Veterinary Women in Leadership introduces new mentoring programme

Veterinary Women in Leadership, a collaboration between Veterinary Woman and XLVets, has developed an inspirational mentoring programme for women in the veterinary industry to support career development.

Evidence shows that early experiences of leadership and having access to mentoring during leadership development helps to enable women to become leaders in their field1. These findings were echoed in two recent pieces of research with women in the veterinary profession2. The programme has therefore been designed to offer both mentoring and the opportunity for women at any stage of their career to become mentors, alongside an online mentor training CPD event, Women in Leadership: Mentoring Matters, on September 15 2021.

With an impressive selection of mentors already on the Veterinary Women in Leadership mentoring platform, there is an array of business and industry experience on offer: from running a vet practice and team management, to navigating motherhood and mental wellbeing in leadership roles. The time commitment involved is arranged between the mentor and the mentee, and sessions can range from a one-off telephone call to regular meetings. 

Kerrie Hedley, Chief Operating Officer at XLVets, says that her own mentors have helped her in navigating her career and that she continues to receive mentoring every month: “There is a misconception that mentoring is only for those at the beginning of their career journey, but that is simply not true. There is always an opportunity to learn, to be inspired by the stories and challenges overcome by others. Mentoring gives me dedicated time and space to work on personal development, which continues to be an important part of my own career development.”

Mentoring has been recognised as one of the key components to address current difficulties in veterinary retention, recruitment, and well-being, as practices struggle to both recruit and retain talent. Both mentees and mentors benefit from mentoring, as new skills and contacts are made over a supportive relationship based on trust and respect. Yet, many people are neither aware of mentoring as an option for career development, or they are not familiar with the most effective coaching methods.

“Many roles within the veterinary profession involve mentoring. From team leaders, practice managers and clinical coaches – mentoring is a crucial component of developing and retaining talent,” explains Claire Newton-Ransom, Editor of Veterinary Woman. “However, it’s not uncommon to be unsure of ‘best’ practice, from the ‘what, why and how’ of delivering mentoring successfully, to core coaching skills. Veterinary Woman and XLVets aim to help both mentees and mentors in addressing these issues, and the Mentoring Matters CPD event on September 15 is a fantastic opportunity to brush-up on mentoring skills.”

Over three hours on Zoom, attendees on the Women in Leadership: Mentoring Matters CPD event will learn both the theory of mentoring as well as the practical skills and tools required for the role. This can be a huge help to practices who will likely have team members already in mentoring-style roles and whose positive influence can greatly benefit the wider veterinary team.

The event will be co-hosted by Ian Harrison, Executive Coach and Learning Facilitator at Growhouse GB. Ian’s business interests focus on engagement, with a particular interest in the roles of identity and purpose – often referred to as the ‘why’ behind what we do.

The Veterinary Women in Leadership mentoring programme follows-on from the success of previous events led by Veterinary Woman and XLVets, such as their ‘Dare to Lead’ event in April of this year, and the inaugural Veterinary Women in Leadership event in September 2020.

“We have developed a strong community of both women and men in the veterinary industry who are passionate about supporting the career progression of women,” said Kerrie. “Gender discrimination still exists, despite the profession being predominantly female. Our programmes, events and Facebook groups aim to inspire individuals to develop the confidence to overcome challenges and follow their passions.”

Tickets can be booked for the Women in Leadership: Mentoring Matters CPD event here:    

Those interested in either applying for a mentorship, or becoming a mentor with Veterinary Women in Leadership, can register their interest here:

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