Supporting Veterinary Ownership: Dr. Erica Esser | Suveto

We say it all the time, but ownership looks different for everyone in veterinary medicine, and Suveto wants to support you in whichever kind of ownership is best for you and your career as a veterinary professional.

“I’ve found that as long as I lead with my values and priorities I am able to find practices that match and continue to excel both personally and professionally.”

We recently had the opportunity to hear from Dr. Erica Esser about her journey to practice ownership, and the part that her family, mentors, West Loop Veterinary Care, and Suveto have played in her accomplished career!

“I chose to be a veterinarian when I was seven years old and saw a veterinarian doing a demo of a spay at the Wisconsin State Fair. I was immediately captivated and decided that being a veterinarian was super cool and I wanted to be one. As I advanced in my academic career, I was able to meld my love for animals and science toward my goal of DVM. I consider myself a life-long learner and love that every single day of practice I am able to learn something new.”

From Right to Left: Matthew Teresi (WLVC Chief Operating Officer), Dr. Erica Esser (WLVC Streeterville Medical Director), Dr. David Gonsky (WLVC Founder and Medical Director) at the West Loop Veterinary Care – Streeterville Grand Opening.

“After graduation in 2008 with my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree, I moved to Central Wisconsin and joined a large animal practice with a primary focus on equine medicine. During this time, I gained business experience while volunteering as Chairman of the Board for the Stevens Point Area Food Cooperative. While equine medicine was my focus, I found time to help the local college students with their research projects on wild bears and fishers. Up against the physical, financial, and time burdens of being an equine practitioner and a new mother, I transitioned to teaching veterinary technicians. While teaching, I retrained myself for small animal practice and then joined a small animal practice in Wisconsin. This was a fantastic practice and I benefited from generous mentorship. At this point, ownership had crossed my mind, but I didn’t feel ready quite yet. In order to be closer to my family, I moved back to Chicago in 2019 and joined West Loop Veterinary Care. I love the level of medicine and the fantastic focus on learning and skill development at West Loop. After two years at West Loop, I knew I was ready for a leadership role. I briefly left the practice to gain some outside experience while continuing to nurture the relationship with Dr. Gonsky (West Loop Veterinary Care’s founder). During this time I also completed my Certified Veterinary Business Leader Course and Certificate. When Dr. Gonsky approached me and let me know that he, West Loop Veterinary Care, and Suveto were ready to expand into another location I knew it was time to take the leap into ownership. We began planning the second location of West Loop Veterinary Care in the Streeterville neighborhood and opened 9 months later. 

Throughout my career as a veterinarian, I’ve found that it has been challenging finding my niche, but so fun getting to participate in all aspects of veterinary medicine. I’ve been able to use my DVM degree to its fullest extent as I’ve moved from large animal to equine to teaching to small animal all while volunteering with wildlife. Some of my favorite stories come from the pathways that didn’t work out. How else would I be able to talk about snow leopard dental surgery or darting antibiotics to a giraffe if I didn’t try my hand at zoo medicine? I like to look at it more from the perspective of what opportunities I’ve had!

Balancing being a DVM and a practice owner while also being a single mother is another challenge. I’ve found that as long as I lead with my values and priorities I am able to find practices that match and continue to excel both personally and professionally.

When I look back on the experiences that got me to practice ownership I can see a trail of mentorship and shared knowledge that goes back to my primary school education and family around the dinner table. I was fortunate enough to have a fantastic education background that taught me lifelong skills in learning, organization, meeting deadlines, and setting and achieving goals. I have always been very supported by my parents and have been able to learn from their business and law professional experiences. As I entered the veterinary field as a high school student I was able to start gleaning experiences from my veterinary mentors both clinically and business-wise. I’ve had a few experiences where I learned what not to do too!  My boss in Wisconsin was a great mentor showing me how to meld a caring family-oriented perspective into a successful business model.”

To learn more about West Loop’s new location in Streeterville, visit https://westloopvet.com/streeterville/


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