From veterinary training in Iran to a management role with 400 employees

Hadi Boharni

In Iran, studying for a veterinary degree is a seven-year course, which leads to the doctor of veterinary medicine (DVM) qualification. 

Having achieved my degree, I was keen to see how the veterinary field worked in the UK – a country that is well known for caring for its pets. I was also curious to travel, experience real vet life in action and to learn from it. 

However, in order to practise in the UK, I would have needed to take additional exams, so I decided to focus on the managerial aspects of veterinary business instead. Obtaining a master’s degree in business administration (MBA) became my goal. I had to gain an English competency test – the International English Language Testing System – to be able to study at an English university. The exam was not easy, but I managed to achieve it.

I joined Village Vet in 2009. Initially, I was responsible for looking after a single practice, but I have been promoted through progressive managerial roles to my current position as a regional director. Regional directors report to Linnaeus CEO Bart Johnson. 

I now oversee a team of five regional support managers and three clinical directors who work alongside me in managing Linnaeus-owned practices in London, Hertfordshire and Cambridgeshire – Village Vet’s 30 practices, Metrovet and London Vet Specialists. 

'I thrive on the responsibility and my experience in various facets of the business stands me in good stead'

My job requires me to travel to our various branches, although some of this can be achieved remotely through online meetings, which helps to optimise time and workload.  

As regional director, I am responsible for all operational matters. The role of a regional director covers everything from allocating resources and supplies for veterinary practices to meeting budgetary objectives, guiding customer service teams and mentoring personnel taking on leadership roles. 

I thrive on the responsibility and my experience in various facets of the business stands me in good stead and helps me to make a real difference. 

One of the critical components of the role of a regional director is to guide various teams towards a set of goals. For example, each of the geographical areas I cover has a different client base with specific needs. I must ensure our practices meet their diverse and individual needs, while ensuring that we are providing similar levels of service and customer care as a brand. A Village Vet client should experience a level of service regardless of where they go. I ensure there is consistency alongside a level of localisation. 

This can be challenging; however, from experience I have discovered that by keeping lines of communication open, overcoming challenges is possible. With around 400 employees in my region this in itself is demanding. 

I am a big advocate of listening to dissenting opinions, because doing so ensures issues are appropriately considered and addressed. My leadership style revolves around getting a range of opinions on any subject and working with the team to come to a consensus.


Over the past two years Covid-19 has delivered exceptional demands across our industry. Despite the difficulties, patient care and safety continue to top our list of priorities. Veterinary practices had to pivot swiftly to ensure patients continued to benefit from the exceptional veterinary care they were accustomed to. 

At the same time, I had to ensure the members of my team took proper care of their own safety and mental health. I constantly asked them about their mental health and checked that they felt the safety protocols implemented were working for them. As part of an earlier initiative, Linnaeus had invested in a mental health first aid programme, which meant that trained people with the ability to respond to mental health situations were available to our employees.


Having experienced a number of roles within the veterinary industry both in the UK and abroad, one of my key ambitions is encouraging diversity – diversity of ideas and opinions, as well as among colleagues. In times of unprecedented change in the veterinary sector, innovative ways of providing client care are critical to the long-term success and growth of our business.  

'Innovative ways of providing client care are critical to the long-term success and growth of our business'

The workforce in our sector is changing; veterinary professionals will be in great demand for years to come and recruitment is a key issue. I look for people who have a range of experiences as they tend to have an adaptable approach to the evolving nature of the industry and do a great job of inspiring others. 

My own career aspirations are to continue to develop and grow my skillset as a manager. As veterinary medicine evolves, the needs and demands of clients shift too. 

Work-life balance

In our profession, it can be very challenging to achieve a work-life balance. I struggled with it when I first took on my role, but over the years I have created a system of prioritisation that helps me manage tasks in such a way that I can achieve a good balance of both worlds. 

My private life is very important as a husband and a father to a young daughter who looks up to me for support and care.

Hadi's CV 

2006: Graduated as a veterinarian in Iran from Azad University 

2009–2011: Obtained MBA from Buckinghamshire New University

2009: Joined Linneaus-owned Village Vet

2019: Appointed regional director

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