Clearly Not Bored Members—WVMA Board Gives Time and Passion

Dec 8 | News, WVMA News

By Jo-ell Carson, Executive Director, Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association

It’s hard to believe it has been over a year since I joined the WVMA. I remember Zooming into my first WVMA Board meeting, unsure of what to expect. It was an overwhelmingly positive experience. The passion, engagement and commitment of the members who serve on your Board is contagious, impressive and meaningful.

I’ll admit, I struggled with how (or if ) to write this column. I recognize that writing a column praising your Board seems like, well, a suck-up. However, as we end the year, it’s hard not to recognize this Board’s above-and-beyond commitment to the WVMA.

Pandemic Presidents

Allow me to first recognize three WVMA Board Presidents: Dr. Alan Holter (2019), Dr. Ann Sherwood Zieser (2020) and Dr. Tom Bach (2021). This trio had the dubious honor of leading a board and an association through not only a pandemic, but a leadership change.

With the evolving and changing needs of their own practices and lives, it would have been understandable if each took a step back from their board duties. They didn’t. Instead, they stepped forward. Each took turns managing day-to-day needs and decisions while also recruiting for the Executive Director position. They helped pivot the WVMA from an in-person event focus to an online platform (that didn’t previously exist) while also supporting strong communications on COVID-related topics.

When I was hired in October 2020, Dr. Holter had just left the board and Dr. Howard Ketover joined as president-elect. Dr. Ketover stepped forward as well and continues to do so. Dr. Sherwood Zieser, Dr. Bach and Dr. Ketover Zoomed with me every other week to address issues while I learned. They were always available to lend an ear, an opinion, a background explanation or to help point me in the right direction. Every conversation always came back to a focus on the member—how can we provide value, serve a need or solve a problem?

Engaged and Eager Board

All the members who make up the WVMA Board have important jobs with large responsibilities. They also have a strong sense of purpose. I often hear the phrase ‘paying it forward.’ The Board is always looking for ways to advance veterinary medicine.

Board members have driven across the state to attend meetings and member events. They have taken media interviews in the middle of their day, activated members on pending legislation, taught evening CE and spent hours brainstorming new activities, ideas or budget numbers.

Our Board meetings are not quiet—quite the opposite! They are an incubator of ideas. Ideas focused on relevancy and reality to make sure the WVMA is committed to making our veterinary community stronger. It’s a place where new ideas and perspectives are welcome.

I’d love to tell you the WVMA has all the answers or has solved every challenge—that isn’t realistic. We have plenty of work left to do. However, the WVMA does have the most important ingredient. We have the right people—people who care, are engaged and are enthusiastic.

And the best part? Any great board is a representative sample of the members it serves. From my vantage point, the passion we hear and see from the WVMA Board is the same passion we hear and see from the members. And that, is a pretty great foundation to build upon.