Veterinarian Technician Career Development at Banfield
Ashley Gee is a Banfield veteran, with her career growing right alongside the evolution of our practice. For the last 14 years, she has been a steady presence in her Gastonia, North Carolina, hospital, making sure her team, the pets and clients alike all have the best experience possible.
She's such a natural in the veterinary field, in fact, she didn't realize the impact she makes or the potential of her gifts – until a manager tapped her for a new opportunity. Following the call was her best decision yet! Read on to hear from Ashley about the power of recognition, opening up to her strengths, and what has propelled her career forward in ways she never imagined.
How long have you been with the practice and what brought you to Banfield?
I came to Banfield in 2007 right out of veterinary technician school at Gaston College. I unfortunately wasn't able to finish school due to some life circumstances, and I was given a chance by Banfield. I was young and fresh out of training, and they helped me get my foot in the door so I could continue to learn.
What different jobs/roles have you had at Banfield? What did you love and/or learn from each one?
I started out as a Client Service Coordinator (CSC) and did that job for around nine years before I transitioned to a veterinary assistance (VA) role. I became a veterinary technician shift lead (SL) about five years ago.
What I loved about being a CSC was the client interaction. I have so many clients that I have gotten to know so well over the years from chatting at the desk while they were waiting for an appointment or making a call to check on their pet after a visit or to schedule an upcoming visit. They ask me about my family – specifically about my little girl and that makes me so happy.
I get some of that same interaction now as a VA/SL as well. I have learned so may things since transitioning to VA – improved my anesthesia, blood draw, catheter placement, radiology skills, and I've newly learning dental radiology. As a shift lead I have had my eyes opened to all the behind the scenes things. It has given me a different point of view when it comes to client communication, knowing how the metrics affect us.
What does talent development mean to you?
I've witnessed over the many years that I have been with Banfield that they are always looking for ways to provide associates with more opportunities for growth and learning. I feel like we always have the opportunity to learn and grow at any time.
Recently, I see it with the rollout of Certified VT appointments and the options for hospitals to have their veterinarian technicians become certified nutrition counselors. I also see it in hospitals now offering virtual visits. Those I especially see as a way for us to learn and grow, not just from our side of it but for the clients as well – how to improve the way that we’re communicating in certain situations with having to distance ourselves at times due to the pandemic. I also appreciated when they developed the shift lead position, as a way to give the practice manager some help while also allowing associates who may not be ready to be practice managers but still wanting something more than their current position.
How has Banfield supported your development as a leader?
When Banfield first started talking about developing the shift lead role, my practice manager at the time brought it to me as an option. Even though it was going to be a year or two before they had completely formed the role and designated duties, he went ahead and started getting me ready for it. I appreciated that so much because by the time the role was here, I was ready to do it. I appreciate the fact that he and the field leadership at the time recognized something in me that they wanted to invest in. That means a lot to me.
What was the one thing in your career that helped propel you to this point? Is there a moment that stands out throughout your time at Banfield that inspired you to stay and grow your career here?
Being recognized as a potential leader for the hospital at a time when I honestly was not looking at myself as wanting to make a change. But when it was presented to me, I jumped at the opportunity. I felt like I must be doing something right – they must be seeing something in me that I haven’t noticed about myself yet, and that really drove me to want to do more and learn more.
If you look back on your career, what is one thing you’d do differently that maybe could help others in their career?
I would have made the time to learn more and take more initiative instead of just settling in. I would say that believing in yourself and wanting more for yourself is always a good thing and so important.
What advice would you give to fellow associates looking to advance their careers?
Just go for it and don't be afraid to ask questions. Make sure that people know you’re ready for more and don't be afraid of change.
What’s one word to describe your career journey?
Steady and solid. Also patience and time. I appreciate the consistency that I've had with Banfield and that I feel solid in my career choice and know that I have made something of myself in the veterinary field. Also I have learned that spending your time wisely and having patience goes a long way.
And a few last words of gratitude for the team...
I'm so very grateful to Banfield that I have been given these opportunities and continue to give me more chances to learn and grow my skills. And my hospital in Gastonia, North Carolina, is an absolutely amazing hospital to work for! We are so incredibly fortunate to have such an amazing team, such amazing doctors and an incredible practice manager. I get to work with rock stars every day and they truly are my family. I hope to enjoy many more years with them all!