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 Dr. Bruce Francke, a veterinarian from Michigan! Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I'm from Essexville, Michigan, a small town in Northern Michigan. I was raised by two wonderful parents, both animal lovers. My brother Brad and I both attended Michigan State University and became veterinarians. I've been practicing for 29 years, and am an owner of Bay Animal Hospital, a small animal practice founded in 1956 that took care of our pets growing up. My wife Leslie and I will celebrate our 30th Anniversary in August, and we have two amazing children, two beautiful grandchildren, five dogs, and a horse. I am most proud of the people in my life, my family, my friends and my amazing work team. Their unwavering support has been directly responsible for any success I've had in veterinary practice and life in general.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
I was a Founding Member and owe that opportunity to a chance meeting with Dr. Andy Roark. We attended a Detroit Tigers baseball game and there was a THREE HOUR rain delay! We had a long conversation about veterinary practice, the current state of our profession, our families, you name it. I tend to gravitate toward people based on the quality of their character, and not so much by what they do. By the end of our conversation, I was convinced that Andy was the “real deal.” He truly was interested in the well-being of this profession we all love. He told me that he was inviting a small group of veterinary professionals to this conference that he was putting together. He told me that it would be different than anything I'd ever been to. At the time, I was looking for motivation and inspiration. The big dreams I had for my practice were not matched by my local veterinary colleagues. I felt a bit like I was on an island, and frankly a little bored with practice. I needed to find a group of high-achieving veterinary peers to surround myself with, but I didn't know how to do so. I took a chance and gave Andy my e-mail, he followed up, I enrolled, started engaging in the online community, then finally got on a plane to Greenville! None of us in the Founding group knew what to expect. We took a chance, and by the time I left the registration table, I was absolutely convinced that this was going to change my professional life for the better! It has!!
What is your current work-related goal?
Oh, wow! SO many! I guess I'll say to finally complete our transition to a paperless practice and to start planning for our next expansion.
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
I can say that I've been able to present at two international veterinary conferences now! It's something I've always known I'd have the ability to do, but never thought I'd have the opportunity to do! I'm grateful to UVC for that!
What are your 2 favorite groups in the Uncharted Workplace community and why?
Although I love the fact that we see all positions on the veterinary team as equal in UVC, the Practice Owners Group gives me a place to occasionally seek solutions to issues that may be best understood by another owner. Also a shout out to my Anchor Gang peeps (Anchor Gange is a health and fitness community inside the Uncharted Community), some of the most inspirational folks you can be around, and an absolute pleasure to run with at the conferences!
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
Dr. Saye Clement helps me all the time with practice decisions! We have so much in common! We are close to the same age (she's younger btw), have the same size practice, we are both visionary leaders who like to “chase shiny objects.” We see the World in such a similar way that I always call her when I need advice! When I was recently approached by the MSU CVM about exploring teaching opportunities there, she understood completely and she encouraged me to continue exploring ways I could balance my teaching bug with the needs of my current practice. This is something I'm actively working on.
Who is one of your favorite people you’ve met through Uncharted?
I could answer this question a dozen times over with equal enthusiasm! It's tough to mention just one. I have never been able to accept praise or recognition in my life very well. I'm not comfortable being recognized, accepting compliments, or taking any credit for the good things that happen in my life. My parents taught me that a lot more good would happen in this world if nobody cared who got the credit for it. I've always tried to give away the credit for accomplishments and downplay any recognition I receive. My good friend Jamie Holms has taught me that sometimes when given a compliment or recognition, that it's ok to just say “Thank You!' That it's ok to occasionally recognize that I may have had some influence in things that go well. She cares about me. She calls me out on my BS and makes me a better person.
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
Give your team the reigns! We have access to amazing technicians, managers, assistants, and CSR's. Go out and hire great people! Give them REAL responsibilities! Tap into their creativity! Don't try to micro-manage every-single-thing that happens in your practice. You may be immensely talented, but you can't do it ALL better than your team! It took me a while to realize this, but this is the key to a happy and successful practice!
What is your end-of-workday guilty pleasure?
I like to watch Netflix, Disney Plus, etc., with my wife! However, I must admit, I'm usually multi-tasking!
Where is one place in the world you would love to see?
I want to see Alaska someday!
Is there anything we haven’t asked you about that you would like to talk about?
I tell him this at least a couple of times a year, but I'd like to thank Dr. Andy Roark for thinking that this small-town vet from Northern Michigan would be someone that he wants to be a part of UVC. It's been life-changing! Thank you for introducing me to so many inspirational people and allowing me to help you and your team change the world!
Do you have a dream for your career? What is it?
Turning 50 made me start to realize that I need to explore ways to share all the things I've learned with the next generation of veterinary professionals! I'm so proud of all of the people I've helped mentor that are out there doing the same thing. It's in this way that we can “live-on” even after we are gone. I want to leave the world and veterinary medicine in a better place than I found it! That's my definition of a life well-lived!
If you loved learning about Bruce, watch his Mic Drop about how he faced one of the hardest challenges of his career.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Bruce by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!