Currently, I am 1 of 3 owners of a veterinary hospital in Vermont. If you had asked me after graduating from vet school if I would be where I am now I would have laughed and said, “no way!” It happened very organically though. I moved to Vermont with my husband and found the associate job at Onion River Animal Hospital. After just 2 years, the opportunity for me and another associate to buy in to the practice arose and after mulling it over and getting advice from family and friends, we forged the partnership that we have had for the last 13 years. As an owner veterinarian, I have new responsibilities as well as new benefits which ultimately give me more autonomy in my career and more financial security. In recent years, I have recognized the need to encourage and support other veterinarians to also pursue practice ownership.
I was one of the founding members of the WVLDI Board. Through my AVMA volunteer roles, I have come to know many thoughtful and talented leaders in our profession. Sitting down with Stacy Pritt (our current WVLDI president) and Julie Kumble (another founding board member) we talked through the need to do something more—to encourage and support other women leaders to step up to the plate and take leadership positions in all areas of veterinary medicine. Inspiring established veterinary leaders like Don Smith, Doug Aspros, Eleanor Green and Valerie Ragan made WVLDI a reality when it could have been just a dream. Without these incredible people who share the vision and goals of the initiative, committing their time and energy to this, we wouldn’t be here today.
I sincerely believe that we can make the veterinary profession better if we have a more diverse leadership. A first step is to at least have a leadership that reflects the demographics of our profession. From there, we must work to have more diversity over all in veterinary medicine. Veterinary medicine has become feminized so rapidly that many aspects of it have not had time to evolve. Working to catch up and highlight what is good about this gender shift is essential. I am inspired when I see the early career veterinarians stepping up to the plate and bringing their passion, talent, and enthusiasm with them.