Geni Wren credits her father, Bruce Wren, DVM, PhD, with fostering her passion for animals and the veterinary profession, which led to nearly 20 years as editor of Bovine Veterinarian magazine. In the spring of 2013, she left that post to pursue a new opportunity as communications director with the American Association of Bovine Practitioners (AABP).
Geni grew up in Nebraska and Iowa, following her father on calls and to veterinary conferences, leading to a strong interest in cattle. In college, she earned a BS degree in zoology and, after shifting away from the vet-school track, also picked up a BA in journalism with an emphasis on science writing. Her networking skills paid off early, as she built relationships with Vance Publishing while a student member of the Livestock Publications Council. She maintained those relationships in her early years after graduation, while working for the American National CattleWomen in Denver and for an agricultural public-relations firm in Iowa.
In 1993, Vance Publishing contacted Geni to discuss a start-up project. The company had recently purchased Dairy Herd Management magazine, adding to its livestock portfolio that included Drovers Journal, Pork and Swine Practitioner. The company recognized an opportunity, with its existing subscription lists, to provide news and information directly to dairy and beef veterinarians.
Vance managers saw Geni’s background as an ideal fit and hired her as inaugural editor of Bovine Veterinarian. Geni says she leaned on her Drovers and Dairy Herd colleagues to provide editorial ideas but especially credits her father with helping establish herself and the magazine within the veterinary community. “Because of his career and involvement with so many veterinary organizations, he had great suggestions on types of articles to write and who to contact,” she says. “His reputation opened a lot of doors in the bovine veterinary community, and it just proved how close the community really is and how willing food-animal veterinarians are to share their knowledge and experiences with their peers.”
While peer-reviewed journals play a vital role in showcasing research, Bovine Veterinarian quickly filled a niche by featuring veterinarians taking that knowledge and applying it in the field. “What I learned was that my veterinarian readers wanted to know what their peers were doing in practice,” Geni says.
In her years as editor, Geni had many memorable and gratifying experiences. She recalls spending five days on the trail driving 200 Longhorns across Wyoming during the great American Cattle Drive in 1995. She spoke at a veterinary conference in Chihuahua City, Mexico, about U.S. beef and dairy veterinarians, and attended the Academy of Veterinary Consultants (AVC) meeting in Kona, Hawaii. In 2009, the Western Veterinary Conference honored her with a special recognition award.
Besides her father, Geni credits a long list of veterinarians as mentors and friends, including several who are featured in our “20 influential veterinarians” article in this issue.
“The two decades I have spent as Bovine Veterinarian editor have been extremely fulfilling,” she says. “I have traveled coast to coast, north and south and have been to countless dairies, feedlots, ranches, veterinary clinics, veterinary schools, diagnostic labs and animal-health company facilities. I have watched veterinarians care deeply for their clients’ families, land, operations, employees, animals and future. I’ve been side by side in the cold, heat, rain and mud, snapping photos and lending a hand.
“Beef and dairy veterinarians are some of the best people on earth. They are my friends and they are my family, and while I look forward to working with them in my new position with AABP, I have loved every day I spent with them through Bovine Veterinarian.”