Dear Colleagues,


I wanted to write a short note, to thank you for a terrific year. But I’m really sorry. As I started writing, I realised I have a lot to be thankful for, so if you have time – pull up a cup of tea and settle in. Because I’m letting loose with the love…

If you don’t have time – Then here’s the last bit first….

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! And Thank you for being the best profession in the whole world to be apart of and best people to know. I love what we are doing together and I hope you have safe, healthy, successful and brilliant year ahead!

Love Ilana

Got ya cuppa?…..

Our year has been amazing, and it’s all thanks to you. You are the most dedicated, forward striving people I can ever hope to work with.

VetPrac continues to go from strength to strength with your support and participation.

Thank you so much. This year I had the privilege of hosting 21 VetPrac Workshops around the country.

A little tiring, yes, but in a good way…We visited WA, ACT, SA, NSW, QLD and VIC in our efforts to make VetPrac’s opportunities more accessible to you.

Listening to how you view veterinary practice and what you want for your careers and learning about who you are is a privilege. And it was lovely to meet and get to know so many of you. Thank you.

We have increased our efforts to make your preparations to a workshop easier. Tyng Yenn joins our team as a VetPrac Support Samuri. Tyng is a vet nurse with lots of experience and abroad university education and he is also heavily involved in the Pets in The Park initiative.

Yumiko (Yumi) Fujimoto, my wonderful assistant is taking a bigger role in some of our administration for workshops, enabling me to think more about you and what you want and what you need so we can plan for the future. She is a valued asset in our organisation, and you will probably see more of her at workshops too, as she is becoming familiar to our “veterinary ways”.

We also have the pleasure this year of welcoming 2 incredible women Dr Karishma Hugo and Dr Mojgan Nazari to our team as workshop hosts. 
Karishma is an Australian vet with experience in emergency, critical care and general practice veterinary care. Mojgan (or Moji) is an experienced vet from Tehran working on a PhD in Sydney with experience in industry and general practice.

Other VetPrac characters from our past (student assistants now graduates) may also be popping up in the next few years to welcome you at a workshop. We are building a community that cares about each other, and wants us all to succeed. It feels very good to be surrounded by so much support.

Also in our network are Ashleigh Ryan who manages a lot of our communications and Edwin Kua who designs our graphics and brochures. Ashleigh has an innate understanding of social media and current trends in communications and a keen passion for online marketing. She also loves creating animal meme’s and the quirky veterinary sense of humour, which lets face it – is warped! Feel free to share our Facebook posts on your own hospital pages for fun.

Ed has a genius quality to his design style that we value highly. If you want Ed to do any work for your hospital, please ask us for his details. He’s very very good, and works with a team who can revamp your website if you ever want to.

We also welcomed eight new graduates who won $24,000 in prizes to attend VetPrac workshops, this year. The kick start they receive from our supporting partners is invaluable. Special mention goes to BBruan, Medical Plus, and IM3 and VetLink for supporting this initiative. And we auctioned off 50 days with specialists to raise money for the Vets Beyond Borders Relief work in India and Nepal after the horrifying earthquakes that destroyed so many lives in early 2015.

All our Training partners are invaluable to the VetPrac community. They selflessly see the value of what we are doing and contribute equipment, people and funds to help us give you the best education. All our training partners know education comes first and I am so grateful for their contribution and openness to letting us put the science first and let their products speak for themselves. Along with BBraun, Medical Plus, and IM3, we also have incredible support from VetQuip, The Edge Equine, VetShare, IMEX, Vorotek, and Sound Veterinary Equipment. These are good companies, run by good people, who share our values.

The Facilities that host us are spectacular and their collaborative attitude towards education and building the profession from the inside out, means we are able to show you regularly what best practice looks like and how you can achieve it practically.
The other incredible people who share our values and lead us out of the darkness of ignorance are our education teams and education leaders. This year there are many to mention individually here – I’ll try, in no particular order to thank- Tania Banks, Rachel Stone, Jamie Wearn, Ellie Leister, Christine Hawke, Tara Cashman, Tony Caifa, Sarah Davies, Natalie Webster, Mark Billson, Edith Hampsen, Martyn King, Craig Bailey, Peter Barron, Dan Lewis, Hall Griffin, Tracy Bache, Tracey Henderson, Peter Young, Bruce Smith, Lance Wilson, Jacob Michelsen, Penny Tisdall, Olaf Schaaf, Aaron Moles, Karl Mathis, Chris Tan, Coco Willsallen,  Andy Lamont, James Simcock, Ralph Webster, Peter Gilbert, Jeff Mayo, Andrew Marchevsky, Steve Fearnside, Kerti Seksel, Adrian Simon, Vickie Saye, Ricky Cashmore, Rita Singh, Niek Beijerink, Kate Hindley, Arana Parslow, David Vella, Narelle Walter, Michelle Dalli, Hadley Willsallen, Sarah Jalim, Marvin Kung, Charles Kuntz and Glenn Edwards. Thank you.

Supporting them are the technical teams at the Universities managed by Joe Price, Anthony Wilkes, and Samantha Kempster, as well as the owners of Veterinary Hospitals Dr Kate Lindsey in WA and Dr Chris Preston in VIC. And I have to thank our amazing student volunteers who all get a shout out for staying back until 10pm to clean up after us on some nights after a workshop ends. We couldn’t do it without you.

Thank you all, for sharing your time and your passions. You help us be better.

I never really thought I’d have a business that would do so much with so many, for so many. In 6 years we have educated over 1000 veterinarians and this year alone, educated over 350. Almost 10% of vets practicing in Australia today have completed a VetPrac workshop and 99% strongly agree that it was worth the money and benefits their career path. 
What started as a part-time thing during my holidays – has now become a movement for positive change.

Like everyone, we face daily challenges between providing good services for you at a cost effective price, while still being able to facilitate the best practical education in the country. Our goal is to give you a fast return on investment and help you boost productivity and your veterinary skills.

Animal Welfare and Ethics is important to us and we spend a lot of time, working with facilities that value this so that our wet-labs continue to be managed respectfully. With changes occurring in different sectors of the Departments of Agriculture, Parks, Sport and Recreation which currently enable some of the donations of deceased animals, we do not know how long such practical education will be available to us. Some countries are severely restricted in what and how they can teach because of religious and civil laws. Others neglect the sentient element of their sources altogether and this troubles me. We struggle with any plans to move our workshops off-shore as we feel strongly Australian standards have a good balance, between maintaining both scientific and humane standards in education. It is a very delicate issue and I have friends on many ethics committees with whom I discuss this with regularly.

So, with the above in mind, I’d like to mention sensitively the deep gratitude and humility I feel towards all the animals that we work with annually either alive or dead that enable our skill growth. The joy of our careers is being able to work with animal life and change animal lives for the better. Their contributions either during life or after death mean more living animals live healthily as we learn. Without them, our tissue and instrument handling skills would deteriorate across the nation. We are very lucky to have this available to us. Those clients that offer their animals for education and science are the most generous of all. The animals that contribute will never know how valuable they are and it means nothing to them, I imagine… But Thank You to the animals. Thank you very much.

I want to thank my career mentors – Dr John Dooley, Dr Debbie Neutze, and Dr Tony Black who set me up for success with their support and sometimes stern words of advice. I am indebted to you during my new graduate years and your words sit and guide me today as I make decisions which effect how we operate. One of Dr Dooley’s first comments to me after my first big mistake in practice was “If you were good at everything immediately, what would you do? what would be the point?” Everyday that I struggle with my mistakes, I think of this. The growth is the point. 
It is my pleasure to announce, I am engaged this year to a wonderful man. And I get to thank Dr Jane Miller for being apart of the surprising proposal I received at the end of this years final workshop in Wagga Wagga outside the Pre-Clinical Studies Centre, at CSU when I was coaxed outside under the pretense of an emergency… Not surprisingly perhaps, he’s a vet. And if you don’t know him, I’m sure you’ll all meet him in time. He is quite special. Thanks to Dr Kuntz  as well for snapping paparazzi shots from the bushes to capture the moment!

As such, I will be moving next year to Brisbane to live and operating from offices in both Sydney and Brisbane. Adjusting to the time zone difference and heat, might take a bit of getting used too, but I’m looking forward to getting to know a new group of friends at AVA functions.

The new year will offer some exciting new projects as well as continuing to offer our proven effective Practical Skills Workshops, while I plan a wedding with myfiancé

I will continue to be an undergraduate mentor with The University of Sydney and a New Graduate Mentor with the AVA inaugural program. The experience of mentoring is one of the most valuable to our community and I’d like to encourage everyone to consider it, we all have wisdom and experiences to guide the next generation.

I look forward to sharing more adventures with you…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! And Thank you for being the best profession in the whole world to be apart of and best people to know. I love what we are doing together and I hope you have safe, healthy, successful and brilliant year ahead!

With Love and Gratitude,