SEO Alumni Spotlight Dr. Tarron Herring
Only two percent of veterinarians are black. Less than two percent are black males. There aren’t even statistics about black male veterinarians who grew up in low-income communities. Dr. Tarron Herring is, and came from, all of the above.
Dr. Herring, SEO Scholars Class of 1998, was raised by a single mother in Brooklyn’s Park Slope neighborhood. Prior to joining SEO Scholars as a Senior at John Jay High School, Dr. Herring’s childhood and early adolescence was peppered with challenging circumstances. His father left when he was nine years old, which attracted him to the streets in search of a male support figure. Instead, he found himself involved in local gangs and eventually, in jail as a juvenile.
Tarron had two options: continue down this path or reverse the pattern by bettering himself. With the urging of a trusted friend, he enrolled in SEO Scholars as a Senior in high school. He didn’t know what to expect when he joined SEO, and although challenging times were likely, it was his ticket to achieving the success he so desired.
Dr. Herring’s Scholars years were filled with challenges, triumphs, and personal growth. It was not until he joined SEO that he discovered gaps in his education and knowledge. He had to work diligently to improve upon his vocabulary and writing skills – his local school once deemed satisfactory now needed great improvement.
Unbeknownst to Tarron, specific experiences and encounters with individuals were laying the groundwork for his future. One of his peers at SEO, who he met as a young teen, would eventually become his wife. He was given the opportunity to take business courses through the Edwin Gould Foundation – years later, his business acumen would come in handy as he advanced his career.
He leaned on his mentors, Teresa, Ruben and Athena, for support throughout his high school years. Teresa helped him tap into his artistic side, introducing him the art of poetry, a comforting creative outlet he still cherishes to this day. Ruben taught Tarron lifelong skills like how to shake a person’s hand, how to groom himself, and even gave him his first suit and belt. He was consistently reminded that there was greatness in him, and he could achieve more than he ever thought possible. It may seem small to some, but for a teenage Tarron, these gestures of respect and kindness were transformative.
His tireless efforts, perseverance and the support of his Scholars peers and staff proved fruitful – Dr. Herring was accepted into Lincoln University, an HBCU located in Pennsylvania. He majored in Biology. While his dream of becoming a veterinarian had begun in his childhood living room watching animal shows with his mom, the work required to fulfill this dream began his freshman year of college and continued until he graduated.
Four years and one degree later, Dr. Herring moved to a rural town in Alabama, a stark contrast to his native Brooklyn, to attend Tuskegee University College of Veterinary Medicine. Once again, he had immense determination to succeed, but was facing a rigorous medical curriculum to challenge this resolve. He worked all four years as vet student in the emergency room, bolstering his classroom education with real-world experience. Fast forward another four years, and Tarron added ‘Doctor’ to his title.
Dr. Herring has been a practicing veterinarian for over 15 years. He has spent his entire career at Banfield Pet Hospital, a national network of veterinary clinics. Early in his career as a practicing vet, he was promoted to Chief of Staff – in that role, he was responsible for improving a struggling hospital’s performance. Shortly after, Dr. Herring was promoted to partner doctor. Drawing upon the business principles he learned from Edwin Gould, he helped to grow the hospital exponentially. Eventually, he was promoted to Area Chief of Staff, where he oversaw multiple veterinary hospitals.
After several years as a successful Area Chief of Staff, he was promoted to the role of Medical Director/ Director of Veterinary Quality at Banfield, where Dr. Herring now manages hospitals across four different states (PA, DE, MD, NJ). While his current role is more focused on veterinary development and administration, his love for animals will always be central to his practice.
In true SEO form, Dr. Herring is committed to giving back to a community that gave him the opportunities needed to succeed. He is a champion for increasing Black representation in veterinary medicine – he enjoys mentors students interested in the field, and is helping to advance and support the pre-veterinary club at his alma mater, Lincoln University. It was a challenging journey to get to the finish line, but Dr. Herring is a prime example that, with dedication, hard work and patience, you can achieve your dreams.