Bella Mezger - Council Member
Day to day I work as a Management Consultant, focusing on managing change for businesses that are going through transformation, and developing learning programmes and strategies for multinational organisations. Whenever I can, I take the chance to get out of the office and seek out gorgeous coffee shops in the cities I’m working in.
I love being outside and am most content when up a mountain or sitting on a river somewhere beautiful. I recently got engaged in the Brecon Beacons, which I’m very pleased to say is looked after by the National Trust. We did a 4:15am night hike and arrived at the top of a mountain for sunrise, a little proposal, scrambled eggs on toast, and panoramic views. It’s amazing to be a part of an organisation that enables things like that to happen!
I’m passionate about getting people, particularly families and the young, into the outdoors and experiencing the delights of nature, and also believe in the power of the home, community and beauty in enabling people to understand and fulfil their potential. When I spotted an opportunity to volunteer for an organisation that does all of that (the Trust), I was so excited. I knew I wanted to get involved in something I cared deeply about, but wanted to continue to build my skills and experience in Consulting—this was the perfect opportunity to do both.
I was elected to the Council in November 2014, and my first Council meeting was incredibly interesting (and pretty intense). We covered some wonderfully exciting and relevant topics, from the 2020 Strategy, a review of how the Trust is governed, and an update on improving volunteer experience. There was a lot to take on board, but it was amazing to get such a rich and varied insight into the key concerns and ambitions of the Trust.
I was overwhelmingly struck by how friendly and approachable everyone is – the Council is a big group of people but it’s very welcoming. I was also given a ‘buddy’ to help me understand my role on the Council, introduce me to people, and provide support and guidance where I needed it.
Council meetings are also interesting not just for their content, but for the interactions between different (and sometimes opposing) opinions. It was fascinating to watch the executive team present to the Council – as someone relatively near the beginning of their career, it’s great experience to see and hear those at the top of their game articulate problems and respond to challenges on the spot.
I’m looking forward to getting more involved in understanding how we can widen the appeal of the Trust, both to visitors, members and volunteers. In my view, it’s critical that there is more diversity amongst those who volunteer (there was an overwhelming amount of tweed at my first Council meeting!), so that we ensure the Trust really is ‘for ever, for everyone’.
New ideas, creativity and innovation are critical to preserving wonderfully old or significant properties and places. So I would encourage anyone contemplating joining the governance volunteers, whatever your background, to have a chat with someone at the Trust – there is a strong desire for fresh perspectives.