11 Feb 2021 | The veterinary profession
BVA Council - through the eyes of a newbie
Following her first BVA Council meeting, Emma Callaghan looks to demystify what goes on at BVA Council, and encourage all members, whatever their background or age, to get involved with veterinary politics.
Having grown up in Airdrie in central Scotland and now residing in rural South Lanarkshire, it is always something of an adventure to leave my usual bubble and visit the bright lights of London. The destination this time was to be none other than BVA HQ in the heart of London for an initial Regional Reps training day followed by BVA Council.
To say that I was apprehensive in my new role would be an understatement, however, a townie at heart, I relished being in ‘the big smoke’ and marvelled at the incredible transport links and buzz of city living. Anxious about the day ahead I arrived early thanks to the marvellous citymapper app on my smartphone and steered finally by the iconic green door and brass plaque of BVA HQ. A welcome sight.
It was with a mix of trepidation and pride that I stepped into the building to officially start my journey as regional representative for Scotland.
Regional Rep Training - engagement was the name of the game
Not wanting to throw us in at the deep end, the BVA staff put on a Regional Reps training day to help us better understand what was expected of us and how we can encourage members in our regions to engage.
The day was hosted by President, John Fishwick, who started things off with introductions between the elected representatives and the wonderfully welcoming BVA staff. It was a highly informative enjoyable day of presentations and discussions which particularly highlighted the incredible work which goes on behind the scenes by a talented and committed group of people.
Senior Vice President, Gudrun Ravetz, joined us and gave a motivating presentation on all aspects BVA which further inspired all those present to do our best in our elected roles. I was hugely impressed by the training day and in particular the attention it drew to the level of content produced for Twitter, Facebook and the BVA website which is all available for members to keep them informed.
As the training day reached a close I left for the afternoon feeling more relaxed than when I arrived with fresh anticipation for BVA Council the following day.
As a small animal general practitioner, I was keen to stand for the role of regional representative in order to be a voice for the everyday vet in practice and where possible to encourage engagement between members at the coalface and our representative body. It would be easy to be highly intimidated by the company of those attending a BVA Council meeting, with so many vets who are experts in their field and with decades of experience in matters important to veterinary politics.
Any nerves, however, soon passed as I was however made to feel very welcome and was delighted to catch the cheery wave from Scottish Branch President, Melissa Donald, as I arrived. It was encouraging to note the breadth of expertise in the room as well as the diversity in representation across species groups, gender and age of council members. I was also especially encouraged to see all members being encouraged to participate.
Whilst it is very early in my role of regional representative I can confidently say the BVA goes to great lengths to represent the voice of the veterinary profession and, perhaps best of all, it does so by encompassing the friendly community feel I have grown to believe is what makes our profession so very special.
I do hope that by volunteering for this role I might also inspire other veterinary professionals to consider getting more involved be it through entering discussions online or by email, having your say on current consultations or perhaps even by setting up or attending a Young Vet Network group or event.
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