December 2022

In this VETgirl online veterinary continuing education blog, Dr. Justine Lee, DACVECC, DABT summarizes the inaugural VETgirl Powerful Minds Women’s Leadership Retreat, presented by Royal Canin.

By Dr. Justine Lee, DACVECC, DABT
Director of Medicine / CEO, VETgirl

A Summary of the Inaugural VETgirl Powerful Minds Women’s Leadership Retreat, by Royal Canin

On November 18-19, 2022, the VETgirl team hosted its inaugural VETgirl Powerful Minds Women’s Leadership Retreat, presented by Royal Canin. This by-invitation-only event was designed to connect 50 prominent women veterinary leaders in Tucson, Arizona, thanks to the generous sponsorship of Royal Canin, AcharaVet, Banfield, Ceva, Boehringer Ingelheim, and PetDx. Speakers included Dr. Rebecca Heiss, PhD and Jeannine Moga, MA, MSW, LCSW, while I helped moderate the Q:A panels. The goal of this women’s leadership retreat? To spark new ideas and teach attendees techniques that foster leadership development while leaving attendees with a refreshed outlook on how to better balance our busy lives in veterinary medicine. Attendees had the opportunity to “pass the torch” and nominate the next generation of women leaders.

Personally, just being able to attend a digital-free conference with some amazing women leaders was my favorite part of the conference. As one attendee stated, being a woman in veterinary leadership is very “lonely,” and to have the camaraderie of others was refreshing.

VETgirl Powerful Minds 2022

What else did I learn?

• Focus on one thing.
• Schedule in a break.
• Only handle it once (OHIO).
• Have a shorter to do list.
• Practice 1 minute meditation.
• Reconnect with people outside of the veterinary world.
• Don’t solve other people’s problems – that’s not your role.
• Start a gratitude journal.
• Focus on being refreshed and energized.
• Be intentional. Pause. Reset.
• Be hopeful.
• It’s lonely to be a woman in leadership. Find your tribe, brag buddy and accountability partner.
• There is this community out there… Reach out.
• Be intentional and add it to your schedule to take care of yourself.
• Set boundaries on emails.
• You don’t have to solve every problem.
• Slow down, fill your cup, and keep filling it with things that light your spark.
• Take the leap. Because sometimes you’ll enjoy the ride…

VETgirl Justine leap

VETgirl Justine Lee taking the quantum leap

Pending future sponsorship, we hope to continue this women’s leadership retreat for several more years. Because it’s so important that we pass these important lessons on to our colleagues – male or female – as we lift up our field of fellow veterinary professionals.

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