A former state veterinary medical association director and a former executive from an association that trains and educates real estate agents started working for the AVMA in October.
Peter Weber, as the new AVMA chief products and services officer, will oversee the AVMA’s convention, economics, membership, and publications divisions. He was executive director of the Illinois State VMA from 2003-2014 and worked as executive director of the American Association of Endodontists until taking his new role with AVMA.
Products & Services is one of three strategic business units created under the Association’s ongoing strategy management process, with most of the AVMA divisions now grouped under one of three SBUs. The other two SBUs are Advocacy & Public Policy and Accreditation & Certification.
JAVMA and the American Journal of Veterinary Research are produced by the Publications Division, which is under Weber’s oversight. However, Association policy on editorial independence grants the editor-in-chief, who is also division director, full authority over the journals’ content.
Weber said he intends to work with AVMA staff members and volunteers to benefit AVMA members and the veterinary profession, a goal aided by his experience as an association CEO in general and a veterinary association CEO in particular.
“As the executive director of the Illinois State Veterinary Medical Association, I had daily contact with veterinary professionals—most of them from Illinois but from throughout the country—and was able to, on a daily basis, listen to their concerns, their needs, their desires,” he said. “And we obviously built the program of work we did at ISVMA to support those critical needs of our veterinary professionals.”
Weber hopes to use his experience and knowledge to assist AVMA staff members and volunteer leaders to “make the AVMA the most beneficial organization and most important association in veterinary medicine.”
Mary Beth Ciukaj joined the AVMA as director of the Membership and Field Services Division, whose activities include recruitment and retention, outreach, career development, and student activities.
She is educated in psychology and family studies, and, prior to working for the AVMA, she had been a director and vice president in several divisions at the Council of Residential Specialists, which has ties to the National Association of Realtors.
Ciukaj expressed excitement to be part of a passionate, caring profession. She and fellow team members plan to help the AVMA grow while helping members succeed by looking for ways to increase the value of AVMA membership to veterinarians throughout their careers, she said.
And she expects her prior work will help toward these goals.
“Being an experienced association executive, having both worked in membership and in education, absolutely will prepare me for increasing the engagement activities that we are looking to implement at some point in the future,” Ciukaj said.
Weber replaces Dr. Kevin Dajka as chief products and services officer, and Ciukaj fills Dr. Dajka’s previous position as membership division director.