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. Our most recent interview was with Dr. Lily Chen from Southern California! Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Taiwan, moved to the US when I was thirteen and went to a boarding school in upstate New York. The winter and snow were really pretty the first year but the winters just got too long and cold for this girl from the tropics and I made my way out to Sunny California and made it my home ever since.
I've always known I wanted to be a vet – that commitment has always been very clear and unwavering. But figuring out what to do after becoming a vet has been, (and still is) an interesting and exciting journey. Currently, I am practicing as an associate in a small animal hospital in Southern California. I also have a house call practice on my own focusing on acupuncture and holistic services and co-own a pet supplement company.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
To be honest, I didn't know what I was looking for. I was a little bored with conventional veterinary conferences and wanted something different and more personal. I signed up with very little idea and no expectations. I am so glad I did! It sparked a fire and got me interested in exploring many different dimensions of our profession. It made me fall in love with Vet Med all over again and ignited a passion that was beginning to fade after being in Vet Med for a decade. I felt like I found a tribe who “got it”, it's amazing and inspiring.
Do you have a dream for your career? What is it?
I practice Integrative Vet Med – I love being able to combine Eastern and Western modalities and tailor the treatment to each individual patient. I work both in the hospital setting and house calls right now – they have different pro's and con's. My dream is to take the best of the both worlds – to create a hospital where pets can come in and have all the diagnostics and treatments available in an integrative sense and still feel at ease and calm just like they do at home. I am dreaming up a fear-free, open hospital where pet parents can stay with their pets as much as possible and making the experience as easy as it can be.
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
Last October I was in the beautiful Lake Tahoe area attending a conference. It was at a time when I was really burned out from a busy summer. The lectures were only in the mornings and I had gone hoping to recharge. But I had a hard time letting go of everything that was going on in my life, causing me to feel guilty about taking some time out for myself. Louise Lango reached out and gave me some very wise advice and said the magic three words: “Drop your guilt.” It was like a permission slip and just the right thing I needed to hear at the time.
I took the much needed time for myself – going on hikes, staring into the lake, and watching sunsets. It was during that time where I could get back to being and feeling like myself again. For that, I was immensely grateful. It has been a good reminder every now and again when guilt sneaks up on me.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you discover it? Would you recommend it to others?
Yoga! I was looking for an exercise that isn't just a repetitive motion, works out the whole body and does not require special equipment. I took a yoga class and instantly fell in love with it. It was an exercise for the body and also for the mind. I always find peace and calm coming to my mat no matter where life takes me. I would definitely recommend it to everyone.
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
Starting a personal brand. Before coming to Uncharted, I didn't even know what a personal brand meant. And I only had a vague idea of what branding means in general. Uncharted helped me discover who I am in the Vet Med space and gave me the courage to bring forth the unique qualities of what I have to offer out to the world.
What is your end-of-workday guilty pleasure?
I crank the music up and sing really loudly in my car.
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
Abundance mentality. I really believe there is room for everyone to succeed and there is plenty to be had all around. If we can all help each other, a little from everyone goes a long way. It's easy to feel lonely in Vet Med sometimes, we can be each other's cheerleader and support.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Lily by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!