Thankful … for young colleagues, future leaders and the VBMA

Recently, I attended the first Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) alumni conference, along with our Nationwide field veterinarians and the wonderful Nicole Numbers, who manages our school outreach programs.

The event  was a gathering of past VBMA leaders and existing National VBMA student leaders (that is, both incoming and outgoing officers). The energy in the room all three days of the conference was contagious! Not to mention, we all had a terrific time with karaoke the first night!

On a serious note, it was an important meeting that sets the stage for the growth of future VBMA alumni gatherings and efforts. We discussed additional ways that alumni can support, mentor and collaborate with veterinary student VBMA chapters across the country.

We also heard from several key speakers on topics such as communications, interpersonal influence, and new technologies that are impacting the veterinary profession. All in all, it was a terrific meeting, and very rewarding to catch up with VBMA colleagues.

NationwideDVMteamI asked Nicole and each of the field veterinarians for a sentence or two on what the reunion meant to them. Here’s what they said:

Nicole Numbers:  It’s awe-inspiring to spend a few days with 15 years worth of leaders and some of the most extraordinary people I’ve ever come to know, people who continually search for new ways to give back to this profession. There is so much passion, compassion and commitment for both the VBMA students and for the future of the alumni. I’m so excited to see what the next 15 year brings!

Dr. Kristie Yee: It was an incredible weekend of innovation, leadership, and networking at the inaugural Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) alumni meeting. Veterinary employers should be striving to hire these leaders!!! A million thank-yous to Drs. Meghan Wood, James Wilson and Carol McConnell  for being such visionaries and supporters!! So proud of colleagues who continue to make a positive impact on this profession.

Dr. Cyndie Courtney: It was exciting and addictive to feel the same creative, collaborative energy buzzing around the room that I remember from being on the national board as a veterinary student. You could tell that the VBMA was successful in attracting and connecting some of the best minds in veterinary medicine.

Dr. Tonya Sparks: Having been involved with the VBMA since 2005, I have always had a dream  of the national board to continue on the connections and passions that are honed during our student involvement. This culmination of bringing together so many alumni from the past 14 years was beautiful realization of that dream. I hope we can continue to utilize each other for continued leadership, business resources and friendships through this next phase of our careers.

Dr. Kristen Britten: The VBMA alumni conference was a unique gathering of 15 years of leaders. Leaders who have watched the VBMA grow from an idea and concept to the largest veterinary student-run organization in the country with chapters in every state. These individuals worked in teams with their colleagues to bring business education to their fellow veterinary students. This conference focused on taking the enthusiasm and collaboration of years worth of ideas in going to the next level of networking and giving back. The attendees all had valued the VBMA with so much energy and dedication both as students and now as alumni. Each expressed the sentiment that VBMA will continue to be student-led, a new paradigm that veterinary organizations typically do not have for their leadership. It was amazing to continue this mission with the alumni association and in keeping with the tradition of students being capable of great change with the help of this new alumni organization.  It is a true honor to be present to watch so many dedicated leaders want to give back to a group that they were once a part of as we look forward to new challenges and solutions in our profession.


Yes, it was all that and more! Looking forward to future gatherings of the up-and-coming leaders of the veterinary profession!

For more on our field veterinarians, and our student programs, click here.