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2017 Practice Manager of the Year: Rebecca Rowe, CVPM

Tuesday, January 2, 2018   (0 Comments)
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2017 Practice Manager of the Year: Rebecca Rowe, CVPM



After seven years of working toward her bachelor’s degree in business, Rebecca Rowe, a practice manager at Seven Hills Pet Clinic in Loveland, Ohio, can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Recently, she passed the Certified Veterinary Practice Managers exam and that light started to glow a little brighter. When she was named dvm360/VHMA 2017 Practice Manager of the Year in December, that light became a spotlight!


The award, which is offered by the VHMA and, celebrates practice managers who are the backbone of financially sound, well-led and inspired veterinary hospitals and practices.


Ten highly-qualified finalists made the selection process very difficult, but Rowe demonstrated an outstanding ability to lead, collaborate, adapt to change and make a strong commitment to the pursuit of continuing education.


The path to practice management


Rowe has always been a bit intrepid. Her background is in software development, but she took a brief hiatus from the corporate world to raise her children. When she decided to return to work, she accepted a receptionist position with a small animal/equine mixed practice.


Her software background allowed her to introduce computer-based solutions to evaluate procedures in the office and she developed Excel spreadsheets for ordering supplies, which streamlined the ordering process. It is designed so that any staff member can use it, if necessary. She credits both inside sales reps and outside sales reps for helping her understand inventory.


By viewing the practice through a corporate lens, she brought a new perspective to the day-to-day operations as well as planning for the long term. Her skills, insights and determination factored into her eventual rise to practice manager.


In her application she detailed how, as a practice manager, she incorporated the award criteria into her professional life.


Leading the way to expansion


Rowe leads her staff, but she also assumed a unique leadership when she spearheaded the acquisition of the practice’s satellite office---not only did she play a vital role in acquiring the site, she was also instrumental ensuring that the site was up and running and interfacing with the main office.


She helped to evaluate the potential of acquiring a practice that was being sold nearby and investigated office space, and equipment and products that were necessary to create a seamless link between the original site and the new site. She was involved in the design, hiring and purchasing and throughout the six week process she mediated financing issues, utility problems, technology and connectivity issues, neighbor complaints and more and remained optimistic, resourceful, creative and solution-oriented. Staff, colleagues and family members offered assistance and support throughout the process.


The clinic’s opening was timely and it quickly reached 85% capacity. Rowe has hired additional staff and purchased new equipment to accommodate the satellite office’s success.


Motivating through suggestions


Tools are essential in any line of work and Rowe identifies the staff meeting as an important team building and communication tool.


When the suggestion box in the office lobby was not attracting client comments that could be used to improve practice operations, Rowe decided to flip the box’s function to encourage staff to share suggestions to improve the practice. Her intention was to review the suggestions during staff meetings, discuss and use the comments as the foundation for proposing policy and procedural changes, which are presented to the practice owners. Rowe estimates that 95% of the suggestions that have been submitted have resulted in practice improvements.


Staff benefits from the process because they are given a voice in the practice and are inspired to think proactively about the practice’s success.


On the road to excellence


As Rowe looks forward to receiving her bachelor’s degree from Xavier University and continuing her involvement in VHMA. She is looking forward to attending more VHMA conferences and webinars and continuing to keep abreast the industry by reading veterinary/management publications.


Adapting to change


It comes as no surprise that Rowe views challenges and change as opportunities for growth. Most notably, when staff changes occurred in the practice in 2007 and employees were wondering who would pick up the slack, Rowe used the opportunity to take on more responsibility and consider policies and procedures to help the practice evolve.


She has a demonstrated track record of showing leadership, motivating her team, engaging in continuous learning and not only initiating change, but adapting to change.


The big picture


Rowe recognizes that her accomplishments are influenced by those who surround her. She credits her bosses for having confidence in her and allowing her the independence to do her job. Their support has helped her grow into the person she is.


She also acknowledges the staff, whose commitment to the industry as well as to the practice has created an atmosphere in which change and innovation are welcome.


As Practice Manager of the Year, Rowe plans to share her experiences in life and in the field with others to help them grow as professionals. She said, “I am honored to receive national recognition for my hard work and am excited to inspire others.”


VHMA’s Executive Director Christine Shupe said, “Rebecca is a consummate professional. Her enthusiasm for learning, advancing and make a difference will have an impact on the association, its members and the profession. She has much to share.”



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