2015 VLC Scholarship recipients learned to “lead from where you are”

“Eye opening.” “Invaluable experience.” “Far beyond my expectations.” These are some of the descriptions that came to mind for the 2015 Veterinary Leadership Conference Scholarship recipients upon reflection of their time at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference (VLC). With the support of the AVMA and Zoetis, these 10 individuals, representing emerging leaders who graduated from veterinary school within the past 15 years and/or those from a demographic, geographic or socioeconomic group underrepresented in veterinary leadership, were able to discover more about themselves as leaders during four days of top-notch education and fun in the Windy City on January 8-11, 2015.

Dr. Aleisha Swartz found that “while it is important [for veterinarians] to remain relevant and be leaders in our community, we often lack any training in how to be effective leaders in our veterinary curriculum. In my role at the Hawaiian Humane Society, I interact with the public, private veterinarians, veterinary students, government officials, animal welfare advocates, the media and local business leaders on a regular basis. The Emerging Leader sessions gave me tools I can use to be more effective at communicating with all of these different types of people. “

Upon completion of the conference, Dr. Alexander Chan discovered that “the fresh perspective was welcome and undoubtedly will influence all future interactions I have with others in a work environment. With the focus on concrete day-to-day scenarios, the possibilities of applying what was emphasized are limitless.”

After participating in the VLC, Dr. Jennifer Lane reflected on lessons she learned, noting that “I left … with an understanding that the profession needs to broaden the search for more opportunities to collaborate and build lasting relationships. This will not only enrich the profession … but also seal the value of veterinary medicine to the global community.”

Scholarship recipients also had opportunities to network and learn more about organized veterinary medicine. Dr. Jayme Hennenfent remarked, “The VLC renewed my interest in trying to become involved in AVMA. … The VLC was instrumental in giving me perspective and showing me the value of being engaged and active in organizations within our great profession.”

Dr. Raphael Malbrue had “originally come to the conference alone, but certainly departed with several new friends and mentors in our evolving profession. … I look forward to the next conference and highly recommend attending to all my fellow colleagues.”

Most important of all, said best by Dr. Kristen Obbink, “Regardless of where you live or what your niche in the veterinary world may be, as we learned at the VLC, you can truly ‘lead from where you are.’ ”

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