Mother’s Day Special: Dr. Lise Morel and Alex Murray
May 15, 2023
Mothers have a profound influence on all of us and our communities. The maternal bond comes in many forms. This year, we’re spotlighting mother-daughter duos in our network. Learn about their inspiring journeys in the clinic and beyond. Meet Dr. Lise Morel and Alex Murray. The mother-daughter duo shares their advice on working together as a family.
Alex Murray, Senior Talent Acquisition Partner, grew up in the clinic. Her mother and father, Dr. Lise Morel and Dr. Scott Murray, started their practice when she and her sister were small children.
“I was a girl guide selling my cookies at the front to the clients. I remember the animals that were brought home. My mom bottle-fed raccoons, we saved squirrels and baby robins. There was never a dull moment. Our house is a clinic now. Our old bedrooms are still there just turned into other rooms,” Alex said.
Alex pursued a career in kinesiology and started managing a gym, however, she ultimately returned to her roots in the veterinary world. Her parents’ practice branched out into two locations – Hôpital vétérinaire des Trois-Lacs and Hôpital vétérinaire St-Lazare – with approximately 50 employees. Alex came on board as Practice Manager, then moved on as Operations Manager for both clinics.
Working together as a family
According to Dr. Morel, you must understand each other’s capacity, limitations, and have constant communication. Focus on positivity and encouragement, and do not put blame on each other. Set boundaries so work does not take over your entire relationship.
“It’s easy to bring it to your nights and weekends. Know when to stop and talk about something else,” Dr. Morel explained. “Spend time together outside of work. We’re lucky because we have good chemistry; not everyone has that. Every Sunday night we have dinners, and we see the whole family. Everybody’s there – Alex, my other daughter, boyfriends, grandkids. It’s such a pleasure.”
They also travel once a year together to disconnect and explore other interests.
“It’s a way for us to learn more about each other outside of our regular environment,” Dr. Morel said.
Starting a business with young children
It took time for Dr. Morel to reach that ideal work-life balance. She and her husband started their family, had kids, and opened their practice all at the same time. In those days, it was almost impossible to take time off.
“My second daughter was 3 days old and I took her with me to the clinic. I was breastfeeding in between appointments and she was on the swing-o-matic,” Dr. Morel remembered. “One time my husband was treating a cow. Alex was still in diapers. He had her in one arm and was treating the animal with the other arm. Nobody does that anymore. It was a different time.”
Although it was not easy, it formed them into who they are today.
“I don’t remember a time when I was discouraged or when I wanted to stop. Because the passion was there,” she said.
Alex witnessed how much her parents supported each other and saw that as the key to their success.
“It was just my mom and dad. So that would be my advice – find the key people around you that can support you during those challenging times,” Alex said.
From clinic to Head Office
Nowadays, Dr. Morel works 25 hours per week at the clinic.
“I can’t stop working. I love my clients. I love the animal world,” she said.
Alex has moved onto her current role with VetStrategy’s Talent Acquisition Team. She helps match clinics with the right DVMs, RVTs, and other team members that best fit their practice. An Operations Director offered her a position after seeing her knack for recruitment.
Her advice for others interested in Head Office roles? Reach out to your Practice Managers or ODs and share your desire to explore other positions. If you want to change your role or think you will be happier in a different position, voice that thought.
“Being a manager in a privately owned clinic, you don’t see all the other opportunities in the industry,” Alex explained. “Being in a group like VetStrategy and Daubigny, there are so many ways for you to grow. I know many PMs who are now in operations, human resources, or other branches of the business.”