Meet Chairman of the House – David Blakey

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This article came from the Breeze Magazine. You can read the full magazine online here.

“It was hammer and nails all day and night. The boat was launched when I was five and as Dad was a passionate Squadron member and a stickler for tradition, one of my most important jobs was raising the Squadron burgee to the top of the mast at 8am every morning and lowering it at sunset.

“My first sailing experience was in a P-class. That day, in a stiff breeze, I flipped and spent a lot of time upside down.”

David wasn’t put off by his watery wipeout. He went on to race in a number of classes, including Farr 1020 and Farr 38. He is currently a part owner of the MRX Harken and enjoys surf ski paddling, paddle boarding, ocean swimming and wind foiling.

Off the water and in his Chairman of the House and Membership Committee roles, David says his primary objectives, along with supporting General Manager Sarah Wiblin and her team, is to grow the members’ base and increase the engagement of the members with the club.

David: “In the current economic environment, post-COVID, we are operating in challenging conditions. We face many of the issues that other hospitality and events venues are experiencing. We need to encourage members to use the facilities here, enjoy the food and beverage options and attend events.

“The Membership and House Committee is charged with meeting those challenges, helping to develop ideas to drive and improve membership engagement and also oversee the maintenance and development of our property.”

One thing that attracted David to the role was being able to apply the work skills and experiences he has had to the challenges the club faces and to plan for the opportunities ahead.

David has had more than 25 years’ experience in the banking and financial services areas. He was recently General Manager for the Northern Region of the BNZ and is about to take up the position of Chief Executive of the Newmarket consulting firm, Bellingham and Wallace, which works closely with privately owned businesses.

He has a range of governance experiences, having been a director of family-owned businesses and has recently completed the Institute of Directors course on governance.

This winter will see David competing in the Doyle Sails Winter Series and Friday’s Havana Club Rum Racing, however, his family, wife Keren, son Stuart (23) and daughter Charlotte (21) won’t be joining him.

“They enjoy sailing, but are not serious sailors. My children enjoy other water sports like rowing and surfing.

“My family has a long association with the Squadron and I have a depth of understanding where the club has come from over the decades. There is a lot of tradition on the club’s walls and in our trophy cabinets, but what I would like to see is more recognition of Squadron members’ recent achievements, especially those of our younger members.

“In the meantime, after my time as Chairman of the House, I can hopefully look back with pride that I left the Club in a stronger position than it is in today.”

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