We invite you to take a peek into part of what makes the Uncharted Veterinary Community so unique: our members! We sat down to interview some of the amazing people who have joined us on our amazing journey since the first conference in 2017. This week's interview is with Amanda Schwarzwalder! Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
For the last 10 years, I have been the senior veterinary behavior technician and practice manager at The Behavior Clinic in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. I'm an RVT, Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner and Veterinary Technician Specialist in Behavior. As if that wasn't a mouthful, I will be taking my CVPM exam in the next 12 months! I have had a blessed career of always being in the right place at the right time – I've worked in general practice, done relief work, taught in veterinary nursing programs, and owned my own business.
I started lecturing at national veterinary conferences when I was all of 23 – I still can't believe someone gave me a mic and podium at that age! I still love to teach at conferences, travel, read, and garden. My husband and I live in Wooster, Ohio where we both grew up. We have 2 German Shorthaired Pointers – Brego & Moose and 4 cats – Bruce, Joe, Bentley, and Sylvester. No kids, but 4 crazy nieces who are always getting dropped off with us for some reason – we like to think it's because we're fun, but it may just be convenient.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
Having been part of professional organizations and management groups all my career, I was looking for something different and out of the box. I manage a stand-alone, brick and mortar, veterinary behavior facility with veterinarians and credentialed technicians – we were the first in the U.S. to use this model. Being first is scary, you get things right, you make mistakes. In looking at Uncharted, I saw a lot of other pioneers and people who weren't afraid to say “hey, this may work, it may not” as well as provide a word of encouragement. Ultimately, the culture of Uncharted and the focus on having a positive community was what really made the biggest impact. This is a group of helpers and people who thrive on building each other up.
What are your 2 favorite groups in the Uncharted Workplace community and why?
I love the management group and the wellness group. Management is the obvious one, it's what I do, and what I'm passionate about. The discussions that come up are always timely, positive and I love that the solution isn't always terminating the employee, which is what you see in some other places. The focus is a lot more on business, culture, and support for our teams and each other. The wellness group has been a bit of a surprise. Members are able to talk openly about concerns without judgment and those who reply, genuinely listen, and care. There's meditation, yoga, and lots of positives that people share. It's nice to pop on mid-day and see the good things that someone shared about their day when you're feeling not that great about yours.
Who is one of your favorite people you’ve met through Uncharted and why?
This is so tough! I still feel like a relative newbie to the group end there are SO many wonderful people. If I could only pick one, I'd have to say the infamous Stephanie Goss. Her laugh makes me smile every time I hear it! And anyone who can talk me off a ledge about bad employee behavior on a Friday night with her kids running around in the background just deserves a medal! Jamie Holms has to get a mention – again, fantastic sense of humor, great taste in art, and she is just an amazing human who checks in if you're having a bad day as if you've known her forever. The people are what makes Uncharted so special!
What is your current work related goal?
Achieving my CVPM. This has been a long time goal that I had even before becoming a VTS (Behavior). It's very exciting to see it all come together and to know that I'm 1 exam away from achieving it!
What is your favorite hobby and how did you discover it? Would you recommend it to others?
Beach glass collecting. There is something about wandering a pebbly beach, listening to the water move along the shoreline, and looking for tiny pieces of green, blue, white, or brown hidden in the pebbles or sand. It becomes almost entrancing and you begin to tune out all the other things banging around in your head, focusing your attention on the task at hand. It's also a lot of fun to see the other weather-beaten items like pieces of porcelain, tile, or brick. I started collecting my first time to Maine in the 1990s and ever since I am always looking if I'm near a body of water. You never know what you will find and now my husband is addicted as well – although there may be some competition involved now as to who finds the most unique pieces!
Do you have a dream for your career? What is it?
Is retirement a dream? Seriously, I would love to have an ownership stake in our practice. I love the challenge of figuring out what we're going to do next, how to surpass our client's needs and grow behavior services in our practice that support the veterinary community.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Amanda by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!