United States

Clint Lewis Challenges Veterinary Students to "Develop and Extend" their Profession and Themselves

Clint Lewis, Executive Vice President and President, U.S., recently delivered the commencement address at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.  In his remarks, Clint challenged the students “to consider new and different opportunities” and “develop and extend the future of the veterinary profession.”

Citing recent news accounts and industry studies claiming that these are “lean times” for veterinary school graduates, Clint told the audience, “So yes, there are challenges.  But have no doubt… there is a world – a huge world I might add – of opportunity.”

“Today, in addition to practice,” he continued, “veterinarians play an important role across fifty-plus professional areas of concentration, from research and development to the military, commercial operations, corporate veterinary medicine, shelter medicine and with non-governmental agencies.”

“In the corporate setting, and in my own company, Zoetis, veterinarians take on a wide range of professional responsibilities. Except for the federal government and the large corporate animal hospitals like Banfield and VCA, Zoetis employs more veterinarians than any other entity.  And we employ these colleagues across almost every part of business – from global Research & Development to commercial operations.”

Clint urged the graduates to “look beyond the obvious and be open to new and different opportunities” as they pursue their careers.  “The profession and the broader world needs ambitious, determined practitioners like you, and there are myriad opportunities across the country and around the world – especially in underserved areas.  So, consider going beyond borders, literally and figuratively.  Regardless of the sector or field ,you will have an opportunity to play a vital role in animal health.”

Beyond Technical Skills

To achieve success, he advised them to “leverage a broader set of skills like business and financial acumen as well as ‘softer skills’ such as communication and marketing.” Citing research conducted separately by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Zoetis, Clint reported that veterinarians fared better than the norm -- even in a down economy – when they placed a priority on:

  • Managing their practice, including their staff
  • Forming lasting relationships with their clients
  • Finding new ways to attract clients

Clint concluded his address by telling the graduates they are joining “a noble, important and critical profession that will continue to grow and extend the reach of animal health.”  Their work, he added, will “contribute to the broader human health and societal good.”

“You are the future of this great profession.  You sit at the nexus of ensuring animals live healthy and productive lives and the human world that cherishes and/or depends on healthy and productive animals