Each June, over 100 members of the veterinary profession, representing students, industry professionals, academicians, and consultants, gather in Post Falls, Idaho for the Veterinary Leadership Experience (VLE). I have been involved in VLE as both a participant and a facilitator, and can honestly say this time in June represents one of my favorite weeks of the year. VLE is truly unique in that it provides an opportunity for individuals in our profession to interact and build community in an open and cooperative setting.
By nature of the individuals it attracts, veterinary school and our profession as a whole lends itself to a competitive environment. By fostering self-awareness and servant leadership, VLE works towards producing a new generation of veterinary leaders open to the possibility of collaboration and teamwork. This message was instilled in me during my third year of veterinary school as part of my participation in VLE as a student and has subsequently impacted my career to this day as a motivational force in my everyday life. I strive to be a better person as a result of my experiences at VLE and the life-long friendships brought into my life through this opportunity.
Next week, the 2012 VLE will convene in Ross Point and I am honored to be returning once again as a facilitator. I can only hope to impact others as my life was touched during the summer of 2008. In return, I will continue to grow as a leader and veterinarian as a result of these invaluable interactions.