dvm360's top people of 2018


In an almost-as-exciting announcement as the Time Person of the Year, dvm360 is pleased to introduce you to our list of top people to watch in 2018.

These not-to-be-missed Fetch dvm360 speakers are the people we think you need to know in a profession that's filled with rock stars. (And make no mistake, we love all of them!) Here are a few of our favorite people and why we love them (and we think you will too).

12. Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ

Why you want to know her: Dr. Wooten is an associate veterinarian, frequent dvm360 contributor and Fetch dvm360 conference educator. She's reinvented her life to create a career she loves in a profession that loves her right back, and she's sharing her transformational story on dvm360.com and at Fetch dvm360 conferences. She's also co-creator of the wildly successful Vets Against Insanity card game. 

How does this mother of three keep her stuff together? We asked, and here's what she said:

“I got over my superwoman complex. In other words, I accept help. I hold a weekly meeting with my spouse on Sunday night to list the week's crazy tasks and decide as (fair, understanding) partners how to manage it all.

“I run to burn off the crazy. Truly that saves my sanity and my family's. A runner's high is a real thing and it can change my whole outlook on a tough day. Training for races also is fun and challenging.”

Listen to her podcast interview here


11. Dani McVety, DVM

Why you want to know her: She's the cofounder of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice and In-Home Euthanasia in Lutz, Florida. And in a word, she's impressive. You'll rarely meet someone who feels as authentic as Dr. McVety, and she's committed her career to an emotionally demanding job she embraces wholeheartedly.

If Dr. McVety weren't a veterinarian, she says she'd likely be an FBI negotiator. Fun fact: McVety is a certified body language trainer. Her favorite guilty pleasure conference snack food is Reese's Pieces, and she's a former world champion country/western dancer.


10. Richard Gerhold, DVM, MS, PhD 

Why you want to know him: He's an approachable parasitologist with a keen mind and a dry sense of humor that keeps us smiling. He's passionate about the topic of wildlife and the diseases they can spread. 

Dr. Gerhold's first job? Working in a butcher shop. Today he's an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee's College of Veterinary Medicine. He has a passion for learning about wildlife diseases, and if he weren't a veterinarian he'd opt to be a fly fisherman. His guilty pleasure TV show? M.A.S.H.

Can Dr. Gerhold stump you? Check out this image quiz to find out!


9. Ken Yagi, BS, RVT, VTS (ECC, SAIM)

Why you need to know him: He's a tireless advocate for veterinary nurses and technicians and a thought leader on topics including telemedicine. We're not sure when he sleeps, but we're pretty sure he's always dreaming up the next big change in vet med.

The classic story of the veterinary professional goes something like this: “Even as a child, I knew that all I ever wanted to do with my life was to help animals.” Turns out, with Ken Yagi … not so much.

So how did he wind up as ICU and Blood Bank Manager at Adobe Animal Hospital in Los Altos, California? Check out Business Channel Director Brendan Howard's podcast interview with Yagi to find out. Ken Yagi himself points out that, being an Asian-American male, he's somewhat unique in his field. Ken gives us an earful about culture, gender and treatment in the workplace.


8. Hilal Dogan, BVSc, CCTP

Why you need to know her: Dr. Dogan started the Veterinary Confessionals Project as a senior veterinary student at Massey University in New Zealand. She's committed to healing the profession through the Vet Confessionals Project and though her speaking and outreach to veterinary professionals.

As a certified clinical trauma professional, she educates veterinary professionals to help confront issues including secondary traumatic stress related to their work. To learn more, listen to Business Channel Director Brendan Howard interview Dr. Dogan in the Your Veterinary Voice podcast here. They discuss a variety of issues, including the damaging effects of judgment, as well as compassion fatigue, burnout and mental health issues.

Fun fact: If you're lucky enough to meet Dr. Dogan at a conference, you might catch her wearing her signature polar bear sweater.


7. Lisa Radosta, DVM, DACVB

Why you need to know her: Dr. Radosta is a tireless Fear Free advocate. When she works with her clients and patients, she takes the blame out of behavior and focuses on solving and salvaging relationships between animals and their owners. As a practice owner, she's keen on developing her team and supports her team members as family.

A life balance tip from Dr. Radosta:

“My good friend and mentor, Dr. Debra Horwitz, told me when I was a new mom that women can have it all, but we just can't have it all at once. I've learned to accept what I can't do and let that go. For example, there are about five things I cook well: banana chocolate chip muffins, lasagna, red sauce, mushroom risotto and mac and cheese. I make those things and my husband and daughter take care of the rest.”

Listen to her podcast interview here.


6. Ori Scislowicz, BS, LVT, APHR

Why you want to know her: A technician turned practice manager and regional manager, Scislowicz is one of the most popular writers on dvm360.com, covering topics ranging from managing bullies in practice, how to take your team from frazzled to fantastic and the risks to avoid when you're pregnant in veterinary practice

The first veterinary technician to be named to the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) advisory board, Scislowicz is a regional manager for CVCA-Cardiac Care for Pets.

The fun stuff: She's an avid fan of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films. Her guilty pleasure conference snack food is oatmeal raisin cookies and the top item on her bucket list is learning to play the sax.

The scariest thing she's ever seen in practice? A feline cuterebra infection in the brain while working in neurology.


5. Bree Montana, DVM, CCFP

Small animal practitioner and owner of the Agate Bay Animal Hospital and Dog Gone Crazy boarding/training facilities in North Lake Tahoe, California

Why you want to know her: In 2010, Dr. Montana helped to create the VIN Foundation's innovative Vets4Vets program, a confidential support group providing critical emotional care to veterinarians struggling with all forms of stress, addiction and mental health issues. 

Her favorite advice:

“When something bad is hitting the fan, breathe and grab a balanced, powerful pose. This signals my body that all is well and allows me to access my brain. I ride large, high energy warmbloods, and when something spooky happens (assassin plastic bag, anyone?) and my pony stops being able to listen and starts to want to run around like a baby dinosaur, things go much better much faster when I maintain a calm and relaxed posture. I find when I am calm, the situation becomes more calm. This works beautifully with hairy emergencies in the hospital.”


4. Jonathan Bloom, DVM

Why you want to know him: Dr. Bloom reinvented himself-and his career-to stay happier at work and in life and to continue giving back to the profession he loves.

His 3 Fs philosophy guides his work and his life. What are Bloom's 3 Fs? They're the things that hold most people back from enjoying life to the fullest-fear, failure and fun. Fear of trying something new, the risk of failure and the reluctance to let loose and have a little bit of fun.

What gets Dr. Bloom jazzed about work? 

“Joining the Fear Free movement revitalized my career. After years of training to be the best vet I could be, I questioned why pets were hiding in the corners of exam rooms, and why pet owners were reluctant to seek veterinary care. I questioned why consumers were spending more money in every sector of the pet care industry except for veterinary medicine. With the help of my mentor, Dr. Marty Becker, I realized there was a whole new level of healthcare that hadn't been tapped-the pet's mental health. For me, it's not just about diabetes and what insulin to use. It's also about how does that pet feel when you needle it with insulin? Helping create techniques to ensure every pet I touch has a better experience and sharing it with others is rewarding and fun.”


3. Tasha McNerney, BS, CVT, CVPP, VTS (anesthesia and analgesia)

Why you want to know her: A passionate advocate for anesthesia and analgesia, McNerney is one of the cofounders of the Veterinary Anesthesia Nerds Facebook group. She and Dr. Hilal Dogan, founder of the Vet Confessionals Project, will guide a special session focusing on coping with anesthetic loss at Fetch dvm360 conferences in 2018.

McNerney is also host of the Firstline series, “Coffee on the Couch.” Sick of being asked, "When are you going to be a veterinarian?" and "Why aren't you a real nurse?" McNerney set out to interview veterinary professionals to elevate the profession's perspective on veterinary technicians and identify career paths for technicians. She is a member of the IVAPM, and she works as a technician at Rau Animal Hospital in Glenside, Pennsylvania.

Check out Coffee on the Couch and Back Office Blunders here.


2. David Dycus, DVM, MS, DACVS-SA

Why you want to know him: Dr. Dycus is more than a brilliant surgeon. When it comes to the hottest topics in vet med, including personnel issues, managing toxic teams and handling change in practice, he gets it.

Before deciding to become a veterinarian, Dr. Dycus wanted to be a baseball coach. Now he's a veterinary orthopedic surgeon and a Fetch dvm360 educator. Surgery was his favorite class in veterinary school, so it's not-so-surprising that Dr. Dycus says if he weren't a veterinary professional, he'd have chosen to pursue a career in human pediatric orthopedic surgery.

What is surprising? Dr. Dycus' favorite guilty pleasure conference snack food is anything chocolate and coffee. He's deathly afraid of cockroaches and his guilty pleasure TV show is Grey's Anatomy (Whoops! Don't tell anyone we told you!).

We asked Dr. Dycus how he gets jazzed about work again when he's feeling a little burnt out. His answer: 

"In the hustle of life and work and dealing with rude, mean or upset clients, it's easy to get drained and feel beat down. I save every single card, note and email that I have ever received from a client saying thank you. When I feel a little burnt out then I go back and read the cards, notes and emails. It quickly lifts my spirits and reminds me why I chose to do what I do."

The scariest thing he's ever seen in practice? A ruptured left atrium when opening the pericardium in surgery.


1. Mary Gardner, DVM

Why you need to know Dr. Gardner: As a cofounder of Lap of Love Home Euthanasia Services and speaker she has the passion to make you feel like you can be the best veterinary professional for your patients, your team and yourself. She sees past the pain of euthanasia to find beauty in end-of-life care, and she shares this message tirelessly with her peers.

Dr. Gardner shares her toughest moments in the profession here:

“The hardest career moment for me was not in veterinary medicine but in computer software design, which is where my adult work world started. I was very good at it. I had a solid career with a bright future and made a stable and positively increasing income. But then I had the crazy urge to quit and become a vet. I had to quit that stability, take undergraduate courses and apply for vet school with the hopes of being accepted in my 30s. I had so many people trying to discourage me-particularly veterinarians-saying how bad it is to be a vet. But they didn't stop me. I got in my first attempt (whew), and I love our industry.”

Fun fact: “I sleep with a stuffed animal. It's a walrus a friend gave me years ago. It just fits under my arm perfectly and makes sleeping so comfy. I've even named him Merk, and he has traveled the world. Some people like to snuggle with a body pillow or regular pillow. I like my Merk.”

Read more about Dr. Gardner here

The best news: You can catch all of these speakers live at Fetch dvm360 conferences in 2018. Click here to learn more.


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