Give the Next Generation of Veterinary Leaders Support and Encouragement

Liz Somerville, the incoming President of the VMG, prioritised the next generation of veterinary leaders during her presidential address at its 2024 Congress, highlighting the importance of giving them the support and encouragement they need to reach their full potential.  She also said that the VMG would work in partnership with colleagues from across the sector to deliver on its pledge to transform veterinary leadership over the next five years.

Liz Somerville was announced as the new President of the VMG during its annual congress in Stratford-upon-Avon on 25-26 April.  The owner and founding director of Loch Leven Equine Practice, Kinross, Scotland, she is passionate about practice leadership and has a particular interest in the wellbeing of the whole practice team and in creating a culture in which every team member can thrive.

More than 350 delegates attended VMG Congress, which included the unveiling of the association’s inaugural report into the State of UK Veterinary Leadership. Research contained in the report highlighted that more than a third (34%) of current veterinary leaders believe their level of leadership knowledge and skills to be ‘basic’.  The figure rises to 92% among those describing themselves as ‘starting or aspiring’ to leadership roles.

Keynote speaker Dr Andy Cope, a so-called ‘Dr of Happiness’, highlighted the importance of positive psychology. He urged delegates to be the best version of themselves for the initial four minutes of any interaction or situation because starting a meeting with enthusiasm and optimism creates positive energy which tends to carry forward and encourages colleagues to ‘flourish’.

Reflecting the VMG’s focus on learning and development, certificates were also presented to recent graduates of its Level 5 Certificate in Veterinary Leadership and Management (CVLM).  Recipients included five of its first Diploma holders. The VMG CVLM is a modular qualification with an emphasis on flexibility, accessibility and real-world relevance.  It is accredited by the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM).

Commenting, Liz Somerville said: “I’d like to thank Miles Russell for his exemplary leadership during the last year and I’m honoured and excited to be the VMG’s next President.

“Our fantastic profession is facing turbulent times so, more than ever, we need skilled and effective leaders to help us chart a fulfilling and sustainable future.  During my presidential year, I’ll be focusing on how, as a profession, we can identify and nurture the next generation of veterinary leaders, ensuring they have the support and development in place to help them reach their full potential.”

She added: “I’d like to thank everyone who helped to make this year’s VMG Congress such a success, including, of course, our kind sponsors and exhibitors.  We’re now looking forward to another year of supporting our members and the wider veterinary sector and – of course – returning to Stratford in a year’s time for our 2025 Congress.”

VMG Congress 2025 takes place on 24-25 April at the Crowne Plaza, Stratford-upon-Avon.

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