A Fifer in San Francisco

A Fifer in San Francisco

Russell Brady works in Corporate Communications for Adobe

1)  Why did you leave Scotland?

Work, the usual reason. I had finished University and found a job working for a public relations company in London.


2) Where did you grow up and at what age did you leave Scotland?  

I was born in Dundee but left there when I was five. I was brought up in Glenrothes, Fife – a new town about half-way between Dundee and Edinburgh.

I studied at Edinburgh University and then did a post-graduate course at Stirling University.  I left Scotland for London when I was 23.


3) What is your job/sector and how many countries have you lived in?

I work in Corporate Communications for Adobe – I basically run product PR for our Digital Media business: all the fun stuff like Photoshop, InDesign, Creative Suite and now Creative Cloud.

I’ve lived in Scotland, England and USA.


4) Do you show pictures of the Loch Ness Monster to the locals?

No. Though I do hear that some Louisiana schools are being taught that Nessie exists, as a proof-point for creationism.

And we wonder why USA is falling behind the rest of the world in education?

5) Which citizenship do you have and which languages do you speak?

I have both US and UK passports.

I speak English, a bit of German and “soccer Spanish” – I can ask for a pass, tell someone when to shoot, swear at someone if they kick me.


6) Has living abroad changed the way you think about Scotland?

I get annoyed that we don’t market Scotland to the world – in the way it deserves. Especially when you compare us to somewhere like Ireland.

It’s getting better – with marketing gimmicks like Tartan week in NYC – but I think Scottish people, particularly ex-pats like myself, need to do a better job of promoting our homeland.


7) Are there any Scottish products you would like to be able to buy?

I know it’s a cliché but McSweens haggis. There’s a ban on the import of haggis into USA and it’s something the politicos in Scotland need to get their heads around and start lobbying their USA colleagues.

For our Burns Supper we have to get our beastie from a guy up in Oregon. It’s okay but it’s not McSweens.


8) What about the independence referendum coming up? How will it affect you and Scotland’s international image?

I’ve always been comfortable being Scottish and British, though I definitely identify myself as Scottish first. I’m pretty ambivalent about independence – it’s really for people who live in Scotland to decide, without input from ex-pats like me.

I don’t think Scotland’s international image is index-linked to it being independent. I think it’s up to us, as Scots, to do a better job of hyping our home, whether it is independent or otherwise.


9) Have you ever had problems or found that people treat you differently because you are Scottish?

Not really. The worst was when I played Sunday league football in the East End of London.  Having a Scottish accent, up against those cloggers, was like a red rag to a bull. Still we all had a pint afterwards.

I’ve found being Scottish more of point of engagement, of interest, especially working in USA. People are interested in your heritage here.


10) Do you have any plans for living in Scotland again and have you got a message for Scots back home?

We visit every couple of years but our son is in the school system here and it’s difficult to see us going back any time soon. Our son is very proud of his Scottish roots and loves going back to meet his family. It’s been a great part of his childhood.

The only comment I’d make regarding a “message” is be positive about our nation. I get a lot of “dour Scots” comments and I don’t think we deserve that reputation.

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