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 was with Dr. Louise Lango from Springville, NY! The stories of her adventures around the globe will leave you wanting more. Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I grew up in Springville, a small town in Western New York, and started going on farm calls with the local vets while I was still in high school and got hooked on vet med. I obtained a BS in Animal Science from Cornell University and then joined the Peace Corps, where I worked with cattle farmers in Zaïre, Africa (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
Upon my return to the US, I moved cross country to California for vet school and I graduated from UC Davis in 1995. Then I moved back to the East Coast for a 13-month internship at the Animal Medical Center in New York City. I worked at a 24-hour referral practice as a general practitioner in Orchard Park, NY for 2 years before finding my veterinary home at the Concord Veterinary Center back in my home town of Springville, NY.
After 14 years as an associate vet at this 2 vet practice, my boss, who was a good friend and mentor, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly in August 2012. I was left to run the practice, and 3 years after his death, I officially became the owner. I never wanted ownership, never had it on my radar screen, but here it was, dropped on my head. To not accept the mantle of ownership would have been the death of this practice, so after much soul searching, I made the commitment to my community, my staff, and myself to keep the Concord Veterinary Center alive and thriving.
So here I am, the reluctant practice owner, trying to make a go of it. Some days I struggle more than others, but with the help of the Uncharted Community, I have found a purpose, direction, vision, and network of support and encouragement that makes me a better and stronger leader every day.
I share my life with my husband of 20 years, Scott, my 19-year-old son, Alex, my 16-year-old daughter, Laurel, 2 black cats, Lily and Zoe, a Goffins cockatoo, Jake, and a Flat Coat Retriever, Lilah.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
Honestly, what I was looking for when I joined Uncharted was a life preserver, or a lifeboat, or a rescue plane to pull me from the middle of this vast, shark-infested ocean that I was treading water in. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the Uncharted community, but what I found was a family who truly cares about my well-being and about each other.
We all have significant struggles, but collectively Uncharted gives us the strength, encouragement and resources to address and overcome our problems and improve our practices and our lives. Uncharted is a lifesaver for me.
I feel that my involvement in Uncharted brings out the best in me, and we bring out the best in each other. This is a very positive group, and not in an artificial Pollyanna way. We are all in the trenches fighting significant battles. When we give each other advice and support, it is authentic and comes from a place of true understanding and from the heart.
Who is one of your favorite people you’ve met through Uncharted and why?
There are SO MANY wonderful people in Uncharted, it’s very difficult to pick just one. Phil Zeltzman is definitely one of those wonderful people. He’s funny, smart, and most of all, he cares deeply about others. His workshops are a wealth of useful and practical information. He makes you laugh and holds you accountable for achieving your goals.
What is your current work-related goal?
There are many work-related goals that I am pursuing: work on and improve practice culture, become a Fear Free Certified Practice, increase practice revenue so that I can support my staff better, are 3 of my current goals.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you discover it? Would you recommend it to others?
I love nature and the outdoors. My husband and I enjoy birding. He is much better at it than I am but I find it very relaxing. We discovered it together when we went on an informal local birding expedition with a vet coworker and good friend who is a birding fanatic. It was actually our first date! We had a lot of fun and still enjoy it decades later. I love being able to call in barred owls and have a “conversation” with them. I highly recommend this hobby. You can do it anywhere in the world for free. Of course, you can get all kinds of fancy equipment, but all you really need are a pair of binoculars. A good ear also helps you identify birds you can’t see well in dense vegetation or woods.
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
I am striving to become financially literate and understand my practice and personal numbers better. This is a work in progress. I have always been intimidated by financials but through the help of the Financial Masterclass taught by Stephanie Goss and Jenn Galvin, I have a base to build on and continue to grow from.
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
Great communication is extremely crucial to making our lives better, both in vet med and in our personal lives. Just think of how much trouble, angst, heartache, and major problems could be avoided by making sure we communicate clearly. It is very easy to miscommunicate, especially through texts and emails where there is no context of tone of voice, body language, or facial expression. William Howard Taft, 27th President of the United States and 10th Chief Justice of the United States timelessly said: “Don’t write so that you can be understood, write so that you can’t be misunderstood.”
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
I was very fortunate to have Katie Berlin as my accountability buddy for one of Phil Zeltzman’s workshops. We faithfully called each other every week for 6 months, keeping each other on track for our personal and professional goals that we set for ourselves. I am indebted to Katie for her encouragement, strength, wisdom, perspective, and most of all for her friendship. She was a sounding board, a comforter, and an overall inspiration by all the wonderful things she was accomplishing in her life, but also by encouraging me with what I was working on or struggling with in my life. This relationship extends far beyond the workshop. Katie is a lifelong friend and we still check in with each other from time to time.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Louise by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!