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Ten-minute chat
  1. Jason Aldiss, BVA Board member

Abstract

Jason Aldiss is a member of the BVA Board, which is responsible for the corporate and financial governance and for setting the strategic direction of the Association

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What made you apply to join the BVA Board?

The BVA is a splendid organisation and I am proud of our profession. I wanted to give something back to the veterinary profession and make a worthwhile contribution and, while I have very few skills, corporate governance, audit and budgetary rectitude are my ‘thing’. I had been watching developments and progress at the BVA over the years and felt that the time was right to apply for one of the available Board positions. It took several goes – I was pipped at the post on three separate occasions by much better applicants – that is the wonderful thing about democracy!

How did you get to where you are today?

I am not sure where I have ‘got to’. Originally I wanted to go to into the legal profession but my father retired from the sea and went to the same law school I would have gone to. He is larger than life and there was no way I could be in the same law class as him, so I opted for vet school instead. I always knew that clinical practice was not my forte and public health was my interest so I did the requisite time in general practice and then applied to work for what was then a small 10-man band of vets in a company called Eville & Jones as an OVS. I have now been managing director for 18 years and we employ 450 vets in a number of EU countries.

What does the BVA Board do?

The Board's role is governance – we work to ensure that members' interests are protected and provide a level of oversight on all areas of activity of the organisation, which have a financial and/or reputational impact. The Board is made up of the officers, four veterinary directors and two non-veterinary directors, one of whom is currently the chairman. In essence, the Board's role is to apply a firm hand to the tiller and help the executive team steer the good ship BVA through the turbulent financial waters in which we sail. We operate on a not-for-profit basis and we must use our members' money wisely, efficiently and effectively to promote the profession, increasing jobs, opportunities and influence at all levels of government and industry both here and abroad.

What do you bring to the Board?

A keen desire to test and challenge all ‘received wisdom’.

Why is the Board important?

It is the mechanism by which we as ordinary BVA members can be assured that our professional body is being managed effectively, honestly and appropriately, and that our best interests are protected. We are fortunate to have a splendid team at Mansfield Street and a superb presidential team, and we all work extremely well together in directing the business of the BVA. The Board provides continuity, independence, and assurance on all aspects of corporate governance, providing the members with a high level of confidence in the overall functioning of the BVA.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to join the Board?

Apply now! We need people with good commercial awareness, marketing skills, experience of financial management, political awareness, business savvy, IT expertise, those with an interest in governance and audit, senior managerial experience, etc. Our profession is full of such people, so please put your names forward.

What's the best piece of advice you were ever given?

Never lose your sense of humour. While my resolve to apply this piece of advice has been severely tested over the years, I know it to be the only means by which I have remained even partially sane.

What was your proudest moment?

Every day my team are there providing food safety assurances to the consumer and protecting animal welfare in slaughterhouses, working under some very difficult circumstances. I am hugely proud of them and what they all do – I am very lucky to be able to have my proudest moments daily.

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