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Encouraging Career Growth in Alabama

From veterinary assistant to Director of Veterinary Quality, Dr. Consuela Byrd, DVM, knows first-hand the opportunities for growth at Banfield. We chatted with Dr. Byrd about her journey, her top advice for those starting their careers in veterinary medicine, and more. Read her story below.

Can you walk us through your journey with Banfield?

I started with Banfield as a veterinary assistant before going to college. Being my first time working in the field, I enjoyed learning hands-on skills with the pets and client service. This was valuable since I aspired to be a veterinarian. Later I did my externship with Banfield during my fourth year of Veterinary School at Tuskegee University. I learned even more about how to view cases from a doctor’s perspective and how to flow through my day as a veterinarian, all while providing exceptional veterinary care. Once I graduated from veterinary school, I worked in private practice. This allowed me the opportunity to compare the experiences.

I appreciated the preventative care and educational tools that Banfield provided to the clients and the pets. Also, the structure and support that they provide to their doctors are above the standard. So as soon as there was a position available at the local Banfield, I jumped right on it and was able to continue my journey with Banfield.

The first location I worked in was amazing, and I really enjoyed the coaching and mentorship I had while onboarding. It helped me to build up my confidence!

Then I become a lead doctor. When my husband’s job required us to move, I transferred to another Banfield, where I continued growing and learning in a familiar atmosphere. Then another leadership opportunity came, and I was promoted to Chief of Staff at a location right up the road. This propelled me to where I am today.

Because Banfield is invested in your continued growth and personal development, they saw skills in me that I wasn’t even able to see in myself. With that said, they started to develop me for the Director of Veterinary Quality role, which I currently operate in, and I love every minute of it! It challenges me, but it also allows me to connect with doctors and help them the same way someone did for me. That is my passion. I am constantly growing and learning every day and still able to help the pets/clients through developing my doctors and teams to provide the best quality medicine every day to every pet!

Outside of work, what are your favorite activities to do in the Birmingham area?

I enjoy shopping and eating at restaurants—I’m a foodie and love trying new dishes. I am also really involved in my church.

What does a typical day look like for you, inside and outside of work?

On a typical day, I connect with multiple doctors, practice managers, and field directors to ensure we take care of the pets and clients in a significant way. Of course, I am speaking with my Area Chief of Staff and Chief of Staff and making sure that they are supported and able to help the teams and the patients. I am on multiple virtual calls to help with the great structure that Banfield has in place if I am not traveling and in the hospitals with the teams. Outside of work, I am with my family spending quality time with them, at church, or catching up on housework.

What do you like about the culture at Banfield?

I love the structure, inclusivity, and preventive care medicine that we provide. Banfield focuses on the whole person and not just what you can do for the company. They are constantly asking for feedback, and you can tell that our voices have been heard!

How does the field support their associates’ health and wellbeing? Do you have any specific practices that are encouraged?

As it relates to health and wellbeing, the field does a great job at making sure that the associates know about all of the tools and resources that are available to them. For example, the ASK (Assess/Support/Know) training, Headspace app, student debt relief, Covid-19 resources, etc. I encourage consistent communication and connection from every line manager with their direct reports to foster that trust and provide each associate with a safe space. 

What advice to have for those just starting their career in the veterinary industry?

I encourage anyone just starting their career in the veterinary industry to be sure to work in a place where you feel accepted, belong, and grow and develop in the field. I would also encourage you to be open and ready to learn all that you can and ask questions!

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