Crystal Stokes

Crystal supports individuals & teams with a special focus on the vet med profession in applying evid

Operating as usual


My guest for episode #10 is Jeff Deckman- a coach with a primary focus on Conscious Leadership. Jeff shares his career journey as what he describes as jumping off a cliff and building wings on the way down.

We discuss conscious leadership and how it can impact you and your team, how your industry influences your personal leadership style, and talk about challenges leaders face.

Check out the full episode here:


"If there is ever a time to really change our industry, it's right now. We can either keep trying to do it the same way or we can accept that this is where we are and we can start being really creative to think about how things can be done differently."

In this episode Dr. Kelly and Dr. Robert Hutchison from White Whiskers Aging Pet Care address the challenges that our dogs and cats (and we as veterinarians) often face in the traditional model of care.

Which challenges do veterinarians face in our industry? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.


Something very important to Dr. Pam is veterinarians taking control in the profession. This means more veterinarians should be in leadership positions in facilities and businesses. Veterinarians in leadership roles lead to a more understanding and cohesive industry where burnout and overworking are not happening. Like every person on the planet, veterinarians need money to survive and thrive in the world, so making money and building wealth is not greedy, it's important.


For today’s episode, my guest is Ron Sosa, who has worked in the veterinary profession for the last 20 years. We are discussing a subtle struggle within the mental health crisis, neurodiversity, and undiagnosed neurodiverse team members in the veterinary profession.

If you’re someone who is thinking this could be you or someone you know you may be wondering if there are clear ways to get support. While every individual is different, Ron shares his insights on what symptoms he experienced they helped him reach an accurate diagnosis. Ron also talks about the things you can do to help your team members who might be struggling with a mental health crisis.

Check out the full episode to learn more about the veterinary mental health crisis, supporting neurodiverse team members, and recognizing signs of neurodiversity.


Galaxy Vet Foundation, the non-profit arm of Galaxy Vets has taken the initiative to provide help where they can. They are currently providing free telehealth and telemedicine to pet owners in Ukraine. This is supported by volunteer veterinarians, vet techs, and vet assistants. Not only is telehealth important in emergent situations like war-torn Ukraine but the use of telehealth and even teletriage is so useful in North America as we try to reduce burdens on clinics and veterinary staff.


❓What are the 3 things you need to start doing now in order to build trust with your team members?

➡️In this episode with leadership cultivator and best-selling author, Steve Scheier we talked about the ways to build trust, how to get comfortable with power and find your vision.

🤔 I’m curious to hear from you- what do you think every leader should be doing in order to build trust with their teams? Write it down in the comments. 👇

🎙️ Interested in hearing more? Check out the full episode with Steve to learn more about creating conversations around power and why it shouldn’t make you nervous, the four parts of Steve’s book, and why you should advocate for power.


The war in Ukraine is still ongoing and the effect on animals, pet owners, and veterinarians in the country is serious and shocking. The Galaxy Vet Foundation, the non-profit arm of Galaxy Vets, has started an initiative to help Ukraine by providing FREE telehealth to pet owners. Director of the foundation Dr. Andrew Ciccolini and telehealth volunteer Dr. Kelly Cooper, share about this program and how you can help these animals and owners in war-torn Ukraine.

Listen to the full episode here:


The ACE [Adverse Childhood Experience] assessment, can help identify common childhood traumas that can indicate risks in adulthood as well as explain coping, and trauma responses you may be experiencing. 12.5% of adults in the US have 4 or more ACE indicators. Trauma-informed leadership and care in the veterinary space are so important because not only is it likely for your co-workers to be affected by trauma but your clients too. When you understand your trauma and the fact that others around you may have similar indicators, you can approach situations with care and grace.


👉 Often people that enter the helping professions are highly empathetic. And that sometimes goes hand in hand with weaker boundaries, like feeling so much empathy for the other person. This is why it's crucial for veterinary medicine professionals to learn how to set boundaries and expectations.

🚫 Setting boundaries means setting limits on what you will and won't do. It's important to define the limits of your work with clients so that you can be clear about how much time and energy you're willing to give them.

➡️ My guest for this episode is Tianna Crane, who is a certified veterinary technician working in the veterinary field for over 20 years, working now as a practice manager in a small animal hospital.

🎙️ Check out episode #7 where we talk all about challenges that leaders and teams are facing in the veterinary industry, possible changes to improve culture in their workplace, and we also have a special advice from Tina.

Listen to the episode here 👉


A lot of toxicity in the veterinary space can be relayed back to individual trauma responses from even microtrauma during childhood. Dr. Phil Richmond shares his journey of trauma discovery and how he is coping with his past trauma responses as well as helping others use trauma-informed leadership and care to provide and receive support in the field.

Listen to the full episode here:


With 27 years as a Veterinary Medicine professional, Andrea Tschakert has seen the industry change, morph, and come back. She describes the path of vet med as a figure 8. Over time she has gained insight on two big topics, Culture and Cash. Andrea has great ways she improves her clinic culture as a practice manager, including marrying the cultures of old and new. She has a lot of great ideas and a passion for the field that is truly inspiring.


👉 In this episode with Sheera Bursch, we talk all about building systems for streamlining communication and organization, what to look for when hiring your ideal candidate, and challenges in the veterinary industry.

✅ We also discussed positive examples of leadership and relationship between doctors and lead technicians and tech assists.

💻 Sheera works in a remote leadership position for a veterinary hospital and her position involves inventory management, HR duties including payroll and employee benefits, as well as developing and fine-tuning critical processes for the hospital's operations.

Check out the full episode here:


As a new veterinarian post-graduation in 2012, Dr. Amanda Ensor had bright expectations and big goals for her career. Unfortunately, her experience was met with a toxic vet culture that crushed her dreams. Dr. Ensor did not let that stop her as she persevered through the next 10 years of her career. Today she shares her journey of how she overcame her own lack of mentorship to become a full-time mentor to new veterinarians. For her, this stage in her career is about manifesting the mentorship she herself needed but did not receive.


👉 What is your niche in the veterinary medicine profession? What sets you apart from other veterinarians? What sets you apart from your colleagues? 🤔

🔎 Finding your niche within the field of veterinary medicine can be a long and difficult process, however, it will help you in developing the working style that suits you most. It also helps you find your dream clients. ✅

➡️ Listen to this episode with Dr. Kelly and Dr. Robert Hutchison ( White Whiskers Aging Pet Care) where we talk all about pricing services, setting boundaries, and advocating for yourself in business. 💯

Check out the episode here:


Most veterinarians out there can relate to at least some part of Dr. Amanda Ensor’s story. Dr. Ensor shares how the toxic vet culture she experienced at the beginning of her career paved the path to joining a mentorship program for new vets. Now from a general practitioner to a full-time mentor, Dr. Ensor provides the important guidance and support that she never received.

Listen to the full episode here:


Oftentimes promotion to a leadership or management role in a hospital comes from within the existing staff. Suddenly you're expected to manage your peers, which can be intimidating and overwhelming, especially when you’re not provided the training, support, or resources you need. You are not alone and don’t rush to leave your position. There is information and support available if you just ask!


➡️ As a leader in the veterinary medicine profession, it is important to understand how others perceive you.

👀 The way you see yourself might be different from the way your co-workers perceive you. Self-awareness is more than being aware of yourself independently but also taking in information about how you’re perceived by others and what you’re going to do about it. 🤔

🎙️ In this episode, Katrina Busselle shares her thoughts about how leadership follows you from life to work, what to do when you find difficulty accepting help, fixing your struggle with perception, and last but not least Katrina’s big secret to productivity. 🤫

Check out the episode here:


Dr. Ira Gordon loved veterinary medicine but the burden of running his practice and trying to manage all aspects was simply impossible. His journey led him to become the Chief Veterinary Officer of Vetcelerator. Vetcelerator is a company that takes on all of the managerial and backend responsibilities for independent practice owners so that they can focus on what they love: Vet Medicine. The kicker? They do not take ANY ownership. With Vetcelerator, YOU maintain ownership and the final say in all decisions made for your clinic.


Being Led VS Being Managed in Veterinary Industry

Have you ever had a leader that has an idea of the truth, and it's their way or the highway? 🤔

➡️ In this episode, Sharon Sperry, the founder of Better Nature of Work, shares her perspective on being led vs being managed. 🤝

➡️ When being led well, Sharon has felt this happens to take place in a co-leadership role. However, when leaders who hold all the strings when it comes to organization, management, and strategy tend to lose their "followers”. 📉

➡️ Listen to the whole episode to learn more about leadership styles, the 5 dimensions of leadership, and finding your style. 🎙️


Do you often wonder how you can continue doing the things you love in veterinary medicine without worrying about the burdensome responsibilities that come with clinic ownership? Dr. Ira Gordon joins me to share about Vetcelerator, a company that works with vet clinics to take over clinic management without taking any ownership. Dr. Gordon shares success stories and how Vetcelerator can help prevent veterinary burnout in struggling clinic owners.

Listen to the full episode here:


Top-of-the-market salary, No non-competes, No commission-based pay, Equity in the company, and Burnout Prevention are just some of the extrinsic motivators for Galaxy Vets. Their purpose is to prevent and decrease burnout in the veterinary domain and they have defined their two missions as returning veterinary medicine back to veterinary professionals and providing access to care. These cover big problems in the veterinary industry for both employees and clients!


👉 Pricing yourself appropriately in veterinary medicine can be a tricky business. As an owner or manager of a business, you are frequently faced with decisions on how much to charge for services and products. ⚖️

🏷️ However, this is only one aspect of being able to run a successful practice. Pricing yourself properly is also important if you want to attract new clients (and keep current ones) by offering competitive pricing, especially when offering a range of services. 🙌

Dr. Kelly and Dr. Robert Hutchison are the founders of White Whiskers Aging Pet Care in Colorado Springs, CO. 🐶 🐱

➡️ Listen to this episode and learn more about the special pricing model Dr. Kelly and Dr. Robert Hutchison use in their business. ✅


Sabrina encourages hospital and clinic owners to prioritize the people in their practice because it truly pays off. When team members are happy, doing what they love to do, in a place they love to be, it affects clientele and the bottom line in a big, positive way.


👉 Building a safe space for veterinary medicine professionals requires an environment where they feel safe, comfortable, and respected while being able to live up to their highest potential. 💯

Dr. Cheryl Roth and Dr. Kristin Gerard are the co-founders of Guardian Veterinary Care, a revolutionary, people-first practice. 🙌

➡️ Listen to this episode and learn more about their approach and the special practice in the Veterinary Community. 🐱 🐶


Mentorship is so important to new veterinarians. Ready, Vet, Go is a 6-month formal program designed in conjunction with clinics to mentor and support new grads. Dr. Dani works with vets with an average of 0 to 2 years of experience as they acclimate to new positions. A staggering 30% of new grads leave their jobs in the first year. Ready, Vet, Go’s goal is to work with clinics and new vets to train and retain them, decreasing turnover.


Servant Leadership is all about empowering each individual to be their best and get what they need. For Christina, her people are her priority. She leads her team with their interests and needs at the forefront. As someone who has been in many positions across the community, she is a manager who knows what it's like to be managed and that gives her a unique advantage when it comes to supporting her team.


Long gone is the place for Authoritarian style leaders, the current state of Vet Medicine shows there is a need for Servant Leadership. Christina Delgado, a long-time member of the veterinary medicine community, is a multi-clinic manager and management coach and she is good at what she does. Christina shares tips and advice about her leadership approach and the value in investing in your team.

Listen to the full episode here:





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