Shereene Williams - Veterinary Adviser
Shereene works in our Global Animal Health Team to ensuree the animals we work with have access to quality health services.
What time does your alarm go off and how do you start your day?
My alarm goes off at 6:30am - however, I'm slightly addicted to the snooze button!
I always listen to the news while having my breakfast and then head off to work on the bus. I have a beautiful walk across London, past St Paul's Cathedral and the Tate Modern.
What are you responsible for in your role at Brooke?
I work in the Global Animal Health Team which is a wonderful team of vets, paravets and farriers in the UK, Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America who work to ensure animals have access to quality health services to help them stay healthy, and care for them when they are sick or injured.
We aim to support and strengthen local animal health services so, rather than building new clinics or treating animals ourselves, we train and mentor local vets and farriers who are part of the community. We also work to improve access to essential medicines such as pain relief, which benefits all animals, not only working horses, donkeys and mules.
How did you get your job?
Funny story: in a wardrobe in New Zealand! I was working and travelling in Australia and New Zealand when I heard about this role. I was so excited as I'd always wanted to work at Brooke, but being on the other side of the world meant that I had my interview on Skype. However, the wifi connection was poor and the best place was in a wardrobe in a hostel we were staying in.
What's your typical day?
It varies. When I'm in the London office I'll be working on global projects - for example, at the moment I am working with our farriers on our farrier mentoring project. This framework includes a list of essential skills and competencies required to provide good quality farriery services and is used by our specially trained Brooke vets and farriers to mentor local farriers with no formal training. Through mentoring we believe the farriers' confidence and competence will grow and therefore the animals will receive better hoof care.
When I'm in the field I could be running training sessions on clinical skills or mentoring our veterinary trainers in an equine fair in India or a government health post in Ethiopia. The context in which we work can be very challenging but by sharing our experiences and building skills in each other, our Global Animal Health Team hopes all working equids will have access to the essential health care they deserve, both now and in the future.
What’s your most memorable work moment?
Helping get animals access to pain relief. We take access to medicines for granted here in the UK, but our overseas colleagues often find it very difficult to get medicines such as pain relief and antibiotics. It's hard to imagine being a vet working in such challenging conditions with animals that are often in a huge amount of pain without being able to give them an injection or tablets that would relieve it.
By working together we try to ensure access to affordable, locally available, quality medicines that will still be available even after Brooke has moved on.
What's the best part of your job?
Definitely the animals and especially the donkeys - my colleagues laugh at how much I love donkeys, but I could never get bored of scratching behind their ears! In all seriousness what we see these animals cope with is truly amazing. They work tirelessly in hugely challenging environments such as the brick kilns, where they commonly work in 50 degree heat, carrying more than their own bodyweight in bricks. They're just amazingly resilient, as are their owners.
What would be your Plan B? What would you be doing if you didn't work at Brooke?
I would love to be an ambulance driver - I've always been amazed by blue flashing lights and paramedics since I was a child. I am a huge believer in the NHS and its amazing staff, so I'd like to think that if I wasn't working as a vet to improve animal health then maybe I would be doing something in human health.
What makes you #ProudToBeBrooke?
The people! I work with so many talented, committed and passionate people all over the world. Also our supporters: without their commitment and enthusiasm none of this would be possible.