Speaker Biographies

Click here to see the programme for the weekend

Our speakers this year will include:

Graham Avent, Director of Marketing, IVC Evidensia

Graham is one of the founding members of the IVC Evidensia management team, having previously worked for Advanced Vetcare – part of the original platform group. During his tenure IVC Evidensia have created Europe’s largest preventative healthcare plan, the Pet Health Club which is fast approaching half a million members. Graham’s focus has been to support practices to deliver organic growth through driving footfall, improving client satisfaction and developing programmes to increase client retention and patient compliance. The practices have also undergone something of a digital transformation via a multisite, mobile-friendly web platform with online booking functionality.

Prior to joining the profession Graham worked extensively in the automotive industry for Ford Motor Company and Honda. Outside of work he is a Bath Rugby Season ticket holder, appalling golfer, devoted husband and proud father to two sons and a needy Cocker Spaniel called Sweep.

Clare Balding

Clare Balding is an award winning broadcaster and author. She has worked on every Olympic Games since 1996 and on every Paralympics since 2000. Clare won BAFTA’s Special Award for her work on London 2012 and continues to present major events in sport, factual documentaries and Royal events, including the wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.  A passionate campaigner for equality and women’s sport, Clare is also a best-selling author of two memoirs and three novels for children, with the latest, The Racehorse Who Learned To Dance, published this summer.

Penny Barker – MRCVS, VDS Training

Penny started out in mixed practice before returning to the RVC for a small animal ECC internship. Deploying her “vet passport”, she moved first into project management and then management consultancy, the latter with Ernst and Young where she worked with clients across a range of industries, as well as delivering coaching and training internally. Penny returned to full-time clinical practice before coming full circle to work for VDS Training as a coach and trainer. She holds Diplomas in Personal Performance, Small Business and Corporate and Executive Coaching and is an NLP Practitioner.

Dr Charlie Barton – MRCVS, Virtual Recall

Charlie worked in clinical veterinary practice for 11 years before co-founding Virtual Recall. During his time in practice he became an advanced practitioner in Veterinary Ophthalmology and developed a thorough understanding of all angles of veterinary practice from rural, mixed practice to referral medicine and surgery.

Currently, Charlie is Director and co-CEO of Virtual Recall which provides iRecall®, the U.K.’s most successful client communication solution, supporting over 5.8 million animals worldwide.  By helping veterinary practices communicate more efficiently and effectively with their clients, iRecall® delivers significant improvements in compliance and animal health. It enhances customer experience and drives client loyalty, resulting in improved practice profitability with delivering better health and financial outcomes for every stakeholder.

Jenny Bellini – BVSc MRCVS, Friars Moor Vets

Jenny qualified from the University of Bristol in 2014 and started work at Friars Moor Livestock Health soon after. Jenny spends most of her time working with dairy herds, with particular interests in responsible use of medicines, heifer rearing and block calving systems. In 2017 Jenny led the Arla vet meetings around the UK, presenting on the work the practice had done in eradicating HP-CIAs from their dispensary and reducing AMU on their farms. Since then Jenny has worked with numerous processors on herd health issues, and presented the practice work on AMU across the UK and Europe.

Guen Bradbury, Innovia Technology

Guen Bradbury uses her training in pharmacology and veterinary medicine to bring fresh insight to clients of Innovia Technology, a global innovation consultancy. Before this, she worked in companion animal practice for several years, then in anaesthesia, both as a clinician at Edinburgh Vet School and in critical care on trials of a bio-artificial liver. Guen is an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh, and still lectures and does small-group teaching at the University of Cambridge. In her spare time, she runs a rabbit behaviour teleconsultancy and has just authored a textbook on the subject (5M Publishing – 2019). Her experience in biotech is also helping her develop the perfect sourdough culture.

Margaret Burnside, Cake People

Margaret is Director of Cake People Development a consultancy with clients across all sectors in the UK and Europe.   She has been in learning and development for more than 30 years and is a qualified coach and mentor at ILM Level 7 as well as holding a City & Guilds Graduateship in Management, a fellow of the Institute of Leadership and management (ILM) and a member of the Engage for Success Guru Group. She has a passion for helping organisations develop an engaging culture, often through working with the top teams and senior leaders.  In addition to her consultancy work, Margaret has been a manager in a large retail organisation and has run several smaller businesses.

Richard Byrne, West Bar Veterinary Hospital

Richard Byrne graduated from the Royal Veterinary College in 1988 and joined mixed practice at West Bar Veterinary Hospital, Banbury, Oxfordshire.

Richard is a Director and Companion Animal Care Lead at the Hospital and spends most of his time involved in the clinical work of a busy first opinion mixed practice.

With some knowledge of computing Richard has keen interest in using technology in first opinion practice to improve clinical outcomes and processes, improve client care and the quality of the work environment for staff.

Richard has been an RCVS Practice Standards Assessor since 2015.

Leigh Caldwell, The Irrational Agency

Leigh is the author of The Psychology of Price, one of the leading books on applying behavioural economics to pricing strategy, published in the UK and in five languages around the world. He has given two keynote talks at the Professional Pricing Society, and worked on pricing strategy for hundreds of businesses, from digital start-ups and freelance consultants, to BT and Lloyds Banking Group.

Originally a mathematician, he founded one of Britain’s first web technology companies during the early commercialisation of the Internet. An attempt to develop an understanding of the psychology of internet users led him into the world of behavioural economics, where he was among an early cohort of marketers and scientists in the mid-2000s to start using this science in the business world. He co-founded the behavioural market research firm Irrational Agency in 2012 and continues to work at the forefront of scientific research into behavioural and cognitive science, including the new discipline of cognitive pricing.

He is an organiser of the London Behavioural Economics Network and has given a TEDx talk, The Formula for Privilege, on how behavioural science can help us understand and end the gender pay gap. Leigh lives in London where he can either be found testing out some off-the-wall restaurant, at a bridge table or in front of Netflix catching up on all the shows he missed in the 90s.

Richard Casey, Blue Cross

Rich Casey worked in HR in a range of industry sectors before entering the veterinary world with PDSA in 2011. He joined Blue Cross in 2016 as Clinical Development Manager, a role in which he oversees the development of the charity’s veterinary services and manages its partnerships with private veterinary practices. He is Junior Vice President of the Veterinary Management Group.

Mike Clare, VetRunner

Mike is Founder of VetRunner, a veterinary business consultancy.  Mike works with independent vet practices, acting as a Virtual Director, where he helps establish and execute strategic goals and business growth plans and provides support in resolving key business issues.  He also increasingly works with veterinary start-ups.

Mike spent 10 years as Managing Director of Stanbridge Veterinary Clinics, a multi-site independent veterinary group in West Sussex, during which time he helped create Leadership Programmes and KPI platforms for the vet industry. He also lectures and provides training on how to run a successful vet practice and create a positive workplace culture.

Adam Clowes, Operations Director, Dogs Trust

Adam started his career in the British Military as an Officer in the Royal Signal, before moving on to work for Aldi as an Area Manager.  After taking a year off to complete an MBA, Adam moved to Royal Mail where he spent seven years running different aspects of their Delivery Operation before joining Dogs Trust.  Adam joined Dogs Trust in 2018 as Operations Director, and is responsible for running our 20 rehoming centres, with an additional centre opening soon in Cardiff. The Operations department also encompasses; the Manchester based Contact Centre, the Logistics team, the Penrith Transfer Centre and two Dogmobiles.  Adam currently has a 9 year old Labrador called Tilly who he rehomed from their Kenilworth Rehoming Centre back in 2011.  Tilly is the second Dogs Trust dog Adam has rehomed, his first being an English Spring Spaniel who he adopted in 2001 from their Salisbury Rehoming Centre.

Liz Cox, Independent Vetcare (IVC)

Liz works for Independent Vetcare (IVC) as their Group Nursing Advisor. Liz is also an elected member of RCVS VN council and RCVS council.  Alongside working on various committees and working groups including VN Futures, she is a member of RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement panel.

Liz has a wide range of experience having worked for single handed practice to large veterinary hospitals, working for both private and corporate groups and Bristol University. She is passionate about the Veterinary Nursing profession, and its future. She has a particular interest in the utilization of veterinary nurses in practice, and is keen to drive nurses to develop their own profession.

Liz sees Quality Improvement as an area of every day practice that nurse should be fully active in, and can lead on.  Knowing the what, why and how can lead to improvements in client, staff and patient care that both professions can be proud of.

Vicki Curtis, Indigo Square

Vicki has worked in the field of Leadership and Organisation Development for over 25 years. With her early career spanning clients including MacMillan and the NHS, Vicki became partner in an international development consultancy, following her Masters Degree in Organisation Consulting from Ashridge Business School.

Vicki’s last in-house role was for Nuffield Health, as Head of Leadership and Organisation Development. Here Vicki commissioned research into wellbeing in the workplace and piloted innovative programmes around mindfulness and mindful leadership.

Now heading up her own consultancy, Vicki works with a range of clients across different sectors and industries. Still working in human healthcare (both private and public sectors) Vicki developed the Compassionate Leadership through Mindfulness and the Personal Impact and Influence Programmes for the Leadership Faculty of the Kings Fund (NHS focused). Vicki also facilitates the Coaching and Mindfulness Masterclass for the Oxford Mindfulness Centre (part of the Masterclass series: ‘Mindfulness at Work’ – a joint initiative between Oxford and Bangor Universities.)

Vicki is an accredited facilitator of the ‘Search Inside Yourself’ programme (originally developed at Google, and now taught around the world, S.I.Y. combines mindfulness, neuroscience and emotional intelligence). She works with organisations to provide a pragmatic approach to mindfulness and emotional intelligence in the workplace. She is also an accredited coach and team facilitator.

For the last two years Vicki has been working with the Vet Group with their leadership teams, JVPs and Graduates. Vicki helps teams work more productively together; supports leaders to realise their full potential and has been introducing emotional intelligence and mindfulness tools to integrate into working days and to help equip new graduates for the pressures of practice life.


Rachel is a graduate from the University of Glasgow and has worked in mixed dairy and small animal general practice.  She holds the RCVS diploma in feline medicine, has a PhD in epidemiology and an MSc in Evidence-based Healthcare. She was the founding director of the Centre for Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine and a Clinical Associate Professor in Feline Medicine at the University of Nottingham from 2009-2018.

Rachel is currently the Director of Clinical Research and Excellence in Practice and co-chairs the clinical board for VetPartners.  Rachel is responsible for supporting the clinical teams to constantly improve standards of care across the business and encourage clinical leadership through research, innovation, quality improvement and professional development.

Greg Dickens, Innovia Technology

Greg has the role of strategist and trouble-maker at Innovia Technology – his job is to create ideas, and guide companies through innovation, while also highlighting any weaknesses in their approach or plans. Pepsi, Boeing, Nike, Lego, Merck, Bayer, Ethicon, and DePuy Synthes have all used Greg’s outside perspective to generate market-leading concepts, and to stress-test their innovation processes. Before working at Innovia, Greg ran his own innovation company and was, for a short period, Head Vet at a primate conservation institute. He has also earned a living as a fire-breather on major motion pictures, and as a professional athlete. If he has spare time, he takes photos of insects.

Ebony Escalona, The Brooke and Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify

Ebony has worked in equine practice as a GP, intern and locum.  She has a BSc in Conservation Medicine, a PhD in equine gut health and a PG cert in Vet Ed. Ebony is involved as an Advisor and Educator for a Learn Appeal Project, providing basic veterinary, farrier and husbandry knowledge to rural communities without access to internet connections, and acts as an education innovation consultant to congresses such as London Vet Show . She is a non-clinical training advisor at the Veterinary Defence Society, an honorary lecturer at Surrey University and is on the executive board of Streetvet.

Ebony founded the Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify online community which encourages vets to share their experiences and ideas.  VSGD now has in excess of 10,000 followers and daily online engagement with around 8,000 vets and nurses.  Ebony was the recipient of the 2018 RCVS Inspiration Award for her work with Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify and her involvement in the Learn Appeal Project.

Dr Michael Farquhar – Consultant in children’s sleep medicine

After completing his undergraduate training at the University of Edinburgh, Dr Michael Farquhar trained in general paediatrics, respiratory medicine and sleep medicine at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children (Glasgow), Nottingham Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Hospital at Westmead (Sydney), Sydney Children’s Hospital and Great Ormond Street Hospital (London).

Mike joined the Evelina London sleep medicine team as a consultant in 2012. He holds weekly general sleep, hypersomnia and adolescent sleep clinics, and supports Evelina London’s busy diagnostic sleep study service. He also works with colleagues across Evelina London to support sleep in children and young people with complex medical difficulties.

In 2018, Mike and colleagues from the Department of Children’s Sleep Medicine worked with the PSHE Association to develop lesson plans to introduce teaching about sleep into the Personal, Health, Social and Economic curriculum in schools across England, emphasising the importance of helping all children, young people – and their families – to prioritise sleep in their lives.

Mike is involved in educating healthcare professionals on the importance of sleep and the impact of fatigue on healthcare, with a focus on sleep for staff working night shifts. His work led to the introduction of the “HALT: Take A Break” campaign for GSTT staff in 2017, and he has worked with organisations including the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Association of Anaesthetists of Great Britain and Ireland, the  Royal College of Anaesthetists, the Royal College of Nursing and the British Medical Association in this area. In 2018 he was awarded the Association Award by the AAGBI for his contribution to the #FightFatigue campaign.

Sean Gilgallon, Citation

Sean was involved in health and safety in the RAF before leaving to work as an independent H&S consultant. Two years later he joined the Cooperative Group as a regional health and safety manager in the North East and Cumbria, looking after some 300 retail outlets, funeral parlours and farms. In 2007 Sean was asked to join CVS UK Ltd as their health and safety manager. He quickly realised the pressures and stress of the veterinary profession were causing problems in the company and he was part of the team that introduced mindfulness into CVS. Sean now works for Citation and oversees their veterinary client offering. He is a trained ‘Mindfulness in the Workplace’ Trainer and as well as running courses within CVS, he has also spoken about mindfulness at both H&S, Wellbeing and previous SPVS conferences and regional meetings in the last few years.

John Goulding, IVC

John graduated from Glasgow in 1989 then spent the next 27 years working in the midlands with St George’s Vets. Under his leadership it grew to a multisite, multi species practice with over 100 employees.

In 2016 the practice joined Independent Vet Care. John became an IVC Group Veterinary Advisor and was able share his experience with a wider audience. Now he passionately leads a team that helps practices within the group with their pricing and to use data to drive strategic decisions.

John has presented at many congresses, published articles, offered consultancy services and been chair of the certification and training committee of the VMG that examines the CVPM.

Bash Halow – BA CVPM LVT, Hallow Consulting, New York

Bash is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, a certified veterinary practice manager and a licensed veterinary technician.  As a veterinary business advisor and a veteran practice manager with more than 17 years of experience, Mr. Halow has helped dozens of veterinary hospitals understand how to build stronger teams and responsibly and ethically grow their businesses.  He is a frequent contributor to Veterinary Economics and DVM 360 and is a member of the editorial advisory board for Firstline Veterinary Management Magazine and the Fetch360 veterinary conferences. He has been an invited speaker at all the major U.S. veterinary conferences including AVMA, AAHA, NAVC, Western, Midwest, CVC, IVECCS; state associations, and international conferences like APVC, OVMA, and the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association. He is a regular speaker at the annual VPMA Conference in Wales and addressed the Veterinary Management Association at the House of Lords, London, in June 2018.  He is a member of the American Animal Hospital Association, the PVMA, founder and member of the New Jersey Veterinary Hospital Management Association, founder of the Big Apple Veterinary Management Association in New York City, and proud member of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association.  Mr. Halow was the 2013 recipient of the Pennsylvania Veterinary Medical Association’s President’s Award for management education in the state of Pennsylvania.  He resides in New York City.

Bash has presented on the topics of veterinary practice management, veterinary technician leadership, veterinary digital and print marketing, and veterinary dental compliance at most U.S. national, regional and state conferences including, North American Veterinary Conference, Midwest Veterinary Conference, New England Veterinary Medical Conference,  the Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky Veterinary Medical Association conferences, all CVCs, the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association Annual Conference, the Veterinary Specialists In Private Practice Conference, the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference, the Atlanic Provinces Veterinary Conference, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association Conference, the SPVS-VPMA, and many other regional state meetings, dinner functions, lunch and learns, and vendor-sponsored events.

Runa Hanaghan, Deputy Veterinary Director, Dogs Trust

Runa qualified from the University of Bristol and worked in the UK before moving home to Ireland where she set up and ran her own small animal practice near the west coast. This offered a variety of experience with active participation in all elements of running a practice, employment of staff and the development of both vet and VN students. She moved on to take the position of the Clinical Lead in the Small Animal Practice at Bristol University; running the clinic on behalf of Langford Veterinary Services and teaching final year vet students logical problem solving, communication and surgical skills.

Dogs Trust has been a charity that she has supported from her early days within practice in the Midlands and she has been fortunate to work for this organisation for over 8 years as Deputy Veterinary Director. Her role encompasses Shelter Medicine, relationship building between the charity and vet practices working alongside and providing support to the veterinary department and other teams across the organisation from a veterinary perspective.

James Harris – MRCVS, White Cross Vets

After graduation in 1998,  James ventured into the world of small animal veterinary practice and over the next ten+ years experienced the highs and lows of the veterinary profession.  Joining White Cross Vets in 2009 opened his eyes to the world of veterinary business and management, where he become Group Clinical Director in 2016 – overseeing 19 sites across the Midlands and North of England. During this time the company gained wide recognition for their innovative and principled approach to veterinary practice and team engagement. With the development of both their green field sites and acquisitions, White Cross Vets integrated into the IVC family in May 2018, where they have continued to go from strength to strength within a supportive corporate environment.

Having just handed over the reins for White Cross, James can now share his experience and skills across IVC as a whole.

Suzanne Headington, Hazlewoods

Suzanne joined Hazlewoods Vet Team in January 2005 and is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser.  She specialises in working with veterinary practices to help improve profits, advise on pricing strategies, practice efficiency and tax planning.  She also advises on practice valuations for both internal and external sales and has been involved in a number of large veterinary sales in recent years.

Suzanne is a member of the VMG and a former regional organiser.  In addition, she is involved in writing articles for the veterinary press and in presenting to the profession.

Georgina Hills, IVC

Georgina started as a student veterinary nurse in 1995, and since then has worked throughout practices in the southwest as a nurse, Head Nurse and Practice Manager. Georgina completed the level 5 ILM diploma and in 2013 sat the Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM) awarded by the VMG and won the Glynne Davis Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the examination.  George now sits on the CVPM exam board and is a VMG Director.

In 2016 George joined Independent Vetcare as a Business Support Manager looking after North Wales and Cheshire and then in 2018 became Operations Manager for the North West of England.

Thom Jenkins, Petsapp

Thom is the Co-founder and CEO of Gula, a mobile-first veterinary telemedicine platform enabling veterinary clinics to better engage with pet owners and better advocate for their patients. He has served as the Chief Operating Officer of multi-site private-equity backed veterinary groups in both Europe and Asia, operating clinics in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK. Thom is Chair of VetForum, an international series of B2B veterinary sector events across the USA, Europe and the APAC region. He is also Non-Executive Director at Recruit4vets – a leading veterinary recruitment agency, and on the Advisory Board of YLD – one of London’s fastest growing software engineering and design consultancies, working with brands such as The Economist, the Trainline, Condé Nast and Thomas Cook.

Richard Killen, BVSc MRCVS

Richard qualified from Bristol University 1984. Up until 2016 he was originally a director and veterinary surgeon of Highcroft Vet Group in Bristol. In August 2016 he was appointed into a new role of Director of Clinical Services for CVS PLC, one of his responsibilities was to build upon CVS practice standards including the introduction of QI. In Sept 2019 he retired from CVS.

Richard continues to be a Senior Practice Standard Scheme Assessor for the RCVS and a Trustee of Vetlife. He is also an interviewer for new vet graduates at Bristol University.

Hattie Lawrence – MRCVS, Equine Director, CVS

Hattie qualified from Bristol in 1997 and has spent the majority of her career in racehorse practice in the Lambourn Valley. She has been a partner in an ambulatory racing practice, run her own single handed practice, and been Clinical Director of Valley Equine Hospital. She joined CVS in 2016 when they acquired Valley Equine Hospital, and she has acted as a Regional Director for the equine practices in the South West and is now Equine Director UK, with responsibility for the management of the CVS Equine practices throughout the UK. She is a member of the Equality Diversity and Inclusion Committee of CVS and is passionate about improving the gender equality and inclusivity of Equine practice.

Dr Tom Ling, Head of Evaluation and Senior Research Leader at RAND Europe

Dr Tom Ling is head of evaluation at RAND Europe leading evaluations typically of complex interventions, focused on the key challenges facing organisations in health, well-being, and development. Tom’s research studies and evaluations typically adopt theory-based, mixed methods approaches. He has over twenty-five years of experience studying quality improvement, innovation and transformation in human healthcare.  Before re-joining RAND,

Tom was Head of Impact Innovation and Evidence at Save the Children where he ensured that evaluations contribute to policy and change in the challenging environment of International Development. Tom has published widely on improvement, accountability and evaluation. He is an Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow, University of Cambridge, a Professor (Emeritus) at Anglia Ruskin University, and a member of the European Evaluation Society Board.

Dan Makin, BVLGBT+

Dan qualified from Glasgow Vet School in 2003 and spent several years working in mixed and equine practice both in the UK and in New Zealand.  Returning to the UK in 2006 Dan entered small animal practice.

Dan completed a CertAVP in 2013 and bought his own small animal practice in 2017 in Poole, Dorset.  Dan has been involved with the BVLGBT+ since its establishment, initially as Small Animal rep then Welfare rep and now following his year as Vice-President he is delighted to be President.  As President he sits on BVA council and is also a member of the RCVS Diversity and Inclusion Group as well as the BVA Good Workplace Working Group.

Lynn McKeown, Zoetis

Lynn is a Strategic Business Consultant with Zoetis providing professional advice and practical support across veterinary practices. With a proven background in Human Resources and Operations Management within the aviation, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries, Lynn has qualifications in HR, Digital Marketing, and is an Advanced NLP (neuro-linguistic Programming) Practitioner. She applies this to business coaching, creating clarity around business outcomes, facilitating senior level decision making, optimising commercial performance and achieving results with clinicians and teams in professional practice.

Tracey Morley Jewkes, Willows Referral Service & Veterinary Centre

Tracey has been recently appointed as Hospital Director at Willows, the largest referral centre in the Midlands, previously Managing Director of Blacks Vets, a 5 site general practice in the Black Country with an Accredited Veterinary Hospital and own OOH.  Blacks Vets were winners of the Large Practice Category in the Vet Wellbeing Awards 2017.

Tracey has contributed to both corporate and SME businesses including climbing the career ladder at BT, building her own manufacturing company into an award winning international business and latterly her own management consultancy.  TMJ loves making a positive difference to sustainable competitive advantage using her experience in leadership, people development, the development of high performing teams, coaching,  sales, marketing, business process re-engineering, business transformation, finance and project management.  

Louise Northway – RVN, Wendover Heights Veterinary Centre

Louise started work in practice in 2004 and qualified as a Veterinary Nurse in 2009. Since then she has worked in various first opinion practices along with a referral hospital. She currently works in a large first opinion small animal and exotics practice in Buckinghamshire.

In practice her main interests are OOH, anaesthesia, analgesia and emergency & critical care nursing. Since qualifying Louise has completed two further certificates – the Vets Now VNCert(ECC) in 2015 and the ESVPS NCert(Anaesth) in 2017.

Louise is currently clinical nurse lead at her practice and is responsible for reviewing clinical standards, implementing quality improvement practices and training the team in her areas of interest.

Louise has a social media blog ‘Lou The Vet Nurse’ with over 11K followers. Through this platform she shares CPD, hints & tips and blogs about her life as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Alongside working full time Louise is a member of the BVNA council & VN futures career progression working group which she is very proud of.  Louise is keen to encourage nurses to view their career as one huge opportunity, to encourage lifelong learning, to find their niche and to know and value their self-worth.

Dr Jodi O’Dell – Coaching Psychologist

As a practising occupational psychologist Jodi brings a strong theoretical and practical foundation to her work, combining the rigour of her PhD research with over 20 years’ experience.

Her clients extend industry sectors to include; finance, international government, health and FTSE 100+. Familiar with working at C-Suite and board level, she brings a strong focus on building self-awareness to drive commercial outcomes with impact and accountability.

Her professional qualifications include PhD in Coaching Psychology, MSc in occupational Psychology and Certificate in Performance Coaching.  She has delivered a focused paper at SGCP 4th European Coaching Psychology Conference and is a Keynote speaker for the European Mentoring Coaching Council.


Navaratnam Partheeban, Dairy Technical Specialist, Phibro Animal Health Corporation

Navaratnam Partheeban is currently a Senior Lecturer in Livestock Production and Livestock Veterinarian at the Royal Agricultural University, UK. He is an Edinburgh graduate having worked in clinical livestock veterinary practice and in the pharmaceutical industry. His particular focus is on dairy production where he has a passion for increasing standards of care to livestock while trying to support sustainable production.

He is also a campaigner for increasing inclusivity and diversity in the agricultural and veterinary industries.  Along with a colleague, he founded the British Veterinary Ethnicity and Diversity Society (BVEDS) to work to support those working in the veterinary profession with issues of race, ethnicity, diversity and discrimination. He is also a board member for the National Association of Black Veterinarians (NAVB) based in the US. He is working with a number of different organisations, universities and members of the profession to help bring about positive change.

Caroline Pearson, Progressive Vet Consulting

Caroline qualified from Cambridge University in 1999 and worked as a small animal clinician in Oxfordshire and the South West for 10 years before undertaking a senior managerial position in the recruitment industry. She has a Master’s degree in Business Management and Leadership, is a Chartered Manager and has published her research in veterinary leadership.

Caroline is the founder of Progressive Vet Consulting, providing in practice leadership consultation, and delivers the Attract Recruit Retain programme, in collaboration with VetLed, helping veterinary practices improve their recruitment and retention success.


Andrew Rastall, Connected Vet

Andrew Rastall founded Connected Vet in 2013 to provide digital marketing consultancy for independent veterinary practices.  His presentations draw on over 28 years’ experience in PR & digital marketing.  His presentations often reference his work with 150 or so independent veterinary clients as well as complementary experience from other industries, that have lots to teach the teams that run veterinary practices. Andrew regularly presents in person and through live webinars, most recently on chatbots, digital marketing strategy and data compliance.

Gudrun Ravetz – BVSc MRCVS, Simplyhealth Professionals

Gudrun Ravetz is Head Veterinary Officer for Simplyhealth Professionals, British Veterinary Association Past President and a Past President of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons.   Gudrun has had a varied career covering a range of areas of the veterinary profession. After graduating from Liverpool Vet School Gudrun started out practising as a small animal veterinary surgeon. However, whilst at university an interest in the business side of the vet profession led her to study a post graduate certificate in business alongside her work in the veterinary surgery.   Gudrun has also completed a graduate diploma in law.

Gudrun has worked as a clinician in both in private and charity small animal practice, and in a variety of veterinary related roles including working in industry, management and as a veterinary consultant to a number of companies.

Angela Rayner- MRCVS, CVS

Angela is Director of Quality Improvement for CVS, after working in small animal practice in Scotland.  She is passionate about the ecology of error and is currently enrolled in an MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors at the University of Edinburgh, where interest in a systems-thinking approach to patient safety was first ignited.  She received an RCVS Knowledge QI Award in 2019 for improvements made in controlled drugs recording within CVS.

Angela believes that success lies in the celebration of error.  There is tremendous opportunity to transform a negative experience into a positive learning experience, to improve the safety of our patients and the wellbeing of our colleagues.  This transformation fosters trust and cooperation among teams, resulting in an open and supportive culture.

Systems thinking uses a structured, holistic approach to identify all factors that contribute to a significant event, with an emphasis on shifting away from blaming individuals toward a focus on systems performance, which can be designed to be more resilient to erro

Sarah Rhodes, Citation

Sarah is an HR & Employment Law Consultant based in Oxfordshire.  Prior to joining Citation, she spent five years working as an employment solicitor for a national law firm.  During this period, she advised a range of people (employees through to directors) from different sectors (both public and private) on many employment law issues.  Sarah has particular experience in employee terms and conditions, disciplinary and grievance procedures, managing sickness absence, recruitment and selection, performance management, redundancy, maternity and paternity and working time regulations.

Alan Robinson – MRCVS, Vet Dynamics

Alan Robinson has been a veterinary surgeon in practice for 20+ years, a successful business consultant for 18 years to over 600 practices and a director of Vet Dynamics.  His mission is helping independent practice owners improve performance and quality of life in practice.

“I believe most practice owners are working much too hard, for far too long and for much too little reward, because of inefficiency, frustration and poor profitability in your veterinary business”

Susie Samuel – MA VetMB MRCVS, VetHelpDirect

Susie is the founder of VetHelpDirect and VetsDigital and was a practicing vet for over a decade.

Founded in 2006 VetHelpDirect enables all levels of the veterinary industry to educate, gain and retain ideal clients, through a unique blend of innovative digital technologies, digital marketing and veterinary expertise. The team has continually grown to become one of the largest agency teams of digital and veterinary experts.

“Animal welfare is crucial and we know that the next generation of owners communicates differently, so VetHelpDirect is committed to ensuring that vets can engage effectively through evolving technology.”

Liz Somerville – BSc (Hons) PgCert VBM, Loch Leven Equine Practice

Liz is the Practice Manager and one of the founding Directors at Loch Leven Equine Practice, which was set up in 2005. The practice has grown from a one vet ambulatory practice to a thriving team of 15 people, working from a purpose-built clinic with full surgical facilities.

In 2018 Liz completed her Post Graduate Certificate in Veterinary Business Management with Liverpool University and is also a Director for the VMG. Liz is passionate about practice management in the veterinary industry, and she is particularly interested in the wellbeing of the whole practice team and creating a culture where the team can thrive in their individual roles. Liz is also responsible for the practice’s marketing strategy and has grown a thriving online presence utilising social media platforms and email marketing campaigns. The Practice’s popular client education programme has been running for many years and incorporates clients talks, practical workshops as well as a new podcast series.

April Sotomayor, Sustainability Consultant for iiE and Responsible Resource Use Lead for PECT

April is a Sustainability Consultant at the environmental charity PECT, where she manages the national accreditation scheme Investors in the Environment (iiE). April has over 13 years’ experience working on a range of sustainability issues within organisations. Through the iiE accreditation, she supports veterinary practices to embed Environmental Management Systems and engage staff with activities to tackle climate change and reduce waste.  She supports veterinary practices to implement resource efficiency measures, helping them to demonstrate significant cost, carbon and resource reductions.

Shobhan Thakore – MBChB FRCS (EM) FRCEM, Clinical Lead, Scottish Quality and Safety Fellowship Programme

Shobhan moved from London to Dundee in 1986 to study Medicine at Dundee University. He has been an Emergency Medicine Consultant in NHS Tayside since 2003. He spent 8 years as Clinical Lead of the service during which time the team has delivered notably good performance against national targets and has focussed on delivering high quality care. He is now Associate Medical Director for Quality Management in NHS Tayside where he helps to shape future service configuration by ensuring improvement science expertise that supports operational teams.

As Clinical Lead for the Scottish Quality & Safety Fellowship programme, his aim is to enhance the expertise of Fellows, enabling their skills to be recognised as essential in meeting the challenges of delivering excellent care at an affordable cost. This includes training in technical improvement skills and leadership training – helping participants understand the importance of team engagement and the psychology of change.

Alison Thomas, Joint Head of Veterinary Services, Blue Cross

Alison Thomas graduated from Liverpool university.  After a couple of years in small animal practice in the UK, she moved to Asia and spent two years in private practice in Singapore, followed by 7 years at the RSPCA in Hong Kong dealing with both owned and stray/unowned cats and dogs.  Since returning to the UK she has worked at Blue Cross. She attained a certificate in Small Animal Medicine in 2001 and became an Advanced Practitioner in Small animal medicine in 2017. She is co-author on 3 editions of ‘Breed Predispositions to Disease in Dogs and Cats’ published by Wiley. Her current role is Joint Head of Veterinary Services at Blue Cross and involves the development of pragmatic, evidence-based, welfare driven clinical guidelines for use within the charity. These guidelines enable a more consistent and cost-effective service to be delivered across the charity’s hospitals and rehoming centres.


Dan Tipney, VetLed Head of Evidence and Insights

Dan led the Human Factors training programme at a major UK airline and has since developed and delivered non-clinical training to both Veterinary and Healthcare professionals. He also represented Great Britain both as an athlete and a coach, helping  teams to consistently achieve their goals. Underpinning much of Dan’s work is the study of human behaviour and the associated impact of workplace environment and culture. At VetLed, Dan collaborates with experts from veterinary medicine, aviation, psychology and healthcare training to inspire, create and champion positive culture for the veterinary profession.

Clare Topping, Energy and Sustainability Manager, Northampton General Hospital

Clare graduated from Warwick University with a PhD in Polymer Chemistry.  Following fifteen years in the private sector in operational management roles she moved to the public sector, joining Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust as Energy and Sustainability Manager in 2012.

Initially employed to deliver the hospital’s Carbon Management Plan, Clare has expanded the role to cover all aspects of Sustainable Healthcare, from waste to social value, biodiversity to catering.  As well as overseeing a reduction in carbon emissions from buildings, and increases in recycling, Clare now finds herself coming full circle and developing a growing interest in the impact plastics have (both positive and negative) on the environment and health.

Clare is a Chartered Environmentalist and Member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, as well as a Chartered Chemist and Member of the Royal Society of Chemistry.  She sits on IEMA’s Climate Change and Energy Steering Group, and the Royal Society of Chemistry’s Environmental Chemistry Group Committee.

Clare has recently been appointed as Visiting Lecturer for the Hospital’s MSc in Patient Safety and Quality Improvement.

Ellie West – MRCVS, Davies Veterinary Specialists

Ellie graduated from Cambridge University in 2003 and worked first as an intern in a private referral practice and then as a general practitioner in a first opinion clinic. She has been an anaesthetist since 2006; first as an intern at University College Dublin, Ireland and then as a Clinician-Teacher at the University of Liverpool and now as a clinical anaesthetist at Davies since 2013.  Ellie passed her ECVAA Diploma in 2017 and her interests are in the management of chronic pain and sustainability within the veterinary sector. She is the current Sustainability Lead at Davies Veterinary Specialists and is an Associate member of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment.

Andrew Whitfield-Roberts, RVN

Andrew started nursing in 2008 in Shropshire,  he studied at Rodbaston College and after passing his VCA and ANA awards, qualified in 2015 as an RVN after a move to Liverpool.  He has since been a Head Nurse and Practice Manager.  He is currently studying for his BSAVA merit award in wound management.

Dr Suzette Woodward – RGN RSCN DipMS MSc DProf

Dr Suzette Woodward is an internationally renowned expert in patient safety and has been studying safety in healthcare settings since the 1990s.  She has worked in the NHS for 40 years, as a general nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital and a paediatric intensive care nurse at Guy’s Hospital.

She started specialising in patient safety at Great Ormond Street Hospital and has since worked at the Department of Health and held Executive Board positions at the National Patient Safety Agency and NHS Resolution.  Her roles have taken her across the world advising health ministries in Europe, Singapore and Hong Kong and leading on large scale transformation programmes.

For the past five years she had been the National Clinical Director for the Sign up to Safety Campaign.  Suzette is currently in a joint role as Senior Advisor for the Department of Health and Social Care and NHS Resolution. She is also a Visiting Professor for the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College University London.

Academically, Suzette has a Masters in Clinical Risk, a post graduate diploma in Management Studies and a Doctorate in Patient Safety.  Her main area of interest and research relates to translating policy into action.  She is an author of two books; Rethinking Patient Safety and Implementing Patient Safety.

Dr Anne Woolridge, Chief Operating Officer, Independent Safety Services

Dr Anne Woolridge is Chief Operating Officer of ISSL, a technical consultancy and has a wealth of research and practical experience of healthcare waste management and waste treatment processes at all levels. She is a practicing dangerous goods safety advisor and waste consultant as well as advising on waste strategy and policy. When not on a client site Anne is actively involved with a number of national and international strategic committees.

She is the Chair of the International Solid Waste Association Healthcare Waste Working Group and a Member of the UK National Committee. She is also the Vice Chair of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management Healthcare Wastes Special Interest Group. She has an MSc in Environmental Management with a focus on healthcare wastes and a PhD in developing sustainable management for healthcare waste.  She is a Chartered Waste Manager, a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management, Fellow of the Royal Society of Medicine and recognised by ISWA as an International Waste Manager.