Critical Leadership Skills

By Drs. Elizabeth "Betsy" Charles & Karen Cornell,
Veterinary Leadership Institute

Program Description

The Emerging Leaders workshop track is made up of experiential and evidence-based workshops that will help participants better understand the connection between leadership and emotional intelligence with a focus on how to have positive influence in the profession. Through discussion and interaction, this program will allow participants to consider a different leadership paradigm, one where all have the ability to be leaders who have influence, regardless of position or title.

Program Learning Objectives:

After attending the emerging leader workshop track, attendees will be able to:

  • Gain insight and understanding into emotional intelligence as a framework for leadership.
  • Explore the concept of leadership as influence.
  • Identify the barriers that stand in the way of developing the ability to have influence.
  • Explore the components of effective conflict management.
  • Identify pertinent professional scenarios so concepts can be applied in a practical manner.
  • Reflect on what is important to them so they can better identify their "why."


The Importance of Emotional Intelligence in Veterinary Medicine and its Application to Leadership

Friday, January 8
10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Participants will work together to define leadership and emotional intelligence and, through discussion and presentation, develop a better understanding of how emotional intelligence ties to leadership in the veterinary profession. Then, working together in small groups, participants will be given the opportunity to apply the presented concepts through a group activity.

What is Influence and How do we Begin to Have Influence in Veterinary Medicine?

Friday, January 8
1:00-2:30 PM

Using the work of change expert John Kotter and the leadership thoughts of Simon Sinek, participants will explore what it means to have influence in the veterinary profession and how a better understanding of why we do what we do can make a huge difference on the amount of influence we can actually have. Participants will identify real-life personal situations where they would like to have influence and then develop strategies, using the concepts discussed, for application in those scenarios.

Skills for Constructive Conflict Resolution

Saturday, January 9
10:30 AM-12:00 PM

Most of us do not like conflict but when handled well, conflict can help our professional relationships thrive and our businesses grow. In this workshop, participants will be presented a model for conflict resolution that breaks conflict into its component parts. Then, participants can focus on ways to make connections between parties in conflict in order to foster forward movement and resolution.

I’m Too Busy to Know My Why!! Strategies for Getting Back to Why for Future Leaders

Saturday, January 9
1:30-3:00 PM

Using the work of Shawn Achor and other positive psychology experts, participants will be given the opportunity to complete several activities that will help them get back to remembering what is important and why they are in veterinary medicine.

About the Speakers

Elizabeth "Betsy" Charles, DVM, MA combines a wide variety of professional experiences with her love of veterinary medicine in order to help others be the best they can be. Drawing on her experience in private practice and academia, she is interested in influencing both the current educational and leadership paradigms within the profession by moving them toward more collaborative models.

Dr. Charles completed a master’s degree in Organizational Leadership in May 2009 where her thesis dealt with implementation of change efforts within organizations, specifically veterinary practice. To that end, she loves helping veterinary professionals understand how the principles of emotional intelligence can help facilitate implementation of change initiatives in practice using a servant-leadership model. Dr. Charles has presented on various topics including leadership development and generational communication strategies at veterinary colleges around the country, various state veterinary medical associations, the AAEP national convention, the North American Veterinary Conference and the AVMA Leadership Conference as well as helped team members in private practice implement new leadership models. She has been involved with the Veterinary Leadership Experience as a speaker and facilitator for 9 years and is currently the Executive Director of The Veterinary Leadership Institute, the organization now responsible for putting on the annual VLE event.

She served on the AVMA’s Council on Communication, recently completed a term on the Student Relations Committee for the American Association of Equine Practitioners and is currently on the AAEP’s Leadership Development Committee as well as being a member of the AAEP’s Student Programs Task Force. Currently, Dr. Charles is an Assistant Professor at Western University of Health Sciences where her emphasis is radiology and leadership training.

Dr. Karen Cornell is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgery and has served as member of the Board of Regents for the same organization. She is a full professor at the University of Georgia, where she is currently the Assistant Department Head in the Department of Small Animal Medicine and Surgery.  She is a two-time recipient of the Carl Norden-Pfizer Distinguished Teaching Award and in 2011 she was named a Josiah Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor, the highest award for teaching at UGA. Karen became involved with communication training in 2003 when she was a participant in the first Bayer Communication Project train-the-trainer program for veterinary faculty. She has served as a trainer for each of the annual veterinary faculty courses offered by the Institute for Healthcare Communication since.  She serves on the Board of Directors for the Veterinary Leadership Institute where she is heavily involved with leadership curriculum development. Karen's previous private practice career and current engagement teaching veterinary students, afford her a unique appreciation for the importance of communication in veterinary practice, and for the necessity of providing practical training to all veterinary professionals.


A special thank you to Zoetis for their continued support of VLC and their commitment to the veterinary profession.

Zoetis logo