Advice against insanity

December 10, 2017
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

What did Fetch dvm360 attendees in San Diego learn from playing the new game Veterinarians Against Insanity?

What was the top-line advice from a fun, laugh-filled session at Fetch dvm360 in San Diego with three inspiring speakers with the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative?

Simple to explain, might be difficult to execute.

Say 'yes': Be brave to find career happiness

Don't be afraid to try new things if your current workplace or job isn't right for you. Kimberly Therrien, DVM, shared the journey from Canadian customs agent to veterinary associate to Florida Banfield practice and on into corporate work with the big veterinary chain.

"Be courageous. Say 'yes' when you want to say 'no,'" Dr. Therrien told attendees. "Trust the people around you who tell you, you can do that."

Say 'no': Take care of yourself

Don't be a workplace martyr, Caitlin DeWilde, DVM, told attendees.

"We need to take care of ourselves," Dr. DeWilde said. "Every time we say 'yes' to something, we're saying 'no' to ourselves."

Make a plan for equity that matters to you

Money, salary, investments, family time, artistic pursuits, world travel: Know what you want and how to get it.

"You need to know where you're trying to go," Dr. Therrien said.

If you don't have a one-year plan, a three-year plan and a five-year plan, get them. If you don't have a financial advisor, get one. If you don't have a plan for retirement, create one.

Consider crazy career paths

Sarah Wooten, DVM, shared with attendees her path from associate to mom back to associate and the paths she took into writing, speaking and owning properties and a tea tavern-and a restaurant soon!

Every one of those different jobs is an income and creativity faucet, and if one goes off, she's got other ones, Dr. Wooten told the audience.

"We can do anything with this bad-ass veterinarian degree," Dr. Wooten said. "We are some of the most hard-working, honest, big-hearted people around."

The veterinary profession is crazy. Why not make it fun?

With Vets Against Insanity, dvm360's new classic question-and-answer party game you can take on the work and life of a veterinary professional in a slightly scandalous way. Just like the Fetch dvm360 conference session with the same name, Vets Against Insanity is a hilarious tool designed to inspire veterinary professionals to take risks, laugh more, pursue personal development and enjoy more professional satisfaction and success. Find out more at

Find your tribe

Everyone needs their own tribe of warrior women for support, mentorship and friendship, Dr. DeWilde said. Can't find it in the veterinary world? Look elsewhere. Can't find it locally? Go online. But build your own support network of folks who can keep you going when things get tough.

"I would not be who I am, or do the things I do, without their support," Dr. DeWilde said, as she showed off photos of co-workers, vet school friends and other colleagues.

Take risks

None of this is possible without taking some risks, Dr. Wooten emphasized in the session.

In other words, your own fear as well as well-meaning friends who try to talk you out of big leaps are holding you back.

Keep your day job while you figure out what you want to do with your life, Dr. Wooten said, but start taking those steps to new challenges and a better life for yourself right now.