Have you ever wondered what it's like to get involved with organized veterinary medicine? Perhaps you've never even considered it, but today I'm speaking with Dr. Lindy O'Neal as she shares the amazing impact that being involved in the larger veterinary community has had on her career. In our conversation, she opens up about her involvement with the AVMA House of Delegates and how these roles shape policies worldwide that influence the future of veterinary medicine. She also shares an exciting new personal goal!
Prepare to be inspired as we delve into Lindy's day-to-day life as a busy mom, practice owner, and AVMA Delegate for Arkansas. We explore how mentorship and staying informed about local politics can make a significant impact on one's community. Tune in for a conversation that promises to leave you with a renewed appreciation for joy and positive change within the veterinary profession.
More about Lindy O'Neal, DVM...
Dr. O’Neal grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas and knew she wanted to be a veterinarian since the age of four. She never stopped pursuing her love for animals as a career. Dr. O’Neal completed her undergraduate studies in Animal Science at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, then headed to Baton Rouge with her husband, Josh O’Neal, where she received a degree in veterinary medicine at Louisiana State University. After graduation, they headed west to Las Vegas where Dr. O’Neal practiced at a busy 6 doctor practice for 2 years. Dr. O’Neal and her husband elected to move back to Arkansas in 2012 to settle down and start their family. Together they have three children, a eight year old daughter named Saylor, a six year old daughter named Anniston, and a four year old boy named Hyson. They have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, Bentley & Kingston, and one cat, William.
Dr. O’Neal has a special interest in soft tissue surgery, emergency medicine, ultrasonography and veterinary business. Dr. O’Neal is passionate about preventative medicine and client education. She wants to help pet owners get the most out of their veterinary care.
Dr. O’Neal serves in the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates, Arkansas Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors, Alumni Society Board of Directors for the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural Food and Life Sciences.
In her free time, Dr. O’Neal loves her church community group, exercising, and baking cookies. Her highest priority is spending time with family, friends, and pets.
Connect with Dr. O'Neal!
Connect with Stacey or find more from The Whole Veterinarian!
If you want to have a small part in supporting the production of the show, click here to Buy Me A Coffee!
Listen on your favorite podcast player here
Thank you for your time and support!
Do you feel like it's possible to find joy and positive change within veterinary medicine? Are you looking for a community that's striving for fulfillment rather than perfection? Hey there, I'm Dr Stacey Cordivano. I want veterinarians to learn to be happier, healthier, wealthier and more grateful for the lives that we've created. On this podcast, I will speak with outside-of-the-box thinkers to hear new ideas on ways to improve our day-to-day lives. Welcome to the whole veterinarian. I'm so excited to introduce my next guest. She is a lovely human and I'm so grateful that I've gotten to know her over the past year. Li ndy O'Neal a graduate of the Louisiana State University School of Veterinary Medicine and has been a practicing vet for 11 years, starting her career in Las Vegas as an associate and finding her home in Arkansas as an owner and partner in two animal hospitals. She volunteers with the AVMA in the House of Delegates and enjoys having a voice for the profession. She has three kids, two dogs, one cat and a rock star husband who makes all of her dreams come true. New projects are her jam, and you can also find her baking for her sugar cookie side hustle or tending to her honey bees in her off time. I hope you enjoy this inspirational chat that I got to have with Lindy. She is such a pleasure.Platinum Performance:
Platinum Performance is proud to support the whole veterinarian. For nearly 30 years we've stood beside veterinarians with advanced nutrition for the health of your patients and practice. At Platinum Performance we know the power of nutrition starts within. Hi Lindy how are you Hi?Stacey Cordivano:
good morning, I'm good. I'm so glad we finally got this organized.Lindy O'Neal:
It took a very long time and we finally caught each other.Stacey Cordivano:
Well, you are a busy lady, so thank you for making time to be here. I'm happy to do it. Thanks for having me. Okay, so we met first at the Veterinary Leadership Conference back in January and I remember seeing you in a pink dress and pink heels in the middle of all these AVMA people and being like that's my kind of girl, I need to go talk to her, which I loved that you were doing your own thing. Tell us a little bit about yourself and then we're going to dig into how you got more involved in that AVMA work.Lindy O'Neal:
Okay, yeah, I am unapologetically bringing the Barbie vibes to AVMA before Barbie was even cool, for sure. Okay, so I am a small animal practitioner in Arkansas. I am a partner in two animal hospitals in Rogers, Arkansas. I've got three young children ages 10, 8 and 5. I've got a husband of 16 years next month. I've got two dogs Cavalier King Charles is my breed and I've got two of those and I've got one cat named William who's an avid hunter, and I'm trying to be a beekeeper. It's not going so well, but I do have honeybees right now.Stacey Cordivano:
And you also pull relief shifts at an ER overnight right.Lindy O'Neal:
I do, I do. Yeah, I love ER. I have always done ER in some capacity, even when I was in school, when I did it in Las Vegas working. When I got back to Arkansas I did ER and now I actually do these ER shifts in Tulsa at a specialty center there, mainly because I enjoy ER. But it's good money, it's good side money, it's good experience for if I ever want to own an ER and it's good sophisticated medicine that I can bring back to Arkansas and practice in my daily practice.Stacey Cordivano:
Awesome. So you're like totally calm, your life is very relaxed.Lindy O'Neal:
Oh yeah, can't you tell you?Stacey Cordivano:
don't like to be busy or anything like that. Okay, well, it's inspirational Everything you get done. So on top of that, you are also involved in the AVMA, so tell us about that.Lindy O'Neal:
Yeah, I've been organized vet medicine, so within Arkansas I am the delegate to the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates, and the House of Delegates is a body of members. Each state has two members and each allied organization that's in the house that has two members, and so you have to have certain criteria to be in the house of delegates, and I forget exactly what that is. But so, aha, take, for example, they have X amount of members and so they applied to be a part of the house of delegates, so they have two delegates to the HOD as well. That's what I'm gonna call it HOD. So every state has two, the credentialed allied organizations have two, and so there's 200, some members within the HOD, and what this body does is deliberate debates and votes on policy that AB may create. So there's different councils and committees that will create policy surrounding maybe it's practice or welfare or you name it and policy is being created and then we all vote on it. And where this is important is because lawmakers will look at ABMA policy and say, well, this is how they recommend to do. It say decline. Abma strongly discourages or opposes decline. So lawmakers can use that in their fight in state legislation to ban, make illegal various things or support.Stacey Cordivano:
Got it. So these policies aren't laws, but they are influencing bodies that can make laws okay.Lindy O'Neal:
Correct, and not even just in the United States but other associations throughout the world, to look at our policies.Stacey Cordivano:
Okay. So when we first met and were chatting, I admit I did not know much about organized vet med, like I didn't even realize AAP had voting members in that House of Delegates until I got to this conference and saw them. So I remember asking you why did you decide to get involved in this? So I'm curious if you can share your answer.Lindy O'Neal:
Yeah, yeah, sure. Well, actually, the grassroots reason why I got involved is because I was asked. Okay, someone asked me could I do it and there was a man that was the Arkansas delegate for somewhere around 18 years, and so, clearly, arkansas is not following our term limits correctly they're supposed to be about four years or so and he brought me along in 2016 and he asked what did I think about it? And I mean, I just was enamored with it. I thought it was really interesting. I loved the influence that people had to have a voice in vet med and I knew I wanted to be a part, and so I said yes. And then, the deeper I get into it, the more I see that you can have an influence in your state, in your nation, in the world, especially if you get to the point of you know the AVMA president, perhaps, and I thought that that's something I'd like to shoot for and a goal I'd like to try for.Stacey Cordivano:
Yeah, I remember when you said that I was a little bit like wow, like I don't know that I've ever heard someone just be like, oh yeah, partially it's because I want to become the AVMA president one day and I was like dang girl, like that's amazing Because, yes, it's a big voice for a lot of people, so I think that's a great goal. So what are some benefits that you're seeing or that you feel like you get from being involved in organized vet men?Lindy O'Neal:
Number one is the voice. 100%. You cannot have a voice for your profession and influence your profession if you are not involved. This past legislative session, arkansas had some heat brought on us with some different bills that really weren't positive for Arkansas veterinarians, and so, because I had these connections in AVMA, I was able to connect AVMA to my lobbyist. I was able to go down and testify against these bills and I felt like I had the support to put the words in my mouth, things I wanted to say. They helped me formulate those words, and so I got to go down and be a voice for Arkansas veterinarians and speak against these bills. Some were successful, some were not, so that's a major benefit. I love that. All the people I get to meet, like you, I mean I think we were social media friends first and then we met in real life and now we're getting to do this and spread the word, and so I think, just bringing awareness to different things, I love the relationships you meet. I mean that meant a such a small community and we're all in it for the same reason and I love that, and so I just think you know, building the network of community around you just unites us all and makes us even stronger as a profession. That sounds so cheesy to say that, but it's so true.Stacey Cordivano:
It is true. I mean, you know, I was insulated from, like the larger community for a long time. I feel like I was a solo practitioner, I was trying to get my business up and going and then I had kids and you know, I really do think widening my circle of network and community has been really beneficial in my career in the last few years. So yeah, it maybe does sound cheesy but I think it's true.Lindy O'Neal:
It's so true yeah.Stacey Cordivano:
I want to go back to something you said. You said you were enamored immediately. What drew you like for someone listening out there who doesn't really know what it's like? Describe kind of what made you fall in love.Lindy O'Neal:
I watched this group of people take these policies and bring in so many different perspectives. I mean, I'm just a small girl from Arkansas. I do small animal, I've always done small animals, so I don't have this huge perspective. And so sitting in a room with 50 people some were industry, some were USDA, some were large animals, some are small, some are exotic and we're all talking about one specific policy and we all bring a different perspective to it, and makes you feel so small, but not in a bad way. And so I was enamored with the idea that I could expand my knowledge so much more, so much faster than just reading about it, reading articles, but being a part of the conversation, being at the table, and that was really cool and I wanted to be a part of that.Stacey Cordivano:
I know exactly what you're talking about. I sat in on. I'm not going to say the right way. Reference committee. Reference committee. Thank you, there's lots of names and acronyms there are, and you were talking about a very in my mind like minutia change. And then someone was like, well, what about this perspective of wild animals versus captive animal? Like they were talking about deer or something. And I just remember being like, oh yes, I would never have thought of that. So, like this wide variety of voices is, eye-opening.Lindy O'Neal:
It's a big deal and you talk about the minutia of these policies and we can get into the weeds a little bit with it. But when you're creating a policy and perhaps someone who initially wrote it said a veterinarian should do this, that's very different than saying a veterinarian shall do this, and so we look at each and every word meticulously so that we're not saying a veterinarian shall do something when they really they should, just should do something, because that's that has a very different implication, especially when it comes into the hands of lawmakers.Stacey Cordivano:
Yeah, it's kind of wild to think about all the differences. I'm a C on the disk profile, so getting in the weeds does go up my alley, but yeah. So what does the future look like for you? What are your plans coming up? What are the next steps? How long will you be a delegate? Things like that.Lindy O'Neal:
Yeah, that's a great question. Well, so I think my term will actually be up next fall. I was just elected to the House Advisory Committee, so that is a three-year appointment, and so I either will have to ask my state to extend my term by two additional years or I'll just have to rerun, have an election and hope that I get it, so I can fulfill the last two years of my House Advisory Committee appointment, which is my goal, and I want to do that For the longest time. My goal was always also to be a part of the board of directors, which is a six-year appointment, and so that's more of a district representation. So my district is Arkansas, louisiana, texas, mm-hmm, and so I was hoping to represent my district, and then my hope was, after that, to be president. You know, run for, hopefully get elected to and serve AVMA as president. This past legislative session, though, has really lit a fire into me that Arkansas needs a veterinarian in Congress, and so I don't know if I'm going to consider running. I'm really putting it out there and I'm speaking it out there and this is being very loudly spoken, because this is not just my little small circle of friends but I'm thinking out there that I may consider doing that Wow, which would effectively end my AVMA career, you know, because I can't do both. Sure, so I don't know.Stacey Cordivano:
I don't be a much wider audience as well.Lindy O'Neal:
It would be what would that entail? Oh man, so much time. I would have to number one, pick my party. I don't know what party I would run.Stacey Cordivano:
Yeah, that doesn't seem important anywhere.Lindy O'Neal:
It does. Yeah, and I don't feel like I fit in any of the two big parties. Yeah, perfectly. So I have to pick. I know, run campaign, raise money, get elected and once elected, I think there's a lot of time, especially in the odd years that legislative session is January through March, april, may, you know, whenever they finish, even years will be a little bit less time Every month, and then a big, heavy month in February. There's a lot of time. So, convincing my business partner that that time off is worth it, convincing my family that might that time away from them is worth it, convincing myself that I'm smart enough and wise enough to do this, I don't know.Stacey Cordivano:
Yeah, you do have a very supportive family though, right, I remember in talking.Lindy O'Neal:
Oh, big time. Yeah, my husband is my biggest cheerleader. He's my rock star. He carries the load when I'm gone and brings the load with me sometimes too awesome.Stacey Cordivano:
I think someone could look at you and be like she's got it all going on. She's beautiful and kind and owns two practices. What is your life really kind of look like on a day-to-day basis?Lindy O'Neal:
Oh, I mean, I'm the chaotic mom. That's what my life looks like. I wake up in the morning and I sometimes get my work out and sometimes I sleep through it. I rush to get three children off to two different schools. We, for packing lunch is late. I'm young, I'm a husband that I hate our mornings together because they're so chaotic and so busy. But the end of the night we're snuggling the bed and reading stories together and to the kids, and you know, we're the normal chaotic life.Stacey Cordivano:
Yeah, I asked you that because I figured that's the case.Lindy O'Neal:
But yeah, no, I don't have it all together?Stacey Cordivano:
Definitely not. You are actually very real on Instagram, which I appreciate, but you know that Instagram life sometimes people kind of here. You know she does all these things and it's perfect and you know.Lindy O'Neal:
I like to keep it real on here 100%, not, no, no, our house is a mess all the time, which drives me bonkers. I'm a neat freak. I want tidiness. I don't want clean, but there are three children and one pseudo child that lives in my home. I'm saying that and you know, and we've got two dogs and we're busy all the time, so we're never home.Stacey Cordivano:
So I mean we're just where I mess any hacks for helping the chaos for other moms or busy people listening?Lindy O'Neal:
Hmm, live close to your family. Live close to your family. We are close to his mom and dad. My parents just moved up here close to us, and so we've got a huge support system and I could not do what I do without all of them. There's no way I wouldn't be able to get it done. Yeah, my mother sometimes even do my laundry, like my little laundry fairy, and it's so nice. It's not often, but she'll do it and I'm so thankful for that. Yeah, and really I think the fact that Josh is willing to do a lot of the Wifely duties, you know and I hate to say it like that, because we don't really fall into those gender roles yeah, you have to just, but we do. Sort of, but he's not scared to cook and start laundry, so I'm thankful for that.Stacey Cordivano:
That's great. Anything else you want to leave people with about organized vet med or your experiences thus far?Lindy O'Neal:
I would just say get involved, find a place. Find a place, get involved. When your delegate asks for your feedback on a topic, give it to them, because sometimes they want your opinions and they don't want to formulate their own. If we're standing up there Trying to represent our state the best we can, me representing my state is not just my own opinions. I need to hear what South Arkansas says, I need to hear what North Arkansas's, I need to know what everybody says so I can bring all that together to the table. So your delegate, whether it's a ABP or Texas, they will reach out to you and say I want your opinion. Give it to them.Stacey Cordivano:
What if you don't get asked that Is there a central location on how to get in touch with your delegate or find out who your delegate is?Lindy O'Neal:
if you are an AVMA member, you should be getting asked that question, and if not, you may have opted out on some emails, and so that is a personal preference setting on the AVMA dashboard that you need to check. Okay, yeah, that's great advice. If you're not getting those at least twice a year, then let me know and I can help you navigate through that great.Stacey Cordivano:
Okay, where is the good place for people to get in touch with you?Lindy O'Neal:
I would say on Instagram they call me dr Lindy. Yeah, I don't check my doctor Facebook very much, but I check my Instagram.Stacey Cordivano:
Okay, I'll make sure to link that in the show notes too. Alrighty, I ask everybody what is one small thing that has brought you joy this past week?Lindy O'Neal:
well, last night we were all making dinner together as a family and my little girls wanted to make brownies and they did the whole thing themselves my 10 year old, my eight year old and, yeah, maybe that's not that big a deal, maybe lots of kids do that, but they have the idea. They found the brownie mix, they did it all themselves and I didn't help at all. I licked the batter and that's what I did.Stacey Cordivano:
That does seem like a new parenting level unlocked.Lindy O'Neal:
Yeah, it was awesome. Okay, I'm gonna get some more brownie batter. We're just gonna keep this stock in the pantry.Stacey Cordivano:
That's awesome. Well, thank you for sharing your potential future plans. We'll be sure to keep checking in on that, because I think that's really exciting and you could be an amazing force for us in Government. Well, thank you, stacy, for having me. Thanks a lot. I appreciate you. Thank you so much for tuning in to the whole veterinarian podcast. I so appreciate the time that you spend with me to connect. Please find me on Instagram at the whole veterinarian, or check out the website at the whole veterinarian calm, and you can sign up For our monthly newsletter as well. Thanks again and I'll talk to you soon.