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Q&A with a keynote: Louise Dunn

Long Beach, California convention center

Founder and CEO of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting to be keynote at the Fetch dvm360 Conference in Long Beach, California

Louise Dunn, founder and CEO of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting (SVMC), will be a keynote speaker at the 2023 Fetch dvm360® Conference taking place for the first time in Long Beach, California. An award-winning lecturer, writer, and consultant, Dunn offers over 40 years of experience in veterinary business education and, at SVMC, works with veterinarians who want to develop a strategic plan that consistently produces results. Outside of work, Dunn is married and has 2 English mastiffs named Annabelle and Afton, who work with Therapy Dogs International and Reading for Paws to serve the community.

Louise Dunn, founder and CEO of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting.

Louise Dunn, founder and CEO of Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting.

The talk she will deliver at the Fetch Conference is entitled “Unlocking Synergy: Mastering the Dynamic Interplay of Clients, Teams, Business & Technology.” She sat down in a dvm360 interview to share her career achievements, what’s in store for the keynote address, and more.

What is your most rewarding professional and personal accomplishment?

We always have to remember that we're in the most wonderful profession in the world. It's made up of caring, good people, although it's physically and emotionally challenging work that we do. Yet, even with these challenges, the reward of improving the lives of pets and people who care for them makes those challenges well worth it. With over 40 years of in the trenches experience, and my business education, I would like to think I can make a little bit of a difference. I really enjoy mentoring, and I'm so proud of so many people and how far they've come.

What inspired you to open Snowgoose Veterinary Management Consulting?

Well, it is an interesting story. I moved down south, and I lived near a lake, and my address was Snowgoose Cove. So, that's how I came up with the name. I got a contract to teach at 10 of the veterinary schools. I also had finished a program at Purdue University’s Krannert Graduate Center, the Veterinary Management Institute (VMI) program; I was in the second class. There were 4 of us who were not veterinarians, and the rest of them were. They were struggling with issues that were foreign to me because we didn't have these issues in our practice. And so, I started helping them in their practices, and that's how Snowgoose started.

Basically, it's all about us putting our arms around each other in this profession and sharing our successes and our failures so that we help each other out. It saddens me when I see a situation where a young female technician has to choose whether to be in this profession or pay their bills. I see it all the time, and I tell practice owners 2 things: you can't give what you don't have, and it is just as easy to a profitable business as a non-profitable business.

What’s your favorite element of business education in veterinary management?

When I see others excited about their roles and learning new tools to raise the bar of their patient care and client service, seeing their key performance indicators improve so that the business can do more for their team and their patients, and realizing they can take better care of themselves as business owners.

What inspired your keynote address you will deliver at Fetch Long Beach?

Well, you know, we don't work in a vacuum. Clients have a larger role in partnering with the veterinary healthcare team to care for pets. Instead of roadblocks, there should be synergy. In other words, working with what is available and what makes it easier for clients to access care and the team to deliver the best care. Our practices are not always as efficient and effective as they can be. Technology is opening the doors for both of these issues. However, the veterinary business model is evolving, and a lot of people don't embrace that. We need to take the opportunities in technology to answer the new wants and needs of the clients and utilize the knowledge and skills of every team member. By not seeing the opportunity in synergy, we [risk] our profession [remaining] stagnant.

What do you want attendees to take away from the keynote?

I'd like people to be willing to look outside their box for opportunities to improve access to care to their team and be able to expand their skills and knowledge for every team member so that they can deliver exceptional medical and client care. It may even be creating more roles, and it may be doing more hybrid roles. It’s cultivating a culture that's productive and profitable. And sometimes, we just have to get out of our own way. And so, I want to throw out different thoughts and ideas for people so that they can start figuring out how they can raise their bars.

Is there anything else you want to add?

As Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same things over and over, but expecting different results.” Clients need and want change. The way we deliver medical care is evolving with new technologies; our teams are exposed to new tools and new procedures through professional discussion groups and webinars. What is your business going to do to harness the synergy and achieve something different, something better for pets and people and their teams? So again, it's just as easy to run a motivated, profitable business. We have to understand that we have to invest in ourselves and our team. And remember, competency breeds competency. Success breeds success.

I've had the honor and privilege of being involved in a lot of leadership roles and being on a lot of boards. We need to step up and be leaders, as in our profession. And the way we can be leaders is by opening our minds and being willing to change. However, change is never easy, even good change.

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