#107: Why Can’t We Do It This Way? New Ideas On How To Bring More Joy To Veterinary Practice. With Dr Russel Welsh. 

What would you say are the biggest stumbling blocks to a joyful career in veterinary science? 

The unfortunate reality is that there are many people in the veterinary profession who would not readily use ‘joy’ and ‘work’ in the same sentence. But Dr Russel Welsh wants to change that. 

Dr Russel Welsh⁠ is a veterinarian with over 23 years of experience and a passion for the vet profession and the role it plays in the lives of people and animals. He’s worked in multiple sectors of the veterinary industry, including clinically, operationally and in senior executive leadership positions. Some of his previous roles include first an employee and later a co-owner of Village Vet, a 33-site primary and referral care veterinary group in the London and Cambridge area. Russel facilitated the sale of this group first to private equity in 2017 and subsequently to the MARS group, where he stayed on first as Managing Director, then as COO and eventually in the role as Business Development Director at Linnaeus Veterinary Group.

This adventure has given him invaluable high-level insights into how our profession works (or sometimes DOESN’T work), so Russel recently resigned his position and took on a new challenge as Chief Operating Officer and Co-founder of ⁠Creature Comforts,⁠ a new VC funded veterinary start-up that aims to revolutionise the veterinary experience to make it seamless, joyful, fair and transparent by combining bespoke-built tech and world-class designer clinics.

In this conversation we cover how to step outside of your comfort zone to gain the knowledge and confidence needed to take on BIG challenges, and Russel shares some fascinating insights into the world of Big Veterinary Business. We talk about what’s good about corporate, what’s bad, and how Russel and his team are planning to take the best of it to create a model of veterinary practice that breaks the mould that says you can’t use ‘joy’ and ‘work’ in the same sentence. 

Topic list:

07:12 The Journey from Student to CEO

08:38 The Role of Technology in Modern Veterinary Practice

12:18 The Impact of Corporate Structures on Veterinary Practice

15:53 The Launch of Creature Comforts: A New Approach to Veterinary Practice

18:31 The Vision for Creature Comforts: Reinventing the Veterinary Experience

20:53 The Challenges and Opportunities of Corporate Veterinary Practice

24:13 The Future of Creature Comforts: A Vision for Growth and Innovation

38:14 Changing Access to Veterinary Care

39:34 Focus On Client Relationships

40:33 The Role of Technology in Veterinary Practice

44:18 Is The Staffing Crisis Over?

53:40 Joy Killers in Veterinary Practice

01:10:09 Russel’s One Bit of Advice for New Veterinary Graduates

Resources:

Book – The Great Game of Business

Book – Checklist Manifesto

Quotes

“I had a word with myself at that point and said, take the opportunity. What have you got to lose?”

“I think as vets generally, we really underestimate what our capabilities are. To get through a veterinary degree alone shows that you can persevere.”

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