The Global Veterinary Careers Summit 2020
As part of the Summer Career Opportunities and Research Exploration (CORE) Program at the Ontario Veterinary College, I was given the opportunity to take part in this year's Global Veterinary Careers Summit. This 6-day online conference from June 24th to 29th, 2020 was organized to help veterinary professionals and students explore their career potential, by offering remote workshops lead by global speakers as well as interactive events. The summit advertised providing attendees with "tangible career growth tactics, networking opportunities, and workshops on how to know your strengths and actually move forward no matter where you are in your career". As someone who doesn't have a clearly defined plan for my life post veterinary school, I was intrigued and excited about the opportunity to attend.
Because of the COVID-19 global pandemic, the conference was forced to pivot into an online format. This means that attendees were required to download an app called Whova in order to access the content. Whova is an interesting new platform that caters to the organization and delivery of events/conferences. I had never used it before. It took me longer than I'd like to admit to figure out how to access Whova on my laptop in addition to on my mobile phone, but once I got past that hiccup I found Whova to be fairly user friendly.
At the conference, I attended live sessions about how to build a LinkedIn profile, the power of a personal brand, sustainability in veterinary medicine, and how to encourage more diversity in the veterinary profession, to name a few of many. All the speakers were engaging and insightful, and I have walked away from this conference with a broader perspective on a variety of topics.
As this was a global conference with speakers from around the world (even as far as Australia!), all of the sessions were recorded and available for playback on demand, in order to accommodate the variety of time zones in which attendees were located. I am so glad they did this, it was truly necessary, as there were interesting topics being presented in the middle of the night, "my time"! This way, I got to playback videos at a time convenient for me, and pause them if I needed to take more detailed notes or step away for a moment.
As this conference aimed to encourage career exploration & opportunities, the ability to network was supported and encouraged. I historically have been shy and put off by the idea of "networking" with complete strangers - who am I to be asking people for time out of their day? Unfortunately, my imposter syndrome did make an appearance over the course of this conference, which prevented me from interacting with other conference participants. That being said, I did make some connections on my LinkedIn page, after using tips from the LinkedIn information session I attended!
I am still trying to find a career path in veterinary medicine that will mesh well with my career goals and values. This conference reaffirmed my belief that there are a plethora of pathways that are open and available to me as viable options. I am confident that I will be able to find a career that is both fulfilling and meaningful.
Thank you to the Summer CORE Program for supporting my attendance.