Building Resilience: Innovating Your Career

Dr Ivan Zak shares his story of innovating his own career through having a curiosity to solve problems, learning on the fly and pursuing an MBA.  

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In This Episode

Entrepreneurs come from all different backgrounds. Some start with degrees in marketing and business, some start with degrees in other fields but with a natural curiosity and drive to innovate. Our guest today, Dr Ivan Zak has worked his way to fall in both camps. 

Ivan shares with Dave and Greg his story of becoming a veterinarian not once, but twice and the different experiences he’s had to learn how to build a business. He shares stories from intriguing Russian money exchanges to frustration with existing standard veterinary business practices that pushed him to innovate software solutions and create a new career path.

Ivan’s path for learning what he needed to know to be able to solve the gaps he identified is a common path that many entrepreneurs can relate to. He was resilient not to let his lack of knowledge in a particular area stop him from moving forward. He learned what he needed to to make his business successful. His choice to pursue an MBA and fill in some of his knowledge and practical application gaps helped him to support his next steps in his career through a successful exit and building a new startup.


Episode Breakdown

First 10 Minutes
Dave and Greg welcome us back to The Boiling Point and introduce us to our guest today Dr Ivan Zak. Ivan explains his background of how immigrated to Canada and re-took his veterinary degree. He explains how he went to Russia to build a diagnostic lab for veterinary services for a year. He explained how that experience worked and the cultural differences between Canada and Russia when it came to diagnostic tests, animal care, and government funding. 

10 Minutes – 20 Minutes
Ivan shares a story of exchanging funds and carrying a large amount of money around Russia. Ivan explains his experiences in working within emergency and relief veterinary medicine. He explains how his first startup came from improving how vets access and share information by digitizing records. The group talks about how entrepreneurs ideas come out of frustration or recognizing gaps in the way things have always been done. 

20 Minutes – 30 Minutes
Ivan explains how his first startup was built and how he learned different parts of business and marketing, but realized that he had bits of knowledge all over the place and wanted to put it all together, so he took his MBA which he used to apply to the business he was currently running directly. He explained how he learned helped him to increase the value of his company when they were able to exit. The group talks about the value and role of education in your path of growing as an entrepreneur. Ivan explains his next career move in working for the corporate company he sold his company to which brought him to leaving in New Brunswick to make it an easy drive to Portland, ME. 

30 Minutes – 40 Minutes
Ivan explains how he’s been seeing people careers progressing and the shift that many people are only staying in a career for 10 – 15 years versus a lifetime. That knowledge, combined with the high burn-out, suicide rate and other factors in the career, has lead Ivan to help large scale companies who are consolidating veterinary practices. They are taking everything they learn from engagements with consulting to create software to solve common processes. Ivan also shares how they are also working on a university on how to build consolidation in any industry. Dave asks about the model of building the training to support the software sales and where Ivan came up with that process. Ivan explains how he’s learned about Scale to Agile framework used in technology development fields and is using that learning to help build the blueprints. Ivan wants to build a blueprint people can use to consolidate businesses starting in the vet space and moving out to different industries. Ivan explains how his current work situation helps him to have a better life balance between spending with his family and doesn’t have to feel that burnout feeling.

Dr Ivan Zak

Dr Ivan Zak

Chief Executive Officer at Veterinary Integration Solutions

Ivan Zak is a veterinarian, an entrepreneur, and a Lean Thinking evangelist currently leading Veterinary Integration Solutions. Just finished his dissertation studying how Lean Thinking can help reduce burnout in veterinary organizations.

About Veterinary Integration Solutions

Veterinary Integration Solutions enhances veterinary businesses. We bring proven processes, modern technologies, and our deep domain expertise to the rapidly growing veterinary consolidation market.

Veterinary Integration Solutions