Meet the 2017 Practice Manager of the Year, Rebecca Rowe

Meet the 2017 Practice Manager of the Year, Rebecca Rowe

From part-time veterinary receptionist to this year’s recipient of the dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year award, here’s how Rebecca Rowe earned the title.
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Dec 08, 2017

Practice Manager of the Year Rebecca Rowe, CVPM, with dvm360 Business Channel Director Brendan Howard.

Rebecca Rowe, CVPM, has accomplished a lot since she was promoted to practice manager at Seven Hills Pet Clinic in Loveland, Ohio. After dealing mostly with financial matters once she started, Rowe worked her way through hospital operations helping to improve and standardize how her clinic functions.

Now she’s the 2017 dvm360/Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) Practice Manager of the Year.

As part of her entry, Rowe talked about how she changed her clinic’s suggestion box to be used by team members instead of clients, then putting those suggestions to work in team meetings. She launched a satellite clinic for her hospital, where they rented office space and ran the clinic as a wellness center 15 minutes from the main hospital. Along with these, she shared tons of examples of running better meetings and keeping up on continuing education. All of these set her up to be this year’s winner.

And when she found out she won?

“I was surprised and elated,” Rowe says. “Especially after reading stories about the other finalists. We’re lucky to have so many wonderful leaders in the veterinary community.

“I want to thank dvm360 and the VHMA, who have given me this award and generous prizes,” she says. “I’m looking forward to the VHMA events in 2018. They’ll be a great opportunity to meet other managers and share ideas. This is a great honor and a way for me to stay connected to the veterinary community.”

After receiving a surprise phone call from current VHMA President Jim Nash, VHMA Executive Director Christine Shupe and outgoing VHMA President Brian Conrad, CVPM, as well as dvm360 Business Channel Director Brendan Howard, Rowe says she was rendered speechless: “I couldn’t believe it. After the call, I texted my husband, family and friends, then I went out for a nice dinner to celebrate.”

“Rebecca is an outstanding practice manager because she’s so solution-focused,” says Shupe. “She’s not deterred by setbacks or challenges. She concentrates on the actions that will move the situation forward.”

And now that she’s been named Practice Manager of the Year, Rowe says there’s much more she’d like to accomplish.

“One threat that looms over us all is another economic downturn,” Rowe says. “In the recession of 2008, we tightened our belts and became more efficient. But, so did our clients. They began consulting with the internet rather than their vet. They also started spending less on preventive medicine.”

That’s a problem most veterinary practices are experiencing, and one this practice manager has thoughts about.

“We and our clients have carried these lessons into the current market. So, it’s our job to help our clients look to us for their answers again,” Rowe says. “One way to do this is through better customer care. Make your clients want to come to see you.

“Our veterinary hospitals offer expertise and manufacturer-backed guarantees,” she says. “Clients can’t get that at the supermarket.”

These seem like daunting problems to take on, but Rowe has confidence in herself as well as the rest of the veterinary profession.

“Challenge is good,” she says. “When we work in a challenging environment we become better, more productive and less wasteful. My friend has a favorite saying: ‘Calm waters never make a good sailor.’”

Nash seems to agree with Rowe’s determination and confidence in change.

“Rebecca is an incredible practice manager who is raising the bar for her team and colleagues,” he says. “She’s the example of how VHMA members are making a difference in our communities and our industry. Practice Manager of the Year is a well-deserved award for someone as committed to success as Rebecca.”