I was originally going to write this blog as a wrap up about my entire second week in Washington, D.C. However, as I was writing I noticed that I was just listing off what seemed like a million different names, agencies and places I visited. I quickly stopped myself, because I realized that lists are not the most entertaining or engaging things to read, so I started again from scratch and I decided to focus this blog on inspiring people…. No guarantees this topic will be any more interesting than a list…
Yesterday, McKenzie and I traveled out to Rockville, Maryland. After a long metro ride, followed by a brief taxi ride, we were welcomed into the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine. We met with a handful of really great and welcoming veterinarians that taught us about their roles at the FDA. Each one of them has their own individual story about where they started, what their goals were and how they all ended up at the FDA-CVM. While all unique and vastly different, each person was kind enough to let us have a sneak peek into their lives for half a day.
The director of the Center of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Bernadette Dunham, is such an inspiring person. She is so bubbly, kind and welcoming and her emails are full of exclamation points !!!!! She has seen every side of veterinary medicine, from private practice to research to governmental relations to FDA. Not only have her job titles been diverse, but her geographical locations have been equally diverse. The opportunities she has seized have brought her all over the world and after everything still seems so passionate about her work that you can’t help but be inspired by her.
But it was her advice on being a good leader that really hit home with me. She encouraged us to always be friendly and willing to start conversations. As veterinarians, we can do so much to educate by simply being bold enough to start conversations. We have an expertise and we need to be willing to share our knowledge. A leader needs to be able to put differences behind them in order to obtain trust and compromise. Let’s face it, no one wants to work with someone who isn’t friendly or isn’t willing to compromise. And her final piece of advice was to never be stagnant. Always grow, learn more and reach out for new opportunities when they present themselves. If opportunities don’t present themselves, make opportunities for yourself. After leaving this meeting, I had a new found optimism about my future. I can accept that I am not positive exactly where my career will lead me, but I can sure bet that as long as I continue to jump on opportunities to advance my career it has the possibility to lead me somewhere great.
Go out there, take some chances and jump on some opportunities!!!!!