This week’s blog kicks off with a hot off the press exclusive (you read it here first). It’s just been announced that Becca Dent has been promoted internally and will shortly be leaving fisheries & angling to move to our North East waterway management team for a role in volunteer development.
So those clubs in the North East waterway have definitely not seen the last of her. Barbara, Carl and I all wish Becca the very best of luck as she progresses onwards and upwards. Suffice to say, fisheries team meetings will never quite be the same again. Becca’s achievements and occasional humorous idiosyncrasies are too numerous to recall them all here, but here’s a small sample.
One of the seriously great achievements of our working together has been the production of the 11 waterway FAAP’s. Production started a year ago with the Yorkshire FAAP being the pilot and we both owe a debt to North East waterway manager, Jon Horsfall for his initial guidance in what has definitely turned out to be the right direction. Never has the fisheries and angling team been better placed when it comes to inputting into the annual business planning rounds.
Becca is covering the success of the recent Burton Mutual event on the Trent & Mersey in another blog. This has demonstrated to me and hopefully to leaders in the fisheries and angling world that if we can recreate the successful outcome in other places throughout the network, then the decline in canal fishing really can be reversed.
In 1968, the Chinese leader Zhou Enlai was asked what he thought the impact of the French Revolution was on world history. He wisely responded by saying that it was simply too early to tell. The same may be true when it comes to judging the long term impacts of Becca’s contribution to fisheries and angling within the Trust. What most observers outside of the Trust would not easily appreciate, but what history may judge to be the greatest contribution, is that she reached teams and people that the remaining three of us in the fisheries team found hard to engage with. We will continue to reap the benefits of this long after Becca has moved on.
More often than not, this was achieved by approaching things differently, sometimes with an ‘off the scale’ uniqueness. And that caught the attention of many colleagues who were barely aware that the fisheries and angling team even existed.
Who could possibly have predicted, even just a couple of years ago, that waterway managers and partnership chairs would be clamouring for angling participation plans and events in their local patches. Serious progress Becca, serious progress.
Having over the years been a one-to-one coach to dozens of young people, the link between physiology, motivation, energy flow and ultimately performance is an area of immense professional interest to me. I do regret not collecting any measurable data and the opportunity has now almost certainly passed me by, but the speed and range of Becca’s hand movements when she is in in full flow, particularly when fuelled by copious quantities of caffeine is a spectacle to behold. If only there was a way to concentrate and collect all that free flowing energy, and recycle it for the benefit of the planet.
In my early meetings with Becca I was never aware of any hint of a Yorkshire accent and then, on a few occasions, as if by magic, the northern dialect mysteriously appeared out of thin air. It was a joint encounter one time in the Leeds office with an oversized spider spinning its tangled web directly in Becca’s line of vision, which provided the evidence that when suffering from nerves, Becca could very occasionally turn into a gabbling Yorkshire wreck.
The English language it is said, never stays still, much to the chagrin of us veterans who tend to fight change rather than embrace it. My favourite Becca word just has to be schmooze. I think it sort of means being nice to someone when in the fullness of time you hope to influence their decision-making in your favour.
If I am right about that, then schmoozing is something I need to get a good deal better at. I have never yet seen the word schmooze used in an official Trust role profile but maybe one day soon? And how about a training course, a manager's guide to successful schmoozing?
I have yet to really master the mysteries of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or whatever else it is that Becca works on at some rapidly furious pace. The really frightening thing is, that with Becca about to depart, these digital responsibilities may yet fall on my shoulders. AAAAGH. I wonder, is there any way we can get her back, even as a volunteer?
The team undertake a diverse range of work including looking after the Trust's £40 million worth of fish stocks, managing agreements with over 250 different angling clubs and helping more people, especially youngsters, take up angling on the canal. Follow this blog to keep updated with the thoughts and work of the team.See more blogs from this author