Mandy Rudd, GiGL Chief Executive
There is a lot of cross-pollination amongst staff in the environmental records centre community. Outside of their paid jobs, many of the UK’s 100+ records centre staff are involved with local and national recording schemes. Some of them are county recorders. Some help run related businesses, including those who sit on the board of the Association of Local Environmental Records Centres. Much of this work is undertaken on a voluntary basis. All of it contributes vital knowledge of national biodiversity to records centres’ work with their local biodiversity communities.
As of April 2014, we at GiGL have amassed over 60 years of records centre experience between us. Inevitably, some of us use the specialist skills and interests required to work for a records centre to benefit related organisations in London and further afield. One such member of our team is Claudia Watts.
By day, for the last six years, Claudia has been GiGL’s Royal Parks Officer. In that role, Claudia works closely with the Royal Parks ecology team and park managers on maintaining their biodiversity evidence base and on ensuring it is used to underpin relevant decisions within and near their sites. Claudia has previously worked for the London Borough of Newham as their conservation assistant, and had three different roles over three years for the national charity Buglife.
By night, and on most weekends, Claudia wears so many hats it’s difficult to know where to begin. So, we will start locally, and note that for the last few years one of Claudia’s roles has been that of the indoor meetings secretary of the ecology and entomology section of the London Natural History Society (LNHS). In this capacity, Claudia has been responsible for organising meetings which are detailed amongst the full list of events on the LNHS website. Incidentally, the LNHS has been a key partner in GiGL from the outset, and has helped shape our strategy and various policies, as well as being one of the main providers of verified species data for London.
Nationally, Claudia is a fellow of the Linnean Society, and she sits on the committees of the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society (BWARS), and the British Entomological and Natural History Society (BENHS). Claudia has been involved with BENHS for many years. Its role in entomological research and its affiliation with The Dipterists Forum; the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society; and the British Myriapod and Isopod Group, perfectly compliment Claudia’s interest in creatures with six or more legs.
I am immensely proud of the achievements of all GiGL staff. But the story I particularly want to celebrate here, and the reason it’s not buried in the previous paragraph, is that in March 2014 Claudia became only the third woman ever to be elected BENHS President in its 142 year history.
Over the 17 years Mandy Rudd has been involved in the records centre community, she has been an assistant, a project officer, a manager, a director and now a chief executive, all for the same initiative in London. She’s learnt on the go, with her current knowledge shamelessly borrowed from other records centre colleagues around the UK, and shared by the experts that she works alongside in London. She states “I’m not a recorder, or an ecologist, or a planner, or any of the other expert roles we work with, I just run GiGL as a not-for-profit business, that’s my role.”