Teresa Canavan

Chief Executive

Teresa was appointed as RDC Chief Executive in September 2013 following a period as Deputy Chief Executive.

Teresa is widely respected and recognised within the sector as an expert in rural development policy, planning and implementation at national and EU level. A graduate in Business Studies Teresa also holds an MSc in Rural Development and an Advanced Diploma in Business Management & Leadership from the University of Ulster. Through 15 years of experience in RDC Teresa has an extensive working knowledge of all RDC work areas including Corporate Services, programme management, research, communications, strategy development, programme/project design and delivery. She has led teams within each of these departments with a motivational ‘hands on’ approach.

Teresa has been involved in the management of RDC programmes including PEACE I,II and extension programmes, and a range of IFI initiatives. Specifically Teresa led the development and design of a range of innovative programmes such as Vibrant Villages; Rural Service Centre Hubs; Rural Retail Support; Maximising Community Space and the Integrating Community Organisations Programmes.

Teresa has a detailed working knowledge of the NI Rural Development Programme (NIRDP) having led the development of the RDC Measures for the period 2001-2006. In addition she manages the contract for the Rural Network for Northern Ireland (NIRDP 2007-2013). Teresa’s extensive understanding of the current Programme has enabled her to lead the Rural Network team to support the delivery and implementation of the programme. This involves working across all axes of the Programme, engaging with Local Action Groups, Joint Council Committees, DARD and other delivery agents.  Teresa regularly represents the National Rural Network and UK at European meetings and is a representative on the NI Rural Development Programme Monitoring Committee. Teresa also manages the axis one Farm Family Options programme working with farmers and farm families through the Countryside Agri-Rural Partnership.

Teresa delivers a wide range of training on behalf of RDC. This includes the delivery of Rural Proofing training to government departments; Rural Challenge Workshops and Corporate Governance, Assessment Panel and Appeals training on behalf of the Rural Network. She is also a part time lecturer with Queens University. As a passionate and visionary speaker she has been requested to represent and present on behalf of RDC at numerous events, seminars and conferences at national and EU level. Teresa is regularly requested by the media as a key speaker on RDC and on rural issues.