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MY STORY

From technician to HR Partner for 100+ hospitals. 

Gaining HR expertise specific to the veterinary profession.

At my core, is a love and respect for our people, patients, clients, and hospitals.

 
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CAROLYN BECKER

CVPM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CVT

I am passionate about aligning HR strategies with practice culture and developing HR skills among leadership teams through training and situational guidance. 


The veterinary profession brings unique challenges in many areas, including people.  In my consulting work, I extend my expertise in Human Resources, my deep understanding of veterinary hospital dynamics and my desire to make a difference. 


My guiding principle is to do what is best for our people, patients, clients, and the practice.  It is truly an honor for me to support the people in the veterinary profession who work so hard to enhance the lives of pets and their families.

 

VETERINARY FOCUSED HR EXPERTISE

My unusual journey through veterinary medicine allows me to provide HR support to veterinary practices,
from the perspective of an insider.  This is my story.

 

ENTERING THE VETERINARY WORLD

I was not one of those kids who always wanted to be a veterinarian.  I wanted to do something with animals, and always had a strong pull towards the sciences.  However, despite being a strong student, I actually didn't love school all that much.   

In fact, my journey into veterinary medicine began my freshman year at Colorado State University, while working at an animal shelter.  Caring for animals in need fed my soul, in a way that was lacking in my introductory animal science courses.  Recognizing early that I needed to change direction, I switched to a veterinary technician program and became a Certified Veterinary Technician. 

I discovered a love of veterinary medicine and nursing care, and never looked back.

 

GRASS ROOTS TO LEADERSHIP

I began my career as a CVT at a tiny, one doctor mixed animal practice, and quickly realized I wanted more advanced medicine.  I then went to work for Deer Creek Animal Hospital in Littleton, CO in 1999, learning advanced technical skills in emergency medicine, critical care, surgery, anesthesia, and dentistry.  During my many years, Deer Creek grew to a 24 hour emergency / general practice, flourishing with 16 doctors and 70 support staff.

I grew as well, moving into managerial roles of technician supervisor, then Human Resources Manager.  As my understanding of veterinary hospital dynamics deepened, I continued to gravitate toward a people relations focus.  Like all practices, we went through significant struggles with communication and teamwork.  It was a real challenge to maintain cohesion in a group of 85 people.  However, even through our biggest hurdles, I knew that people are always at the core of exceptional patient care and client service.  I advocated for creating and preserving a positive hospital culture.

I also came to understand that management is different than leadership.  I encouraged others to think for themselves, and to make decisions in the best interest of the team.  People sought my advice, telling me they valued my mentorship, and appreciated my fair and unbiased perspective.  I gained fulfillment by truly listening to people, and communicating in a way that was meaningful to them.  

I found my niche in the people relations aspect of veterinary practice management.

 

CERTIFICATION ALPHABET SOUP

CVPM, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CVT

Along the way, I earned a few certifications in addition to my CVT.  Certification is about the process of learning more than the letters.  Earning my HR certifications and Certified Veterinary Practice Manager certification broadened my proficiency, giving me additional resources and skills to better support people.


However, my practical experience in the hospital has been an integral aspect of my background.  I lean back on my experience as a CVT every single day.  It is this insider's understanding that remains the greatest foundation of my knowledge.

 

HR SUPPORT FOR 100+ VETERINARY HOSPITALS

My 16 years as CVT and HR Manager at Deer Creek culminated with my promotion to Director of HR for CAPNA in 2015.  Deer Creek was one of the founding practices of CAPNA (Companion Animal Practices North America).  When CAPNA centralized the administrative aspects of the company, I moved beyond single practice HR support, and was responsible for building out the CAPNA HR department and functions.  I had direction and oversight of standardization of HR processes for our group of 56 multi-state practices.  It was a rough road creating unity among so many practices that had previously been independent.  We focused on building trust and listening to our practice leaders.  Over time, common goals came into sharper focus, and we became unified in our vision.

As CAPNA grew to 85 practices, I directed the HR integration for each newly acquired practice, by evaluating their existing HR processes, and assimilating them into CAPNA.  A large part of my role as Director of HR was to educate CAPNA's Practice Managers and Hospital Directors on best practices.  I created and presented more than 20 different HR topics, to groups ranging from 10 to over 100.


During my time as Director of HR, CAPNA was acquired, and then fully integrated into VCA, and subsequently MARS.  In early 2019, I transitioned into the role of HR Partner for VCA, and supported 100+ veterinary hospitals with their HR needs.  I provided guidance on performance management and discipline, had oversight over all employee terminations, interpreted company policy, received and responded to employee concerns, ensured compliance with engagement in the interactive process and accommodations, advocated for fair and consistent treatment of employees, and supported and mentored the hospital leaders.

The experience and wealth of knowledge I gained as Director of HR for CAPNA, and as HR Partner for VCA, has been invaluable.  I've worked with some incredibly talented people along the way.  I now find fulfillment in sharing my expertise in a consulting capacity.