Beth Keser, a Jupiter resident, wanted to be a veterinarian since she was 5. She achieved her dream, and after graduating from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1997, she worked in animal health sales and later as a veterinarian in New Jersey.
Today, she is the director of medical services at Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League in West Palm Beach. She was recently promoted to this position from lead veterinarian, a position she held for four years.
Keser oversees a team of veterinarians and technicians who work together ensuring animals get the best and most up-to-date medical and surgical care possible.
Age: 47 years old, thank God I only look 37
Hometown: Suffern, N.Y.
Education: Bachelor’s degree in Biology/Pre-med, Hampton University, Hampton Va.; DVM Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine
Family: Mother to Tora an amazing 10-year-old boy, who gives me my “WHY”… Why I work, Why I live, Why I love, my 15-year-old cat Burbon (my first foster failure), and my 2-year-old pug Tank. My heart still mourns my Great Dane Boomer. He recently passed away in September, and he was my first dog I got from the shelter… he rescued me for sure!
About your company: Peggy Adams Animal Rescue League is a non- profit private shelter. In 2016, we adopted almost 6,000 dogs and cats. We neutered and spayed over 16,000 dogs and cats and provided over 9,500 affordable vaccination packages. On average, we admit 40 animals a day. We are able to accomplish our goals with a staff of 125 employees and over 500 volunteers.
First paying job and what you learned from it: My first paying job was at CVS in high school and I learned that people and their purchases never cease to amaze and amuse me.
First break in the business: My first break in veterinary medicine was being a sales rep for a human pharmaceutical company that was just launching their animal health division. I was young, raw, and ready to take on the world. I moved to California, and was in charge of 10 states, everything west of Colorado. I got to travel, experience a very different side of veterinary medicine, and most importantly learn about people. I found my desire to practice medicine, so I moved back to the East Coast to work in a small animal practice, where I started to do work with the local shelter. From there, I developed a love to help the under-served — people and animals.
How your business has changed: Veterinary medicine has always mimicked human medical trends. I love how we as veterinarians are open to using multiple modalities to treat various conditions. Combining Eastern and Western philosophies to heal our pets. I am all for the use of supplements in lieu or in addition to the use of traditional antibiotics.
As we know, the overuse of antibiotics can cause resistance in the future. I’ve been in shelter medicine for the past eight years and I’m completely passionate about changing the concept of how veterinary medicine is practiced in the shelter. Here, at Peggy Adams, we try to utilize best practice based on the recommendations of the Association of Shelter Vets. We practice progressive forward-thinking medicine.
My team, our organization, makes me so proud to attain the goals we set. We have all attained advanced training to be able to do over 16,000 spay/neuter surgeries a year. We are the experts in this, as this is what we do all day. Our goal is to stop the cycle, stop the cycle of unwanted litters, that perpetuate the stray population, in which case may of these animals end up in the shelter. I get giddy when I speak about our kitten nursery, as we have saved over 800 kittens in the past two years. We have it staffed 24 hours a day, so we can care for neonates 0-6 weeks old. We do encourage the community to follow “Mother knows Best” program, which is available on our website at PeggyAdams.org.
Best business/ life book you ever read: “Shaken,” by Tim Tebow. I admire his faith and he’s a great role model for my son.
Best piece of business/life advice you ever received: Listen and watch people, for you can learn a lot by keeping your mouth closed, eyes open, and ears in tune to your surroundings.
Best life advice: It’s not how you start, but how you finish. Life … happens.
What you tell young people about your business: I tell young people you can do anything you want in life … just do it and stay focused. You don’t have to be the smartest person, but you do need to be the one that wants it the most. Don’t let your beginning define your journey. Don’t let others limit you based on race, gender or any other label.
One of my favorite programs I love is our mentoring program for third- and fourth-year vet students from various vet schools in and out of the country. They come here to learn surgery/shelter medicine.
Many successful people learn from failure. Do you have a failure you can share and what you learned from it? I was very young when I started vet school and seriously partied my first semester. That being said, I had to start again, but I didn’t let that failure be my story! In fact, my so-called failure was my beginning. I humbled myself, and got my act together. I wasn’t going to let anyone, or anything stop me from reaching my goal.
What do you see ahead for Palm Beach County? I see a future full of proactive and productive programs as it relates to solutions for overpopulation like C2Z, an initiative to reduce the number of euthanasias in the county. Better, more comprehensive wellness and health programs for the animals of PBC.
Power lunch spot: Chipotle.
Where we’d find you when you’re not at the office: When not at the shelter, I’m often spending time with my son at his sporting activities (sometimes I coach the teams). I love kickboxing at Title (Jupiter), or just watching sports. When the opportunity arises, I try to catch a Tebow event.
My friends know me as Wonder Woman … because WW is truly a state of mind. I’m no better than the next person but I do believe in my heart I can do it all (for my son, myself, my faith, my job).
Favorite Smartphone app: Facebook because it keeps me connected to family and friends, and Snap Chat (just for silly family pictures)
What is the most important trait you look for when hiring? Flexibility, sincerity, open-minded mentality, and people who understand or are willing to understand shelter medicine.