“If everyone is moving forward together, success takes care of itself.” Henry Ford
Oh, the madness of March Madness! Never in the history of the tournament have four teams, ranked 13th or lower, beat out significantly higher-ranked teams in the first round of play. We may call them the Cinderella teams and marvel at the upsets, but in all reality, these teams all have one thing in common – teamwork. Together they play, together they succeed. And, boy, is it fun to watch!
This past month, the AABP Board of Directors met, virtually and in person, in Denver, Colo., for our spring board meeting. Much of the business of the organization is done at the two-day meeting, whereas most of our liaison and committee activities happen at our fall board meeting at the AABP Annual Conference. The agenda is always full, and this spring we had a clock to beat which was three feet of snow Saturday into Sunday that was wreaking havoc on our flights. But, the Board of Directors is a team, and together we succeeded in not only knocking out everything on our agenda, but we had time to spare to discuss future endeavors, concerns and ideas for the organization, and make Saturday afternoon flights out of the blizzard! Now that’s teamwork!
In all seriousness, our team truly took on important work last weekend. We approved the first positive budget in the history of my stint on the board, even being as fiscally conservative as we all are, and adapting to all the financial challenges we faced in 2020. The two biggest sources of income for our organization are membership dues and the income from our annual conference. As an organization, we continue to lose just over 500 members a year. Some retire without qualifying for honor roll membership, some are students who take a different path upon graduation, and then there are all those situations in between. As an organization, how do we continue to bring value to our members to ensure membership renewal year after year? These are all things the Board and the Membership Committee think about. Do you know someone who works with cattle who isn’t an AABP member? It doesn’t have to be 100% of the time. That veterinarian who only works with cattle 1% of the time might benefit both professionally and personally more than those of us working with cattle 100% of the time. And an added bonus – you know they will bring a different perspective to the organization.
The other major source of income is our annual conference. In the end, we made out ahead in Louisville. Our income was significantly reduced, but so were our expenses. With the virtual component added to the conference, we have another member service added to our playbook. But, providing that service costs money. We hope as Covid-19 gets under control, and we start to get back to our new normal, our members will be excited to join us in person in Salt Lake City in October and we have even more people register virtually, who wouldn’t have normally been able to join us in person.
Another success our team accomplished at the board meeting was the approval of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Task Force. Many of the endeavors we take on as a board are member driven. This was member-driven, and with a solid plan, charge and request, we will be populating this task force in the coming weeks. Another member-driven request was the development of a Surgery Position Statement. As our position statements and guidelines are formulated by various committees and task forces, this too will be created by those on a task force and then approved by the AABP Board of Directors. The Tail Docking position statement and the Principles of Animal Welfare guidelines were also approved at our meeting. These types of documents are frequently referred to by other allied organizations, and it is important that we keep them reviewed, current and relevant.
Finally, we discussed our AABP Emerging Leaders, or the “red-shirt” freshmen if you will. These are the next generation of veterinarians that we hope will take our spots and continue to lead this organization forward. The Emerging Leader has been given the responsibility of chairing the AABP Recent Veterinary Graduate Conference Program Committee, but then their responsibilities cease. As a board, we want to keep these young leaders engaged and involved in what this organization is doing and where it is headed. Involving them in the AABP Forward Planning Committee and letting them attend a board meeting are just a few ideas we had to keep them involved.
We, as an organization, as a cattle industry and as a profession are changing. When we come together as a board, as an organization, and as colleagues, and work together to tackle the challenges ahead of us, our “success (will) take care of itself.”
Dr. Carie Telgen