Dr. Joshua Shepard's Decade With Banfield as a Veterinarian
Tell us about yourself:
I graduated from the University of Tennessee, College of Veterinary Medicine in 2005 and worked in private practice in Chattanooga, TN for roughly six years before joining Banfield. I now live just outside Cincinnati with my wife of 16 years and our two sons. We have a rambunctious ten-month-old lab mix puppy, Lucy, and two troublesome kittens—Loki and Luna. I also have a 14-year-old Jungle Carpet Python named Narcissa. I love hiking and camping, reading, baseball (watching, not playing), and watching movies.
Why have you stayed with Banfield for almost a decade?
I came to Banfield in 2011 for the superior compensation and benefits they offered and soon fell in love with this practice. It provided an opportunity to learn, grow, and stretch myself every day. At first, it was about becoming a better doctor—improving my medical and surgical skills far beyond what I could do previously. But soon, I developed a love of leadership. Over the last several years, I have been able to pursue my real passion for helping ensure every veterinarian at Banfield has the time, space, and resources they need to be successful, fulfilled, healthy, and happy. I’ve had an amazing experience here.
What does your day-to-day look like?
I spend most of my time connecting with hospital leaders, helping them support their doctors and deliver the best care. Through in-person, virtual, and electronic connections, we discuss opportunities, conduct root cause analysis, and develop solutions. I also have the opportunity to connect with veterinarians and students interested in our practice, helping find them the best position within our practice.
What different jobs/roles have you had at Banfield? What did you love and/or learn from each one?
My first position at Banfield was as a senior student extern in our Brentwood hospital before becoming an associate veterinarian in Chattanooga in 2011. This position allowed me to be the lead doctor in a hospital, improve my medical and surgical skills, and get my first taste of leadership. As a team, we were able to work together to achieve amazing results. My next position was as a Chief of Staff and eventually an Area Chief of Staff. Those positions gave me an incredible opportunity to continue practicing medicine while supporting other doctors. I truly enjoyed positively impacting the work-life of my team and watching them grow and develop into a fantastic group of doctors. I am still close friends with many of them.
My current role challenges me every day. While I loved the feeling of being able to impact a handful of doctors positively, I wanted to know if I could do the same thing for a much larger group. I now support two markets covering six states with more than 100 doctors. I love having the opportunity to help and support so many people in our profession.
What excites you most about your work with Banfield as a Director of Veterinary Quality (DVQ)?
I’m most excited about the continual process of improving our practice. We have redefined what preventive care looks like and positively changed people and pets’ lives in the process. Other practices are now following that example and improving their preventative care approach as well. We continue to improve with our Veterinary Technicians and their new role as pet care providers, our virtual care visits, and our health and well-being program and initiatives. These are exciting changes in the world of veterinary medicine, and we hope it impacts the entire profession. I love being on the front lines of these revolutionary ideas.
If someone is interested in pursuing a DVQ role, What career tips would you give?
The most critical skill for a DVQ, in my opinion, is the ability to connect with people quickly and build relationships. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care, and it’s important that our people, especially our veterinarians, feel how much we care for them. They need to know we are here to advocate for them and ensure they have the tools and resources to succeed. I also think it’s important to motivate people by connecting them to our mission. Helping them see the impact they have is incredibly important.
What’s your favorite way to spend time outside of work?
I spend a lot of time with my family—my boys are very active, and I love spending time with them. Before the pandemic, I loved going to the movies and would see 2-3 movies a week. I still like to go as often as I can.