XLVets sees number of female business owners double in five years

On International Women’s Day, XLVets is celebrating a doubling of female practice owners within the XLVets community over the last five years. Women now represent 38% of practice owners at XLVets, a 100% increase from 2019.

There has been a conscious effort within XLVets to encourage people from across the veterinary profession to become independent practice owners with a plethora of support available. In 2019 XLVets COO Kerrie Hedley completed her MBA research which identified that women experienced barriers to leadership within the profession which were often significant in both stifling aspiration and perceived opportunities to become a leader. As a result of that understanding XLVets has supported a number of initiatives over the last five years.

In collaboration with Veterinary Woman, XLVets formed Veterinary Women in Leadership (VWIL) which held a number of online events aimed at sharing success stories, developed content hubs, a free to use mentorship programme and a Facebook Group. VWIL has also been invited to lead discussion sessions and community mastermind events at BVA Live and London Vet Show.

Kerrie commented, “Several women have reached out to me to say thank you and said that the opportunity to hear other women’s career stories made them see leadership was possible and achievable for them. These women shared they have subsequently taken the leap to apply for a new role, have taken on more responsibility, or it has changed how they show up at work. This feels like real change catalysed by the project.”

Talking about the work of encouraging women into leadership Kerrie said, “The change we’re working towards is increased representation of women as leaders within the veterinary profession, not to fill a quota where women are getting a leadership role because they’re a woman, but to create a world where gender is not the limiting factor.”

Kerrie has recently been nominated as a Veterinary Woman Champion for Change and her story is shared in an e-book launched on International Women’s Day and available at: https://www.veterinarywoman.co.uk/2024/03/champions-for-change-e-book/ XLVets intend to repeat the focus group-based research to explore whether there has been a change in the perceived barriers and enablers to women becoming leaders over the last 5 years. The focus groups will provide the opportunity to hear other women’s career stories, as well as share the barriers and enablers you experience. Anyone interested in participating can express their interest by contacting her at kerrie.hedley@xlvets.co.uk.

About XLVets

XLVets is a community of independent practices, enabling members to collaborate with shared knowledge, experience and skills.

Practice ownership and therefore all decision-making is veterinary led, in the hands of those who work within their practice, and remains with veterinary professionals who are committed to achieving and maintaining excellence.

Members benefit from group synergies as a result of improved access to resources, processes and economy of scale, that would otherwise be beyond their reach, ensuring they remain highly competitive.

The support of their peers and colleagues means members can freely express their individuality but are not alone. XLVets is proud to celebrate leadership, creativity and technical know-how demonstrated by the best-in-class professionals at every level within its community.

With a focus on building cooperative relationships and networks, XLVets recognises the strong tradition and heritage of veterinary practice and welcomes opportunities to put control of the future into the hands of veterinary surgeons and their teams.

Founded in 2005, XLVets began as a collection of dynamic farm animal practices that saw benefits to working together to support each other, while retaining their own individuality. As a champion of independent veterinary practice XLVets has grown rapidly, with equine and companion animal practice now also strongly represented. The appeal of the business model has extended internationally and there are XLVet communities in the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and Canada.

Find out more at https://www.xlvets.co.uk/ and https://www.xlvets.co.uk/the-boss/

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