Michelle Harcha, DVM, MA
Grove City, Ohio
Biography: Dr. Michelle Harcha is a veterinarian with over 30 years experience in the veterinary profession. Her unique combination of professional experiences includes 10 years in clinical practice, 12 years in a variety of roles at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, and 10 years in academia leading the Professional Development curriculum for veterinary students at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Her passion for communication training began when she worked in a veterinary emergency clinic. It was in this environment that she became certified in Everything DiSC® and saw how this assessment and communication skills made a huge impact working with and managing veterinary healthcare teams and improving the client experience. After completing several veterinary specific communication courses, the Institute for Healthcare Communication faculty training and the FRANK™ training, she led the development of a comprehensive applied communication curriculum at Ohio State. Dr. Harcha learned of the Academy of Communication in Healthcare and DocCom from her colleagues in the College of Medicine while teaching inter-professional education. Inter-professional students share many qualities and the importance of communication is evident in all healthcare professions. In 2017, she formed LeadYourShip LLC to bring her experience in communication, leadership skills, and emotional intelligence to the veterinary profession.
What was your earliest ambition?
Combining my love for animals and my passion for science, I decided to pursue a career in veterinary medicine at the age of thirteen. My grandfather was a veterinarian and when I was a small child, he told my mom that one day I would choose this career.
What was the worst mistake in your career?
No mistakes. Everything I have done in my career has led me to this moment. I would not change a thing. I am grateful for the unique blend and balance of professional experiences including clinical private practice, industry, and academia. All of this has contributed to my passion and skill in teaching communication, leadership, emotional intelligence, and resiliency.
What was the best career move?
I have had multiple careers, each a stepping stone to the next. I would not say one is better than the other. Each career began as my dream job. As I have grown and developed, so have my career goals. Moving from one job to the next, gives someone else the opportunity to live their dream as well. It is now exciting to begin my own consulting company with a focus on teaching communication, leadership, and emotional intelligence in veterinary hospitals and practices.
Who is the person you would most like to thank and why?
Both of my parents. They always supported my decision to go to veterinary school. My mom and dad gave me a strong sense of serving others, making a difference in the world, and being a good communicator. They helped me believe I could do anything I set my mind to do.
What book should every healthcare provider read?
Any book that makes them a better communicator and a kinder person. For me, that is anything written by Wayne Dyer, Byron Katie, Daniel Goleman, or Brene Brown.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I am a lifelong learner. I spend a lot of time, money, and energy on books, online courses, and continuing education. I have received insights from books and classes that have changed my life. Sharing what I learn with others is my passion.
Summarize your personality in three words.
Authentic, committed, and compassionate
How would you spend your favorite day?
Going to an Ohio State football game on a fall afternoon in Ohio Stadium. This would be preceded by attending the Ohio State Marching Band practice before the game at their “skull session” and then attending their post-game show after the Buckeye victory. I have been attending Ohio State football games with my family since I was a child and each game feels like a family reunion.
Where are you the happiest?
When I am learning and teaching others or spending time with my yellow Labrador Retriever, Colby.