The purpose of WVLDI is to strengthen and elevate our profession by creating an inclusive professional community.  At our annual (virtual!) meeting, we reviewed our Purpose, Vison and Mission. In the process, we reconfirmed our commitment to harness the strength of diversity to enhance our profession’s impact.

Our mission is to be a strong and impactful voice to achieve WVLDI’s vision by:

  • Supporting women and allies seeking leadership positions
  • Providing professional development and educational content
  • Developing student leaders
  • Engaging in social media discussion

Our purpose is to strengthen and elevate our profession.

Our vision is to inspire and empower veterinary leaders to harness diversity and equity through creating an inclusive professional community where all members can deliver on the promise of the veterinary oath.

WVLDI in the past: The founding members of WVLDI included Drs. Karen Bradley, Lori Teller, Doug Aspros, Eleanor Green, Valerie Ragen, Stacy Pritt, and Rachel Cezar. They were joined by academic powerhouse support from Dr. Don Smith and Julie Kumble, and they obtained student representation via then second year TAMU student Cassandra Tansey. From the AVMA, Drs. Beth Sabin and, the sadly late, but always great, Rene Carlson shared the WVLDI vision. The AVMA has provided support both through cash grants and through in-kind administrative support throughout WVLDI’s existence and to the present day, although WVLDI is an independent entity.

Check out this Webinar for more on the history of WVLDI!


Over the last few years, the candidate pool for WVLDI has increased 300%, with a concomitant increase in the range of backgrounds, geographic locations, expertise, and life experiences. The enthusiastic interest means that WVLDI has raised its profile and is increasingly a group people want to be part of. Further, the WVLDI Board benefits by be able to choose among wonderful candidates who help strengthen the Board, complementing existing strengths and broadening the membership. But this also means that selecting new board members is a VERY difficult process! We are increasingly turning down superb candidates, who we hope to continue to be interested in WVLDI.

We thought we’d highlight the process of selecting new board members:

  • Early fall with mid-fall deadline: Publicize openings, on WVLDI website and social media. The number of openings has ranged from 1 to 3 in the last few years, depending on term limits and resignations.
  • Require that interested candidates reach out to the Board to receive an application. This provides an opportunity for Board members to interact personally with candidates.
  • At deadline, collect all applications and assign review to a small subcommittee led by the President-elect. Send acknowledgements to every applicant.
  • Develop a spreadsheet of candidates, noting strengths for the Board and previous contact with WVLDI, if any.
  • Distribute spreadsheet and original applications to entire Board and discuss, allowing Board members to advocate for any candidate they favor.
  • After an initial vote, the candidates who have been eliminated are notified with thanks for their interest. The top tier candidates are sent to all Board members, and the final choices are made.
  • Board members are invited to the next Board meeting (ideally, the December meeting). Mentors are assigned.