With the launch of our new website, we’ve decided to spotlight each of the WVLDI Board Members so you can get to know your leadership better! Check back regularly for more spotlights on WVLDI Board Members and other veterinarians who inspire! 
Spotlight: WVLDI Board Member Dr. Bridget Heilsberg
Q: Tell us a little bit of background info: where you’re from, how you/when you decided to become a vet, what vet school you graduated from, etc. 
A: I grew up in Ravena, New York – which is really rural.  From there I moved to Ithaca, NY for undergrad at Cornell; Glennville and Bakersfield, CA; Tulare, CA; San Diego, CA (with the Navy); overseas to Kuwait and Iraqi Oil Platforms (again Navy); Phoenix, AZ; Fort Collins, CO (Vet School, GO RAMS!), and finally now Whitesboro, Texas.  When people ask where I’m from, I usually say “all over” and if they push, they get this answer.
I went to Colorado State University for vet school, and though I loved my time at Cornell (and almost went back for vet school – really interesting story there), it was ABSOLUTELY the best choice for me.  I couldn’t have more love or loyalty for that program!
I was one of those called-to-the-profession-at-8-years-old children … so not much to say there.
Interesting tidbits about me:  I’m a combat veteran; I’m a second-career student; I’m an equine veterinarian in a non-traditional practice model; I love tattoos and have several large ones; I ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles; I breed and raise Foundation Quarter Horses.
Q: Tell us about your current role/position and brief description. Feel free to include past positions as well. 
A: I’m currently a Board Member and have focused mainly on the development and selection of the Student Director, as well as defining WVLDI’s relationship with veterinary students.  I am uniquely qualified for this role as I was the 2012-2013 SAVMA President, and was the first female student president to sit at the AVMA Executive Board table (now the Board of Directors).

Q: How and when did you become involved with WVLDI? 
A: I was first invited to participate in WVLDI’s initial strategic planning session at AVMA 2015.  Dr. Bradley invited me to participate as an equine practitioner, a recent grad, and for the student relationship input.  At the end of the session, the board voted to add me as a member effective immediately in order to help address some of the issues identified during the session.  That was it!

Q: What motivates you/inspires you to continue leadership activity within our profession? Particularly, why do you believe in WVLDI’s mission? 
A: I absolutely love this profession – we are an incredible group of people with endless talent and potential.  The statistics don’t lie, the profession is undergoing a gender shift – and women need to be encouraged to step up and take ownership of their future and their profession.  My goal is to personally encourage as many people as possible, and WVLDI’s mission fits right in with that.  I love knowing that by participating, I’m giving back to the profession I love, and helping to ensure its future success.