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President’s Message – With sincere appreciation

August 25, 2023

Last week, I helped some of the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Class of 2027 don their white coats. I left feeling refreshed after seeing and interacting with the new veterinary students. The mixture of anticipation, nerves, and emotion was palpable; the excitement was contagious. Naturally, the interaction prompted reflection as they began a chapter while I concluded part of mine.

At the start of my tenure, one of my first tasks was to provide a personal quote for the new member welcome packet. Since I do not have an original quote, I chose the following that I hoped would resonate with others as much as it had with me. I suggest reading it a few times and see if anything comes up for you.

“If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astound ourselves.”

Thomas A. Edison

It is tough to grow and discover these capabilities when everything is going well and we are in our comfort zone. Similarly, difficult seasons make it hard to see beyond what is in front of us, especially if we only forge ahead alone. In our profession, we have our share of adversities, yet what I find encouraging are all the people I met throughout this year, with innumerable capabilities. People who choose every day to show up trying their best, even if our ‘best’ on that day is not up to our usual standards. People who say ‘yes’ to opportunities even when they do not feel ready or qualified. Those who say ‘no’ where necessary and have healthy boundaries. People who make up the WSVMA. People who are in the veterinary profession. The resiliency and passion within the highly capable veterinary professionals of Washington State are astounding!

All of you inspired me as the WSVMA tackled various challenges in conjunction with allied organizations. A strong thread connecting our actions is advocacy. What a privilege to be with an association willing to tackle vital issues for this profession. Each challenge further solidified the importance of utilizing our strengths and voices through open dialogue and cohesive efforts in building a bright future. It has been an honor to represent and even discover a few abilities while serving as the WSVMA president. I leave this position encouraged by what lies ahead for this organization and profession while motivated to continue to help where needed.

A heartfelt thank you to my fellow Directors, Candace Joy (WSVMA CEO), the WSVMA staff, association partners, volunteers, and members for a great year, your dedication, and your encouragement. I will miss our regular interactions and look forward to staying connected as a volunteer, member, and colleague. As I roll off the Board of Directors, please join me in welcoming new Directors (please vote!), a CEO, and, soon, the incoming class of the Power of Ten Leadership Academy. Don’t forget to apply! As a Power of Ten alum, it is a worthwhile experience. I am confident in this excellent group of leaders who will advocate for and continue to foster the development of the Association and profession.

I will see you at our Annual Membership Meeting on September 17 (RSVP!) and at the Pacific Northwest Veterinary Conference September 22 – 24. As always, feel free to reach out and say hello. Thank you!

By Blair de Vries, President