I’m just back from Spokane, where I presented our annual Hambone Award! It’s a great story, and I’ll post more about it later. First, I want to get back to revisiting some of our favorite veterinary students now that they’re in their careers. It’s Dr. Emily Tincher‘s turn for the “three questions” approach:
How did your participation in the VBMA at the leadership level change your perspectives while you were a veterinary student?
During the first year of veterinary school, I fixated on grades and classwork. This left me stressed and craving variety, so I shifted my focus to becoming the best well-rounded professional I could be with my remaining time in school. Among other things, this led to a position as Vice President of the Auburn VBMA chapter. The interpersonal skills and project management gained through helping operate our local VBMA reminded me that as you give to your community through leadership, personal growth and opportunity is exponentially returned. Leadership positions that align with my passions continue to provide fulfillment and motivation even today.
I can still remember how nervous and excited I was to steer the VBMA’s educational program as the 2015 National Business Certificate Director. Despite a six-month transition period with my predecessor and good friend Maggie Canning, it was intimidating to steer a program that a few thousand people were actively enrolled in, especially since we were launching a major initiative. I quickly fell into a common leadership trap, fueled by imposter syndrome, that I should be able to work hard enough to produce the best resources and guidance with minimal help. It didn’t take long to realize that wasn’t going to work. What happened next was a turning point for me in leadership and my career. I turned to the rest of the executive board, the most supportive, intelligent, and purpose-driven team I have ever been a part of, and asked for advice and help. Then, I enlisted a number of trusted industry experts. After enacting a number of changes, we were confident as a team we were moving in the right direction. Collaboration doesn’t mean you always agree. My board members would passionately debate decisions and end up with a piece of each of us in our final plans. Our diverse backgrounds and approaches to problem-solving were an enormous asset to transforming any idea. I learned that for me, collaboration in a highly effective team is a key to workplace happiness and success.
In retrospect, what was the highlight of your VBMA experience?
Unquestionably, the highlight of my time with the VBMA is the network of friends and mentors I gained. It was truly inspiring to work with other students at the national, regional, and locals levels as we labored to take charge of our own education and the challenges we see in veterinary medicine. Equally as motivational were the countless veterinary professionals who gave of their time and knowledge to help us achieve this mission. My time in the VBMA taught me how to network, which helped open my eyes to the diversity of ideas and possibilities within our profession through the lens of the extraordinary people within it.
What are you doing now, and how do you think that relates to your VBMA experience?
For the last year, I have been an emergency veterinarian at Hope Veterinary Specialists. A position, as part of a fantastic team of doctors and staff, I would not have without the VBMA. While externing with VBMA advisor Jim Wilson, he recommended I spend a day at Hope VS with the Hospital Director, Meghan Wood. Meghan was influential in the early days of the VBMA and is the Hospital Director at Hope VS. While I interviewed at a number of hospitals, the collaborative culture and stellar staff was what made Hope the best place for me. The VBMA helped me learn what I look for in a work environment, then it brought me the connections to find it.
In addition to practice, I continue to enjoy variety in my career and have done some limited writing and speaking. My involvement with the Veterinary Leadership Institute and the AVMA Early Career Development Committee continue to fuel me through leadership. It’s impossible to count the ways in which the VBMA has influenced my life, I am grateful for the organization and the students and industry professionals that make it special.
Thanks, Dr. Tincher!