Zoe is Head of Marketing for MWI Animal Health, the lead partner for VET Festival 2022. In this interview, Zoe talks to Veterinary Woman about MWI’s exciting plans for VET Festival this year and how she’ll be working closely with the organisers to support veterinary teams, practices and the industry as a whole. We also ask Zoe how she successfully diversified her veterinary nursing career, her top tips for believing in yourself and how to eliminate negative self-talk.

Readers of Veterinary Woman can also a enjoy a 20% discount on VET Festival tickets – read on to find out more.

We’re delighted that VET Festival is back for 2022. Please could you share why MWI Animal Health has chosen to have a long-term relationship with VET Festival?

We’ve been sponsoring VET Festival since 2016. MWI are a purpose-driven organisation and we’re united in our responsibility to create healthier futures. When we talk about that, we’re referring to practices, the animals under their care and the owners. VET Festival’s focus on wellness within the veterinary sector is a clear alignment to our purpose and this gives us a unique relationship because we’re both pulling in the same direction.

“The profession has worked so hard during the pandemic.

They really are the unsung heroes”

What are the particular highlights of previous VET Festivals and what is MWI Animal Health planning for 2022 to make the event extra special?

VET Festival 2019 was definitely a personal highlight for me. We had an 80s-themed disco night, and by day there were pedal-powered smoothie bikes which gave delegates a juice boost while they were learning! We also had a pop-up pub called ‘The Forceps and Scalpel’ which held a veterinary-based pub quiz. It was all good fun and we’re really looking forward to bringing that fun back to VET Festival this year. There will be live music, where we can all enjoy a bit of a laugh. The profession has worked so hard during the pandemic. They really are the unsung heroes and have kept going with very little support compared to other industries. We can’t wait to bring people back, face to face, and say thank-you in person.

VET Festival has a strong sustainability policy of Reduce-Reuse-Recycle. Please could you tell us more about this and why this ethos is so important to MWI Animal Health?

I don’t think it’s possible to care about the nation’s animals without caring about the environment that they live in. The two go hand in hand. MWI’s purpose is very clear on sustainability and last year we introduced an electric vehicle into our delivery fleet and have ten more arriving in 2022. We are also able to support customers with inventory management to reduce the need for daily deliveries. Of course, we will always deliver emergency stock, but the result of this initiative, in reviewing order processes, has taken 700,000 van miles off the road this year which has had a great impact on carbon footprint for us and our customers. We’re also committed to using reusable tote boxes and compostable packaging.

Working with VET Festival, who share these core values, is a real joy. We’re aligned in what we want to achieve and how we want to help the profession and the environment.

What do you enjoy most about bringing your collective experience together as part of the team at MWI Animal Health?

Without a doubt, it’s the people – people I get to meet and those I work with. The diversity of people coming together from different backgrounds for the betterment of the profession is something really special. And that of course includes the VET Festival team, the delegates I get to meet, the other exhibitors – we’re all there to celebrate animal health and that is something that resonates with me. We’re all working together for the same purpose and that’s exciting.

You have a background in veterinary nursing and practice management. What inspired you to diversify your career into marketing?

That’s a great question and I guess it really started with a love of client communication through education. That’s where my passion sparked – marketing really is about effective communication. I loved, and still love, helping owners take the best possible care of their animals. As I learnt more about how marketing can be used to improve this, and the impact it can have, I was inspired to take my marketing qualifications at night school while I was still working. I initially worked with veterinary practices before moving across to animal health, so, it’s been a journey, but one that I have enjoyed!

It’s so inspiring to hear stories of veterinary women advancing their careers through night school. That can’t have been easy – how did you make it work?

I think the fact that I wanted to learn – I wanted to know it – took the focus away from just getting the qualification to really wanting to learn the skills and information. When that’s the attitude you approach it with, then fitting in extra studying isn’t such a big deal.

“As women, we don’t always have a lot of confidence to break out of the norm,

but know that you can do it”

What advice do you have for nurses looking to diversify their career?

I think there are two things I would say. Firstly, believe in yourself! I think, as women, we don’t always have a lot of confidence to break out of the norm, but know that you can do it.

Secondly, follow your heart. If you love doing something, you’ll work harder at it. And if you’re doing a job that you love – that inspires you – then the chances of you feeling fulfilled and happy at the end of the day are really magnified.

I personally believe that everyone deserves to be happy, in whatever way that means to them. So, if anyone reading this wants to do something else with their career, know that you can! Sometimes we’re our own blocker but believe in yourself and manage that negative self-talk that we all do. I like to check-in with myself regularly and ask: ‘Is that negative statement I just gave myself a reality or is it an untruth?’ because most of the time it isn’t true at all. If you were to ask your best friend, they would confirm that it’s definitely untrue! I feel very fortunate that I have found a job that I love.

VET Festival takes place 20th-21st of May 2022 at Loseley Park, Guildford, Surrey, UK.

The event will feature lectures and seminars across 16 veterinary specialist streams, 60+ suppliers in a diverse exhibitor village and 14 hours of CPD over two days.

Readers of Veterinary Woman can enjoy a 20% discount on VET Festival tickets. Simply book by 20th of May 2022 and quote ‘VETWOMAN’ in the discount code box after selecting your ticket: www.vetfestival.co.uk

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