Advice for women often called "difficult" in the workplace

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And why you should never shrink yourself

In a dvm360® interview at the 2023 American Veterinary Medical Association Convention, Laila Proença, DVM, PhD, MV, MSc, DACZM, CEO and founder of VetAhead, provided empowering advice for fellow females in the workplace who are deemed "difficult." She argues that oftentimes, this can even be a signal you are standing up for yourself and establishing boundaries. Once you you learn to not shrink after being called difficult, Proença shares adivce to then inspire other women to do the same.

The following is a partial transcript of the video.

Laila Proença, DVM, PhD, MV, MSc, DACZM: Don't shrink. Don't shrink. And as we were just talking, difficult is a compliment. It just means you are assertive, it just repurposes that word to realize that you are setting boundaries, healthy boundaries, that you're standing up for yourself, that you are a very intelligent person. And that's why some people might find it difficult to have a conversation with you or an argument with you.

But my advice to you will be in your own time, in your own process, you know, little by little, try not to shrink and see if you are shrinking, try to identify, 'Have I shrunk already? Has that happened?' And if it has, don't be ashamed, you know, you can always expand. There's always room for expansion. And try to look at the ones around you that look like you in a sense that they are going through the same things and maybe hold hands, and try to go through it together. And if you get through it, and I know you will, make sure to put your hand down and pull the next woman and help her go through her process as well.

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