|Kennel Club AGM: meet the candidates
OUR DOGS invited the candidates to tell us their thoughts on how they would like to see the KC Board progress in the future, and to outline what part they would, if elected, intend to play in that movement. Of the twenty candidates invited, the following responded.
As a member of the Kennel Club since 1998 I have seen it undergo significant changes in its objectives and administrative structure.
I would like to see the return of traditional values of duty, trust, friendship and loyalty so it can concentrate on fulfilling its nine strategic objectives.
Being on the Board should be an honour and an opportunity to contribute to the dog world. The knowledge and expertise within the membership is wide and varied and I look forward to the Board's plans for connecting with the club members and interested parties.
I would like to see wider participation in dog shows and other dog activities, and a membership structure that would enable increased engagement. My diverse background in both the show world and with the dog loving general public has given me unique insights of the future roles the Kennel Club can play in the canine world.
Going forward, the Board needs to consider how the Kennel Club can operate in ways which offer greater inclusivity and interaction for all those who participate across the whole spectrum of canine sports and activities.
This presents considerable challenges and will require creativity and inspiration based on careful analysis and appraisal of the core values and traditions of the Club, as well as a detailed review of its social, education, governance and commercial activities. The ways in which Directors and Committee Members are appointed and whether or not limitations on how long individuals may serve in these roles should be introduced requires critical review.
If re-elected I would encourage the Board to carry out extensive consultation and research to support preparation of strategic plans, for discussion with Members, to facilitate transformation of the Club and its functions in ways which may better serve the interests of all concerned.
I strongly recommend taking a deep breath and then follow the old logic that the best way to define the future is to reinvent it!
Stick to your own DNA as your creative resource (revise mission, claim and objectives) and start re-birthing the 'hands-on-culture' that British dogdom has been famous for. Why? Because it's the recipe to lead the way in dogs, to stay competitive and to echo the passion dog people invest day after day. Start from scratch? No.
Take the socks with no holes and re-attach them on our club clothesline (provide transparency). Replace everything you can't explain on a beer mat (JCF), and make sure you always create a win-win situation for both, your talents and your clubs. They are the ones to make a difference for dogs. And remember: You never did the job if you didn't sell it to your own people.
The Kennel Club has changed greatly in the 25 years I have been a member, as a business it must move in the modern world, but it must maintain the framework of 'our' Club.
The Club must uphold tradition, reflect the views and wishes of its current members and yet move forward, it is a delicate balance to achieve.
Board Members should understand they are not there at their own behest and must work hard to earn and keep the confidence of the membership, both in themselves and in the precious Club they represent.
The Club can only be respected if it respects itself. Harmony and unity must be restored and all views accepted, considered and reflected.
I would focus on steering a mutually acceptable middle pathway between tradition and progress , aiming to keep the confidence of members whilst enabling the Club to thrive and grow.
The Board needs to focus on its most important function, 'promoting the general improvement, health and well-being of all dogs through responsible breeding and ownership'.
I welcome the constructive tone of the new Chairman who, with his inclusive approach, has set an important example. My experience in health work and expertise in the management of change would enhance the work of the Board in achieving its core function.
In particular, my scientific training (to BSc level) has enabled me to contribute to evidence-based canine health projects and papers.
As Chairman of the Dachshund Breed Council, I have led the introduction of major initiatives in breed health work, helped by my career involvement in managing change - a skill the Board needs to develop more fully. Finally, the KC also needs to improve the dissemination of its views, something I have experience of as a writer, presenter and trainer.
We are there to govern on behalf of KC Members, we listen at two General Meetings and act accordingly. I do believe that it's possible for the Kennel Club to move forward on an even keel given the opportunity to do so.
Whilst I can understand the unrest regarding the JCF, we are listening to comments on the subject and constantly making adjustments. I believe we do need to modernise the system while still listening to the Breed Clubs, if we can all work together we will end up with a better system.
I do not profess to being an academic, I am a 'dog person' first and foremost and I feel that my contribution to the Board comes from my long and varied involvement in the world of dogs, my honest straightforward approach and my ability to go along with collective decisions regardless of whether I agree or not.
I am just an ordinary exhibitor, live in an ordinary house and keep only a small number of dogs. I get up in the middle of the night to drive to shows and drag my trolley through all weathers. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don't but I always have a good time, because I do this for fun.
I judge at CC and Open Show level and serve on General Canine and Breed Club Committees so I know how the rules and regulations and changes that the KC makes affect us at the grass roots of dog showing. I can bring some of that grounded experience to the boardroom.
I would like to see the KC Board become even more open, transparent and just in its dealings with those in the world of dogs. I believe that communication and discourse is the way forward.
I have watched the recent events at The Kennel Club with dismay and feel that we now need a period of stability, transparent governance and sound organisation to restore its reputation; the time has therefore come to put aside personal ambitions and entrenched animosities and instead, refocus on core values.
The Club is surely all about 'protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs' - putting this principle back at the heart of everything that we do is key to creating a brighter future.
We seem to have lost sight of the fact that in order to preserve our traditions whilst being fit for purpose in the 21st century, our Club must both serve the needs, and listen to the views, of its members.
Whilst, I do not have the extensive experience in showing or trialling that many members will have, I hope that I do have the professional integrity and organisational experience to put these important values back in place.
I have been a member of the General Committee/Board since 2010 and the current period is by far the most turbulent and traumatic that I have ever experienced, and has resulted in huge reputational damage to the Club.
My background in dogs is detailed in my biographical notes circulated with the AGM papers, and you will see that dogs are, and always have been, a major part of my life.
I do attend shows but have never exhibited, which means that I have some knowledge but am independent and can take a dispassionate view of the issues.
Apportioning blame for the current situation is unhelpful but hopefully the AGM will resolve these issues and allow us to move on.
I believe that I have a role to play and I am very anxious to be re-elected to enable me to play my part in taking the club forward positively.