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If veterinary professionals are going to successfully navigate the many challenging opportunities facing the profession, they need to stand together with a unified, clear, articulate and persuasive voice.  It can’t be business as usual or the typical top down, hierarchical leadership model. Thus, the VLI embraces the definition of leadership put forth by Northouse.  “Leadership is a process whereby an individual influences a group of individuals toward a common goal.  The VLE equips those who attend with an idea about the skill sets necessary to have influence and speak in that clear, unified voice. Through hands-on learning, VLE attendees, whether veterinary student, faculty member, private practitioner, industry partner, technician, or kennel staff, are given the tools necessary to make a difference as a leader in the profession. Our philosophy is that because leadership is influence, all are leaders.  The program is designed to be the starting point for a life of personal and professional development and as such, is creating a group of individuals who can’t be satisfied with the status quo, a group of individuals willing to do the difficult personal work necessary to become people of influence no matter where life has them positioned.