Leading With Integrity

A retreat for veterinary professionals who desire to lead differently.


#VLE2018 Save the Date

June 4-9th, 2018


Become a VLI Sustainer

Join others who are making a direct contribution to our profession.


Welcome to The Veterinary Leadership Institute (VLI), a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of healthy and resilient leaders who can make a positive difference for the profession.

Click Here for a Note From Our Director



Our Team

Dr. Betsy Charles

Executive Director

In addition to her role as the Executive Director of the VLI, Dr. Charles is also an Assistant Professor of Radiology at Western University of Health Sciences.

Dr. Karen Cornell

Board of Directors

Dr. Cornell is a professor and the Associate Dean for Professional Programs at Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Lauren Olavessen

Board of Directors

Dr. Olavessen is a Senior Manager for the Medical Outreach Programs at Idexx.

Dr. Kenita Rogers

Board of Directors

Dr. Rogers is the Executive Associate Dean and Professor at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Darcy Shaw

Board of Directors

Dr. Shaw is a recently retired and adjunct professor of small animal internal medicine in the Dept. of Companion Animals, Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC), University of Prince Edward Island, Canada.

What's New

Rise Resilient

By | Emotional Intelligence, Inspiration, Wellness | No Comments

As a budding college graduate in the Spring of 2010 I had one goal in mind, to join the US Military and serve my country for 20 years. After being accepted by the Army Officer Candidate program, I flew down to Ft. Benning, GA for three months of basic training followed by six more months of Officer Candidate School to earn commission as a 2nd Lieutenant. My dream was to be an infantry officer and serve on the front lines. After graduating Basic Training, I watched my dream die in one fell swoop. During a 5 mile run my knee locked up, I fell and tore my MCL.

The next few weeks were a whirlwind; one second I’m on my way to earning my commission and taking the next step toward my 20-year career, the next I’m chaptered out of the Army and flying home with my head in my hands. All my hard work seemed to be for nothing. I had to explain to friends and family, many of whom had thrown me a huge going away party just 6 months prior, that I was back, and I was back for good. I was embarrassed, I had no goals, and I was depressed. Without my wife and her love, I may have spiraled down into an unascendable pit. Luckily she lent me enough strength to help me find new goals (i.e. VetMed). However, the pain of the failure was still strong. I couldn’t read war novels; I couldn’t watch powerful movies involving soldiers; courageous stories I loved now put a bitter taste in my mouth.

Flash-forward to June (2017), I attended the Veterinary Leadership Experience. My group-mates and the facilitators at VLE shared their stories of resiliency. They lent me their strength to finally be able to talk about my failure, about my regrets, about watching my dream die…Talking about something gives you strength over the embarrassment; announcing it to a group gives you power over it completely and allows you to move on, and now this post will finalize my life rising out of the ashes of that shattered dream. Without my wife, my friends, and the amazing people at VLE, I may still shudder when I think of my past. Now I stand proud about my future; resilient.

Who in your life gives you strength to be resilient? How do you move on from the inevitable failures in our profession and use them to fuel your fire? Your experiences may help others, like me, move on from their hardships so we’d love to hear your thoughts! #resiliency #poweroverfailure #risefromtheashes #VLEalum

A Lesson in Bluegrass

By | Emotional Intelligence, In Practice, Servant Leadership | No Comments

At our house, a perfect Sunday evening ritual includes a tasty grilled dinner, enjoyed together on the back porch, while listening to the Pinecone Bluegrass Show. It’s a relaxing cap to an active weekend, and a great way for our family to connect in advance of the busy week ahead. As a family, we love the bluegrass sound, and also the rich stories the music tells.

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Remembering an amazing team

By | Teamwork | No Comments

Last week I celebrated with members of my veterinary school class for our (GULP) 20 year reunion. In seeing so many of my classmates, I couldn’t help but reminisce about those intense, grueling, growth filled, and happy years….. and the amazing people I spent them with.

Somehow, through effort, personalities, compassion, or maybe even accident, the members of our class came together as a team. We worked together, and played together. We studied hard, and let loose just as enthusiastically. We supported each other, and challenged each other to be our best.

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