“Success” looks different to different people and is something we must define for ourselves. But it is motivational to know that we will be able to achieve success as a result of our contributions and efforts. Success teaches us that we can move forward and embrace our true potential.
We have asked some of the Veterinary Woman role models to look back at their successes and the knowledge they gained as a result.
What has been your top success and what have you learned from this?
Veterinary advisor for TVM Animal Health UK Ltd
“I tend not to focus on one big success and try to appreciate all the little ones along the way. Otherwise, I think it’s easy to become disillusioned if we think only the big or recent successes are worth celebrating!
“The top successes that come to mind include my academic achievements (my degree and CertAVP), landing my dream job with TVM, buying a house with my wonderful partner and getting a mischievous Labrador! Only one of these achievements could be considered recent, but I still appreciate the success of the others every day.
“The biggest thing I’ve learned is to just go for it if there’s something you want to do – don’t be deterred if the chances of success appear slim. I try not to let my reservations or anxieties hold me back because I will still have them whether I pursue something or not!
“I have also learned it’s important to celebrate the successes that aren’t directly in our control because it serves as a healthy reminder that we only have finite control over positive accomplishments. Too often, people are overly self-critical of bad outcomes despite them being beyond their control, yet they fail to accept praise or celebrate successes for positive achievements they deem beyond their control.”
Chief nursing officer, Linnaeus
“My top successes include having the opportunity to help change the veterinary nursing profession in small ways, through educating hundreds of student nurses and hopefully instilling in them the need for excellent patient care and professional behaviours; achieving the BSAVA Bruce Vivash Jones Award for outstanding contribution to veterinary nursing for developing a model of veterinary nursing care, the “Ability Model”, with Hilary Orpet; to have been lucky enough to have been a member of the RCVS VN Council and work as part of a wide team of people to forge the direction that the veterinary nursing profession is taking; and, finally, achieving my PhD, which looked at the factors which influence the retention of nurses in our profession.
“I have learned that the small things do matter, and with momentum, can lead to bigger, more impactful outcomes.”
‘I have learned that the small things do matter, and with momentum, can lead to bigger, more impactful outcomes’
Director of Companion Consultancy and founder of Veterinary Woman
“Personally, bringing up my daughters from the ages of five and seven as a single parent is one of my successes. Somehow, we all made it out alive. Mainly it taught me the art of compromise and that sometimes things are ‘good enough’. And, also, that nothing actually ‘needs’ ironing…
“Professionally, I’m my own worst taskmaster, so in my opinion, my top success hasn’t happened yet. That either makes me a hopeless optimist or a dyed-in-the-wool pessimist – I’m not sure which. But I should maybe allow that celebrating 20 years as an agency in May was quite a landmark. I have learned so many lessons on that journey, including the importance of scanning the environment for future changes to the marketing landscape, being forward-looking, changing before a change is forced and always learning new skills.”
European specialist in diagnostic imaging
“Externally, my top success is achieving the ECVDI diploma because that is my highest qualification. However, I actually feel a bigger success is leading a constantly growing imaging team for several years through a number of challenges, changes and transitions and ensuring an excellent imaging service at Anderson Moores.
“This is a real achievement as the job is not particularly well-suited to my personality: I am, by nature, quite introverted and socially shy, as well as a typical representative of the high-achieving perfectionist. I prefer a quiet, stable environment and being prepared and in control of events. But, of course, my working life is characterised very differently because it is such a busy and dynamic job.
‘With a supportive team, it is possible to grow on the job and become a successful leader even though the job and the leadership role may not feel “natural” to you’
“What I have learned from this experience is that with a supportive team, it is possible to grow on the job and become a successful leader even though the job and the leadership role may not feel ‘natural’ to you. Being authentic and working things out from first principles, such as asking myself ‘How would I like to be treated?’, have served me well, together with applying mindfulness and all the other mental skills I have acquired.”
Junior communications officer at CERN
“I think my biggest success is trusting my own mind enough to not go into clinical practice but to pursue a different path. It might sound daft but my deciding to do a master’s degree immediately after finishing my veterinary degree was challenging, both financially and mentally. I knew it would be the best decision for me, but it wasn’t the easiest to make.
“When I talk about this as a success, I don’t mean in relation to any of the academic achievements involved in those decisions. I think the real success was going on to pursue something I was really interested in after so many years of being unhappy at school.
“My key take-home message from this was that life is too short to do something that genuinely makes you unhappy.”
Registered veterinary nurse, veterinary student and co-founder of Scrub Mentors
“I was part of the organising team for VSGD Live in October 2022. I managed delegate communications, making the programme and the smooth running of the day. It was an amazing chance to work with the VSGD team on a large-scale project and to see something big come to fruition.
“As fun (and a tad stressful) as it was, it was almost easy to forget that I was still a full-time student that had lectures going on (luckily, they could all be watched back online). This meant I had to be realistic with my capacity and workload. The team have been great at teaching me to say ‘no’ to taking on additional tasks when I should be tackling university work.
‘Your team can’t read your mind, so let them know when your cup is full because a good team can always share the load’
“So, what have I learned from this? Don’t feel bad saying ‘no’ if you haven’t got the capacity. Your team can’t read your mind, so let them know when your cup is full because a good team can always share the load. I admit that I’m still learning that saying ‘no’ is not the end of the world – more opportunities will always come when you have the time for it.”
Chief medical officer, Linnaeus
“I am very proud of the success of the BSAVA Manual of Feline Practice that I co-created and edited. It was the first foundation manual in the series, and we worked very hard to make it a text that gave a holistic approach to feline practice, considering cat-friendly methods throughout. Learning how useful the text has been to vets, vet nurses and their feline patients around the world has been humbling – especially when they approach you at conferences to say thank you for writing it!
“But jumping into my current role is a success worth reflecting on, as it was very daunting to leave a successful academic career to work in the private sector. My drive was to make a difference for a greater number of vets and pets.
‘It’s important to continually ask for feedback, embrace what you don’t know and enjoy learning new things, approaches and ways of working’
“I have learned that you can take on a major career change for the first time later in life and make a success of it – and that any knowledge gaps in your new challenge offer you the most rewarding of learnings. It’s important to continually ask for feedback, embrace what you don’t know and enjoy learning new things, approaches and ways of working. Our profession is truly wonderful, and we are privileged to have such multifaceted opportunities available to us.”
Veterinary specialist and mental health and well-being advocate for veterinary professionals
“My top work-related success has been building a business as a well-being speaker and consultant for the veterinary industry. In doing so, I learned that you never know where life might take you, so be open to all opportunities or nudges that come your way.
‘You never know where life might take you, so be open to all opportunities or nudges that come your way’
“If you asked me after my residency where I would be in 10 years, the answer would have been undoubtedly in academia. I would never have imagined doing what I am doing now, and I am so glad that I allowed myself to ‘think outside the box’ and let it happen.”
Co-founder, clinical director and brand ambassador, StreetVet
“Undoubtedly the creation of StreetVet is a great success of mine. I have referred to StreetVet as a beautiful accident, as it was never my intention to create a charity; I wanted to find a way to volunteer my skills in this country.
“I have learned how truly diverse a career you can have as a veterinary professional and how if you truly believe in something, it is likely that others will too, and you can make things happen even if, at the start, it feels impossible. I have also learned what an incredible profession I am part of.”
|Thank you to all of our veterinary role models for sharing their career stories, insights and wisdom to inspire and motivate others. Follow the links to see the full Veterinary Woman role model profiles.|