At BEVA Congress 2021 we welcomed our new President, Huw Griffiths. A first opinion vet and clinical director at Liphook Equine Hospital, Huw has been an active member of BEVA Council since 2013. We catch up with him to find out his plans for the coming year...
What has this year got in store for you as President? What do you think will be your biggest challenges?
My hope is to build on the amazing work of the Past Presidents. Last year Lucy Grieve focused on the “team approach” to equine vet life and work, and this is so important to success. I want to build on this by championing the equine vet.
We also have a global issue in the profession with retention, I believe this will be my biggest challenge. During the early stages of my presidency I am planning on running a members’ survey to gather evidence as to why this is. This will build on the excellent work by our 2018-2019 President Renate Weller. Once this evidence has been gathered, my intention is to continue to expand BEVA’s support for its members -
irrespective of gender, colour, working hours or professional seniority.
What would you like to achieve during your Presidential term?
Overall, I would love to create a platform of support for all equine vets to feel appreciated and valued, especially during difficult chapters in their professional lives.
Above: Lucy Grieve hands over to Huw Griffiths at the 2021 Annual Dinner
Can you tell us a bit more about why you chose “championing the equine vet” as your theme for the year?
I strongly believe that an important step towards solving the retention crisis is for us, both at BEVA and international associations, to ensure that our members feel appreciated and valued in all that they do.
The work we do as equine vets gives us the best days and some of the worst. I want to ensure that our community has the resources and support network to help them through the bad days.
It is essential that all individuals within our profession find the right balance for themselves. As discussed at this year’s Congress in the Work Life Balance Panel, there is no one size fits all. We must all strive to find the correct mechanisms to protect ourselves both mentally and physically.
As President I want to help equine vets feel sufficiently empowered to be clear that the space they give themselves is not a sign of weakness, rather a clear sign of professional intelligence. The need to be one’s “best self” and to be one’s “best vet self” are one and the same.
What motivated you to put yourself forward for BEVA Council?
I have always loved “local politics”, by this I mean the politics I have the bandwidth to fully understand and make meaningful contribution to. As a student I was AVS President, representing students’ needs and as a “grown up” I want to proudly represent all equine vets and embrace diversity in every guise within our industry.
What projects do you have planned for the coming year within your BEVA Council Committee roles?
As Chair of the Clinical Practice Committee, I want to lobby on behalf of practising vets to minimise the impact of Brexit and COVID-19 on the trade of horses and associated germ plasm.
What three things do you want every BEVA member to know about you?
I’m a farmer’s son who wasn’t allowed a pony as a child. Dad’s line was “if you can’t milk it or eat it we’re not having it!”
I proudly represent the “middle person” rather than the “exceptional individual”.
I believe we are all imperfect and our challenge is to minimise our imperfections and maximise our strengths.