Then and Now

Submitted by Tamara McLoughlin, RVT, SAVT President-Elect

Every 2 months I submit articles to Canadian Vet Practice magazine and the SVMA News as part of my duties as Pres Elect.  Usually the focus of these articles is to inform everyone of what is happening in our association.  I actually had a really hard time this month as in my last update I had explained what our committees are up to.  Since then the committees and the board are still humming along and while progress is being made there are no new developments that I can officially report on yet.  So instead I wrote about broader improvements that have been made within our association, below.

I first started on the SAVT board in 2006.  I did several roles : CAAHTT representative (now the Registered Technologists and Technicians of Canada –RVTTC), Secretary, President-Elect, President and Past President.  In 2012 I took a break after my first son was born so I could focus on raising my family. 

In November 2018 I joined the board again as President-Elect.  I wasn’t sure what to expect when I returned but I can honestly say I did not expect it to have changed so much.  The progress that has been made in 6 years has been amazing. 

Our membership numbers have increased substantially and as such our board has adapted.  We moved from an Office Administrator to an Executive Director with an actual office space.  The board has now updated and revised their role to become more of the governance board that we had always hoped to be, as opposed to an operational one.  Gone are the days of “who wants to order t-shirts?, who wants to type out individual proclamation letters for NVTW week, who wants to look into ordering trophies?” to sitting down at the beginning of the year and forming committees, delegating tasks to those committees, and letting our Executive Director work on the everyday operations of a growing organization.  In this time where social media is a huge method of communication the SAVT has greatly increased our presence with Facebook (Saskatchewan Association of Veterinary Technologists), Instagram (saskvettechs) and Twitter (@SaskVetTech).    We also have an “SAVT Member Communication” site on Facebook that is used for everything from CE announcements to informative articles to RVTs being able to ask other RVTs for advice. 

We have also seen more of a collaboration between the SVMA and the SAVT.  The SVMA now has an RVT as part of their office staff who connects with our Executive Director on a regular basis.  Registration is now a joint effort with both associations working to ensure that all of our members are registered and their continuing education is up to date.  We have an RVT serving as a liaison between our two boards that delivers reports between the two.  The SVMA registrar sits on our SAVT Advisory Committee.  RVTs are SVMA members and are treated as such.  We receive all of the SVMA e-blasts, newsletters and we now have a much wider array of CE available to us as offered by the SVMA.  We’re eligible to attend the SVMA annual conference and through our RVT representative that now sits on the SVMA council we have a voice at their meetings. 

At first, all of this was a big adjustment for me, I felt like I wasn’t pulling my weight on the board since I didn’t have a million little tasks to do.  It seemed wrong to just be going on a call once a month then only checking emails.  Over the last 8 months I have really begun to see the value in the new system.  Being a member of the board is a lot less daunting when you’re not expected to spend a lot of time taking on what can be perceived as mundane tasks.  With the focus on assessing situations and making decisions on behalf of our members and their needs, it feels like being a board member carries more responsibility but in a way that doesn’t feel like it’s overwhelming. 

I really encourage everyone to attend the AGM at our conference in November and I would also encourage you to take a turn on the SAVT board and check it out for yourself! 

Keep in mind that we have a weekend retreat in January that is mandatory to attend.  It’s an opportunity to get to know your fellow board members as we don’t meet in person again until June, the rest of our calls are done via a video conferencing platform called Zoom.  This is also the time where we organize our goals for the year and it’s nearly impossible to catch up if you’re not able to attend.   If going on the board is not feasible for you but you’re still interested in learning more about our meetings we will be announcing an opportunity for this in the near future. 

The SAVT understands that there are always areas where we can update and improve on so we are always open to suggestions and welcome feedback at all times.  Our Executive Director Jasmin Carlton is waiting to hear from you!   

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