A city on a hill...
In October 1840, George Ripley announced that he was planning to form a utopian community near Boston, Massachusetts. Ripley believed in the inherent goodness of both people and nature and sought to cultivate an environment wherein women and men would thrive.
Brook Farm, as it would be called, was based on working together for the benefit of the greater community. Like some of the other thinkers of his time, Ripley endeavored to create a reality that reflected lofty values such as harmony, freedom, and humanity. He believed that only through hard work and physical effort, which in itself he considered “uplifting,” could he achieve a union of mind and body, spirit and flesh.
Community members, who called themselves “Brook Farmers,” believed that they could create a microcosm of the way that life should be. George Ripley’s hope was that their local success would eventually serve as a model for other communities, stating: “If wisely executed, [Brook Farm] will be a light over this country and this age. If not the sunrise, it will be the morning star.”
Brook Farm Today
At Brook Farm Veterinary Center, we have confidence that we can pick up where Ripley left off. Just like the milkweed growing in our garden and the black-capped chickadees at our bird feeders, Brook Farm is a Hudson Valley native, and as such we have a duty to care for and protect its people, pets, and natural resources. Today, our core values reflect the evolution of George Ripley’s original beliefs:
We cultivate empathy. We operate with a human heart. We believe in treating people with the same love, compassion, and respect that we give pets. We have an obligation to act in the benefit of people and animals and believe that it is our duty to be socially responsible. We behave ethically and with sensitivity toward the social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues that affect all living creatures.
We work with precision. We believe in social, ethical, and overall organizational accountability. We will measure, discuss, and strive to improve every aspect of our performance. We will always conduct our business in a way that does not inconvenience the client and that prioritizes patient health and comfort. We will expend as much time, effort, and energy that is necessary to do our jobs well.
We set an example. We believe that it is our duty to create benefit for others. We volunteer, teach, and contribute in support of the animal-lovers of the Hudson Valley. We pursue ongoing education and development in order to advance our careers in veterinary medicine and make a more significant impact in our community. We are humble educators who turn knowledge into action and who strive to empower others.
George Ripley believed that good work takes hard work. Like all things worthwhile, becoming a Brook Farmer is a task that doesn’t come easy. You’ll engage both your mind and heart in an environment that combines rigor and flexibility and that harnesses the power of people banding together for a common cause. Working at Brook Farm will require you to embrace change, cultivate mindfulness, and develop a keen eye for improvement.
Ripley knew that the stewardship of our health, resources, and communities lay in the hands of just a few; it’s an idea that stems from the belief that what unites is a force much greater than what divides us. That’s why it’s essential that we put others before ourselves by volunteering regularly and pitching in where we’re needed. You’ll find that your job description soon becomes irrelevant as you focus on helping those around you and solving problems that are not your own.
Becoming a Farmer
It is an essential task of any progressive organization to build a team that is as inclusive and diverse as possible. There’s no one kind of Brook Farmer, so we’re always looking for people who can bring perspectives and life experiences to the practice. As an Equal Opportunity Employer, we celebrate, support, and thrive on difference.
We look for compassionate candidates whose personality and experience demonstrate our core values. We value applicants who demonstrate a history of resilience, authenticity, and a strong work ethic, all of which are crucial to building a culture that values growth and continuous improvement. The ideal candidate also possesses the following attributes:
- Civic mindedness: they volunteer and support causes that are important to them,
- Focus: they relish in getting the tiny details right,
- Humility: they are open and honest with themselves and others and view failure as an opportunity to improve,
- Responsibility: they are reliable, punctual, and flexible,
- Humor: they like to laugh.
Application. We encourage candidates to take time crafting a thoughtful cover letter, perhaps including a story about themselves or about a time they helped others. They should be able to relate their past experiences to the position advertised and show their personality.
Video Supplement. All candidates have the option of completing answering a series of questions via webcam that will further enhance their application. This supplement is reviewed by an elected committee of existing staff members who can vote to have the candidate interviewed.
Preliminary Interview. Promising candidates will be invited into the office to meet with the Hospital Director. We’ll about them about their core values and how they’ve demonstrated them at work and in the community; we’ll also ask about past experience and what led them to apply.
Assessment. After a successful interview, candidates will be asked to complete several electronic assessments. The Employee Personality Profile (EPP) is a general personality inventory that measures twelve personality traits that provide valuable insights into a person’s work styles and how they are likely to interact with coworkers and clients. The Minicog Rapid Assessment Battery (MRAB), on the other hand, is a series of nine short tests that measure a person’s “information processing” functions. The MRAB is based on a newer understanding of cognitive competency that is broader than the traditional view of what constitutes “intelligence:” it tests a subject’s attention skills, powers of concentration, working memory, and problem-solving abilities.
Open Interview. Once scores have been received, candidates will be invited to spend an entire shift with a member of their department, at which point they will receive a tour and simulated training. This stage of the interview process is essential to identifying whether the candidate would fit into the existing team dynamics and their ability to perform at par with their colleagues. Candidates are encouraged to ask questions that provide insight into the environment and culture of the practice by speaking privately to existing staff members.
Situational Interview. At the end of their open interview, candidates will meet with the head of the department that they are applying into. Department heads will ask questions about situations that candidates would encounter on-the-job and gauge their comfort level with the expected workload.
Reference Screen. Candidates will be asked to submit at least three references to Wonderlic, who will contact past colleagues and supervisors and ask them to attest to the candidate’s work ethic.
Background and Drug Screen. Though these are performed after the candidate accepts the position, their offer is nonetheless contingent on satisfactory background and drug screening results. Background screening examines death and address records as well as any criminal history; it does not provide information regarding the candidate’s financial or credit history.
Leadership at Brook Farm looks a lot different from what you might be used to.
One to Ones and Performance Appraisals: Brook Farmers meet frequently with their department heads to identify goals and develop a plan for your ongoing development. You’ll also receive a written appraisal of your performance from the perspective of both your peers and practice leadership every six months so you always know where you stand.
Recognition: Everyone yearns for that glow that comes with knowing that a long day didn’t go unnoticed. At Brook Farm, we put in extra effort to acknowledge our peers and take time to recognize each other for our achievements.
Coaching: Don’t expect to fly under the radar. At Brook Farm, we’ve cultivated an environment grounded in mutual accountability, so you can expect to receive nearly constant feedback about your work. We’ll take time to identify and improve every aspect of your performance to help you excel, because good work takes hard work.
Engagement: Brook Farmers provide feedback each week in a quick and simple engagement survey. We’ll ask you to answer a few anonymous questions about how satisfied you are with your position (and with life at Brook Farm in general) and what we can do to improve. You’ll answer a more extensive questionnaire twice a year when we work with Gallup, the leading consulting firm in employee engagement.
Goals: There’s always room to grow in your position. You’ll establish several goals each month to help you excel both as a teammate and an individual. Expect to be held accountable by your teammates with a hard-earned cheer or a helpful nudge. New Brook Farmers are also encouraged to join one of our existing committees or start, say, a monthly book club to get a sense of the existing culture.
Open Book Management: You’ll work with your colleagues to chart the course of the practice and participate in making decisions about the future of our culture. Brook Farm has a number of elected positions open to every department so that everyone can take part in deciding what’s next.
Live a healthy life
All Brook Farmers have access to our unique wellness program which integrates the mind and body to live a healthier, happier, and more engaged life.
- Need to reset? Take a few minutes to sign on to your prepaid subscription to Whil, the leading digital innovator for mindfulness and yoga programs. Plus, all staff meetings start with a five-minute session to help us get focused and reduce stress. Mindfulness has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve relationships, and increase overall awareness.
- Under the weather? We offer paid sick leave to all employees.
- Hungry? Our wide assortment of snacks located at our wellness stations will keep you healthfully energized throughout the day.
- Like to exercise? Enroll in our insurance plan and we’ll reimburse up to $200 of your monthly gym expenses and $100 of your spouse’s.
Support your loved ones
Your family matters to you, so they’re important to us, too. Many of our benefit programs and onsite amenities are aimed at supporting you and your loved ones through life’s various stages - we offer inclusive parental leave policies, retirement savings plans, and life insurance. Since insurance for pets can be expensive, we offer significant discounts for veterinary care provided under Brook Farm’s roof.
Enjoy quality time
We all need time away from work to relax, travel, take care of personal tasks, or spend time with family and friends. Our paid time off policies accrue quarterly so you’re never without a day to recharge. Eligible employees can also take advantage of paid holidays so there’s no need to worry about missing Thanksgiving supper.
The Brook Farm team also sponsors numerous outings throughout the year that serve to strengthen bonds and get to know each other on a more personal level. Past events have included murder mystery dinners, garden parties, spirit days, and movie nights.
Manage your finances
Brook Farm has partnered with Honest Advisors to help you start saving for retirement. Sign up for a fully-portable, affordable IRA and we’ll cover your advisory fees for the length of your employment.
Invest in you
We’re always learning how to strengthen our impact and become better local citizens. Brook Farm offers extensive opportunities for personal and professional development, including access to a comprehensive library built by one of the country’s foremost veterinary teaching hospitals. Licensed professionals are encouraged to attend the New York State Veterinary Conference without expense.
Just getting started in your career? Let us help! Our Professional Development Coordinator will create a skill-share program unique to your goals. If you’re going back to school, we’ll help you setup paycheck deductions through New York’s 529 College Savings Program. (Alternatively, let us assist you with opening a 529 account to save for your child’s tuition.)
Volunteering is at the heart of what we do. Help us at a practice event and earn volunteer points that can be redeemed on your Brook Farm account or donated to help animals in need.