Leadership conference scholarship recipients share tales of inspiration, passion and motivation

AVMA Veterinary Leadership ConferenceThe AVMA and Zoetis partner in awarding scholarships to the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference because both organizations believe in the ability and the talents of our young colleagues to help carry the veterinary profession into the future. As you’ll read below in the testimonials our scholarship recipients provided upon completion of this year’s VLC, we think you’ll be just as confident as we are that the future is bright indeed.

Let’s start off with a powerful testimonial from Dr. Kari Moore: “The VLC happened at just the right time for me, both personally and professionally. I graduated just over six months ago, and had hit a point in my early career where the excitement had partially worn off, and the psychological implications of the job were starting to take over. My confidence was beginning to waver more often and my personal time off was affected with nagging doubts and worry. Not only did I learn some great coping skills while I was at the conference, but I heard from plenty of veterinarians at all stages of their career who all had similar struggles. … Simply being surrounded by like-minded professionals with true appreciation for leading and improving our field was inspiring. The VLC left me feeling re-energized and hopeful about the future of our profession.”

Dr. Joseph Zambella got reacquainted with old friends and made some new ones, all while enjoying the four-day conference. “I reconnected with several colleagues from my time at Colorado State University, and I met countless new veterinarians with the same passion I have for veterinary medicine,” he said. “The leadership and continuing education seminars were thought-provoking, inspiring and extremely relevant to the issues currently facing our profession. I cannot thank the AVMA and Zoetis enough for this truly amazing opportunity.”

Said Dr. Tyler Jordan, “This lecture series provided an opportunity to reflect upon my professional and personal relationships, approach to conflict management and time to reconnect with the reasons I entered the profession. The critical leadership skills lectures provided tangible skills I can practice to foster more positive, supportive, and fulfilling relationships, my workplace and career.”

Dr. Mark Petersmann was impressed and inspired by the people he met and the things he learned. “Not only was I able to learn from other veterinarians’ successes and struggles, I was also able to work through current issues facing the veterinary field with professional facilitators. The breadth of knowledge and expertise brought to the conference through current and emerging leaders made the weekend one that I will never forget. The conference has left me energized with a renewed sense of passion for our beloved profession.”

The VLC, with its sessions, networking opportunities, presentations and AVMA meetings is designed in a way that gives attendees a well-rounded look at organized veterinary medicine and the issues it faces. Dr. Leah Thies seems to have liked that approach. “The Veterinary Leadership Conference was an invaluable experience on several levels,” she said. “It helped me connect with other veterinarians from across the country that are similarly interested in improving themselves, their practices and the profession. The conference helped improve my awareness of the many services provided to veterinarians by the AVMA and how the AVMA functions as an organization. The leadership skills sessions and workshops greatly expanded my knowledge of how to care for myself and those around me, both at work and at home.” 

Dr. Kathleen Ebers learned a lot at the VLC, about the profession – and about herself. “The most influential part of the conference would be the leadership sessions. I have always been in leadership roles, but these sessions really had me step back and analyze myself,” she said. “We participated in exercises to assess our compassion fatigue, our drive for success and our leadership goals. The focus was on who we are as a veterinarian, not on what we do. As someone who is trying to get more involved in veterinary medicine, I appreciated the connections, the advice and, more importantly, the friendships I made while at VLC.”

Sure, Windy City weather can be daunting in winter, but Dr. Whitney Miller said it shouldn’t scare people away. “Attending the 2016 Veterinary Leadership Conference allowed me to reinvigorate my passion for organized veterinary medicine,” she said. “The receptions afforded unparalleled networking opportunities with veterinarians and executives from across the profession. The workshops on leadership and work/life balance allowed for professional development that was unique from other veterinary meetings. I hope many other veterinarians take advantage of all VLC has to offer; it is worth braving Chicago in January!”

Dr. Stacey Piotrowski liked the variety and the insight the conference provided. “Being able to attend the House of Delegates session gave me the ability firsthand to see how the AVMA works for the betterment of the field of veterinary medicine,” Stacey said. “It was also a great opportunity to network with and meet veterinary leaders at both the state and national level. I am extremely grateful for the generosity from both AVMA and Zoetis that gave me the ability to attend this motivating and informative conference. I highly recommend the Veterinary Leadership Conference to all of my colleagues in the veterinary field.” 

Dr. Jackie Christakos came away with a new and better understanding of leadership and the qualities leaders possess. “The emerging leader discussions demonstrated that the truly effective leader is one who supports those around them to achieve common goals through emotional intelligence, self-awareness and utilizing stress in a positive way, Jackie said. “Leaders are present on all levels, not just at the top of an organization, so how we carry ourselves each day has the ability to influence those around us in both positive and negative ways. I plan to incorporate these skills through personal application as an associate veterinarian and to share my newly found knowledge with the other veterinarians with whom I work, helping us all to be better leaders in our practice, profession and life.”

And finally, Dr. Quincy Hawley wraps up our scholarship recipient testimonials with an inspiring message about service to, and the importance of, organized veterinary medicine. “I was amazed at how passionate the leaders of our profession are in terms of preserving the integrity and well-being of veterinary medicine,” Quincy said. “That passion was contagious and is driving me to pursue leadership roles not only in my practice but also in my state VMA and AVMA. VLC has given me the drive that I have been looking for that will power me forward as a leader with a goal of improving the profession. To anyone in the profession that feels that they want to make a difference as a leader, but can’t quite figure out what being a leader within veterinary medicine is all about, I would highly recommend reserving your place at the 2017 Veterinary Leadership Conference, for it will be an experience that will drive you to improve the profession.”

We are hoping to expand the number of Veterinary Leadership Conference scholarship opportunities. Look for more information for 2017 VLC Scholarship applications later this fall.

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