Former pupil Ruaridh Jackson, Class of ‘06 is the latest Gordonian participating in the RGC S6 Lecture Series as he returned to school on Monday for a full day programme with junior and senior pupils. Ruaridh was full of excitement and enthusiasm throughout the day as he met with pupils who eagerly engaged with the former Scotland international rugby player during his talks and Q&A sessions, and the additional kicking skills clinic in the afternoon at Countesswells Sports Campus.

Throughout the morning and early afternoon sessions, Ruaridh candidly answered questions from boys and girls, ranging from his favourite coach and Scotland player to pivotal moments in his rugby career. His willingness to share personal anecdotes and experiences provided invaluable lessons in perseverance and determination.

During his S6 Lecture, Ruaridh spoke about his journey from rugby player to entrepreneur, emphasising the importance of resilience and seizing opportunities. Despite initially envisioning a career in property after school, Ruaridh's path took an unexpected turn when he was spotted by the Glasgow Warriors coach during a sevens competition in his final year at RGC.

Embracing the opportunity to pursue professional rugby, Ruaridh embarked on a new and exciting journey, marked by both successes and setbacks. From earning his first cap for Scotland to facing the reality of injuries, Ruaridh's resilience and determination shone through every obstacle.

Reflecting on his experiences, Ruaridh highlighted the significance of personal networks in navigating life's twists and turns. Encouraging pupils not to shy away from engaging with others, he emphasised the power of building connections and exploring new opportunities, he said, “your network is such a powerful tool, don’t be afraid to go to events and meet new people, speak to them”.

After retiring from his rugby career, Ruaridh utilised his network and embarked on a journey of entrepreneurship alongside former rugby player Ryan Grant and their wives, as they together formed their first business, The Garden Shed Drinks Co. His transition into gin-making exemplifies his willingness to embrace new ventures and take calculated risks. Drawing parallels between the worlds of sports and business, Ruaridh highlighted the invaluable lessons gleaned from both wins and losses. He said “Winning is great but you have your biggest lessons when you lose, in sport when you fail, you learn from it and improve.”  As well as running his own business, Ruaridh’s network and passion for Whisky led him to become a private client manager at The Glenturret. 

Ruaridh's visit to Robert Gordon’s College was a source of inspiration for students, encouraging them to pursue their passions, build strong networks, and embrace failure as a stepping stone to success. His story is a testament to the power of resilience, adaptability, and seizing opportunities, leaving a lasting impact on all who had the privilege of hearing it.

The Power of Your Network