Newsweek’s list of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women recognizes 1,000 U.S. companies that are committed to providing fair compensation, work-life balance, and diversity for their female employees.

VCA has the honor of being one of the 2024 award winners, receiving 4.5 out of 5 stars as a large-size company.

Newsweek and data firm Plant-A Insights Group based the rankings on a survey of over 142,000 women who provided reviews of more than 848,000 companies. The women were asked about the corporate culture and work environment at their own companies as well as at other companies they were familiar with.

“This recognition means a lot,” says Samantha Mohr, co-lead of VCA’s W.I.S.E. (Women Impacting Success for Everyone) group. “It shows that we are making a difference. Sometimes we get caught up in our day-to-day and wonder, ‘Are we really making an impact or not?’ This award is a testament that we are on the right track and need to continue doing this crucial work for the betterment of the female Associates in our organization.”

W.I.S.E. VCA Associate Resource Group

W.I.S.E. is one of several VCA Associate Resource Groups (ARGs). Its mission is to increase the recognition of women and to provide a network supporting professional and personal growth.

Samantha and Co-Lead Kalani Thorpe coordinate W.I.S.E. monthly meetings. “Every third meeting is an open discussion on a topic that affects women or our industry,” Samantha says.

Being a W.I.S.E. co-chair involves “a lot of brainstorming between listening to what our members want and trying to see how we can incorporate and make some of those suggestions, ideas and thoughts reality,” Kalani says.

VCA is a sponsor of the nonprofit organization Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative. Samantha and Kalani work on bringing in speakers for W.I.S.E. meetings in collaboration with that organization. They also support a partnership with Catalyst and arrange for speakers from that group “for a more global view,” Samantha says. Meeting topics have included achieving workplace equity for women, and why equity and inclusion is important.

Building Relationships & Advocating for Women’s Health

Another benefit of W.I.S.E. is that it enables members to build relationships across VCA. “If you’re working in a VCA hospital, sometimes it's hard to connect with people in leadership or other roles throughout the company,” Samantha says. “Building a safe community where we can all come together to talk about relatable topics is key. We can ask each other questions and be open with one another.”

Among W.I.S.E.’s new initiatives is health advocacy. “We’re creating spaces where we don’t record meetings but just come together and talk about breast cancer, eating disorders and other medical and social issues women are facing,” Kalani says.

W.I.S.E. is also reaching out to a younger audience in an effort to raise their awareness. Kalani and Samantha are working on starting a partnership with local chapters of the Boys and Girls Club of America that they hope will eventually expand to a national partnership.

Creating Inclusive Workplaces

“VCA is building an inclusive environment that empowers our Associates in terms of innovation, partnership and reducing burnout,” Samantha says. “I think W.I.S.E. specifically can help change and influence the future.”

Nancy Cooper, Newsweek’s global editor in chief, writes in the announcement of America’s Greatest Workplaces for Women 2024, “We hope this ranking, which recognizes the companies that are committed to creating equitable workplaces, demonstrates how effective strong leadership can be and also proves useful to job-seekers looking for the kind of corporate culture they want to be part of.”

The Newsweek award is “such an honor,” Kalani says. “It's really nice to know VCA is not just saying what female Associates want to hear but is actually giving our ARG the freedom to create programs that reflect what women want and expect from their workplaces.”