This interview is with:

David L. Foley: Executive Director American Association of Equine Practitioners


Author’s Note: My hope is that when reading these interviews, they give you a brief, fun break from your daily routine and perhaps stimulate you to engage with others in new ways. The eleven questions are typical of how I get to know my clients during our first meeting.

1. Where are you and what do you notice as you look around the space you are in right now?
We are at the 65th Annual AAEP convention in Denver, Colorado. It feels a bit like a fishbowl. We are in a small glass booth in a large space with a lot of people walking around. Every time I turn my head I notice people walking around.

2. If you weren’t working what would be your ideal (real or imagined) most peaceful place to be?
The beach. My wife and I love the beach doing nothing more than sitting with an umbrella and chairs and looking at the waves and surf all day. That is relaxing to us. If I want solitude I go to my family farm about an hour outside of Lexington. Just to go out there and walk. I grew up running around out there as a boy. It is a nostalgic and special place for me.

3. How did three people influence you, personally or professionally, throughout your life?
My grandfather had a real spirit of service and was involved in his industry on committees and civic volunteerism. He really served people and was a really strong Christian man. My father had a work ethic that he instilled in me. As a boy I always had jobs and had to work. He could have just given me things but he saw the value in making me earn them. At age 16 he said the good news is I’m going to let you get your driver’s license the bad news is if you want a car you are going to have to pay for it and the insurance. As an adult I reflect back and it was great a great favor he did me and it really shaped me. My mother had a great generous spirit and had compassion for people and animals and she served in a lot of civic organizations that focused on disadvantaged children and people in distress. I have tried to take the good things from all of them and use them in my career.

4. Who currently inspires you?
My wife. People say opposites attract. I’m and introvert and I always tell people if it wasn’t for her we wouldn’t have any fun and if it wasn’t for me we wouldn’t pay our bills on time. So, it’s a great balance. She’s very artsy and I’m very logical and so I admire her and I admire her creativity and spirit. She’s not afraid to try things, she’s a risk-taker and I’m not as much.

5. What do you consider your greatest attribute?
Probably my temperament. I’m pretty even keeled. I’ve been in this job a long time. I have a new President every year with a different personality, a different type of practice, and leadership style. That is a person I spend a lot of time with in a year and I’ve done that for 20 years. I feel I’m pretty flexible and a hard worker. I’m definitely not the smartest person in the room, but I care deeply about what I do, why I do it, and nobody is going to be more committed than I am.

6. What do you think you might need to work on (one thing)?
I think I’m too passive. I have hard time setting some boundaries some time. I need to be more direct sometimes and I thought it was interesting that Betsy Charles DVM said that “Clear is kind”. I don’t want to hurt people’s feelings and I tend to avoid conflict. I want everyone to be happy. Sometimes you need to be clear and direct and that is hard to do.

7. What do you think has been your greatest achievement?
Building a good team at the AAEP office staff. I have surrounded myself with people who are more talented and smarter than I am. That’s the trick. I’m not the smartest person in the building but I can identify talent and foster that. A rising tide raises all boats. I am crazy about my family so I would include that too.

8. What do you tend to say most often?
I’m a processor and not good at thinking on my feet and that’s why answering these questions is unusual for me. I can think of answer in about an hour from now.

9. What do you value most in others? Honesty and directness.

10. What types of things do you like to read?
I like to read a lot of things. Stephen King. Historical fiction. Magazines. Feeds on Twitter. Kentucky sports radio, I am graduate from there so I’m a fan.

11. What curious or unusual thing might others be surprised to know about you?
I’m pretty shy and introverted. I can be extroverted in a work setting but it’s draining for me. Professional contacts may not know that about me that I need a little time to prepare for the different events. At the end of each day at convention, for example, I need some alone time in my room to re-energize for evening activities, as well as some quiet time alone each morning to prepare for the day ahead.

That way David you can practice self-care to keep on giving to others. Thank you. 


© Trudi Howley M.S., SEP, LPCC, CPC is a Somatic Psychotherapist and Certified Professional Coach, specializing in trauma healing.