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Just Cats Practice Manager receives VHMA 2021 Emerging Leader Scholarship

Just Cats Practice Manager receives VHMA 2021 Emerging Leader Scholarship

Missy Filarecki, practice manager at Just Cats Veterinary Clinic, was awarded the 2021 Emerging Leaders Program scholarship by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA).

This prestigious honor is given to a VHMA member in good standing who is age 40 or younger at the time of application and provides access to opportunities to refine their skills and enhance their professional development. The 2021 recipients were selected for their commitment to professional growth and leadership.

Filarecki joined Just Cats Veterinary Clinic in 2015 as a Customer Service Specialist and was promoted to practice manager one year later. She previously worked in dentistry for five years as an administrative manager and earned undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, musical theatre, creative writing, and legal studies. Given the many career paths she could have pursued, she says she was led to veterinary medicine through luck and the influence of friends.

Learning to grow into a leadership position

Upon being promoted to Just Cats practice manager, Filarecki recognized that her relationship with her coworkers would change as a result of her transition from peer to leader.

In order to help Filarecki achieve success in her new position, practice owner Susan Sikule, DVM, encouraged her to enroll in classes to develop her skills and improve her confidence. The courses were transformative and led Filarecki to advocate for field specific education. She joined VHMA, enrolled in veterinary leadership courses, and attended conferences. Filarecki says she learned that the best leaders delegate and give others the opportunity to shine. She has internalized these lessons and continues to refine them in her quest to become the best leader she can be.

Career impact

Filarecki believes the award will have a tremendous impact on her career. One of her goals is to be more involved with VHMA and the industry. The scholarship will allow her to become more active in the veterinary community. In the future, she aspires to work part-time as a practice manager and as a consultant for other veterinary clinics. Teaching and speaking, especially on the topic of compassion fatigue, is part of her long-range plan. In fact, after achieving the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) award, she plans to be certified as a Compassion Fatigue Counselor. Filarecki said, “Achieving this award is my stepping stone to what I imagine to be an endless pool of opportunities for me to achieve my long-term career goals and help the veterinary field cope with compassion fatigue.” 

On a personal note, Filarecki is married and mom to two rescue cats. Her hobbies include guitar, singing, painting, and doting on her nieces and nephews.

The Just Cats team is so proud of Missy’s accomplishments and for receiving this VHMA Scholarship Award. Congratulations! 


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