Banfield Pet Hospital Fosters Compassionate Leadership
Area Chief of Staff (ACOS) Dr. Benjamin Macuil-Rojas, DVM, understands the importance of communication and compassion when it comes to being a better leader. In Banfield's new Area Chief of Staff role, Dr. Macuil-Rojas has the freedom to be in a hospital-based leadership role by mentoring and onboarding Banfield veterinarians, as well as continuing to see patients inside the hospital. Banfield created this role based on associate feedback for veterinarians, like Dr. Macuil-Rojas, who want to continue their practice as vets, and take on a leadership position coaching other doctors. We had an amazing conversation with him about his journey in pet care, from Mexico to Arizona, and his approach to leadership. Take a look!
Tell us a little about yourself and your journey with Banfield:
I was born and raised in Mexico City and went to vet school at Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM). Many people don't know it, but there's a Banfield there, and that was my first interaction with the company. I was amazed at how well planned everything was. A few years later, I found an ad on LinkedIn for Banfield here in the US, and I decided to apply for it. I knew I had come to the right place from the first interview, and everything worked out great. The process of coming here was probably around a year, but I always had someone at Banfield checking in on me. That support meant a lot. I finally came to Arizona in the summer of 2018, and I started training at the Lake Pleasant hospital under Dr. Cody Knisley, who was absolutely wonderful.
I moved to the Avondale hospital about a month after I started. This location lacked doctors, and I did everything I could to help the patients and to grow my team. After a little while, things started to change. We got new doctors who I had the privilege to train, and I eventually became Chief of Staff. It was challenging, but I was thrilled to have this opportunity, and the partnership built between Practice Manager Zachary Omar and me made a huge difference for me, the hospital, and the team. This year, I became an Area Chief of Staff (ACOS). I have four awesome hospitals and managers that I work with, plus a wonderful team of doctors and para staff who I love.
Why did you choose to become an ACOS?
I saw this role as a challenge and a way to grow my leadership skills. I also believe I can have a bigger impact by working in different locations and building great partnerships with my new practice managers. It has been an awesome journey so far, and I love the role that I'm in.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I split my time 50/50. For half of my days, I see patients like any other Banfield doctor: surgeries, helping sick pets, and keeping healthy pets healthy! The other half, I do hospital visits and meet with my teams, whom I'm in touch with frequently. I am also working on a couple of leadership programs that Banfield offers. Additionally, I work with the other ACOS in the market, and we have become a pretty awesome team. I know I can count on any of them for anything.
What do you look forward to the most in your work with Banfield?
I love every single day I come to work. It's not always easy, and I have had quite a few challenges along the way, but that has only made me a better doctor and a better person. I hope to continue to grow within the company and continue working with all the awesome people I have met along the way!
If someone is interested in pursuing an ACOS role, what career tips would you give?
I would recommend working at different locations. Pick up an extra shift here and there, get to know different teams and how they work. You will learn that every hospital is different, and they all have different needs. Connect with your peer doctors and the other ACOS around you, and learn from all of them. Communicate with your team, your Veterinary Assistants, Veterinary Technicians, CSCs, and Practice Managers. That way, you can understand each role in the hospital and how important their work is. I think the key here is communication: the more you know and learn from others, the more successful you'll be at your job.
What is the best advice you have been given?
This is something that most of us have learned the hard way: never be afraid to ask for help. It doesn't mean you're not doing your job right or that you're incapable of doing it. On the contrary, asking for help will strengthen you and the bonds you have with your team, and eventually, this will make you a better, more human, and more compassionate leader.
If you could be any animal, what would you be?
A fox! They are the most incredible animals! Smart, quick, and beautiful!