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What is your current position within the veterinary profession?
My current position within the veterinary profession allows me daily interaction with veterinary students. I hold a clinical appointment at Texas A&M University in the Large Animal Clinical Sciences Department.
Why do you think the VLI is an important organization for the veterinary profession?
VLI is important for the profession for numerous reasons. The experience associated with VLI prepares anyone for opportunities associated with human interactions – within and without any given professional day or even throughout a career. We encounter others. Whether we interact individually or within a group, our interpretation from others and the exchange between us leaves a mark that resonates positively or negatively. Not entirely, but to a great degree, I influence the outcome – even casual encounters. Moreover, when challenging circumstances outline the experience, VLI training provides tools to better enable me to direct the flow and eventual result. I may not be in complete control of the scenario, but I can avoid the scenario completely controlling me.
What are the top 3 things you learned during your week at VLE?
During my week at VLE I learned I possess strengths I hadn’t recognized; I better appreciated the strengths I understood. More importantly, I recognized weaknesses don’t need to remain obstacles. The third thing I learned was anyone is capable of leadership – if not at the forefront, then from other positions. It is possible to lead from the middle or direct from the rear.
How are you putting what you learned at VLE into practice on a daily basis?
I practice what I learned at VLE in multiple ways every day. My job allows me to work with students in a clinical setting. I prefer to allow a student or even the student group to lead the event. Necessarily, I might initiate a particular clinical activity through demonstration or dialogue. Preferably, my continued participation becomes diluted while student(s’) actions surpass mine. This represents what I mean by leading from the middle or directing from the rear. I strive to allow, encourage, even force students to make decisions involving diagnostic or therapeutic planning plus performing clinical skill sets in a safe learning environment. I want them to lead themselves through the case while I observe.