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, the spotlight is on Dr. Michael Miller (aka The Harry Potter Vet), a small animal veterinarian from Illinois! Enjoy!
For anyone who doesn’t know you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Currently I am a veterinarian and part-owner of a four location small animal general practice in the far southwest suburbs of Chicago. In addition to dogs and cats, I enjoy seeing exotic pets — especially reptiles, so I started a turtle program at my hospital for injured wild turtles rescued from roadways. As a fun side project, I created a blog and social media alter ego “Harry Potter Vet” where I use comparisons between veterinary medicine and the wizarding world to try to discover the magic in vet med. My newest adventure is fatherhood with two boys under 2 years old at home.
What were you looking for when you joined Uncharted?
When I attended the very first Uncharted Veterinary Conference, I was at a crucial crossroads of my career. I had recently become a co-owner of my practice and found myself unprepared for the challenges of ownership. A few pieces I had written had been shared by the DrAndyRoark.com page, so I was also curious to see if my writing would lead to other opportunities. On top of all of this, I had just suffered a herniated disc requiring spine surgery, which made me re-evaluate my career trajectory and question what I really wanted to do in vet med if I was faced with further physical limitations in the future.
What are your 2 favorite groups in the Uncharted Workplace community and why?
As a new parent trying to figure out the balance of being a father and a practice owner, I enjoy the Vet Med Parents group. Whether it's just sharing cute kid pictures or commiserating about the stresses of parenthood, I really enjoy the insights in that group.
My other favorite is the Social Media group. I work on my hospital's social media as well as my personal brand, and I find advice here that helps with both. Uncharted is full of very smart and influential veterinary social media powerhouses who are willing to share their knowledge here to help everyone else.
What is your current work related goal?
My current work goal is to figure out the balance between my work life and my family life with two young sons at home. I was once told by a mentor early in my career that becoming a doctor meant giving up a life outside of the hospital. I am proud that my Uncharted tribe provides me with inspiration that my career can be what I want it to be, and that I can figure out that balance because I see the examples of others who have achieved it.
What is one thing you never thought you could do (or were afraid to try) that you’ve done since joining Uncharted?
Uncharted provided the inspiration to follow my passion project of starting my Harry Potter Vet blog and creating something more magical than I had ever imagined. When I signed up for that first conference, I had no idea it would lead to that. Uncharted allowed me to explore my creative side which resulted in some amazing opportunities. I went from the guy who felt like hiding in the back of the room at that first conference because I didn't feel important enough to even talk to the veterinary superstars in the room, to getting invited to be a guest on Andy Roark's podcast! I never thought I would add ‘podcast interviewee' to my list of career achievements, and now I've done four!
What is one thing you believe all veterinary professionals can do right now to make Vet Med even better?
I truly believe there is magic in veterinary medicine if you look for it. Losing that perspective is very easy when everything seems to be going wrong, but you can always find positives in vet med if you're looking for them. Enjoy the magic when you find it, and share it with others to help them see it too.
Tell us a story of how another Uncharted Member has helped you.
I will always remember the final day of my first Uncharted Veterinary Conference. I had a plan going into that day of what I was going to take back to my practice, and then it completely changed after I had a groundbreaking conversation when I sat at a table with Saye Clement, Tyler Grogan, and Stephanie Goss. I opened up about what I was really concerned about without worrying about how they would judge my views. I received honest and constructive advice in a way that motivated me to really work toward my goals for my practice and myself. That Sunday conversation eventually led to so many good things over the past 3 years: starting my blog to create my personal brand, establishing core values for my hospital, increasing the profitability of my practice, and ultimately cultivating even more opportunities to feel fulfilled in veterinary medicine.
Where is one place in the world you would love to see?
When this pandemic ends, I want to see Greenville, South Carolina again! There's something special about that place that feels magical every time I visit. Oh, and I have to go get my selfie with the tortoise at the zoo since that's my Uncharted tradition.
Is there anything we haven’t asked you about that you would like to talk about?
One of the most memorable Uncharted moments I remember is Andy Roark's keynote address about the Wizard of Oz. He encouraged the audience to realize that even successful veterinary wizards are just ordinary people behind a curtain who have the same struggles everyone else has. We shouldn't be intimidated by someone else's success. We are all human. We all struggle. We all can overcome those struggles to find magic, and there is enough magic for everyone.
I think my experiences with Uncharted have exposed another nuance to the wizard analogy. Like Harry Potter, the members of the Uncharted tribe have their own magic even if they don't realize it yet. This community is basically Hogwarts, allowing you to discover the magic you already have and training you how to use it.
You can join the Uncharted community and meet people like Michael by visiting www.UnchartedVet.com and registering to become a member!