Mentee story: Lewis MacKinnon

Auckland-based Emergency Veterinarian Lewis MacKinnon has been working with his mentor for about a year. He says one of the main benefits of using the Mentorloop platform has been finding a mentor who is closely aligned with his own veterinary interests.

“Over the last year, we have spent time discussing where I want to go professionally and how I can make a positive impact,” Lewis says. “That has included plenty of time clarifying my thinking and being challenged on what steps to take, why to take them, and what others in the industry might expect from me.”

“When I was studying at university, I wasn’t sure if clinical work was for me, but my mentor encouraged me to think about how, even if I didn’t pursue clinical work long-term, there’s a certain respect that comes from other vets by doing some time on the frontline,” he says.

“There’s also a depth of understanding you gain from clinical work around health and diseases that you can only get through hands-on experience, which is incredibly valuable.”

To ensure graduates get the best value from their mentor, Lewis suggests they be open about what they do and don’t know.

“I remember finding it quite daunting not knowing where exactly I wanted to go and I think final year students should know that’s totally normal. It’s more about being clear, open, and honest with your mentor in the initial survey.”

“The nature of my mentor’s role has helped me to understand the dairy industry as a whole, such as who the stakeholders are, how they make decisions, and what they are working on,” he says.

“We have also had a lots of chats about our specific shared interests, like animal welfare standards, communication techniques, and even ethics and philosophy.”

Lewis says he would recommend Mentorloop to any new graduate looking for a mentor in the veterinary industry and found the initial online questionnaire useful. This helped to ensure he was paired with a mentor who could genuinely help and provide the right level of support. At the time, he was working with cow wearables before making the move into emergency clinical work.

“At Massey, I was always keen on wildlife conservation and the welfare of populations, but I’m finding that clinical work is actually really fun and challenging,” he says.