Senior Vice President Lucy Grieve has spent the last ten years as an integral part of BEVA Council, so she’s well-placed to give us an inside scoop on what goes on behind closed doors...
I’ve been on BEVA Council for 10 years now, the maximum amount permitted, so I guess that says it all. At the time of writing my application I was working in racing for a single owner, outside of the ‘normal’ practice setting. I was concerned that I was increasingly out of touch with the rest of the industry, and I missed that feeling of belonging to a larger team of like-minded individuals. One year, I happened across the BEVA and EVJ teams in Texas, attending AAEP. The conversations that night fascinated me – I realised I had no idea what BEVA did for its members. The work that went on behind the scenes and the representation it provided, I was utterly in awe of it all, and inspired.
I met the opportunity to join Council, as a representative of the “younger crowd”, with no hesitation. It’s an honour and a huge opportunity for the individual to spread their wings professionally. It is also key that Council is representative of the profession, otherwise it is at risk of being out of touch with those at the coalface.
I was not expecting to be voted in, but perhaps there wasn’t much competition that year! Nowadays there are nearly always two or more times as many applicants as there are vacancies, which is testament to the importance with which BEVA is viewed amongst members of our profession.
I remember sitting down with CEO David Mountford to discuss where my skills and interests would best fit in terms of Committees. I was so excited I wanted to sit on all of them! But Council members are rightly restricted to two, sometimes three, in order to avoid unintentionally over-committing and under-delivering. There can be great ideas borne within Council but each project has to be carefully proposed and selected in order to make sure the objective is achievable and realistic.
Workloads of the Committees can vary. Some are consistently busy, engaging with other associations, providing CPD and working on long-term projects, whilst others can be more ‘fire-fighting’ in their approach, and workload depends on what challenges present themselves. The nice thing is that wherever there is scope for improvement, or an issue that needs to be addressed, there is always an open and balanced forum within which our profession can address things in an informed and logical fashion.
With Council members changing each year, there is always an appropriate mix of innovation and grounding, the flows of which are carefully monitored and adjusted by the Board of Management, to help progress our corner of the industry steadily and consistently in the right direction.
The commitment is real, but it should not dissuade individuals from joining. You do not need to have a clear goal of addressing some of our professions biggest concerns. You don’t need to approach Council with the aim of being a ground-breaking leader. Sometimes, what is required is simple life experience (note, not clinical experience) from those within the profession. Someone who hears the views of others and can hold them in mind when taking part in discussions or voting on decisions. Someone who can build healthy relationships with individuals and utilise the skillsets of others to achieve an objective as part of a team.
For many equine vets out there, joining BEVA Council might be the icing on their career cake at this time or in the future. We would all like to see our profession move forwards and adapt to the ever-changing environment we find ourselves in, but it is only able to do so where there is clear and fair representation of those from within. BEVA has the ability to do so much for us all, but it relies on members stepping up to the plate and providing input, steering and feeding back what is really happening. The more connected it is to its members the better it can serve them.
If you are passionate about our profession, I urge you to consider joining Council. You won’t regret it, and it is what you make of it – a small chapter in your career, or a large contribution to both your career and that of others. It’s a truly humbling experience and can also open doors and make available opportunities that you may not have otherwise realised. If you don’t try, you’ll never know!