Vivien Flockhart Never Says ‘No’ to Her Veterinary Clients
Vivien Flockhart, who will receive the 2019 Phil Steinhauer Award, said in an interview that she wakes up every workday and has “that moment of ‘I don’t believe I get to do this and get paid.’ That sounds like a cliché, I guess, but that’s how I feel.”
She has been a representative for Boehringer Ingelheim (and Merial before it was acquired by BI) for 14 years. “Before, I was a marketing manager in the agrichemical division of a petroleum company,” she said. “I knew something about the animal health industry and when I saw that Merial had a job opening, I applied on a whim. They said, ‘We don’t think you live in the right area but we want to meet you.’ So I met with them. And the sales manager said, ‘We believe in you. We’re going to give you a chance,’ even though I didn’t have any experience in animal health.”
Fourteen years later she has earned the SCVMA’s highest honor for an allied industry employee.
Melissa Garcia, practice manager at Bloomfield Animal Hospital in Lakewood, nominated Vivien for the award. “She does a lot to help the veterinary community,” Melissa said. “Any time we need her help, she is just a phone call away. She would move heaven and earth to get us exactly what we need.
“Vivien has a great attitude and she never says no. She always figures out a solution to any problems we have. She will fix it, even if it has nothing to do with her company. She’ll say, ‘OK, that’s not me and then she’ll call another rep. She bends over backwards to help – help the clinic, help the hospital, help the client, help the pet – in any way that she possibly can.”
She and her fellow employees “consider ourselves as partners with the practices in providing information and solutions for pet owners,” Vivien said. “Not to be corny, but we want to really be part of enhancing the human-animal bond. It is something special to think of ways that you can prolong that bond or prolong an animal’s life and preserve that relationship.”
Her relationship with the veterinary community, she said, “has been beyond my wildest dreams. These people accept me into their practices. They welcome me with open arms. They’re generous with their time and knowledge. It makes me feel like a fan girl – like a girl at a rock concert.
“They are so generous with their time. It’s who they are. It’s at the heart of being a veterinarian, I think. They are programmed to give. And whether that’s knowledge or healing or a relationship with a client – or being open so a rep like me can come in and talk with them – it’s who they are.
“I came to this through a happy accident. I feel very lucky.”
Vivien is proud that Boehringer Ingelheim – like the veterinary community – “takes it as a core value to give back.” She is the third employee of the company to win the Steinhauer Award. Lynda Rose was the recipient last year. Felicie Lewis, who is Vivien’s district manager, won the first Steinhauer award in 2015.
“Winning this award is very special to me,” Vivien said. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Animal Health Foundation and serves as treasurer.
She grew up in Southern California and now lives in Anaheim Hills with her husband, Anthony Zampetti, a supply chain manager for an agrichemical company in Monrovia. She has two stepchildren, Anthony and Samantha, whom she “loves and adores.” The family has a rescue dog named Bowie.
Vivien earned a degree at Cal Poly Pomona, where she was a member of the equine riding team. She owns a horse, which is stabled in San Dimas.
“I am pretty involved in the Arabian horse community,” she said. “I rode competitively and a lot of my friends from Cal Poly have their horses there, so we continue the social circle from college. We all support each other: if somebody’s showing, we all go and watch. We take care of each other’s horses and hang out and laugh and have a good time.”