Dear Colleagues,

I recently returned from a trip to Israel where I joined 600 other women from around the world to discuss over 8 days how our role in society influences the world. The women were remarkable; CFO’s, CEO’s business owners, cancer survivors, businesswomen, army retirees with 25 yrs experience, housewives and diplomats, divorcee’s, lesbian single mum’s from countries where its illegal to be so, grandmothers caring for foster kids, and granddaughters of Holocaust survivors. During the time we spent together we discussed some principals for surviving life in the modern world as women in the post-feminist era. Daughters of mothers and grandmothers who fought for suffrage and freedoms taken for granted by the generation after us. The ideas we discussed were: unity and mutual responsibility, courage, peace in the home, gratitude, generosity, dignity, learning and growth and faith and trust.

Mostly we started each conversation with an affirmation around a leading idea – to achieve unity without uniformity. That a celebration of difference and collaboration is the key to everything.

This is a time when the whole country’s mood is shifted into a rest state (unless you work for the emergency services). It’s a chance to exhale.

Have you been able to stop for a moment?
Could you make space to take stock of the bigger picture?
If your time is so valuable, is that not the greatest gift we can offer our loved ones in this busy age?
As the year draws to a close, have those who help us succeed been recognized and thanked?
How does peace manifest in your home and clinic?
What have you learned and how have you grown this year?
And what learning and growth have you seen in the ones you love or care for? And has that been acknowledged?
How has this acknowledgement influenced your dignity and the dignity of those around you?

When I was away we were asked to switch off from the world and trust it would be okay. We were asked to look at the world, see the good in it, and talk about it. We were asked to recognise that everyone has a story and we are probably meeting each other at different chapters in our lives – so be kind. And we were asked to not be the person to point out problems.

As vets we are problem finders and problem solvers. But sometimes when you identify a problem, you can’t unsee it and it clouds our perspective. Instead, it can be more helpful to point out what is good and who is good around us. It’s also a gift to a person to highlight the good in them, and its a gift to the world too.

The act of giving, which is so broadly practiced throughout society at this time of year, is a beautiful concept. I wish it would continue all year. And with it comes the act of gratitude. 
I want to take this moment to say how proud I am to be a part of our veterinary community. There have been some massive events in 2018 in welfare and health and community activities locally, nationally and internationally and veterinarians have been associated with many of them. For those who work locally, sometimes it feels like squeezing an anal sac doesn’t make a difference; please know that it does. The comfort you bring your patients, helps their owners to feel better, which enables them to have broader happier relationships. For those who work in communities and larger organisations where it feels like your little bit might not matter – know that it does. Sometimes we make great breakthrough’s in health and welfare only because of everyone working together with their own strengths towards the one goal. The goal may not be reached during our journey but we will get there collectively. I’m so impressed when I speak to people in our industry about what they do and imagining the impact it will have… It’s lovely and hopeful.

Thank you so much for letting me contribute to the world through veterinary education with you over 2018 and into 2019. I am so thankful to you for your support and participation so we can make the world a better place through our work.  Seeing your success with cases and careers after participating in our workshops fills us here at VetPrac with pride and dignity. It gives more meaning to our lives and it makes our daily work driven and purposeful. I’m looking forward immensely to what 2019 brings.

Warmest wishes, be safe and Happy New Year!


Ilana Mendels