celebrate Women’s History Month with Banfield

If pets could celebrate Women’s History Month, they’d probably wonder: Why is it only one month?

No worries – we can celebrate in March and every other month, too. By shining a light on women who make a positive difference for pets and the people who love them. Sharing stories about education, careers, and mentorship. And connecting with clients, colleagues, and the entire Banfield community to be inspired by achievements, and stay focused on progress.

Starting strong: STEM education for future women in petcare

“I think every child is just waiting for the right experience or example to ignite their passion,” says Marissa Rothenbaum, DVM at Banfield Pet Hospital. It’s perhaps especially true for girls and young women. That’s one reason Dr. Rothenbaum and others in our community are committed to Banfield Pet Academy, a program that brings veterinarians and technicians together with kids across the country to talk about pets, science, and careers in veterinary medicine.

“We have to act with intention and commitment to create visibility and celebration of women who are pathfinders and leaders in STEM,” says Dr. Rothenbaum. “Even more importantly, by representing women of color in these fields, we can inspire young women of color to pursue STEM careers to promote inclusion and diversity in STEM, which will in turn elevate society as a whole.”

Recently, Banfield Pet Academy expanded to include video presentations by vets in Mandarin Chinese, Korean, and Farsi. Seon Lee, DVM, made a video in Korean called “Do pets talk?”

“The STEM education for girls and young women is crucial in this society,” says Dr. Lee. “And as a vet with a somewhat different and unique cultural background, I know how difficult it can be for people with diverse backgrounds to fit in at work and in society in general. I understand that struggle, and I want to help promote diversity and inclusion in the veterinary field.”

We’ve got this: Veterinary technicians and assistants make a major impact for pets

When your pet visits Banfield, it’s highly likely that a veterinary technician, assistant, or other dedicated Banfield associates will be part of the care team. That includes Katelyn Heine, a certified veterinary technician at Banfield in Apple Valley, Minnesota, who knew early on that pets, petcare, and education were her calling.

“I’ve always had a passion for being around animals, and my parents could not get me away from the zoo – I spent a lot of time there,” says Katelyn. “As a veterinary technician, I love teaching others about their pet’s care, and I love making a difference.”

We’re in this together: powerful sponsorship and mentorship

Veterinary medicine and petcare professions weren’t always open for women in this country. Thankfully, that’s been changing significantly – for example, nearly 80% of veterinary school students in 2018-19 were women, up from less than 40% in 1980.

For women who aspire to become leaders in their field, taking risks is crucially important, but doesn’t have to be a solo effort.

“To grow into a leader, you have to get out of your comfort zone,” says Lee Nelson, DVM and Vice President of Business Effectiveness & Innovation at Banfield. It’s easier to take real risks if you’ve got “air cover” from a coach or mentor who can act as your sponsor in an organization. “You could fall on your face, but if you're not willing to take those risks, you're probably not going get the big reward,” says Dr. Nelson.

Sometimes, the person or people you work for can become great mentors, which is what has happened for Caitlyn Rose Sherwood. Caitlyn is a veterinary assistant at Banfield in Norman, OK, and she’s studying at Penn Foster to become a veterinary technician.

“I have been mentored by a lot of veterinarians and veterinary technicians at Banfield,” says Caitlyn. She sends special shout-outs to ShaKon Honeycutt, RVT, and practice manager Britanie Moore, both of whom have been incredibly supportive – as well as her entire team. “There is not enough praise I could give all of these wonderful people that have supported me and helped me get this far.”

As we celebrate Women’s History Month, we say “Thank you!” to all the women making history every day for pets and the people who love them.

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