Career Spotlight of the Month (July 2019)
Name: Rebecca Atkinson, BSc, RVT
Current Job: Account manager for MyVetStore
Q & A with Rebecca
OAVT: Where did you go to school, and what made you decide to take a Veterinary Technology program?
Rebecca: I grew up on a farm in Norfolk County and had an interest in veterinary medicine since I was four years old. I was always trying to help the local veterinarian when he came for a farm visit.
I attended the University of Guelph with high hopes to get into OVC. After my first year, I did not have the marks required so pursued my BSc degree in Biology. After I graduated, I worked at a Toronto research facility and completed my RLAT. When the option came in to grandfather as an RVT in 1992, I took the oral and written exams required to complete the RVT certification.
OAVT: What kinds of jobs have you had in the RVT field?
Rebecca: Zookeeper at African Lion Safari. St Michael’s Hospital Research Facility RLAT (projects related to human medicine using hip replacements in large breed dogs and mitral valve replacement in pigs). Head Exotics RVT at OVC. Executive director at Wild Bird Clinic, OVC. Head RVT at The Bird Hospital in Palm Beach, Florida. Account manager for Royal Canin. Strategic business advisor at CDMV.
OAVT: Wow! You've done SO MUCH! Tell us about your job now. What do you love about it?
Rebecca: I'm currently an account manager for MyVetStore, a service for veterinary clinics to offer online shopping and home delivery for their veterinary diets and other products.
I spend most of my time in clinics doing "lunch n learns" or individual training sessions with the clinic team on how to promote and use MyVetStore effectively. Interacting with and educating the clinic staff and helping them improve their client’s experience is so rewarding!
OAVT: Do you find that “convenience” is becoming a growing need/want with pet owners?
Rebecca: This is absolutely true, which is why our service to clinics is growing so rapidly. With Chewy, Walmart PetRx and other online services shipping veterinary diets and products within the USA, our Canadian veterinary clinics are worried about losing their business to online in the near future.
OAVT: How do you feel your RVT skills are being utilized in your current role?
Rebecca: I was hired by MyVetStore so they had an RVT on the team who had insight into how life functions within a clinic. When I do my training sessions with the clinic team, I understand their needs as well as their clients' needs.
OAVT: That makes sense! What advice would you give to RVTs who are thinking about making the switch to work in a non-clinic setting?
Rebecca: Take the plunge! At first, it may seem scary leaving your comfort zone in a clinic to an entirely different job. It teaches you to be organized and flexible and you get the joy of planning your own day.
It is rewarding being in industry where you can help clinic teams from the “outside”. There are so many different options available; pharmaceuticals, veterinary diet manufacturers, distributors, equipment service and sales, and other veterinary services.
OAVT: RVTs are passionate people, and every RVT has an area they are most passionate about. What is your passion?
Rebecca: My passion is education. I enjoy teaching and helping people, whether it is teaching the team at the clinic how to use our service effectively, or helping their client set up a profile and complete their order. It is so fulfilling to enable a clinic to provide the best diet for their client’s pet and offer the convenience of getting it directly to them.
OAVT: You're also on the OAVT's Rabies Response Team (RRP), collecting samples within the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph area. What motivated you to get involved with the RRP?
Rebecca: I was interested in the RRP as I have a BSc from Guelph in Biology and worked with the MNR office in Maple in 1983-1984 on rabies baiting. Interesting how things come full circle!