Bicycle Queensland has appointed an interim CEO, after Rebecca Randazzo this month stood down from the top job to explore new opportunities.
Lisa Davies-Jones has stepped down from the BQ board to fill the interim role while the organisation develops a new strategic plan and then fills the CEO position.
An experienced CEO in the hospital and health care industry, Lisa has been a BQ board member for the past three years and has agreed to undertake the interim role for at least three months, with the possibility to remain in the position for longer if required.
She said with the term of the current strategic plan about to conclude, it is a chance to work with the BQ members and the wide community to plot the future for the organisation, consolidate on Rebecca’s legacy and provide a strong foundation for the next CEO.
“Just how long that will take will be determined when the board meets again in June and decides the level of engagement that is required,” according to Lisa, who also has an extensive background in stakeholder engagement and the fitness industry.
“Our Bicycle Queensland chair, Rachel Nolan, and the other board members thought this is a really great opportunity for me to work with the members, the board, and with our staff to develop the plan for the next three years, although the term of the new strategy is yet to be determined.
“The recruitment of the CEO can be strongly aligned to that strategic plan if the document is in place or is at least well advanced.”
Lisa said Rebecca led a BQ’s transformation from being an event holder to becoming an advocate and major player in policy development.
“Rebecca really did work on our fundamental core purpose. That was so important because, from 2019 to now, we’ve all experienced significant shifts in terms of the external environment,” she said.
“Covid was a complete game changer for everyone. It got lots more people on their bikes and people realised they enjoyed riding bikes but it absolutely decimated the events environment. There’s a high reliance on volunteers for events and since Covid there’s been significant volunteer attrition.
“The other thing is there’s more people in the event space, which means it’s more crowded. As an organisation here to represent members, if there’s other people providing events, it makes sense for us to focus our capacity on the things that are important, which is advocacy and awareness raising and supporting the local community.
“She also built an incredibly strong, passionate and committed and talented team of people here in Bicycle Queensland. She absolutely needs to be commended for that.”
Lisa said Rebecca steered BQ through a very challenging period, including Covid and the 2022 flood that inundated the organisation’s headquarters in the Brisbane suburb of Milton.
“We had to clean out our entire office space and we relocated to West End,” he said.
“We are very grateful to have had Rebecca as CEO and set us on the foundation for the next stage of our journey.
“The intention is that we go from strengths and strengths, particularly in the advocacy space, where we see new opportunities to work with Government and non-government and our membership, communities and councils across all of Queensland to really make some traction on improving infrastructure and getting more people riding.
“Part of the strategy will be ensuring we put a sustainable business model in place, so we’re here for Queensland in the long term.”
Lisa said a substantial consultation process was particularly important for the new strategy “because Queensland is such a geographically disparate State”.
“We meet regularly with all of the bicycle use groups, so we do have a good network in a large part of Queensland, but we’ll have to proactively look to those areas where bicycle user groups aren’t as well established,” Lisa added.
“We’ll also be talking to councils across Queensland, as well as our alliances and collaborations with others who advocate for walkers, scooters, safety and good infrastructure.”
Major Wins for BQ
Rebecca said she is “super proud” of what BQ achieved during her almost four years as CEO.
“It’s definitely heading in the right direction, with really robust operations and systems internally. We’ve doubled our funding with the State Government and got some real advocacy wins during that time – such as City Link Cycleway, bikes on trains and building the feasibility study into rail trails,” she said.
“Then there’s the broader stakeholder role. When I started, we were on two panels and at last count BQ is on 28 advisory boards and influential panels, which is amazing.
“We’re the only organisation to cover scooters and advocating in that space, which is a nation first.
“I ticked off what I set out to achieve and I’m ready for a new challenge. My kids have moved into a new phase in their lives. They’re now independent young men doing really well.”
She said it’s an opportunity to explore some of the other things she’s really passionate about, to put some energy into them, and see where they go.
“It’s a chance to decompress and have a look at what’s next,” she said.
Rebecca has an exercise science and elite sports background and is currently on an advisory board helping create a new women’s strategy for the AFL.
“It’s a growing space for the AFL and I’m passionate about helping to get the strategy in place,” she said.
“I’m also a high-performance football coach and there are opportunities to unpick there.”
From Rideability to BQ
Rebecca was approached by BQ to join the organisation as CEO in 2019. She has just returned to Brisbane after five years in Sydney, where she founded a start-up called Rideability.
The business had a strong advocacy focus, setting up education programs across schools and corporates to get more people riding.
“It also did outreach work with first nations communities and developed methodologies for children and adults with autism,” she explained.
“We taught a lot of NDIS patients how to ride a bike, which is critical because most of them had issues with mobility around cars.”
Rebecca said when she sold Rideability and returned to Brisbane, she had a natural synergy with BQ.
“We brought a fair few of our learnings from Rideability to BQ,” she said.
“That includes the Her Ride program I established at BQ to offer customised curriculum delivery to activate women to ride. There were around 600 graduates from that program by the time I left.
“Brisbane and Queensland are in a really good position to benefit from the growing population and infrastructure boom to make Queensland more rideable.”