Veterinary Technician: Beyond the Title

Networking can really help your career take off, especially if you are a technician looking for career development opportunities. Read about these amazing technicians who have used the power of networking to blaze new trails for themselves and the profession. 

Use the Power of Networking to Blaze Your Own Career Path

by Rebecca Rose, CVT

YOUR CAREER WITHIN VETERINARY TECHNOLOGY AND AS A VETERINARY PROFESSIONAL is full of creative opportunities. Trailblazers, enhanced by their dreams and vision for the future, have paved the way, unbridling the paths your career can take.

All too often, social media threads are populated with disgruntled, narrow-minded conversations about the inability to grow a career within veterinary medicine as a medical support team member. It’s unfortunate that this mindset reigns instead of a celebration of the abundance of professional growth opportunities I have experienced and that have been achieved by so many of my colleagues and friends.

You may be of the opinion that your career will not reach the heights of others, yet it’s that bias holding you back, not your opportunities within veterinary technology. With an abundant mindset, you will find a litany of innovative veterinary technology opportunities.

These featured veterinary technicians have used networking and a “can do” demeanor to foster their own career advancement and growth. The point is that your career can be elevated too! I believe in you, your passion, and your career. Take hold of your dreams, vision, and desire to advance your career and deliver the best patient care possible. What innovative, sustainable concept resonates with you? Bring it to fruition!

Chief Visionary Officer and Empowerment Enthusiast

Alyssa Mages, CVT

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/acmcvt2019evt/

F2_Mages.jpgIf I created a tagline for Alyssa it would be “Go BIG or go HOME!” From the first moment I met her a little over a year ago, she has been an amazing force— energetic, driven, and methodical in bringing her vision to completion.

With over 17 years of experience within veterinary technology, she bundles her energy into coaching and teaching in a creative, positive manner to drive change in the veterinary industry. Her talents include public speaking, creating content, collaborating, and building empowered teams.

Alyssa is certified in RECOVER and Fear Free, plus she delivers RACE-approved continuing education. She is simply a dynamo with a growing network! Learn more about her by checking out Empowering Veterinary Teams (EVT), of which she is cofounder and chief visionary officer.

“I absolutely agree that networking has played a huge role in how we’ve propelled EVT forward,” Alyssa says. “Taking those risks and leaping out of a comfort zone became a part of what I/we did, and we have been so fortunate to have landed among a truly stellar group of humans in this amazing industry. Onward and upward, that’s the only direction for us!”

Best-Selling Author

Amy Newfield, MS, CVT, VTS (ECC)

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/amynewfield/

F2_Newfield.jpgAmy’s first book, Oops, I Became a Manager: Managing the Veterinary Hospital Team by Finding Unicorns, was released in 2020 and landed on the Amazon best seller list in the US, Australia, Canada, and the UK.

Her book focuses on creating healthy veterinary teams, and as a former technician and current director of veterinary nursing leadership, Amy has the real-world experience to back up her expertise. She incorporates humor, real-life stories, and practical resources applicable for every veterinary hospital.

Her courageous career includes international speaking gigs as well as over 50 published articles, and now she has stepped into a leadership role, further expanding upon her talents. In addition, she is well connected, and this network of peers has been a huge benefit to her success. “Considering my relationship with my colleague just landed me a job at VEG (Veterinary Emergency Group), I’d say networking has helped me greatly,” says Amy. “It [networking] obviously goes beyond my new job. My network of colleagues-turned-friends continue to impact and change my life in ways I could never imagine.”

Director of Feline Health and Education, Independent Contractor

Beckie Mossor, RVT

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/beckie-mossor-37a55527/

F2_Mossor.jpgCat Coach Beckie helps educate cat parents across the globe on basic feline health, behavior, and nutrition. For cat parents wanting their questions answered, she delivers! Beckie assists in finding resources and any advanced care her clients are looking for. As an independent contractor, she also has flexibility in her schedule and works remotely from her home office.

In support of the veterinary profession, Beckie has served on national and state veterinary technician associations, is a member at large for the Society for Veterinary Medical Ethics, and creates engaging content through her podcast, Veterinary Viewfinder, cohosted by Ernie Ward, DVM. She exemplifies stretching yourself beyond your area of expertise to reach your fullest potential.

Team Wellness Consultant

Kara M. Burns, MS, M.Ed, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry)

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/karaburns/

F2_Burns.jpgYou will find Kara popping around most of the national veterinary conferences as one of the highlighted speakers in her humble yet mighty way. You may know her for her expertise as a veterinary nutritionist, but first, she began treating humans as an emergency counselor working with patients in acute emotional or psychological distress. With Kara, you get a psychologist as well as a nutritionist, the best combination when supporting veterinary teams in wellness and wellbeing! She is passionate about veterinary nursing as well, which you can see through her articles, editing, and presentations. She delivers professional and personal development training for veterinary healthcare teams, focusing on nontechnical skill challenges—the people skills. Communication, emotional intelligence, leadership, and conflict management are her fortes.

Kara advises: “Step out of your comfort zone and say yes to opportunities—even those that are daunting!”

Chief Veterinary Nursing Officer

Ken Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC) (SAIM)

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/kenichiro-yagi-a89b3897/

F2_Yagi.jpgI first met Ken while creating content for Veterinary Support Personnel Network (VSPN). He managed a team at Adobe Animal Hospital in California. I embraced the opportunity to shadow him for a day at the uniquely different “open hospital.”

Now, Ken works at a VEG hospital in Denver. He is the epitome of a colleague stretching beyond the norm to pave a path of innovation.

“I am the chief veterinary nursing officer, so I sit as a peer with the other executives,” he says. “My mission: Reimagining emergency veterinary nursing.” Ken is also keeping an eye on the future of veterinary medicine. “We will make nursing a lifelong career with a continuous growth pathway with individuals having good financial, mental, and physical health—making a difference each and every day. We will be a voice for the profession engaging in discussion and debate for the future of veterinary nursing to inspire advancements and innovation. It’s my piece of what we call the VEGolution to change the world of veterinary medicine.”

Ken also emphasizes the importance of networking, noting that “the network of colleagues and advocates are bringing game-changers together for the revolution.”

Want to hear more from Ken Yagi?

Head over to the Bonus Content Page for a more in-depth interview with Ken Yagi MS, RVT, VTS (ECC) (SAIM)

 

Veterinary Outreach Specialist

Rebecca Rose, CVT, Certified Career Coach

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/rebeccarosecvt/

F2_Rose.jpgConnecting, elevating, and coaching are my specialties. I first began research for my book Career Choices for Veterinary Technicians in 2007. AAHA Press published it in 2009, and a revised edition came out in 2013. It was an honor to work with them on a project that was not for their usual audience because it was clear that their vision for the veterinary community included the careers of the medical team. A testament to their continued support is this edition of Trends!

This past spring, a friend and colleague from Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice and In-Home Euthanasia reached out. Now, Thomas Stevens and I are the Veterinary Outreach Team, and I am absolutely loving every minute of it! My skills in career coaching, building relationships with veterinary teams, and being a road warrior (traveling throughout the United States) are being utilized by a leadership team that understands the magic of networking.

My greatest advice—so great that it’s on my email signature—is: “To wait for the ‘perfect circumstance’ will be detrimental to achieving goals.” Just DO IT! Grab ahold of the reins, see the finish line, and make it happen!

Marketing and Outreach Coordinator

Ryan Frazier, LVT

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/ryan-frazier-lvt/

F2_Frazier.jpgWhen I first met Ryan, he was a newly credentialed veterinary technician already networking at national conferences. I remember thinking to myself, “Watch this one, he is going places!” Well, Ryan hasn’t disappointed, as he has taken on local and national leadership roles, been a mover and shaker within social media as a positive force, and recently became the marketing and outreach coordinator at a large emergency hospital.

His tasks, aligning with his unique title, include relationship development, coordinating continuing education, designing and executing appreciation events, and social media management. He saw a need, added the knowledge base, and made it happen.

How has networking impacted his career? “Oh, my goodness! Networking has launched me into the second part of my career,” Ryan notes. “Networking in veterinary-related groups on social media moved me out to the Pacific Northwest. Networking through the Washington State Association of Veterinary Technicians (WSAVT) got me doing relief. Now I am excited to be working with the Advisory Team for DVM360 because of networking. I get inspired by the amazing techs out there. Techs inspired me to get more involved with WSAVT and NAVTA and even encouraged me to start the Veterinary Support Staff Career Group on Facebook.”

Veterinary Technician Content Writer

Saleema Lookman, RVT

LinkedIn Profile: linkedin.com/in/saleema-lookman/

F2_Lookman.jpgIn a few powerful years, Saleema has achieved one personal and professional goal after another. I recall meeting her during NAVTA Case Reports at Western Veterinary Conference where she let me know she was interested in presenting. She set her sights on Toastmasters, rolled up her sleeves, and made it happen. During the pandemic, she decided to take her career in the direction of writing and working remotely. So she tackled a copywriting internship last year, on top of it being the busiest, most hectic time in veterinary team history.

As of this summer, she is fully employed by LoveToKnow Media, writing for pet parents. She also works a couple of days a week at a nearby veterinary practice in Santa Fe to keep her networking strong within her local veterinary community. Plus, the two of us will begin tag-teaming the Veterinary Practice News monthly column “Veterinary Team Insights.”

Saleema’s advice is simple: “Connect with like-minded individuals who are doing what you aspire to do.” Take the Reins!

Make your career dreams a reality! You can channel your inner horse of a different color to blaze a path to a career of your own making. Besides your unique skills and determination, don’t be afraid to lean on your community of colleagues to help you reach your goals. Networking is an important part of veterinary medicine and can offer a variety of opportunities.

 

Roxanne Hawn
Rebecca Rose, CVT, certified career coach, founder, and president at CATALYST Veterinary Professional Coaches, has a diverse background in the veterinary community. She has worked in and managed clinics, collaborates with industry partners, and facilitates engaging team workshops. Her most current role includes Outreach Specialist for Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice. She can be reached at [email protected]

 

Photo credits: Alyssa Mages, CVT Courtesy of Alyssa Mages, Amy Newfield, MS, CVT, VTS (ECC) (photo courtesy of Amy Newfield); Beckie Mossor, RVT (photo courtesy of Beckie Mossor); Kara M. Burns, MS, M.Ed, LVT, VTS (Nutrition), VTS-H (Internal Medicine, Dentistry) (photo courtesy of Kara Burns); Ken Yagi, MS, RVT, VTS (ECC) (SAIM) (photo courtesy of Ken Yagi); Rebecca Rose, CVT (photo courtesy of Rebecca Rose); Ryan Frazier, LVT (photo courtesy of Ryan Frazier);Saleema Lookman, RVT (photo courtesy of Saleema Lookman)

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