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Leading as a Field Director in New York

Field Director Xuxa Bakal has more than a decade of experience at Banfield supporting doctors. We had a wonderful conversation with her about her journey with Banfield, her approach to supporting health and wellbeing, and her favorite things to do outside of work. Read her story.

Can you walk us through your journey with Banfield?

I started as a Client Service Coordinator (CSC) at a charter Banfield and quickly worked my way into a leadership role. I consider myself a servant leader, and I don’t need a title to lead a group of people. I then became a Practice Manager around the same time we became part of Mars Veterinary Health. I was a Practice Manager for about four years until I became a multi-unite leader in my current role as Field Director.

My words to express my experience with Banfield and Mars are development, growth, support, empowerment, creativity, and many more.

I have grown as an individual and leader more than I could have imagined in the past ten years, and I am blessed to call this my home and look forward to furthering my career with the Mars family.

Outside of work, what are your favorite activities to do in the New Jersey/New York area? 

I love to be with my family. They are my “center,” and without them, I could not be where I am. I spend most of my time with my two girls, but my hobbies are dancing and working out. 

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

Operationally, the start of the day is around 8 am. A day can look two different ways: they are either in surgery for part of the morning, seeing patient appointments in the afternoon, or seeing appointments all day without surgery. 50 percent of their caseload is preventive care, and the other 50 percent is with sick patients. 

Depending on their caseload, they usually have a team of one or two veterinary assistants and veterinary technicians supporting them. One or two receptionists handle client scheduling and other client-related needs, and a Practice Manager takes anything and everything outside of the medicine to ensure the doctors have all they need to focus on just the medicine part with their patients.

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

Absolutely! Now more than ever, we have Spring Health, a great resource available to all of our associates, and we talk about it in huddles, market calls, 1:1s, etc. We also encourage our teams to engage in activities that can improve their health and wellbeing while working, such as stretching, meditation, engagement, and more.

You have been with Banfield for over five years. What has kept you here, and what has evolved with the practice since you started?

I have been with Banfield for 10 years and look forward to 10 more. Banfield is a company that listens to its people, takes the feedback, and makes changes. It is an environment where development and growth are encouraged by everyone in the organization, and that is why I stay!

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