March is Women’s History Month, but at Roo, we are proud to celebrate and empower women throughout the year. Roo is proud to be a company with a majority women leadership team. We took this opportunity to interview some of our amazing women leaders about what Women’s History Month means to them!
What does Women’s History Month mean to you?
Alex: Women’s History Month, to me, is about honoring the women who came before us and opened doors so EVERYONE in today’s society can have more choices on how to live their lives. It’s also about reflecting on how we today can continue to promote an equitable society.
Charlotte: It’s a great time to take in all of the trailblazers before us and to take measure on the distance left to go even in 2023.
Dana: It is a time to reflect on the contributions of the women who came before us and who strived to make a better world for everyone.
Kimmy: Women’s History Month is a time to celebrate and acknowledge all the hard work we’ve accomplished and all the work we still have to do for women out there. 💪🏽
Mandi: An opportunity for recognition of how far women have come and the women who fought for it.
As an industry that consists of over 70% women, it’s important that we continue to uplift and empower woman-identifying veterinarians. Despite being a female-dominated industry, veterinary practice ownership is still largely a position held by men. It’s important to look to remaining opportunities for gender equity and progress as we celebrate those who have come before us.
What does women’s empowerment & gender equity mean for you in the workplace?
Alex: In the workplace, gender equity can mean ensuring women are given equal time to speak in meetings and are equally represented among company leaders. Additionally, paid leave policies for parents can help promote equity at the workplace and at home.
Charlotte: It’s about opportunity, drive, heart, and hustle. It’s about achieving it because you believe it and removing the superficial roadblocks placed due to gender vs. competence.
Dana: To me, it means being encouraged to grow and being fearless in your professional and personal development. It also means being given equal opportunities and access to the tools and mentorship necessary for that growth while being compensated fairly.
Kimmy: Women’s empowerment is the opportunity for those that identify as women to be given equal access to everything—from legal rights to a seat at the table. Gender equity means giving women a fair space at the work level through providing equal pay and benefits that will help females adapt better in the workforce to accommodate life changes such as growing a family.
Mandi: Gender equity in the workplace has given great opportunities for all of us no matter our gender.
Although strides have been made, many barriers and biases still exist toward women in the workplace. When it comes to women’s empowerment, those in leadership positions have an opportunity to ensure that every member of their team is treated equitably and fairly. It’s also crucial that all voices and perspectives are valued and heard in conference rooms, brainstorming sessions, and HR initiatives.
How does Roo help empower women? How do you, as a leader, help work towards this?
Roo’s revolutionary relief platform allows users to take control of their careers and lives. Parents of newborns, stay-at-home parents, and mothers easing back into their careers after childbirth can all benefit from the freedom and flexibility that Roo provides.
Alex: Roo empowers women from the very top with 64% of leadership being women, including our CEO. As a leader, I work to ensure Roo’s employees’ needs are being met and encourage them to achieve their goals. In an industry that is 55-60% women, our platform can help women achieve greater control and flexibility over their careers so no matter the stage of life they’re in, there are options.
Charlotte: Roo’s innovative response to a major industry bottleneck prevalent in a female-led field of childbearing age in 2023 has facilitated the seamless continuation of their veterinary careers and connected multiple hospitals with veterinarians instantly. Roo allows the single mom, the retired DVM, and the part-time returning parent to choose where and when they want to work and maintain a high quality of life. Internally, Roo’s leadership is predominately female and continues to strive to grow, develop, and engage with female industry leaders. As a leader, I encourage my team to envision their next ideal role and utilize their current skills paired with coached/acquired skills to achieve success. Management is about building up your team, accelerating growth and development, failing together, learning from failures, and pivoting to drive success. The women on my team have the grit, determination, heart, and hustle to achieve anything they want, and my job is to ensure they get there. We are relentless 🙂
Dana: We empower our female veterinarians to be able to take control of their lives and schedules to allow them to maintain a balance that might not be so readily available. We empower each other to do the right thing while helping to uplift each other and the business.
Kimmy: Roo empowers women by recognizing changes in our nation that have impacted women’s rights. They offer benefits to expand coverage for our female staff and give us an opportunity to feel safe in today’s ever-changing world.
Mandi: Roo supports us in learning, teaching, guidance, and empathy. I try to help with empathy and encouragement with all my co-workers.
Here at Roo, we know it’s important for employees to feel supported by their workplace and to feel like they have all of the resources necessary to make the best choices for themselves.
What is something that vets/techs/practice owners can do to create a more inclusive and diverse space for their clients and employees?
Charlotte: The feeling of inclusion is brought about by comfort and support. I suggest teams strive to create a comfortable, welcoming, and supportive environment for all of their employees. This ranges from design (nursing rooms), to schedules (childcare pickup), to creature comforts (healthy snacks), to tone and work culture (R-E-S-P-E-C-T). For clients, invite them into their pet’s health journey, give the “why” behind the recommendations, and work with them to understand their expectations, struggles, and concerns. A clean and aesthetically-pleasing hospital and refreshments are a great start, but the game changer is the time spent, attention given, and education provided. It’s about authenticity and integrity and staying true to always doing what is best for the pet.
Dana: It’s important to lead with empathy and listen to others to ensure that they feel comfortable.
Mandi: Provide education and guidance without judgment, acknowledge the inequity in the predominately female vet industry, and find solutions to help female staff have a better experience.
There are a number of societal barriers and biases that still exist, and it’s important to acknowledge what people may have gone through as a result of these while focusing on what you can do to help surpass these longstanding issues. Fair pay, equitable treatment, and supportive leadership are just a few of the ways you can help.
Some personal stories shared by Roo employees:
Charlotte: Twelve years ago, I left my friends and family in Northeast Connecticut, packed up my Sphynx, Smeagol, my soul dog, Bella, and took a role as Practice Manager at an uber-successful boutique clinic in the heart of Houston, Texas. I immediately saw the amount of opportunity in our field while in booming Houston, and I knew I had the drive, grit, and endurance to push for change and innovation. Three veterinary startups later, I successfully opened my veterinary hospital with my partner at the very location I left home for eleven years previously. How? My tribe—over the past 20 years, I have worked with the most AMAZING women in the industry. We all had the drive, the heart, and the hustle to succeed. We all love the veterinary field and the people in it, which is why Roo is such a passion project for me. A company that authentically strives for empowerment, support, and community in the veterinary field? I’m all in, and Roo was too… When the opportunity arose to launch the clinic of my dreams, Roo allowed me the personal time necessary to accomplish a lifelong dream and without hesitation. I took months building out my veterinary dream team, and a year later, I can say with utmost pride that twelve years ago, I set a goal in relocating from Connecticut to Houston as a single female entrepreneur to make an impact, and I did. I now own and operate a premier veterinary practice in Houston. What was once a dream became my reality, and that reality is thanks to all the other powerhouse women I have worked with and continue to work with along the way. A huge thank you to Erin Rice, Jessica Flores, Dr. Robin Paddock, Dr. Stephanie Kennedy, Jessica Merritt, Dr. Jane Tommey, and Dr. Cynthia Smith who all supported me throughout my vet med career, early on and to date.
Kimmy: When I was recruited by Roo, I didn’t know if the timing was right because I’d just had my second son, and we were dealing with the roller coaster of the pandemic with kids at home. During the interview process, I was asked about any reservations I had before coming to Roo by the CEO. I was honest and said I had little ones and that I wasn’t sure if it was the best time for me. Lisa said, as long as you don’t go missing for two weeks without telling me it’s fine. I laughed. Little did I know, Lisa was expecting herself, but she stayed true to her word and offered me a job that has the perfect work-life balance. It’s so helpful to have leadership that has family and that is super understanding. Roo is extremely special and emphasizes work-life balance for our internal employees, just how we promote and support it for the vet industry as a whole.
Mandi: Roo has given me so many tools to expand my knowledge and grow as a person. I was once told I needed to pay a “female tax” and a “mom tax” in life. As sad as that sounded, I used every opportunity I had in my life to chip away at that “tax” and make it easier for any other women. During my career, I’ve leaned into organizations that reflect the benefits and flexibilities workplaces should provide to help women be able to grow in their careers.
Thank you to all of the women who help make Roo and the veterinary industry so amazing! We appreciate all you do, and we support you!