With her Cornell veterinary degree in hand, Kelly Saporito ’07 decided to head south, lured by the warm climate and melodic Spanish language. To her surprise, she found—and has fully embraced—entrepreneurship.
After completing an internship at the Coral Springs Animal Hospital and working as an associate at a small-animal practice run by a young female veterinarian, Dr. Saporito often considered the future. Not one to waste a minute of the present, though, she leveraged her time as an associate wisely, committed to honing her veterinary skills and gaining others, including finance, marketing, and management.
“I began to wonder why I couldn’t run my own practice,” said Dr. Saporito. “The process to find and secure a viable business was not easy, and owning a business is definitely not for everyone. We are all different, with different goals and circumstances, but if owning your own practice is a goal, fear should not be a barrier.”
That is not to suggest that Dr. Saporito made the decision lightly. In fact, she spent many months contemplating the idea and considering the long hours and many duties that she would have to do in addition to actually providing care. The decision to sign a five-year lease, with no guarantees that she’d be able to make the mortgage, was one of the biggest risks she’s ever taken. She found the courage to follow through because of one simple reality: at the end of the day, no one can take her license.
“I will always be able to work,” said Dr. Saporito. “I can always be a veterinarian, and that is a huge asset if I ever need to recuperate losses.”
This shouldn’t be a problem though: business at the Coco-Park Animal Hospital is bright. Dr. Saporito has partnered with a management consulting firm who is training her on operating the administrative side of her general practice, and a team of six to eight staff offer new and returning patients a variety of services, including preventive care, testing, internal medicine, surgery, dental care, and grooming.
“This is by far the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” said Dr. Saporito, who describes her practice as her baby. “But I wouldn’t change my decision for anything. It has presented me with a whole new set of challenges, which I love; the opportunity to mold the future of the practice; and put me in a position to help my employees realize their professional goals. Why wouldn’t I do this?”