GLOBE-trotting vet Austin Donnelly believes his new role at VetPartners is the perfect opportunity to prove there is no place like home.
Austin is relishing the new challenge of becoming Business Development Director at VetPartners Ireland, where he will be supporting our practice teams to deliver the best possible care for their patients and a great service for their clients.
He also shares our vision of creating a great place to work, where colleagues can thrive in their career and enjoy a healthy work-life balance.
Austin brings a wealth of experience in all areas of veterinary practice from his time as a clinical director and business manager.
He also gained great experience from seven years working in Australia and Tasmania, where he cared for all species, from cats, dogs and horses to kangaroos, wombats, wallabies and birds. He even put his global adventures into a book called Whiskers, Feathers & Fur: Veterinary Tales.
Austin, who was born in Armagh in Northern Ireland and now lives in Wicklow, is happy to be back on home soil after seeing his career come full circle.
After graduating from UCD in 2009, he began his working life at Avondale Veterinary Hospital in County Wicklow, which this year joined the VetPartners Ireland family of practices, and it was during his four years at Avondale that he achieved a Certificate in Small Animal Surgery.
“I returned to Avondale recently and it was like I’d never been away,” said Austin.
“They are excited about being part of VetPartners and are delighted to have joined the group. It is a special place for me because I was a brand new graduate when I was there with Mairead Berkery, who is now their clinical director, alongside many other familiar faces.
“I am looking forward to supporting them and our other practices.”
After working as a mixed vet in Ireland, Austin’s seven years in Western Australia and Tasmania armed him with huge experience.
As clinical director of Karratha Veterinary Hospital, he was able to put his surgery certificate to good use as the practice was 20 hours away from Perth, where there were bigger hospitals and specialist services.
He was able to use his advanced surgery and emergency medicine knowledge and skills, treating cases of pets with sunstroke from the 40 degree heat, frequent bites from highly venomous snakes, as well as injuries to exotic species and birdlife.
It also gave him his first experience is managing a hospital, which had five vets, four nurses and six support team members.
After returning to Ireland in 2019, he was clinical manager at UCD Pet Emergency Hospital, before taking up a management role with a large veterinary group.
Bringing his knowledge and experience to the business side of the veterinary industry has always appealed to Austin, who completed his Master of Business Administration and Management (MBA) from Edinburgh Business School in August 2023. He also achieved a Diploma in Leadership and Management and a Diploma in Human Resource Management, both in 2021 at UCD. He is now a guest business lecturer at UCD Veterinary School.
Austin is passionate about the veterinary profession and is the ideal fit for VetPartners, a veterinary group led by vets that has nurtured a culture of warmth and belonging.
VetPartners was established in October 2015 by CEO Jo Malone, a vet and owner of founding practice, Minster Vets in York, because she wanted to create a group to help practices grow and that would reflect the values she holds dearly, such as being respectful, working in collaboration, supporting each other and being dedicated and approachable.
Austin said: “I feel I can make a big impact on the profession in my new role as a BDD just as much as being in a consult room. I can have a positive impact on people by helping them to have a great career and workplace, which will also impact the care of animals.
“Jo Malone is a hugely inspiring person in the veterinary industry, and you can see VetPartners’ values reflected in interactions of people within the organisation.
“The culture, the ethos and the values of VetPartners really appeal to me. I love that it is an organisation led by vets sharing a common goal to improve the profession, deliver the best patient outcomes and support our people to be able to do that.
“VetPartners supports people to do things better by investing in facilities, equipment and new technology; funding qualifications and supporting career progression, which shows their commitment to the profession.”
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