My Encore: Dr. Emily Leuthner’s Passion for Mentorship, Stewardship and the Thrill of New Challenges
I’m always open to a good challenge. Not in a competitive way, but in a personal growth sort of way. Out of residency and grad school, I needed a job. A last-minute hiring change left me suddenly very available in a market where there weren’t many opportunities for large animal internists.
So, I created one. Without any business education but with mentorship from great business-minded friends, I opened a solo equine practice. It was a success. Learning all about business on the fly was challenging and exhilarating. I answered the phone. I ran the financials. I marketed the practice. I treated patients. It was great.
Then I became a parent. With two young sons, I was struggling to find balance and sanity in my life. So, I merged my little start-up business with an established mixed animal practice. I shared on-call and enjoyed being part of a bustling clinic. Five years after I joined as an associate, I purchased half of the practice. I later became the sole owner of the small animal half. I had a clean slate. And new challenges.
Through unbelievably generous mentorship from some brilliant people, I watched my AAHA practice grow and thrive. Running the business was full of challenges, and it was full of rewards. I wore many hats. Some fit better than others. The hats I tended to avoid wearing, I learned to give to others who wore them well. I began to nurture a team of leaders to help me carry the practice forward. I opened a nearby satellite and, by using our same methods of success at the parent clinic, I watched our tiny new practice come to life. And I watched my team of new leaders blossom as managers.
My husband and I weren’t looking to sell our three clinics. We weren’t looking to do anything. We were just looking. I was beginning to feel the shift of veterinary medicine away from the small business owner and I didn’t want to see the charming and unique faces of clinics across the country become monetized, normalized, and sterile. Then, sitting at dinner one evening, a mentor said to me “if you know you’re ready and the numbers make sense, what are you waiting for?”
Well! That got me thinking. If I had enough money to retire from practice ownership and practice surprises, what else could I do??? What else could I do within the industry, and what else could I do within my day-to-day existence? I had a solid team of leaders that could handle a transition and continue to grow my practice with respect for the values and essence I had instilled. They didn’t need me in the office. I joked with myself that I was a very overpaid bookkeeper, and, honestly, I was ready for new challenges.
That’s when I began my Encore. I found Encore Vet Group who, like me, didn’t want to lose the uniqueness and individuality of veterinary practices. Like me, Encore knows that if good managers are in place, the leadership can be there as mentors, as stewards. Treat employees well, empower them to lead and grow, and everything else that follows is a win for the pets and their people. Create opportunities for others to one day become mentors themselves. I feel that defines a successful career.
As for me, I partnered with Encore, and I embraced many new challenges and rewards. I rediscovered hobbies. I’m able to be more present for my family. I’m mastering new skills. And the best part is that, as someone who helps match amazing practices with Encore Vet Group, I get to bring practice owners to their own trailheads of their own Encores. It’s a big world out there, and life is stubbornly short. I look forward to hearing other practice owners’ success stories and helping them through their next steps.
Dr. Emily Leuthner, DACVIM
Partnership Development Specialist
Former Owner of Country View Veterinary Service & Country View Veterinary Service of New Glarus
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