The Bridge Club: A video-based community for veterinary professionals

February 28, 2018

Brenda Andresen, Catherine Haskins envision a new medium for profession-wide communication.

In today's world of social media platforms, apps and texting, good communication is becoming extinct, say the founders of The Bridge Club, a video-based community for veterinary professionals that launched at VMX this year. Longtime industry insiders Brenda Andresen and Catherine Haskins, who've plied their marketing and PR expertise on behalf of a number of veterinary organizations over the years, aim to change that.

The Bridge Club was created to combine the expertise of TED talks, the networking potential of LinkedIn, and the laughter and insight of a longstanding book club, according to a media release about the launch. At the heart of the community is a series of 25-minute-long conversations (not presentations, Haskins and Andresen emphasize) on topics important to veterinary professionals. The goal is a 30-30-30-10 mix: 30 percent professional topics (e.g., finding a new position), 30 percent personal topics (well-being and self-care), 30 percent veterinary-specific topics (telemedicine) and 10 percent "potluck" or wild card.

An expert host kicks off the discussion, and participants chime in after 10 minutes or so with questions and additional insights. Haskins and Andresen take the roles of facilitator and technical operator. Everyone's face is viewable in a Brady Bunch-style grid on the computer screen, thanks to the Zoom video conference platform.

Membership in The Bridge Club is available at three levels: a free membership allows participants to take part in any virtual conversation; all-access members, who pay $95 a year, can attend virtual as well as live events and also receive recordings of virtual sessions; and community partners are high-level corporate sponsors.

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