September 15, 2014


 Convention opener inspires with fun

Posted Sept. 3, 2014 

The opening session of the 151st AVMA Annual Convention on July 25 at the Colorado Convention Center, sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, was replete with showbiz acts reminiscent of a variety show. 

Mixed in with the entertainment were inspirational stories shared by two speakers, recognition of two veterinarians for their special contributions to the veterinary profession, and updates on AVMA initiatives. 


John Jacobs of Life is good (Photo by R. Scott Nolen)
Emcee Chris Starkey of Starkey Productions introduced AVMA President Clark K. Fobian, who gave an AVMA Strategy Management Process update. “We are setting a new course to better meet our members’ needs and expectations in a rapidly changing world. The status quo just isn’t good enough. The AVMA membership deserves more,” he said.

Dr. Henry E. Childers received the Association’s top honor, the AVMA Award, from President Fobian. Then, Dr. Jeffrey S. Klausner accepted the AVMA Meritorious Service Award.
Dr. Childers said, “I want to thank you for thanking me for doing what you think I did. I love being a vet, I love organized veterinary medicine, and I love coming to the AVMA meeting every year. Thanks very much for being a colleague of mine.”
Dr. Klausner thanked the profession for three things: the opportunity to help people by helping their pets live long, healthy lives; the opportunity to mentor young veterinarians; and the opportunity for leadership and self-discovery.

Speaker Dr. Lance Fox shared highlights of his 2009 climb to the 29,035-foot summit of Mount Everest.
He said that the challenge of Everest is “more mental over physical.”
“Without good teamwork, I’d never have made it to the summit,” Dr. Fox said. “Everest comes in many shapes and forms.”

More inspiration followed from keynote speaker John Jacobs, co-founder and “chief creative optimist” of the New England­–based company Life is good, known for its optimistic apparel featuring a smiling stick figure named Jake.
Jacobs talked about how customers who have gone through adversity and still show optimism about being alive have taught the company the real depth of its message. The company discovered that its brand had the power to rally communities around worthy causes. That realization led to creation of the Life is good Playmakers, which partners with professionals such as teachers, social workers, and child life specialists in helping children overcome poverty, violence, and illness.

Jacobs said the Life is good superpowers are core values such as humor, authenticity, love, and gratitude. He said, “That keeps us grounded. And one of them is fun. We make sure our employees know we want them to blur the lines between work and play; that means bringing a certain energy to work and having laughs.”

Jacobs challenged attendees to rediscover what drew them to their profession and said, “I would encourage you guys to try to find tangible, meaningful, and, ideally, fun ways to unite your teams around your positive purpose.”