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Ava Bartley, Student Programs Specialist at Banfield Pet Hospital, was a practicing veterinary technician (VT) at the hospital for seven years before landing her current role. She felt compelled to make the career move to give back by offering her expertise.

“Veterinary medicine needs credentialed technicians so much, and I am passionate about bringing those new graduates to Banfield,” she said of transitioning from working in medicine to working in talent acquisition. And while she no longer works full time at a clinic in her new position, she is so passionate that she told Fairygodboss she picks up weekend shifts just because she “can’t stay away.”

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In a recent interview, Bartley told Fairygodboss about finding courage during times of change and offered her most memorable career advice for other women who’d like to make a difference. She also shared more information on what makes Banfield Pet Hospital a great place to build — and grow — a career. 

How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously? 

I have been in my current role for about a year and a half. Prior to working with the Student Programs team, I was a practicing veterinary technician at a Banfield Pet Hospital in Vancouver, Washington, where I had worked for seven years. While I no longer work in the clinic full-time, I still go back for the occasional weekend shift — I can’t stay away!

Pivoting career paths can feel overwhelming. Why did you want to make this change, and what ultimately helped you do it?

This is an excellent question! Although making such a huge career change (working in medicine to working in talent acquisition) was certainly a big step, I knew that I had a lot to offer in the veterinary technician campus space. Veterinary medicine needs credentialed technicians so much, and I am passionate about bringing those new graduates to Banfield. What helped me make this change was the incredible support I received from my colleagues at the hospital and the warm reception I felt immediately after joining the Student Programs team. I work with the most talented and compassionate people!

Tell me a bit about your current role. What are your priorities, and what about it excites you most?

In my current role, I oversee Banfield’s vet tech campus relationships and externship program. My priorities are really to connect with students and help them coordinate their externships, answer any questions they have about careers with us, and, ultimately, provide them with any support I can to ensure that they are successful in their vet tech program. What excites me most is helping students coordinate their externships in our hospitals and hearing feedback that they had an incredible experience and want to stay on board as associates.  

Why are you personally passionate about this type of work? 

I am passionate about this type of work because I was a practicing vet tech for years, and I have seen how high-performing VTs can totally change the dynamic of a team. VTs are so vital to the day-to-day operations in a vet hospital, and I’m grateful to be able to assist in bringing more of these amazing professionals through our doors. 

What about Banfield Pet Hospital stood out to you and made you want to join? What’s been your favorite aspect since joining?

SO many things made me want to join the team at Banfield. The culture here is amazing. I truly feel as though leadership cares about the health and wellbeing of their associates. But above all, medical quality at Banfield is paramount. I know that I have all the support and resources I need to practice safe and quality medicine here, and that’s truly the most important thing. 

What’s the first and last thing you do at work every day? 

Coffee, of course. Then I check my email and voicemail to ensure I don’t need to provide assistance to any campus partners. The last thing I do everyday at work is put together a to-do list for the next day. This helps me stay on track and prioritize my tasks for the next morning

What’s been your favorite career mistake that you’ve made?

My favorite career mistake I have made was thinking that I could do everything on my own. This allowed me to develop my skills in delegation and ultimately increased my efficiency while helping me grow as a leader. 

What’s the most memorable piece of career advice you’ve received?

The most memorable piece of career advice I received was “speak up!” People need to hear our opinions and, as a young woman early in her career, it takes courage for me to share my perspective sometimes. But it is vital that all voices are heard, and I’m so grateful to work at a company that truly values the unique perspectives of all its associates. 

What advice would you give to other women interested in making a major career change?

Allow yourself to make those changes and get uncomfortable. Career changes are scary — but those opportunities are where we grow the most. Change doesn’t always happen in our comfort zones. Try something different if that’s where your passion is! And always remember the wise words of RBG: “Women belong in all places decisions are being made.” Share your voice and your opinion because the world needs to hear it!

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