Rachel Ostrem with dog
Rachael Ostrem with her dog Beaux.
Photo: Laura Mullen, pixL Photography
Dueling Presidencies

When Rachael Ostrem walked into the College of Veterinary Medicine’s Club Fair as a first-year student she had no idea the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) existed.

A year later Ostrem is poised to assume the presidency of the organization – both at the chapter level and the national level – this January.

“I actually saw a poster on the wall at the Club Fair advertising the VBMA and it really interested me,” said Ostrem, now a VM2 student in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Being a practice owner is a goal of mine so I felt this was the club for me.”

Ostrem made a decision also to focus on one club in vet school. She took the opposite approach while an undergraduate at Williams Woods College in Missouri. There she played basketball with her team advancing to the NAIA national tournament four straight seasons. She was also a class president, a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority and was heavily involved in the school’s equestrian program.

“I knew these activities would help me get into vet school,” the Radcliffe, Iowa, native said. “But I wanted to focus on one organization when I got to Iowa State.”

And she has focused most of her time outside of class on the VBMA. As a first-year student Ostrem quickly got involved. She is presently serving as the club’s fundraising chair for the 2017 calendar year and went to the VBMA national conference in Orlando last January.

This January, Ostrem will not only be attending the VBMA national conference, but she will be in charge of it.

“Last year at the national meeting I talked to the national officers to find out how I could become one of them,” she said.

Ostrem went through the application process and interviews at the end of the spring semester. She soon learned she was one of six individuals selected to serve on the national board.

“We just knew we had been selected but didn’t know which positions we were chosen for,” Ostrem said. “We found out in July during the AVMA Convention.”

At the same time Ostrem was named the national VBMA president, she assumed the same role for the Iowa State chapter. The 120-member organization holds eight to ten meetings per semester where veterinary professionals and other business leaders are invited to speak on issues that will help prepare veterinary students for the business world responsibilities many will face once they graduate.

“VBMA focuses on business education that many veterinary students wouldn’t get otherwise,” Ostrem said.

At the national level, Ostrem will coordinate the three-day January national conference. Her stint at the fundraising chair for the Iowa State chapter will come in handy as she is the chief fundraiser for the national VBMA.

To take on not one, but two different leadership roles, is time consuming. But the self-described “Type A” personality doesn’t worry too much about time management as she “just makes it work.”

That’s because her involvement in the VBMA, at both Iowa State and nationally, is part of a larger goal she has.

“As an undergraduate I wanted to be really involved and I studied my butt off to get good grades,” Ostrem said. “In vet school, my goal is to do what it takes to become a good veterinarian at the end of my journey.”