As the ribbon was cut and the doors opened to the 2023 Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) Convention, the stage was set for a thrilling weekend of knowledge, compassion, and innovation in the field of veterinary medicine. This year’s convention was hosted in the beautiful, and historically rich Quebec City. From truly inspiring presentations to hands-on workshops and networking opportunities, attendees were poised to embark on a transformative journey of learning and growth.

2023 CVMA Convention in Quebec CityAmidst the buzz of excitement and innovation, the 2023 CVMA Convention held the Emerging Leaders Workshop presented by Rob Marr, and sponsored by Royal Canin and VCA Canada. Rob is one of the leading business coaches in Ireland with over 2000 clients across North America and Europe. He has an impressive career background in sales, marketing and management. He recently published the first book in his series, "The Lost 90%," which delves into unleashing organizational potential through people. His authenticity, passion and desire to empower others made him the ideal coach for emerging leaders seeking growth and success.

This comprehensive workshop was aimed to enhance self-awareness concerning personality style and preferences, while also implementing practical systems within your practice to foster positive growth and profitability. The workshop provided valuable strategies to maintain focus and stay on track with professional objectives.

The CVMA had the opportunity to host the event in person again this year as a full-day experience comprised of engaging speeches with hands-on and group exercises. This series of exercises served as a vehicle for meaningful discussions surrounding what it means to be an emerging leader, and the steps to implementing this in our lives. It was truly inspiring to collaborate with such a diverse group of veterinary professionals. Alongside practitioners, practice owners, technicians, and experts from all corners of the country. It was moving to see commonalities through the shared experience of such a robust group of individuals. Importantly, the student voice was not only valued, but encouraged.

We began with a candid discussion surrounding the modern-day challenges of the veterinary profession. It came as no surprise that a common theme emerged: the shortage of staff and the feeling of burnout. Through self-reflective exercises, we explored models to better understand our most effective learning and communication methods. The group explored communication styles, setting boundaries and evaluated the differences between teaching, coaching, and mentorship. Importantly, we learned the importance of empowering others through effective coaching and mentorship, ultimately making them feel more engaged, content, and satisfied in their roles. Through development, not delegation, we investigated ways to foster mutually beneficial relationships within a practice through effective coaching.

Mitchel Kvacica (Sr. SCVMA Representative, OVC)As a student, participation in this workshop was invaluable and I’m confident I will be a better veterinarian because of it. I gained meaningful perspectives on leadership and lifelong tools to carry with me into practice. More importantly, I learned what it means to be an effective leader or mentor. In my experience, there is an increase in students and graduating veterinarians seeking mentorship upon completion of the DVM program. The tools and skills gained through this experience will better prepare me to identify an effective mentor to help me flourish as a young veterinarian.

I am also very grateful to the CVMA for its generosity in sponsoring my participation and that of all the 2023-2024 SCVMA representatives at this year's convention. It was an honor and a privilege to participate in this year's workshop alongside my esteemed SCVMA colleagues.

- Mitchel Kvacica, Sr. SCVMA Representative, OVC