Leaders of the Pack Launches!  

When I started writing about women’s leadership in veterinary medicine with Don Smith, the Dr. Donald F. Smith, Dean Emeritus of Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine, I didn’t know much at all about the profession.  At the time I was working at a women’s foundation and knew a lot about women’s leadership in political life and gender issues in general, but veterinarians?  No way.

Don generously welcomed me, a “women’s leadership person,” into his profession, and we interviewed hundreds of people, researched prevailing themes and studied trends from the past.

One thing became clear.  If the profession is more than half female and students at veterinary schools are over 75% female, the future of the veterinary medicine depends on strong leaders.  Those leaders need to represent who veterinarians and their clients are today: women.

From our different career backgrounds, Don and I worked together to explore, teach and finally write this book on women’s leadership.

Through interviews and analysis, the book explores key themes in leadership and wellness, spotlights successes and examines challenges.  Readers will recognize some of the people who are profiled, others are unsung heroes and heroines.

The book focuses on veterinary medicine, but its insights into women’s leadership are instructive for everyone.  The chapter “Leadership, Success and the Happiness Quotient” tackles the tough stuff and the sweet spot that are part of hitting your professional pinnacle while remaining fulfilled in life.  “Beyond Fake It ‘Til You Make  It” is a chapter that deals with coping strategies that can support anyone–emerging and seasoned leaders in any field.  

But veterinary medicine has a particular concern:  the highest suicide rate of all professions.  The chapters on happiness, stressors and coping strategies ring especially loud in this caring profession.

Just a few days after we submitted the manuscript, Don got seriously ill and six months later, on October 29, 2016, he passed away.  I lost my colleague and dear, dear friend.  The veterinary profession lost a giant.  My life has been illuminated and changed because of our work, and countless students, colleagues and friends can say the same.


Life lesson: Find a person so far from your background that you’d never meet in a million years, meet them, and find common ground. The world will be a better place.

Luckily, Don saw the book to the end and loved the project. We both deeply appreciate the editorial and artistic staff at Purdue University Press, the publisher.  Books can be purchased directly and support this great press.  The cover image conveys the forward direction we believe in, and it’s especially meaningful that it was designed by friend and artist Micha Archer.

Greater Good Leadership is founded on the principles in Leaders of the Pack, especially the last chapter, For the Greater Good.  In that chapter you’ll read about the principles and people who take the reins in order to be servant leaders, and are driven by something greater than themselves.

Don Smith would want you to be everything you can be, for the greater good.  I couldn’t agree more.  

Thank you, Don.

Read an excerpt of Leaders of the Pack

Table of Contents and Introduction

“Rich with insight, compassion, and practical advice, Leaders of the Pack brings to life the story of veterinary medicine’s fascinating transformation from predominantly male to majority female. In vivid portraits of a wide range of veterinary professionals, Kumble and Smith candidly explore the challenges of leadership—imposter syndrome and burnout—as well as the rewards—mentorship and giving back. Indispensable for aspiring and established veterinarians, and valuable for any professional looking to understand the varied paths to power and legacy, this important book shows how to step up—for personal satisfaction and the greater good.”

Kathryn Bowers
Author of Zoobiquity: The Astonishing Connection Between Human and Animal Health

“Many different women tell their stories on how to be successful. Leaders of the Pack has four big take-home messages. Sometimes the door to opportunity will open in an unexpected place. Have the confidence to walk through it. To become a leader in your profession, you need to have perseverance. When the going gets rough, you have to just keep going. In my own career, I found mentors who helped me. Mentors will seek you out if you are enthusiastic. The last message is become a good communicator and public speaker.”

Dr. Temple Grandin
Professor of Animal Science, Colorado State University
Author of Animals in Translation and Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach

“Kumble and Smith profile extraordinary women leaders in veterinary medicine, yet make the case that they’re not so special that others can’t fill their shoes—as they must—if the profession is to meet its promise to society.

As we struggle to fully integrate women into the leadership structures of society, our profession can’t wait much longer. Leaders of the Pack explains how it can be done. It’s a must-read for the leaders—and future leaders—of our profession.”

Dr. Douglas G. Aspros
American Veterinary Medical Association President 2012–2013
Chief Veterinary Officer, Veterinary Practice Partners

“The authors thoughtfully summarize research and anecdotes investigating why veterinarians and women are too rarely leaders, but more importantly, the joys and motivating advice of those who have triumphed.

I applaud this achievement and join the authors in looking forward to a future where veterinarians help lead society into an integrated One Health approach to planetary health that only veterinarians can make a reality.”

Dr. Joan Hendricks
The Gilbert S. Kahn Dean, School of Veterinary Medicine
University of Pennsylvania

“The passion of Dr. Smith and Julie Kumble—to help build future female leaders in our veterinary field—exudes from this book. They interview women from all walks of life and tell their stories in a way that helps foster future leadership potential in women, whether or not they are entrepreneurs, veterinary students, or professionals looking for a career change. I loved the takeaway points at the end of the chapters, which were great tips on how to build yourself up as a leader, regardless if you’re female or male.”

Dr. Justine Lee
Chief Executive Officer, VETgirl

Greater Good Leadership | Whatever your profession or passion, we help leaders do well while doing good.

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