Today we get to hear from one of my favourite young veterinary entrepreneurs – Dr Ilana Mendels…
Thanks for your time today Ilana – so may I ask…
- What are you working on at the moment?
At the moment, I am working on the plans for 2017:
So far we’ve got:
– Stifle Surgery Workshops
– Orthopaedic Training (Shoulder and Pelvic Surgery)
– Soft tissue workshops (Head and Neck, Perineal and Abdominal Surgery)
– Bootcamp Practical Essentials (3 days of ECC, Dentistry and Laparotomy – a Practical Extravaganza)
– Wellness and Success Training
– Difficult Discussion Training
– Equine Lameness
– Abdominal Ultrasound
– Intermediate Ultrasound Techniques
– Dentistry for Small Animals
– Personalised Programs for Larger Practice Groups
– Annual International Surgical Delegation from Japan
I’m also growing a human right now… eep!
Prof. Christine Zink and Ilana at the Canine Sports Medicine Workshop
- What drives you?
The idea that for good things to happen we have to be the active drivers of positive change and development. And that when we light a spark that inspires change others will hopefully add to it.
Also, no matter what – every day is chance to start again.
- What have been the major transitions in your path?
Getting people to join in is the biggest challenge:
We have not had one person in over 1400 participants in 5 years walk away without learning useful tools for practicing better self-care and animal health care. It’s funny to me that some people still haven’t heard of VetPrac! Still if 10% of the vet community have been positively affected by what we do, then that’s really exciting for us…
Finding the right help at the right time adjusts how effective we can be:
We get lots of good ideas, and we need partners in training and educators who have the right skill set to be involved. It’s not a one-woman show, by any means. A workshop for 30 people usually has an education team of about 8 on site and a lot of resources involved to ensure it has a lasting positive effect on the participants’ experience.
Ethical and WHS considerations are a big transformer:
It’s been important at VetPrac that our workshops are in line with Australian ethical standards. This has stopped us from running some workshops in more convenient settings sometimes and overseas. It has stopped us from doing some training in certain fields too. And it costs a lot more money to be ethical. I think we have a good balance at the moment in Australia. Not sure how long it will last… we are a considerate nation. Being involved in these conversations has been really interesting.
- What goals are you working towards?
I am working on constructive veterinary solutions to advance animal health in association with other similarly minded professionals.
I would like general practice veterinarians in Australia, NZ and SE Asia to be empowered with stronger skill sets that are valued by their communities and for this to set in motion a chain of respect and integrity within and for our community that makes us valued consultants, employees and employers across different fields. I would like that empowerment to influence our professional culture so we can be protected against the drivers of disillusionment, depression and suicide.
I’m working towards being a better business woman and better people manager.
I’m working (with my partner) towards becoming a mother and a wife.
I’m working towards returning to clinical practice myself as soon as possible after the birth of my child
I’m working towards practicing mindfulness daily, and remembering to take breaks, and catch up with friends as often as I can, which is really hard in this day and age!
- What advice would you provide a younger you?
Oh boy… Where to start?
Go for every dream you want, but please… try to space them out a little so you have some time to adjust. You will live a very fruitful life if you want it. Make a fruit-salad, not a smoothie of life so you can taste the flavours!
Trust yourself. If something feels uneven, it will be somewhere… Take a step back when that happens, don’t be fooled by what your eyes see or what people tell you, if you get that funny feeling. If you look for it, you will find the source and be able to fix it, if you want to… Let yourself be bothered.
Ask as many questions as you need to, of as many people as you need to, to gain understanding about anything. You never know where it will lead and who you will meet. Curiosity is the bridge across naivety and frustration and patience is the virtue that allows things to unfold gracefully.
Make fear your friend. Learn to listen to it, and teach it to walk next to you on every adventure you go on. It will keep you safe, from over confidence and external pressures. And be adventurous, really adventurous!
Only work with people who want to work with you. Know what your role is, and do it well. Get training to do your job better. If you can’t do these 3 things stand up for yourself and get out of the situation as fast as you can. People who speak to you badly, probably speak to themselves badly too so be kind to yourself and to others.
Well done for taking advantage of every chance to dance in the moonlight, the x-ray room and the random cafe’s that play good music. Well done for running through the rain barefoot and taking time with friends and family. Well done for loving deeply and openly. Well done for laughing when you could have cried… And crying when you needed it too. Even whole days spent in front of the television have been good. You’re living a good life… 😉
From removing pre-molars to building a business… As Dory says “Just keep swimming” You’ll get there in the end, and it will all be fine… I promise.
Emma: Thanks Ilana 🙂