AVMA Auxiliary mixes meeting with entertainment

Published on September 01, 2008
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Dr. Ron DeHaven and Auxiliary presidents
Dr. Ron DeHaven, AVMA executive vice president, with
Marilyn McGill and Beverly Richardson, outgoing and
incoming Auxiliary presidents.

Convention attendees took the opportunity to "Jazz up with the Auxiliary" this year by partaking in discussion, food, music, and shopping—at the working sessions and the closing brunch of the Auxiliary to the AVMA and at the organization's gift shop and annual marketplace.  

Marilyn McGill, outgoing Auxiliary president, said communication between the organization of veterinarians' spouses and the AVMA has been excellent this past year. The Auxiliary also has been working to strengthen communication with spouses of veterinary students.

"The more we can learn from them about the way they want our organization to go and flow, the more helpful it is to all of us," McGill said.

McGill said students' spouses would like the Auxiliary to provide not only social functions but also information regarding the AVMA—particularly concerning AVMA insurance programs and the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. At the convention, an Auxiliary luncheon for students' spouses featured speakers from the AVMA Group Health and Life Insurance Trust, AVMA PLIT, and AVMF.

Beverly Richardson, incoming Auxiliary president, said her theme for the year is "From Vision to Reality."

"My focus will be re-evaluating our purpose as an auxiliary," she said.

Richardson drew her inspiration from the work of author Jim Collins, who says that purpose should drive organizations and that organizations must reinvent themselves every decade. Richardson said the Auxiliary needs a new mission statement for a new generation of veterinarians' spouses, an increasing number of whom are men.

"If you have a significant purpose, and you're passionate about your purpose, then the membership comes, the finances come," Richardson said.

During the convention, the Auxiliary invited attendees to a "Futuristic Thinkers" roundtable discussion. Hill's Pet Nutrition sponsored the session, which focused on how state auxiliaries relate to the national organization.

The Kritters Korner gift shop returned this year with new jewelry, purses, clothing, and other products featuring veterinary and animal themes. The Auxiliary also held the annual Marketplace of States and silent auction.

The marketplace featured items from state auxiliaries such as honey-roasted nuts, peanut brittle and pecan brittle, hand-painted stools, picture frames and other decor, linens and a handmade quilt, and shirts for adults and children. Proceeds of $9,600 from the silent auction and constituent booths will benefit the Auxiliary's Student Loan Fund, which currently administers about 500 loans, and other Auxiliary education projects.

The Auxiliary brunch featured New Orleans musicians performing jazz with Robert Walzel, PhD, director of the University of Utah's School of Music. Hill's was the sponsor for the event. The Auxiliary presented the Presidential Award to Beverly Denton of Bowling Green, Ky. and the Distinguished Service Award to Phyllis Starcher of Poca, W.Va.