Members from the Early Career Development Committee (ECDC) arrived at the 2014 Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC) with one burning question, “How can I share my experience in organized veterinary medicine to help others understand what and why we do what we do?” With the support of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation (AVMF), not only were they able to convey this message to other emerging leader veterinarians, but learn a little bit more about themselves as a leader and how the AVMA is making changes to continue to be the voice of the profession.
Dr. Karen Shenoy noted, “The conference provided an excellent opportunity for me and the other members of the AVMA’s Early Career Development Committee to network with other emerging leaders, to hear their opinions, and to share the goals and accomplishments of our committee.”
After attending the Emerging Leaders Networking Event on Thursday night, Dr. Doreen Turner remarked, “The roundtable discussions from the first night allowed me to gain new perspectives after conversing with state and national veterinary leaders. It was clear that the concerns of recent graduates were also concerns of veterinarians of previous generations. That was encouraging, because recent grads sometimes feel disconnected from more seasoned practitioners. Knowing we were all truly working on common goals was reassuring.”
Dr. James Finlay found, “The VLC further impressed upon me the importance of having a profession that speaks with a unified voice through trained and dedicated leaders… It has reinforced my strong belief that the work of the AVMA is critical to the future of the veterinary profession. Furthermore, it instilled in me the notion that motivated individuals are the lifeblood of an organization, no matter how large or small it is.”
Drs. Will McCauley and Kirk Breuninger especially enjoyed the educational sessions dedicated to the “soft skills” of leadership. Dr. McCauley believes, “The information, skills and contacts that were made at the VLC fill in the gap in our education that often isn’t addressed in vet school. Issues such as conflict resolution, team building and the benefits of participating in organized veterinary medicine were on full display at the VLC, and I am all the better for it.”
Lastly, Dr. Robin Hansen said it best: “A huge thank you goes to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation for sponsoring the Committee’s trip to the 2014 AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference… I could not have asked for a better experience. It was a great opportunity to strengthen my network of veterinary professionals and make new connections with inspiring leaders in the organization. I was very impressed by the amount of up-and-coming veterinarians taking on roles with the AVMA, state VMAs, regional VMAs, and affiliate organizations. To see veterinarians that are only a few years ahead of me in graduation years stepping up to these roles inspires me to continue as a leader in the AVMA to the best of my ability.”
Not only will the leadership skills honed at the VLC by these committee members aid them in their role of supporting the AVMA and its initiatives, but also in their daily lives as veterinarians. With committee members from varied backgrounds, including private practice, academia, lab animal medicine, and more, they ultimately strive for what the AVMA and AVMF stand for – to improve animal and human health and advance the veterinary medical profession.