Leading with pride
dvm360® Live!™ celebrates Pride Month
Content sponsored by Banfield
In the latest episode of dvm360® Live!™, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, put the spotlight on Pride Month. He was joined on set by his husband, Chris Zisko, and Banfield veterinarian Xander Simunek, DVM, BEc, and his husband, Andrew Kilbourn. Their discussion centered on inclusivity and representation within and without the veterinary profession.
What does Pride mean to you?
In recognition of Pride Month, Christman asked each guest to share what the term Pride means to them. Zisko said, “Pride Month is just being able to share who you love with anybody, not trying to hide from it, [and] not pretending [to be] someone you’re not. I mean, we’ve come a long way as a country [and as a] society over the years. Pride is to celebrate who you are.”
“Pride means authenticity and acceptance,” said Kilbourn. “I try not to take [it] for granted that I could be married to a man and not really think about it . . . . Although sometimes . . . [I hear] ‘Tell your wife Happy Mother’s Day’ or whatever it may be, and in those moments, I can actually correct them and not feel embarrassed. . . . So, pride is really about acceptance.”
Commenting on how Banfield Pet Hospital supports Pride, Simunek said, “Banfield Pride means the freedom to . . . be myself, but also in a work environment where you feel secure and you don’t have to put up any front. It really lets you focus on quality medicine and the important things in at task, rather than, you know, . . . your orientation.
Christman added, “You shouldn’t [have to] worry about the color of your skin and who you love while at work. It’s nice to be in that inclusive environment.”
The Banfield experience
The panel continued on the topic of work environment, as Simunek explained the advantages of working for a large practice like Banfield.
“When you think about it, [Banfield has] better resources, and they actually utilize the data that they collect from all of our patients,” he said. “With 1000 hospitals, you can imagine how many patients we see and the data that they can collect, and then utilize that to . . . better medicine [and] your quality of life.”
Simunek also stressed the importance of coaching and networking opportunities, pointing out that they can play a major role for new graduates as they begin a successful career in veterinary medicine. “Preparing yourself is probably the best thing . . . [so] you can really develop into the veterinarian that you want to be,” he said. “And then also really consider the financial aspects. You’re going to be graduating and soon paying off your student loans, so to find something that has a student loan repayment program, again like Banfield, [you] could actually utilize that money to . . . offset your monthly costs. And then really go and see the practice and interact with the people that are going to be mentoring you [as you’re] developing your new career.”
The group closed the episode by showcasing a craft veterinary hospitals can engage in together to celebrate inclusivity this month. “I know a clinic that’s doing a pride celebration planter month with our community,” Christman said, and planting “a whole bunch of rainbow flower beds around their veterinary hospital to show inclusivity. . . . You could do this at your veterinary clinic [to show] that representation matters.”