This week’s Uncharted Member Spotlight features the delightful Dr. Maggie Brown-Bury! She loves food, Disney and her home Province of Newfoundland. She also loves to share her adventures through social media. We are so proud to have her as part of our Uncharted Veterinary Community! She brings everyone so much joy and is a leader we love learning from. Here’s what she had to say in our recent interview for this week’s Uncharted Member Spotlight!
- For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
I was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, and attended the University of Guelph for a BSc in Animal Biology before attending the Ontario Veterinary College. I earned my DVM in 2009, and because the ocean is in my blood immediately relocated to St. John’s, Newfoundland. I worked in small animal general practice for 8 years before making the change to Emergency and Critical Care. I’ve been the President of the Newfoundland and Labrador Veterinary Medical Association since 2014, as well as the Newfoundland and Labrador representative to Council of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association also since 2014. That is my upbringing and professional trajectory in a nutshell!
If you want some personal dirt: I share my life with my fiancé, Steve, a Rottweiler named Princess Buttercup, and three cats: Stewie, Patrick Cole, and Westley (aka Dread Pirate Roberts). We really like to eat delicious foods of all sorts and have many food adventures. We do a lot of other stuff, but people seem to mostly know us for all the foods I share on social media.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
I was looking to connect with like-minded people in the veterinary world who wanted to do things differently, with the hope that doing things differently could lead to things being better for those in the profession and those we serve. I was looking for a community that shared a common interest in the veterinary profession. I was tired of not feeling like I was connecting with colleagues because so many people around me seemed focused on their own thing and closed off from the real potential that is out there if we recognize that we are all on the same team.
I totally found it. <3
What are your 2 favorite groups in the Uncharted Workplace community and why?
Book Club because since joining Uncharted through either actual book club selections or just general book discussions I have read some AMAZING books. Some would even qualify as life-changing. The Book Club group may not be super active, but it signifies for me one of the greatest things Uncharted has brought into my life – the books. I heart books!
My second choice would be Anchor Gang. I struggle with self-motivation, and with my schedule struggle with joining things locally. I have been part of a studio, I have been part of a running club, but being a regular participant was hard. I crave the accountability and motivation that comes from having a group of people working together, and the Anchor Gang group has helped me find that! Even if we are all at very different places in our journeys, it is a place I know I can share my challenges, accomplishments, and goals and be met with support, cheers, and even guidance. Seeing what everyone else is up to helps motivate me, and when we get together with a shared goal I get SUPER motivated! I likely would have never even CONSIDERED going for a run when I got back for vacation if it wasn’t for that Anchor Gang 5k!!!
And a third-place shout out to the Canadian Regional Harbour because YAY CANADA.
Who is one of your favorite people you’ve met through Uncharted and why?
I can’t believe you want me to pick only one… Like, I almost can’t pick this as one of the questions I answer because IT IS SO HARD. I love so many of the people I have met through Uncharted! And they are all my favourite!
But, I’m going to go with, at this moment, Kelsey Beth Carpenter. Because HAVE YOU MET HER?! <3
No, but for serious, though. She has made me laugh forever, and I had an internal fangirl moment when I met her. And it turns out, that if you get to know her, she is in actual fact WAY MORE AWESOME THAN YOU REALIZED. I have had some serious struggles this year, and she has been a serious supportive rock for me. She has surprised me with her thoughtfulness and generosity not because I didn’t know she was such an angel, but just because I never expected such an angel to think of me when they have struggles of their own. <3 <3 <3 I’m getting all emotional trying to explain how much she has meant to me this year.
And just so whomever reading this knows, there are at least 6 other people in Uncharted over whom I would get emotional if I tried to elucidate why they are one of my favourite. There is literally no other group of people in my life so saturated with amazing human beings whom I consider it an absolute mind-blowing privilege to know and call a friend.
What is your favorite hobby and how did you discover it? Would you recommend it to others?
So like choosing a favourite member of Uncharted, choosing a favourite hobby is not something that comes easily to me. I love things. I love a lot of things.
Random mental selection of a hobby to discuss here: knitting. It wins by being my longest standing hobby.
My mum taught me to knit when I was a wee tot. I knit a scarf. The end.
Then while in university I decided I wanted to knit. Someone posted on like LiveJournal or something about getting together at the bullring to knit and I was like “yes!” and got some supplies, retaught myself thanks to the internet, and started hanging out with random knitters at the on-campus coffee shop/cafe/bar. Then my cat Charlie got super sick, and I made a website “Knitting for Charlie” and offered custom hats and scarfs and earned money for his vet bills that way. I got orders from ALL OVER North America. I made a lot of school colors scarves. My knitting skills rapidly improved out of necessity.
Now I knit almost exclusively for myself. I find it calming, it helps me focus in situations where I have to sit still (lectures were a challenge for me…), and I love to have warm and cozy socks. (I had to stop making hats and scarves… one can have too many of those. But one cannot have too many socks!! Especially when one refuses to darn socks with holes and just throws them out….)
I would definitely recommend. It is a great hobby to build dexterity and hand-eye coordination, and it can lead to gift-giving or charitable work (there’s a crowd in St John’s that knit a whole bunch of hats, mitts, and scarves for new immigrant families who maybe were not ready for Canadian winters!) which can lead to happy hearts. 🙂
Have you ever worked outside of the veterinary field? What was it like?
Well, in high school I worked at a dry cleaner that also offered personal fluff and fold. My coworkers were very interesting people. The work was at times really gross. People are gross.
Since I got my first paid gig at a vet clinic, I have never really done any paid work that wasn’t vet related. However, I did volunteer as Front of House at a local theatre in St John’s in order to see shows for free. I would either be taking tickets at the entrance, or handing out programs, or helping people find their seats. Then I’d get to watch the show. Then I’d help tidy up the theatre. It was really neat, because most of the other volunteers were either around my age and involved in the arts and considered this as being a part of the arts community and making connections, or were much older than I and retired and just doing a thing to be involved in the community and getting out of the house. I never met someone else who was in a career not remotely connected to the theatre and just looking for something out of the ordinary of their life. Other volunteers wouldn’t even ask me pet-related questions! It was magical!
I had to step away from the position for a variety of reasons, but would totally recommend doing volunteer work outside the veterinary field if you can manage it. It was true escapism and very refreshing. Those few hours at the theatre, I wasn’t Dr. Brown-Bury at all, I was just Maggie the helpful theatre fan.
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
At the April conference in 2019, I attended Phil’s blogging workshop and paired up with Meredith Jones as an accountability buddy. I had some big ideas to start blogging again and was super pumped to have someone to bounce stuff off of.
Then I got really sick. And touching base with Meredith, I had to let her know I hadn’t met my goal for that week because I was so sick. Meredith seamlessly went from my blogging accountabilibuddy to my health advocacy accountabilibuddy. I said “If I still feel like this next week I’ll call my doctor” and she countered with “How about you call your doctor tomorrow and if you feel better before the appointment you cancel?”. I listened to her, I’m glad I did, and she kept checking in on me and made sure I didn’t accept no answer as an answer.
As she is also in emergency medicine, and also works wonky hours, she has also been a great source of support when I’m at work wanting to either bang my head on the wall or just need someone to also get excited about a really cool case! And she tells me about her cool cases. And there is just geeking out all around. She has been an invaluable source of support for me this year, and while she wasn’t the only one she will always stand out when I am asked “Who from Uncharted has helped you?” because of that time she pushed me to see my doctor sooner than my avoiding stubborn self was wont to do 😉
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
Be forgiving. Be forgiving of your clients and of your colleagues, but also be forgiving of yourself. Most people, most of the time, honestly are doing the best they can with the situation they are in. Passing judgment on others and on yourself when the situation isn’t ideal wastes time and energy. Forgive the decisions that got us here, forgive the mistakes that got us here, and focus on why we are here and how we can move forward.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Maggie by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!