The people behind the science
We asked Lynda a few questions about her job and how she feels about working with and for cats and dogs.
Since you’re working as a medical director it all sounds very serious and clinical, what motivates you to go to work every morning?
The opportunity to positively affect the health and quality of life of dogs and cats. That, and the opportunity to collaborate with some really talented, intelligent, and passionate people to make a difference not only in the lives of pets and their owners, but in the veterinary profession as well.
Do you feel you can make an impact when you work for such a big company?
It's incredibly rewarding. I was a practising veterinarian for 15 years before coming to Hill's and I had the opportunity to impact animal welfare one patient at a time on a daily basis. Now I have the opportunity to work on things that allow me to impact the lives of many animals – ones I will never meet – but a greater number than I could when I was practising. I also have the wonderful opportunity to educate veterinarians and help them better serve their clients and their patients, so I am able to indirectly impact the health and well being of the dogs and cats under their care as well.
Hill’s Pet Nutrition are innovating, but it sounds a bit vague. How would you define innovation?
Oh, that's a tough one. I think innovation is simply taking a new approach to a problem – it can happen with anything – it doesn't have to be a breakthrough in nutrition or medicine or a new medical or research procedure. It can be a new way of packaging, or a new approach to how something is processed or shipped, or even a new approach to meeting a customer's needs. But true innovation is something that no one has tried before – so not just new to me, but new to everyone. Being innovative requires courage. When you try something completely new, more often than not you fail the first few times, and those who don't like change try to discourage you. You have to learn from what didn't work, fine tune, and try again.
What is the best thing you’ve seen while working for Hill’s?
I'd have to say the journey of bringing Prescription Diet™ y/d™ Feline to market. From watching people from all departments from Hill's work together to solve problems that were thought insurmountable, to seeing the tears in the eyes of a veterinarian when they realized they had a new alternative that offered their clients a chance of keeping their older cat around for a while longer, to meeting a cat with hyperthyroidism and its owners who tried y/d™ as a last resort and hearing and seeing for myself the positive response that cat experienced. It's one of the most satisfying things I've ever experienced in my veterinary career.
What about when you were a child, what did you want to grow up to be?
A teacher or a veterinarian. Fortunately, I get to do both – I'm a veterinarian who teaches. How much fun is that?
And one last question: if you weren't researching for Hill’s, what would you be doing?
Living in Texas close to my family, herding sheep with my border collies, working a few days a week as a relief veterinarian or working in a veterinary teaching hospital.
Thanks for your time and answers, Lynda!