Janet Donlin named executive vice president/chief executive officer of the AVMA

Dr. Janet Donlin has been named executive vice president/chief executive officer of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). Donlin will succeed Dr. Ron DeHaven, who is retiring after nine years of service to the AVMA.

Donlin-300Donlin has served as chief executive officer of the AVMA Professional Liability Insurance Trust (AVMA PLIT) since April 2013. The AVMA PLIT is now in its 54th year of dedicated service to AVMA members, providing a wide variety of insurance-related products to veterinarians, veterinary practices and veterinary students.

AVMA President Dr. Tom Meyer cited Donlin’s decades-long service to the veterinary profession and her extensive professional achievements as key factors to her being named the lead executive of a national veterinary association that is approaching a total membership of 90,000 veterinarians from all walks of professional life.

“Dr. Donlin is one of the true champions of veterinary medicine and all it stands for,” Meyer said. “She has an outstanding record of success in both the veterinary association arena and in the animal health industry. She is a skilled strategist with a proven background of diverse AVMA experience and a known reputation for working with leaders from all segments of the veterinary profession, key stakeholders and staff members to drive innovation, growth and success.

“Janet is highly skilled at building teams that can identify member needs and drive programs that deliver the products and services our members want, need and expect,” Meyer continued. “The AVMA is fortunate to welcome Janet to the helm of our national association. She understands the importance of working collaboratively to achieve our shared objectives. She is uniquely qualified to take the role of AVMA executive vice president and chief executive officer.”

Donlin’s hiring marks her return to an association for which she first started working in 1991 as an assistant director in what was then the AVMA Scientific Activities Division. Over the course of the next 17 years, she served as an interim division director, associate executive vice president and assistant executive vice president. Her role as assistant executive vice president required her to work hand-in-hand with the executive vice president to drive execution of the objectives established by the AVMA Board. From 2000-2001, Donlin’s role at the AVMA also included serving as interim CEO of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues, where she oversaw the establishment of the commission as a nonprofit organization.

“My time at the AVMA and my experiences across the profession have reinforced for me time and again that our membership is very diverse, our needs are constantly evolving and our profession continues to face new challenges and opportunities,” Donlin said. “That’s why I’m committed to making certain we continue to build on the AVMA’s core strengths so that we are even more responsive to the needs of our members, and that we advocate with a strong, clear voice on behalf of our entire profession.

“I’m excited to work closely with AVMA leadership and staff, and our colleagues and strategic partners, to advance the AVMA’s mission ‘to lead the profession by advocating for our members and advancing the science and practice of veterinary medicine to improve animal and human health.’ ”

Retiring CEO DeHaven said Donlin’s hiring will bring skilled leadership, as well as sound foundational knowledge, to an association that continues to evolve in order to best meet its members’ needs.

“Dr. Donlin is a highly skilled professional with an exceptional amount of knowledge of, and experience with, the AVMA and our membership,” DeHaven said. “She is exactly the right person to continue what we are doing to meet member needs and to take us to the next level.”

Donlin served as chief veterinary officer in the Global Veterinary Business Channel of Hill’s Pet Nutrition from August 2007 to March 2013, where she provided veterinary insights to drive development of innovative products and services to meet the evolving needs of the veterinary profession and pet owners.

She received both her DVM and her Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from the University of Minnesota. She is also a graduate of the veterinary technician program at the Medical Institute of Minnesota. She is a licensed veterinarian in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin, and has professional membership in several associations, including the AVMA, the American Animal Hospital Association, the American Association of Bovine Practitioners, the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, the American Society of Association Executives, and the American Association of Corporate and Public Practice Veterinarians.

Donlin is the first veterinarian to earn the Certified Association Executive credential from the American Society of Association Executives. She is a former trustee of the AVMA’s Group Health Life Insurance Trust (now known as AVMA LIFE), and she is a former board member of the American Association of Corporate and Public Service Veterinarians.

Donlin will begin her employment at the AVMA September 12.

“I’m passionate about member service, and I am honored and humbled to be entrusted with what I consider to be one of the most important positions in veterinary medicine,” Donlin said.

20 thoughts on “Janet Donlin named executive vice president/chief executive officer of the AVMA

  1. While I heartily congratulate Dr. Donlin on her new position…and while I’m sure she is highly qualified for the position and will do a great job…I also feel compelled to say that I was not the least bit surprised that the “Good Old Boys with grey hair and wearing black suits” in our organization decided to promote from within yet again – even though this position was posted externally for several months (probably closer to a full year.)

    I find it VERY hard to believe that the search committee (probably comprised entirely of those grey haired, black-suit-wearing guys I just mentioned) didn’t unearth at least ONE very highly qualified, non-academic, licensed veterinarian candidate from the outside during the search process – but with that person then being deemed “unsuitable” for some reason – and very likely for a totally contrived reason as well. But, what just happened (promote from within) has been the “You can take it to the bank that this WILL, in fact, happen scenario” that has existed within the AVMA for the 40 years I have been a member.

    And that, Dear Black suits with grey hair, is PRECISELY THE PROBLEM this organization has…and why it has been so difficult to get the younger graduates to join and participate. You want their dues money – but you don’t want to grant them active participation and some form of actual decision making authority as to where we go next as a profession…and how we get there. This is hypocrisy at its ultimate…and you should all be ashamed for having assumed this attitude/position for at least as long as I have been a member.

    Let’s face it, guys (and ladies). I’m one of you (at 67 years old with mostly grey hair – a 1977 MSU graduate) and we are ALL at (or nearing) the end of our careers. Many in our age group have already retired. So why should any of us even REMOTELY think that we (more correctly stated, YOU 55-60 + year old folks running things at the AVMA right now) should continue to have a strangle-hold on how this organization operates – and where it goes next?

    Experience and longevity does count for something – but it also has a point of diminishing returns…and it can actually be dangerous (and counter-productive) if allowed to continue unchecked and unchanged. And I think that is precisely what has brought us to where we are now.

    In my opinion, the decision as to where this organization goes next (and how it gets there) belongs to the younger generation…not to us old farts who are just a few steps away from the grave and far from being as sharp in many respects as we once were.

    If you want my solution to the current problem the AVMA has (which I’m sure you don’t – but I’m going to offer it anyway since I’m a paying member and it is my right to do so), you old folks at the top need to IMMEDIATELY bring a whole bunch of member veterinarians in the 30-45 year old age range into the administrative flock…teach them what they need to know as fast as you possibly can…give them some REAL and ACTUAL authority to make some definitely needed changes…and in 2 years you can all resign your current positions and go play golf, go fishing, play with your grand kids or do whatever else it is that floats your boat. My guess is that this organization will be far better off in just 5 years if you heed my suggestion than it will be if you don’t. But, I’m not going to hold my breath that you’ll take my advice either. Old habits are definitely hard to break!!!

  2. Congratulations Janice on your appointment.
    Wishing you a productive and satisfying tenure at a time of transition for the Profession

  3. Congratulations! I remember you as a student at UMN and have been aware of your distinguished career. My compliments on your achievements.

  4. Janet, congratulations to you AND the AVMA from one of your longest and most ardent supporters. We served on many committees and projects together and I have seen in action your approach to problems and have always been most impressed. I am so pleased that we have you now in this most important office in the organization,
    Warmest regards and best wishes.

  5. Janet, congratulations to you and the AVMA from one of your longest and strongest admirers. We have worked together on projects over the years and it was always a pleasure. My heartfelt good wishes go with you always.

  6. Janet,

    I am thrilled with this announcement. You are an excellent choice for where we are in our profession and you will serve our organization with grace, humility and as a leader who can listen to all sides of our very complicated membership. We are lucky to have you in this position.

    Warmest regards!


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