Happy Here Spotlight: Meredith Robbins

Dr. Meredith Robbins is the Director of Talent Acquisition at VetEvolve, where she is responsible for understanding and highlighting each network practice’s culture and key attributes in order to ensure veterinary candidates and VetEvolve’s teams find great, long-term fits aligned with their unique practice styles.

Starting out as a kennel technician and veterinary assistant, Robbins has long known she wanted to work in veterinary medicine. She studied Biology at Florida State University before attending the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Following graduation, she worked for four years in a busy general practice and also provided mobile hospice services.

Nonetheless, Robbins experienced burnout as a working vet — not an uncommon issue in the industry. She was able to pivot from clinical practice to talent acquisition, where she gained exposure to a wide range of practice types, encompassing everything from small mixed animal practices to large multi-specialty hospitals. A key component of her talent acquisition approach while directly recruiting was using her firsthand knowledge of the profession to anticipate different stressors that may affect each unique veterinary candidate and identify aspects of practicing that contribute most to their personal fulfillment. She then worked with each practice leadership team to determine if the candidate’s needs could be met and formulated plans to ensure follow-through and continued support for both the hospital team and the candidate. She carries this approach into her current role.

Robbins’ journey into leadership began in 2020 when she led a team of three Veterinary Talent Acquisition Specialists. The team quickly grew to include 12 Talent Acquisition Specialists by 2022. Midway through 2022 Robbins joined VetEvolve to direct its talent acquisition efforts and strategy.

Robbins recently took time to answer questions about her experience, what veterinarians need to consider when exploring opportunities, and how VetEvolve has aligned with her own goals and values.

Question: What attracted you to join VetEvolve?

Dr. Meredith Robbins: “In my conversations and interactions with Nick (Lodestro) and Jessica (Decesare), even early in the process, it was clear that they were delivering on what they set out to do. They have a commitment to sustainable growth and maintaining a people-focused culture.”

Q: The commitment to culture is more than just a top-down directive at VetEvolve, isn’t it?

ROBBINS: “Absolutely. Another reason VetEvolve is so appealing is because of the strength of the practices in the network. Our practices align with our core values. As an organization, we’re not scared to walk away (from a partnership) if their culture doesn’t align with our people-first focus and commitment.”

Q: What are some important factors to consider when looking for a job change in the veterinary field?

ROBBINS: “Schedule flexibility is a big one. You also need opportunities for professional growth, and that’s for everybody, whether you’re a veterinarian, nurse/technician, client services representative, veterinary assistant, or part of the local leadership team. Everyone should have the opportunity to develop their career. A team that prioritizes retaining and providing growth paths for its strong team members is key. A substantial part of our central leadership team is here as a result of internal promotion. We want to ensure every team member has access to the tools they need to develop their career to the fullest. You also need to find a leadership style, or culture, that fits well with your own values and goals. It’s also crucial to find an environment where you can feel comfortable and happy in your specific role.”

Q: How does VetEvolve help veterinarians find the right environment for them?

ROBBINS: “With our network of practices, we strive to match veterinarians with work environments that meet their specific needs and preferences. Because our people-first culture is so strong, we know that when vets visit a practice the team will be comfortable with sharing who they truly are as a group, including their challenges and how they are working together to overcome them. We encourage candidates to schedule follow-up visits and work relief shifts; this gives them a real feel for a practice or location before making a decision and better equips the practice team to make a decision on whether they can provide what a candidate needs to thrive.”

VetEvolve is developing a strong relief vet network that helps with scheduling. We want our doctors to be able to truly take PTO without having to worry about gaps in support for their patients and clients in their absence.”

Q: How does your experience as a veterinarian help with recruiting?

ROBBINS: “I have developed a deep understanding of the challenges of practicing in a variety of hospital environments through my own personal experiences and the experiences of the hundreds of veterinarians I’ve been fortunate enough to speak with throughout my time in talent acquisition. This helps me predict points of friction that can develop between a veterinarian and a practice and facilitate conversations between candidates and practice leaders to address potential future issues.”

“Also, understanding the various strengths of veterinarians and other leaders in our collaborative network allows me to facilitate meaningful connections between veterinarians in different practices. We believe in leveraging the strength of our network to help you be the best veterinarian you can be.

Q: What are some key factors in keeping veterinarians in the profession?

ROBBINS: “Making sure each doctor is treated as an individual and that they have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with and to be truly heard by leadership. Listening and following through are key.”

“Working together on strategies to overcome the skilled support staff shortage in our profession is also very important. Collaborating with doctors and local practice leadership on strategies to recruit, develop and retain strong support staff team members is a major focus at VetEvolve.”

Q: What tools does VetEvolve provide to address the issues veterinarians face today?

ROBBINS: “We make retention of strong team members and professional development a focus through our centralized learning platform, webinars, access to subject matter experts/consultants (anesthesia & analgesia and Atomic Habits were recent focus areas), Practice Manager Summits and Veterinarian Summits. We work to maintain a sense of community by fostering meaningful connections between team members across practices. We prioritize local leadership development to ensure our teams have the support they need day in and day out. Our Regional leaders are also heavily involved at the practice level. They work hard to help our teams work together to identify solutions for the challenges they face.”

Our Annual Reward Fund (ARF) is also a rewarding incentive for DVMs. This program is designed to provide our veterinarians with an opportunity to share in VetEvolve’s growth and help offset the burden of student loans.”

Q: Has VetEvolve’s people-first approach helped you in your role of acquiring new talent?

ROBBINS: “Absolutely. The focus on the retention of great team members combined with the entire team’s dedication to truly getting to know each veterinarian is critical to our success.

“I am proud of our ability to deliver on our core values and our motto — Happy Here!”

Interested in joining VetEvolve? Learn more about our personalized career options and how we can support you in your career.

At VetEvolve, it’s all about you. Get in touch with our team today.