Maybe you can have it all


In this Vetted Q&A with a rock star veterinary practice owner, Dr. Julie Reck reveals that the road you take is sometimes not the one you intended to take. And thats just fine.

Dr. Julie Reck with a patient in her clinic. All photos courtesy of Dr. Reck.Vetted: What's the most important career decision you've ever made?

Dr. Julie Reck: Opening my own veterinary practice. Being a practice owner has been the leadership role of a lifetime. It has forced me to learn a lot about myself and grow as a person. If I hadn't become a veterinarian, I would probably be working in landscape or interior design. I love the creative process of transforming interior and exterior spaces.

Vetted: What's one thing you do to keep your life manageable?

Dr. Reck: Letting perfection go! I could spend a lot of time and energy questioning myself: Is my practice at its ultimate level of profitability? Did I get everything right on that last case? Do I spend enough time with my son?

Instead, I focus on being my best version of myself at the present moment. Maybe I will only see my son for two hours on a busy Wednesday, but during those two hours we will wrestle together, read stories, share a meal and cuddle. We make it count and, hopefully, make some memories. If it was a rough day at the practice, then I plan for what changes can be made to make the next day better.

Dr. Reck and her groom, Matt, with a very important wedding party attendant.Vetted: Who are the three most important people you've met?

Dr. Reck: My husband, a veterinarian and a consultant. I know that “my husband” is an expected answer, but it's my truth. Matt and I met in high school and he has been a part of my transformation into a veterinarian and business owner. It has been so helpful to have someone by my side on this journey.

I met Dr. Angela Gamboni as an undergraduate at Virginia Tech. We shared the goal of becoming veterinarians, and we were accepted into the same class at veterinary school!

About two years ago, I invited leadership consultant Randy Hall to our practice to coach our leadership team. His visit marked the beginning of our practice culture transformation. Together, my staff and I developed self-awareness and leadership skills to help us function as a truly cohesive team.

Vetted: In the conversation about “doing it all,” is there anything you've given up?

Dr. Reck: I'm a practicing veterinarian, practice owner, speaker, farm owner, mom, wife and competitive horseback rider. The most common question I'm asked is, “How do you do it all?” Here's how. I let go of “balance” and instead strive for “harmony.” To me, balance implies that something has to be reduced in order for something else to be greater.

When I plan my days and weeks, I communicate with my support system (my husband, practice leadership staff and so on) about the goals we're looking to accomplish, and we support each other in achieving these goals.

Vetted: What's harder-kids or pets?

Learn more at Fetch dvm360

Dr. Julie Reck will be presenting at the Fetch dvm360 conference in Kansas City Aug. 24. Her topics are:

  • Ready to be obnoxiously optimistic? Be the change for yourself, your patients and your profession

  • The art of putting the right people in the right seat on your bus

  • How staff can make or break a Fear Free experience

  • Beyond the basics: Difficult cases and common challenges in Fear Free practice

To register, visit

Dr. Reck: Kids are definitely harder than pets! I have a 3-year-old son who is bright, healthy and vibrant. He's a wonderful boy, but parenting is a nonstop job. I often tell people it's like having a border collie puppy … smart with tons of energy!

Vetted: What's something most people don't know about you?

Dr. Reck: I always thought I would grow up to be an equine veterinarian. I even completed the equine track in veterinary school, but sometimes fate has a different plan for you. Here I am the owner of a large, exclusively small animal, AAHA-accredited practice.

Dr. Reck and her horse Frasier take a jump.

The front desk at Dr. Reck's clinic.

Parenthood is like chasing around a border collie with endless energy, Dr. Reck says.

Dr. Julie Reck owns Veterinary Medical Center of Fort Mill in Fort Mill, South Carolina, and is a speaker at the Fetch dvm360 conferences on Fear Free practice as well as veterinary ownership and leadership topics.

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