Rob Williams – Head of Talent, VetPartners

Posted: 13/02/2023




Lots of national travel (1/week), occasional international travel


Empathy, Compassion, Creativity



Essential Skills

Prior management experience, CIPD qualification

Rob Williams

Check out our Career Q & A questions below to take a deep dive into this career path.  If you’re interested in this type of career but unsure how to take the next step, click below to learn more about our services designed to support you.

I’ve had a really varied career clinically including completing a rotating internship at Glasgow Vet School and a surgery residency in private practice. The bulk of my clinical career was spent at Minster Vet Practice, York over 2 periods. In my second spell at Minster I took on a clinical director role just prior to the formation of VetPartners in 2015. I enjoyed focusing on surgery and improving both my approach to case management and improving my technical proficiency. However over time I started to realise that I didn’t really enjoy clinical work I found it repetitive and boring
paradoxically I found the interaction with clients something I increasingly enjoyed.

In early 2016 an opportunity presented itself to help establish the first graduate programme at VetPartners and following this I worked in a hybrid role for 2 years mixing clinical work with working in the People Team at VetPartners. In 2018 I left clinical practice and started to work full time for VetPartners. The enjoyment I had working with clients towards the end of my clinical career is even more fulfilled now working as part of the people support team at VetPartners.

Given VetPartners’ culture there weren’t any barriers and I’ve been very fortunate to be given a lot of freedom to work on projects I find interesting.
I get to work with an amazing team of people every day, all working on the same objective of trying to support making VetPartners a genuinely great place to work. Genuine collaboration is a powerful thing and definitely one of the things I enjoy most about my role.
Work in project mode is something I hate with a passion, I completely understand the need for structure etc, but I find it a real struggle!
There is a lot of team leadership and supporting colleagues across the business, trouble-shooting and resolving problems for people. I spend a lot of time meeting people and listening, I think one of the skills I’ve really developed over the last few years is the ability to really listen. This is invaluable as you only really give yourself the opportunity to help if you truly understand someone else’s perspective.
You have to be really adaptable and happy with a certain amount of organised chaos. Having bucket-loads of empathy and common sense really help too, so not being afraid to seek out other perspectives and change your view of something really help.
I think anyone switching to a non-clinical role particularly working in a People Team (HR is a bit old hat) will have a ton of experience that is relevant and transferrable. Most people-related problems can be taught of in similar ways to clinical problems i.e. what’s the history, what happened, do we need to do any investigations, what can we do to help now etc.

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