At the General Session, speaker Dr. Morgan McArthur energized attendees with an entertaining and inspirational message. Dr. McArthur, a World Championship Toastmasters speaker who makes his home in New Zealand, wove personal veterinary stories into his discussion of success and the challenges that veterinarians face.
"We have success on parade, the best of the best in the American Veterinary Medical Association," he said, speaking before the AVMA awards presentation.
"I had the privilege of communicating with some of the award winners. It appears to me that success comes in many different colors, has many different definitions, and many different formulae, but there seem to be three elements that weave a continuous thread through success: challenge, persistence, and attitude in the face of adversity."
In his speech, Dr. McArthur focused on challenges and persistence.
He asked the audience to think of their challenges. "Everyone has their mountains, so my question for you is: what are your mountains?"
Is it finding balance in your life, or is it fitness and health? Is it Consumer Reports (referring to the July 2003 magazine article that cast a negative light on the veterinary profession)?
Dr. McArthur asked his audience to think of their mountains not as obstacles but as opportunities. The Consumer Reports article is an opportunity for them to step forward and address public perception, he said.
According to Dr. McArthur, one of the biggest challenges facing veterinarians is change. "If you can adapt to change, life always stays fresh," he said.
Another key to success is persistence. Dr. McArthur used various stories to show how persistence makes a difference in veterinary practice, including an extremely hard delivery of a foal that was positioned upside down and backward. In another, the audience was roped in as he described the strong will of a neighbor who nursed an extremely sick foal back to health.
"In life, we face people who are specialists and say 'no—it can't be done,' he said. "The only one who can destroy our dreams is us. You never know what we can grow into."
Hill's Pet Nutrition Inc. and the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau co-sponsored the evening.