Georgia Wraight leads technology and practice management strategy for Covetrus Global Technology Solutions. Previously, Georgia served as president and COO for Vets First Choice. In this episode, Georgia joins us to discuss veterinary leadership, how to foster creativity and innovation, the importance of technology, and some ways to address two of the biggest hurdles facing the veterinary industry: a global staffing shortage and mental health challenges. Overall, Georgia details how embracing purpose-driven technology can make practices more successful from a business perspective and help build a healthier environment for today’s often overwhelmed veterinary teams.
Leading with excellence
With over 20 years of finance and operational experience across multiple industries, Georgia’s transformation and leadership excellence is essential to Covetrus’ strategy. She highlights that innovation is often thought of in terms of efficiency and effectiveness, finding ways to support and reinforce the vet-to-pet relationship. At Covetrus, leading in this area is all about understanding our customer and empowering their success. According to Georgia:
“Leadership is about helping people connect to their why. Why am I here? What do we stand for? How does my work everyday connect to what our mission, vision and values are? Part of that is helping our employees figure out how to share the customer goal, how do you solve the problem for your customer? That’s a lot of what our product development is all about. It’s not about an engineer waking up and saying I want to build this widget. Our product teams work with our customers to solve the problem. Working out what the biggest problems are to solve, is how you drive innovation. It always has to be customer first. Focusing on how to get a better outcome for them.”
For Georgia, purpose – and purposeful living – is linked to serving others.
“I admire the fact that veterinarians and their staff get up every day and do their work with passion and protect the health of animals. This profession is a true calling, and for Covetrus, that’s our ‘why’: we help animals and the community that serves them. We aim to continually empower our employees, motivate them in a way that talks to their purpose, motivation, passion and satisfaction.”
“The excellence and passion that comes from our employees and customers alike is what drives purpose. How that translates to a clinic or practice is to make sure that veterinary teams and clinic staff continue to have a sense of purpose and wellbeing, especially in an environment which can diminish your sense of being if it’s not managed well (stress, burnout, compassion fatigue). Overall, it is about ensuring a customer-first approach. Find a way to empower your staff where they enjoy serving customers and can provide a high-quality service, that results in happy pet-parents, repeat business and more growth.”
Covetrus market research spotlights the need for more “connected” tools in the clinic, while feedback from practice partners has repeatedly returned to the need for efficiency solutions.
“We’re focused on the connected practice strategy,” says Georgia. Vets want a wholly operational ecosystem and integrated tools that work together seamlessly. Their immediate needs might shift from How are my appointments looking this morning? to I need to access these medical records, then I need to manage prescriptions and inventory. Using technology, vets can run their practices with more ease and success.”
This vet-centric connectivity is currently available in AviMark, Impromed, RxWorks, RoboVet and VisionVPM, as well as two upcoming Covetrus offerings: Ascend (an international cloud-based PMS) and Project Cirrus (our US-based, integrated solution). We will continue to introduce more integrations with both Covetrus tools and third-party applications to ensure clinics have what they need to thrive.
Georgia recognizes the critical importance of the end consumer and their experience. Technology also serves these animal owners and pet parents with easy ways to book appointments, access medical records and receive renewals and reminders for their animal. This relates to the “connected” consumer strategy (the pet parent) and customer strategy (the veterinarian).
“Through the merger, we have acquired really great technologies, about nine different practice solutions, it’s hard work, but it’s absolutely passion of the team. It’s been a long journey, but it’s absolutely the passion of the team. And this is what allows us to cater to different customer and consumer needs across the globe. The sophistication of these technologies really hones into what our modern-day vets and pet-parents want to experience.”
As we continue to march through the pandemic, Georgia recognizes our power to address the global vet shortage and ongoing mental health issues.
“For the global shortage, our part is to support some of the university programs to get more veterinarians through college. On the mental health side, raising awareness is key. We partner with many great charities, from Love your Pet, Love your Vet (Australia), VetLife (UK) and Mighty Vet (US), where we find ways to support them, such as providing the infrastructure or platform they need to amplify their voice and get the message out.”
With fewer veterinarians available, practices are under more pressure. To counter this, Georgia emphasizes the importance of enhanced communication efforts.
“I don’t believe in allowing things to go under the carpet,” says Georgia “I’m a massive believer in not allowing things to go under the carpet, because you can’t help if you don’t know. We should normalise the outreach for help. It’s a very challenging industry. You go to vet school to learn to help animals. It’s high stakes, high stress. Speaking out and talking is important.”
In terms of professional advice, Georgia believes courage and curiosity is essential:
“Be bold. Never be afraid to ask for what you want and be very curious. The reason I started off in finance management and ended up in more general management and software, was because I was endlessly curious about what I thought I could do. Believe in yourself. That is key. Grit, determination and constant learning has brought me where I am today. I didn’t take the traditional route of college, degree, internship or otherwise, but I did have the courage, passion and drive.”
This passion can also be found in Georgia’s long-standing commitment to diversity and equality.
“Despite the inequalities that exist in businesses, many of my champions and supporters have been men and that’s encouraging,” says Georgia. “As a female in a male-dominated industry, I’m particularly proud of our phenomenal Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) team at Covetrus. We empower our ‘Covetrians’ through employee resource groups, women’s groups, disability programmes, LGBTQ initiatives, inspiring talks and very transparent communication. This builds a trustworthy network, a family-feel, and drives that sense of purpose. My advice: find the right team and do not settle for less.”