By Dr. Tom Bach, Past President, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association
When I made the decision to pursue the board presidency of the WVMA, there was a part of me thinking, “What have I just done?!” My kids were out of the house, my wife and I were traveling more often, and I no longer had any management duties at my veterinary clinic in Madison. Then COVID-19 came and continuing education (CE) went virtual, followed shortly thereafter by the departure of the WVMA executive director of 12 years. Ann Sherwood Zieser, Alan Holter and I did our best to navigate management duties until a new executive director was hired.
The road has been bumpy and there have been some hills, but the experience has been rewarding. Following are some of the
accomplishments and decisions we made over the past year:
• We hired a new executive director, Jo-ell Carson, who has been impressive.
• We improved the financial position of the WVMA with plans to continue to investigate new sources of revenue. In addition to strengthening the association and strengthening our collective voice, this will also allow more latitude to provide additional services to members and their clinics.
• A multifarious approach to CE has been adopted with on demand, virtual live, and in-person offerings.
• The Reconnect the Vets social events held this year throughout the state have been successful and will continue in some form in the future. Our generous sponsors are partly to thank for these important collegial events.
• An emphasis has been placed on being more transparent and communicative about the inner workings of the WVMA. As an example, I have been surprised at the great value lobbying efforts have afforded our profession in Wisconsin. We all need to be aware of what is going on behind the scenes, so we can better understand and respond to what our association is doing.
• An emphasis has also been placed on including the voices of all veterinary professionals. Our staff and our manufacturing/industry colleagues are part of our veterinary team. The inclusion of their unique experiences, skills, and ideas can only improve and strengthen the WVMA and our profession.
• We plan to continue thoughtful discussions about wellness and diversity, equity, and inclusion issues and what steps the WVMA can take to help our profession in these areas.
• There are internal plans to update the WVMA bylaws and broad-stroke discussions about how the makeup of our board will best serve the future of the WVMA.
The Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association is blessed with a wonderful executive director; a talented and dedicated staff; and an engaged, committed and thoughtful executive board. I have been fortunate to work with and meet so many amazing people. My hope is that we all continue to look for ways to support each other and to submit ideas and take leadership roles to move and shape our profession so that it is even better for those who follow us.