Working in veterinary medicine has always been Sarah Perdue’s passion. Her career began in the field in 2000 as a receptionist at the only veterinary practice in Giles County, Virginia, where after a year, she was promoted to a Practice Manager role, which she held for 11 years.
When the veterinarian Sarah worked for retired and sold the practice, she thought it was a good time to try something new. She spent years working in a completely different field when her 16-year-old daughter, realizing veterinary medicine has always been Sarah’s calling, came across a job posting and encouraged her to apply.
The posting was for a Practice Manager position at Companion Animal Clinic in Blacksburg, Virginia, one of the first practices to join the VetEvolve family. Sarah decided to heed her daughter’s advice and throw her hat in the ring.
Interviewing with Jessica DeCesare, VetEvolve’s Chief People Officer, and CEO Nick Lodestro, made an impression on Sarah. Sitting in a coffee shop with Nick, who flew into town to meet her, she realized VetEvolve was the exactly the type of company she wanted to work for, the team’s kindness and authenticity at the top of the reasons. She accepted the position.
Support and Independence
The open communication style and supportive environment at VetEvolve have helped Sarah perform well at her job and advance within the company. Because she was an experienced Practice Manager, VetEvolve gave Sarah independence to lead and grow the clinic as she saw fit — something she values as part of the company culture.
“If you need help, VetEvolve is there to wrap their arms around you, to give you that guidance,” she said. “But when they see things are going well, that someone has management experience under their belt, they’ll give that freedom.”
VetEvolve’s support tools — like inventory management, help with payroll processes, and assistance in building team culture — are available to those who request it. For example, with help from Jessica, Sarah improved her delegation skills and strengthened her clinic’s culture.
“I was starting to become a jack-of-all-trades but a master of none because I was spreading myself so thin,” Sarah said. “Jessica’s advice to me was to trust my team to take on some of these tasks, to grow them and develop them. Her influence was something I needed, because I probably would have kept taking on more tasks until I drowned.”
Sarah continues that mentorship culture by implementing her knowledge of inventory management to the practices she manages and across VetEvolve as a whole. As the company grows, there are more experts like Sarah to assist one another in specialty areas like boarding or pricing. Managers aren’t left to flounder.
“As we get bigger, there are more and more resources at your disposal that you didn’t have before,” Sarah said. “You have more information, more experts, and more leaders. Instead of trying to figure this out on your own, you have so many resources at your fingertips.”
Opportunities for Career Growth
A culture of career development is evident from the top down at VetEvolve, with encouragement to follow a career path that is both challenging and rewarding. Team members support one another rather than compete, and managers provide fulfilling advancement opportunities and ways to flex into further areas of interest.
“There’s constant communication with your team about their goals and what you can do to help people achieve those goals,” she said. “I think that’s what sets us apart; we’re having those conversations and then we’re helping to guide that employee — even if it’s myself — to that path.”
Sarah’s career has followed a consistent upward trajectory, thanks to her personal drive and the culture at VetEvolve. In 2021, Sarah was promoted from Practice Manager to Dual Practice Manager for Companion and Dublin Animal Hospitals. Then in 2022, she took the next step in her career and became a Regional Manager for Southwest Virginia.
As a Regional Manager, part of Sarah’s role is recruiting and managing Practice Managers. She knows the key to great practices are great Practice Managers who support their doctors and veterinary staff. As such, she takes a strategic approach to interviews by taking the time to ensure candidates are the right fit.
“I want people to be happy in their professions,” Sarah said. “I make sure that they are aware of our core values and how much team culture means to us.”
Just as important, she hires those who she knows will continue that culture of support that Sarah has experienced at VetEvolve, so that both the new hire and the team as a whole will have a positive, productive, and fulfilling work experience.