Ebony Escalona, Veterinary Advisor (Partner Trainer)

Ebony is one of the four veterinary advisors at Brooke. Her main responsibility is to build confidence and healthcare capabilities in our global veterinary teams and in particular our Nicaraguan and Guatemalan programmes.

Ebony and her horse

1. What time does your alarm go off and how do you start your day?

My alarm goes off at 5:45 and then it’s smoothie and coffee time. I think it is important to take some me time before the hustle and bustle of the day so 10 minutes of mindfulness (I love the Headspace app). I like to get personal admin done and I have a couple of other businesses so work on these for a few hours before heading to work at 9am.

2. What are you responsible for in your role at the Brooke?

I am one of the four veterinary advisors in a great team of women. My main responsibility is to build confidence and healthcare capabilities in our global veterinary teams and in particular our Nicaraguan and Guatemalan programmes. We do this through a combination of field support visits and workshops through to e-learning programmes and discussion forums. But the vet team is super versatile and we frequently work with other departments in the UK to provide #TailsFromTheField and technical expertise to fundraising events. I also make mean team coffees! I like to keep the office vibe light-hearted as the job we do can be tough so I suppose I am the unofficial office joker! Although, I am sure the team are usually laughing at me not with me!

3. How did you get your job?

My friend Tamsin called me up who used to work within the team and asked me to apply. I was still doing my PhD at the time so wasn’t looking for a job. However, I am so glad that she encouraged me to apply.

4. What is your typical day?

A typical day in the office will start with checking and replying to emails, as we are a global team there is communication at all hours! I usually have a couple of meeting and desk wise I’m I will work on projects such as producing a farriery training programme with the brill Tom Burch RSS MBE and a centralised protocol database for treatments. In the afternoon I usually have Skype meetings and mentoring sessions with the Latin American teams as they start their office day.

In the field it’s very different! For example, I was in Guatemala where we were training local service providers and agrovets (animal pharmacists) in our offices in the beautiful mountainous region of Quiche on basic horse handling and clinical exams and in the afternoon conducting case based mentoring with individual local service providers with cases presenting to them in the field such as colics and hoof problems.

Ebony, her horse and her Mum

5. What’s your most memorable work moment?

In Nicaragua watching farriers who previously would have tied a horse to the ground to trim the hooves or use a machete without thought of the hoof structures take great pride and care in their horse handling and trimming after realising and learning that there is a better way to work.

6. What is the worst part of your job?

Not spending more time in the field as building relationships and understanding the needs of our field teams and animals happens on the ground. Also in places such as Guatemala I also found it hard not to be able to help the stray dog population. As a vet my desire to help animals doesn’t just stop at the horse.

7. What is the best part of your job?

That’s easy to answer! When you see a light bulb go off in someone mind. It’s a 4 star feeling when I learn something new or grasp a complex concept but it’s a 5 star feeling when I watch that happen to someone else from the training or support we offer. It can be as simple as something like a group of service providers finding and interpreting the various pulse sites on a horse. The smiles on their faces= priceless.

8. What would be your Plan B? What would you be doing if you didn't work at the Brooke?

I am lucky in that I now work part-time at the Brooke AND run plan Bs already such as a Venezuelan travelling kitchen, an online vegan wellness company and an e-learning platform with a tech charity. However, I would love to be an aerial hoop circus performer in Cirque d solei. My skills are not quite there yet though!

9. What do you do after work?

I love hanging out with my friends when I am in London. My boyfriend and I also love doing circus and acrobatic skills! My ex-race horse has also just moved to London so he is keeping me busy.

10. What makes you #ProudToBeBrooke?

Being part of something bigger than the sum of my own skills or experience. For me, satisfaction and pride comes from lending a hand be it to horses, people or the environment around me. A job like this allows me to be part of leaving a legacy that can help future generations of humans and horses.