The future is bright: Stories from the profession

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated over and over how veterinarians meet workplace challenges through creativity and resilience. From managing increased workloads to navigating client demands, veterinary professionals integrated innovative and sustainable changes into practice. Hear the inspiring stories of veterinary team members from all walks of the profession. They explore the skills that can help you thrive, even in challenging times. Allow yourself to be curious about your own story—and consider how telling it could lead you to new heights. Come away confident in the bright future of veterinary medicine, and learn how to develop the skills to maintain this outlook as you focus on your own story.

This webinar is made possible through educational funding from Zoetis.

Participants can expect to learn about:

  • Skills that can help you thrive even in challenging times
  • Inspiring stories from professionals in all walks of veterinary medicine
  • How exploring and telling your own story can help you rise to new heights

This keynote address originally was presented at AVMA’s 2022 Veterinary Leadership Conference. 

Dr. Elizabeth Charles

Dr. Elizabeth Charles is a veterinary radiologist passionate about cultivating a community of leaders through curiosity, creative conversations, and connection. She has worked in general equine practice, specialty practice, and as vice president of medical excellence at Mission Veterinary Partners. She also has served as a faculty member at Western University of Health Sciences College of Veterinary Medicine and an adjunct faculty member at Lincoln Memorial University.

Dr. Charles holds a master’s degree in organizational leadership and teaches veterinary professionals how they can help grow high-functioning organizations as volunteer leaders. She has presented to veterinary and non-veterinary audiences, including state veterinary medical associations, the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) National Convention, and  veterinary colleges. She has been a member of AAEP’s diversity task force, member engagement committee, and wellness committee. She served as executive director of the Veterinary Leadership Institute (VLI) from 2011-2021, until transitioning to the position of special advisor to the VLI board.

Dr. Vernard L Hodges

Dr. Vernard Hodges earned his DVM from Tuskegee University. He founded several successful veterinary hospitals, including Critter Fixer Veterinary Hospital in Bonaire, Georgia, which is the setting of National Geographic Wild’s “Critter Fixers: Country Vets” show. He also started a real estate company, which has grown to a multimillion-dollar business comprised of several apartment complexes and commercial properties. He wrote the bestselling book “Bet on Yourself: From Zero to Millions,” based on these experiences.

Dr. Stephanie Jones

Dr. Stephanie Jones is co-owner of the Animal Hospital of Ft. Lauderdale, one of a few hospitals in South Florida offering stem cell therapy. She received her DVM from the University of Florida in 1999 and developed a special interest in reproductive medicine, innovative medicine, soft tissue surgery, and optimal patient care. She has served as president of the Broward County Veterinary Medical Association.

Hidayah Martinez-Jaka

Hidayah Martinez-Jaka has served as the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine’s (VMCVM) delegate to the Student AVMA (SAVMA), and as the Association of Avian Veterinarians representative to the VMCVM Public Veterinary Practitioner’s Club. She also co-founded and served as vice president of the VMCVM student chapter of the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior. In March 2021 she became the first woman of color (she is of Latinx and South Asian heritage) to hold the position of SAVMA president. She also was the first from her school to serve in this role.

Dr. Morgan McArthur

Dr. Morgan McArthur has enjoyed an unconventional career path as a veterinarian. He earned his DVM from Iowa State University in 1983 and was a large animal practitioner in Idaho Falls for 15 years. During this time, he realized that while he liked working with animals, he struggled communicating with their owners. He joined a local Toastmasters club to become a better public speaker, and in 1994 he bested more than 10,000 other speakers to earn the title of Toastmasters' World Champion of Public Speaking.

Garnetta Santiago, MA, LVT

Garnetta Santiago is manager of academic and professional affairs for Zoetis, where she helps drive strategic engagement with veterinary colleges and veterinary technology programs in the United States and Caribbean. She also does online and social outreach to the profession in education, wellbeing, and professional development . She earned her veterinary technology licensure from State University of New York at Delhi in 2003, and has a background in small and mixed-animal clinical practice, shelter medicine, academia and industry.