can play an important role in supporting a wide range of businesses and communities, and helping them work together for wider benefits across the islands."
Mrs Mackenzie is a chartered accountant and recently combined running her own accountancy and business advice practice with work for Stornoway firm Mann Judd Gordon and a role as Finance Director with AMK Plant and Tipper Hire Ltd, based in Callanish.
HIE Chief Executive Alex Paterson, said: “We are delighted to welcome Rachel to the HIE team. She brings a deep understanding of local issues and a wealth of expertise, and is the perfect person to help our ambitious communities and businesses across the islands to develop and grow.”
A Gaelic speaker and active crofter, she lives in Callanish, where she grew up and is married with two children.