Galston Estate Trust bids farewell to chief executive

Lisa, fourth from right, with UOG staff in 2019. NO F40 Lisa with Staff in 2019
Lisa, fourth from right, with UOG staff in 2019. NO F40 Lisa with Staff in 2019

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After 11 years with Galson Estate Trust (Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn) on Lewis, Lisa Maclean is leaving her post as chief executive officer to return home to Northern Ireland.

Lisa first joined Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (UOG) in 2010 as commercial development manager.

Over the years, she oversaw many major projects for the trust, including the construction of the original office in South Galson, as well as its replacement after fire destroyed this building in 2019.

Elsewhere on the estate, Lisa was key to the removal of the old bird hide, and the relocation and building of the new nature observatory at Loch Stiapabhat.

She also held a critical role in the formation of Community Land Outer Hebrides, a formally-established body of community trusts located throughout the Western Isles.

Lisa said: ‘The move of all estate business to in-house management was a key highlight for me, as previously this was carried out by a solicitor in Stornoway.

‘The support received from Anderson Macarthur to move to in-house estate management was excellent and vital to support a smooth transition.

‘Another highlight was the establishment of the Community Investment Fund, which
financially supports projects that would benefit the aspirations, needs and issues of Galson Estate residents, contributing to the overall wellbeing of the area.

‘The biggest thing for me, though, has been the growth of the team over the years – I am so pleased that we retain core staff so well.

‘We have grown from a team of 2.5 core staff in 2010 to a team of 12 in 2021 in a variety of roles and contracts.’

Lisa moves with her husband and two sons to take up her new employment with Belfast
Central Mission.

She added: ‘I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to work at UOG. I’ve
learned so much and feel privileged to have worked alongside the committed board, staff team and volunteers over the years.

‘I had an excellent send-off, and would like to thank the UOG staff team and board for the wonderful gift I received [a commissioned piece by north Lewis artist Alice
Macmillan].

‘I wish every success to the community as a whole and look forward to seeing what the
future holds for Galson Estate.’

Neil Mackinnon, development manager at UOG, and Christine Amos, operations manager, will take over Lisa’s responsibilities for an interim period.

Christine will work alongside the estate business sub-group, overseeing estate and land management, whilst Neil will take responsibility for finance and investment, working alongside the finance committee.

Lisa’s other responsibilities will be divided between the remainder of the UOG team, making best use of the strong skills and experience that UOG has in-house.

Agnes Rennie, UOG chairperson, said: ‘We did advertise for a new CEO, but have decided that during the current changeable situation we will pause, take stock and use the time to decide what best suits the Urras as we approach our 15-year buy-out milestone.

‘I am confident that the UOG team currently in place, working alongside the board, will have the ability and enthusiasm to continue operations, especially when they move back to the new business centre next month.’