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Q&A with Mark, our new Chief Exec

Exciting times here at Venture Trust; we're delighted to announce that Mark Bibbey, our new Chief Executive, joined us in November. Since then, it's been a whirl of meetings, introductions and heads-down brainstorming sessions. We thought you'd like to get to know our new gaffer so, now that Christmas is over and we're all ready for the year ahead, we sat down to find out all about Mark's plans and ambitions for Venture Trust.

We've asked Mark about the challenges facing Venture Trust in the coming months, his ambitions for the organisation, and his thoughts on becoming Chief Exec. By way of light relief, we also asked about his childhood ambitions, his desert-island necessitites, and his personal heroes. Read on for the full interview....

What attracted you to the post of Venture Trust’s Chief Exec?

In the lead up to leaving the military I was undecided about my second career and so did a bit of formal self analysis. The resulting ideal area of interest and job spec was, without even having heard of VT at the time, pretty much exactly this job. So when I saw it advertised, I had no choice but to apply.

How have you found your first couple of months so far?

What have been the main things you’ve learned / discovered? Apart from my weekly commute from the Highlands, I’ve enjoyed every minute, particularly when I’ve been out and about meeting people. It’s my first real exposure to this sector, but the principles are similar to elsewhere: in particular, that success is directly proportional to the quality of the people involved and and the degree of common purpose. Surprisingly, I’ve also discovered that there’s more jargon and TLAs here than anywhere else I’ve been, including the military!

What are your ambitions for the future of Venture Trust?

In 5 years time, 3 broad headlines: Firstly, no significant change to what we deliver in terms of Wilderness Based Personal Development or our target audience, because they are pretty much spot on; Secondly, to be delivering life-changing effect to as many young people as we can; in other words to have our 44 courses as close to capacity as possible; and thirdly, to have developed a Social Enterprise business which contributes funds to cover a proportion of our central costs, thereby driving down the marginal costs for each young person referred to us.

What do you think are the biggest opportunities and challenges facing Venture Trust at the moment?

Funding is probably the biggest challenge in the current economic climate, which leads to the conclusion that we must be as efficient as possible. The logical progression of this analysis leads to what is possibly the biggest opportunity, which is to build effective partnerships. I firmly believe that this is critical if we are to leverage maximum effect from every £ we receive.

Where’s your favourite wild place in Scotland?

The Aonach Eagach. Despite the fact that, although I’ve been up there several times, it was only on the last occasion (when it was perfectly clear) that I could see much further than the end of my nose!

You’re about to be marooned on a desert island... Which three items would you take with you?

A fishing net, spoon and a teach yourself Chinese book.

And which famous person (dead or alive) would you most like to be stuck there with?

Capt Scott. He could keep the diary (not my strong point) and I’m pretty sure there wouldn’t be any whingeing.

Bizarre experiences?

There have been a few, but some years ago whilst climbing in Devon, a friend and I came across a sheep stuck on a ledge about 15 ft from the top. We determined to rescue it and after some innovation and effort, succeeded; however the sheep wasn’t that grateful and as I was releasing it from the makeshift harness it kicked me where it hurts and ran off!

Age 10, what was your dream job?

A Vet. It was only the realisation, when I had to choose my A level subjects, that I had as much chance of getting the requisite 3 ‘A’ grade science A levels as fly in the sky, and so chose arts subjects and ditched the dream.

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