Please tell us a little bit about your background: 

I graduated first as a veterinary technician, and then earned a BS in Medical Technology and my DVM degree from the University of Minnesota. I’m a big believer in the power of associations and ho
ld active memberships with the AVMA, American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, American Association of Swine Veterinarians, American Animal Hospital Association, American Society of Association Executives, and the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians. I also served as a Trustee for the AVMA GHLIT (now known as AVMA LIFE) and served as a board member of the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians.

In 2013, I was named the Chief Executive Officer of the AVMA PLIT, reporting to the PLIT Board of Trustees. They were searching for a forward-looking candidate with extensive management and leadership experience in the veterinary profession and at AVMA, and I was fortunate to have the desired background and career history. My management and leadership skills were built and honed from working with great leaders and mentors throughout my career. They helped teach me about the importance of providing strategic focus, and their guidance served me very well when it came to the business operations of the PLIT, one of the most highly valued AVMA member services. My career path is one proven example of the importance of getting involved and volunteering within our profession.

I also served as the Chief Veterinary Officer of Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., where from 2007 to 2013 I was responsible for managing the global veterinary teams and driving the development of innovative products and services for the veterinary profession. I served in several progressive roles at AVMA from 1991 to 2007, including Assistant and Interim Director of Scientific Activities, Associate Executive Vice President, Interim CEO of the National Council on Veterinary Economic Issues, and Assistant Executive Vice President. I began my career in a mixed-animal practice, and then I held faculty positions at the University of Minnesota while also working at an emergency clinic.

Please tell us about your current role: 

As AVMA CEO, my goal is to serve the needs of AVMA members.  My time at the AVMA and my experiences across the profession have reinforced for me time and again that our membership is very diverse, our needs are constantly evolving and our profession continues to face new challenges and opportunities. That’s why I’m committed to making certain we continue to build on the AVMA’s core strengths so that we are even more responsive to the needs of our members, and that we advocate with a strong, clear voice on behalf of our entire profession.

I’m excited to work closely with AVMA leadership and staff, and our colleagues and strategic partners, to advance the AVMA’s mission “to lead the profession by advocating for our members and advancing the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health.”

I’m passionate about member service, and I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with what I consider to be one of the most important positions in veterinary medicine.

Why did you choose to pursue this role? 

I’ve enjoyed a very diverse career background in virtually all aspects of the veterinary profession, and I pursued the AVMA CEO position to continue advocating for our profession. I have a strong commitment to member service and truly believe in the AVMA’s mission. Throughout all of my positions, I’ve found that initiatives that help develop leaders and provide ongoing development are integral to the success of our profession. Women volunteer leaders that I’ve worked with always delivered strong results that positively impacted our profession. I’ve been inspired by mentors and leaders throughout my career to appreciate the importance of leadership volunteer opportunities. To continue this philosophy, I actively encourage my staff to pursue leadership volunteer opportunities. Volunteerism is also a great way to build a strong network and develop relationships across the profession.

What motivates you/inspires you to continue leadership activity within our profession?

The next generation of veterinarians inspires me, including my daughter. She is a veterinary student at the University of Missouri, and I encourage her to participate in organized veterinary medicine and leadership opportunities. WVLDI clearly understands that the future of veterinary medicine is tied to the success of the people in the profession. Watching the excitement and passion of our future leaders in action, I am confident our great profession will be in very good hands.