Congress Speakers

Rebecca Armstrong, International Keynote & Motivational Speaker, Leadership & HR Expert

Rebecca is an accomplished international speaker, inspiring audiences to take action and create a spectacular life by being aligned to their purpose, regardless of circumstance, stereotype or limiting beliefs to smash through ‘glass doors’.

Rebecca is a HR & Leadership consultant working with organisations across the world to help them ‘Sparkle’ through their people, her passion is Inclusion and supporting businesses to embrace individuality and create cultures that enable people to reach their true potential. Offering a range of coaching, training and consultancy the company brings a fresh and transformational approach to HR in order to enable delivery of business strategy and profit.

Working across a variety of sectors, including manufacturing, telecoms, retail & hospitality, retail, education, charities, oil & gas and creative, Rebecca and her team work with businesses of all sizes to deliver results.

Rebecca is an expert in the fields of HR, Leadership, Inclusion and Mental Health through extensive lived and professional experience underpinned with extensive qualifications. Rebecca holds a Masters Degree in Human Resource Management as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Strategic Leadership and a Post Graduate Certificate in Employment Law. As a coach

Rebecca is PCC Certified through the world leading Coaches Training Institute.

Rebecca shares her lived experience of having MS to help organisations embrace inclusion.

Helen Ballantyne, NHS

Helen graduated with a degree in Pharmacology in 2002, qualifying as a Registered Veterinary Nurse in the UK in 2005. She has worked nationally and internationally, gathering experience in referral medicine and surgery, charity practice, emergency nursing and exotics.

In 2013 she qualified as a human centred nurse, initially working in cardiothoracic intensive care. Currently she works as a Transplant Nurse Specialist. Day to day she supports living kidney donors through the process of donation. She also holds an on call role, managing the logistics of matching, retrieving and transplanting abdominal organs from deceased donors.

Helen remains a RVN and has developed a strong interest in the principles of One Health. Her first textbook, Veterinary Nursing Care Plans: Theory and Practice was published in 2018. She completed a MSc in Healthcare Management in 2021.

Simon Biles, Moore Scarrott

Simon works in the veterinary team at Moore Scarrott providing accountancy, tax and business development advice to veterinary practices across the UK.  He works with his clients on a wide range on subjects from new practice start-ups, partner buy ins and retirements to practice restructuring and remuneration planning to help veterinary practices grow, develop and unlock their full potential.

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton has been a firefighter since she was eighteen years old. She is now one of the most senior female firefighters in the UK.

After leaving home at fifteen and school at sixteen, she joined the fire service in Wales. While climbing the ranks, she studied at the Open University and then at Cardiff University, eventually completing a PhD in Psychology. Her subsequent research into incident command in the emergency services has not only won awards but has also influenced policy at a global level. Sabrina was recently conferred as an Honorary Fellow at Cardiff University.  Her first book, The Heat of the Moment, was published in 2019. She is an ambassador for the Big Issue.

She lives with her husband and daughter in London.

Dr Jamie Crittall – MRCVS, Co-Founder & Direct of Virtual Recall

Jamie is Co-founder of Virtual Recall which is the U.K.’s most successful client communication solution and operates in over 1,850 clinics across 3 continents. Since Zoetis’ acquisition of Virtual Recall (July 2020), he was appointed Senior Commercial Director within Zoetis’ Digital Practice Services Business Unit.  In addition, Jamie owns and runs a 145-year-old family-owned multi-branch veterinary practice in Surrey.  He has also had a 20-year career in media, appearing regularly as a vet on The Big Breakfast; Sky News and co-presented Pet Rescuers and Pet Rescue Roadshow.  He regularly broadcasts around the country and is a regular speaker at UK veterinary business, technology and marketing seminars, conferences and events.  Jamie is an active Trustee of the Petplan Charitable trust.

Carolyne Crowe – FRCVS

Carolyne is head of training at the VDS. She is an experienced equine vet, an award-winning high performance coach, mentor, international speaker, researcher, and lecturer.  Carolyne has specific expertise and interest in creating healthy workplace cultures, positive leadership and is passionate about helping others thrive at work and in their lives.

Carolyne has a Masters degree in Workplace Health and Wellbeing, diplomas in stress management and wellbeing, personal and team resilience and was awarded Coach of Excellence accreditation and her Fellowship to the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons in 2020 for her outstanding contribution to the profession.

Loving a challenge, in 2017, Carolyne ran 10 marathons in 10 days raising over £100,000 for the Brooke charity.

Brian Faulkner – FRCVS

Brian graduated from Edinburgh Vet School in 1995 and worked in mixed practice before studying for an MBA at Nottingham Business School in 2001. He has set up and developed 6 veterinary practices from start-ups during the last 20 years and currently leads and works as a clinician in his current practice Aldeburgh Vets. Brian completed a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology, as well as General Practice certificates in Business and Professional Studies and Small Animal Medicine. He was The UK’s Petplan Vet of the Year in 2008. He is Associate Professor in Veterinary Business at Nottingham University Vet School and in July 2020 he was awarded the title Fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (FRCVS). Brian co-founded The British Veterinary Receptionist Association, The Australian Veterinary Receptionist Association, The North American Veterinary Receptionist Association and The Association of Veterinary Care Assistants in the UK.  He is a director of Colourful CPD.com, an online Learning and Development company that specialises in the delivery of courses that focus on the importance of non-clinical skills within veterinary practice.

Andrew Kitton, AFK Training

Andrew is an experienced Training and Development Consultant. A knowledgeable and inspirational trainer, Andrew creates a challenging and fun environment in the training room.

Involved in Learning and Development since 1992, Andrew specialises in soft skills and behavioural training.  He has designed and delivered programmes across Leadership, Management, Personal Development, Presenting and Sales.

Andrew holds a BSc Hons in Accounting and Business Economics.  He is professionally qualified as a trainer (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) and has completed several financial services qualifications (CeMAP, FPC, AFPC, Chartered Institute of Financial Services).  He is also a qualified practitioner of the MBTI, DISC, Hogan, SDI and Emotions & Behaviours at Work.

Andrew lives with his wife (Diane) and children; 22-year-old Daniella and 19-year-old Sam.

Dr. Dave Nicol

Dr. Dave Nicol is a graduate of Glasgow University Veterinary School.  His initial plan was to become a surgeon, but almost immediately he was drawn into general practice by the interaction with pet owners and the problem-solving opportunities that cropped up each day.

Fast-forward more than fifteen years and Dave has undertaken a huge amount of training and research; building a reputation as a successful leader within the veterinary profession. He has been head vet with a large group practice in London, worked as a clinical performance coach for a 50 vet group in the UK and has owned, managed and successfully sold his two veterinary hospitals in Australia.

Dave is a published author, the most recent book written to help new graduate vets settle into their new careers- “So You’re A Vet, Now What?” He is a columnist for the Veterinary Business Journal and DVM360, produces the weekly Hamster Wheel Blog and the Blunt Dissection Podcast where he explores the anatomy of veterinary success by profiling top class performers from all walks of veterinary life.

It is his personal mission to help pets and their people live happy, healthy lives by exploring the daily challenges we face in veterinary medicine, creating solutions and helping those around him to grow.

Lou Northway – RVN, Wendover Heights Veterinary Centre / RCVS Knowledge

Lou is currently Clinical Nurse Lead at a busy first opinion practice in Buckinghamshire. Alongside this she is also Quality Improvement (QI) Lead RVN at RCVS Knowledge.

Lou’s QI adventure began in 2017 when she started auditing ahead of her clinic’s RCVS Practice Standards inspection. During this time, she had an epiphany of its importance and how it could be used to help make positive changes in practice. Her mindset changed from “What are we doing” to “How are we doing? And how can we make it better?”

From auditing and measuring outcomes, her role expanded to involve reviewing up-to-date evidence and guidelines, which she used to make improvements alongside reflecting on audit results. Lou also has a huge interest in human factors which she feels sits hand in hand with quality improvement.

In 2019, she was awarded the RCVS Inspiration Award for her ability to inspire and enthuse others and was also awarded as an RCVS Knowledge Champion for two consecutive years (2019 & 2020) for her clinical audits undertaken in practice. Her audits helped to make clinical improvements in patient outcomes in anaesthesia and post-op care.

She is keen to inspire and encourage veterinary teams to join in the QI movement as she believes it is pivotal in improving clinical standards and communication and enhancing patient safety. She believes QI spearheads a collaborative and supportive working environment where everyone has a voice.

Louise has a social media blog ‘Lou The Vet Nurse’ with over 17K followers. Through this platform she shares CPD, hints & tips and blogs about her life as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

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.

Justin Phillips, Practice Made Purrfect

A Marketeer with twenty years’ experience, Justin joined the veterinary industry in 2012 enabling White Cross Vets to achieve consistent 20% year on year growth. Along the way he won four Veterinary Marketing Association awards and lectured internationally on veterinary marketing.

As Head of Practice Marketing for VetPartners, Justin was responsible for supporting more than 350 practices to promote their individuality, improve patient care and build a thriving practice.

Justin is passionate about coaching and inspiring others to raise the standard of marketing across the veterinary industry in order to improve client service and to enable practice teams to thrive. In October 2020 Justin founded Practice Made Purrfect to provide marketing and business consultancy to vet practices around the world.

Dr Laura Playforth – MRCVS

Laura is Vice-Chair of RCVS Knowledge’s Quality Improvement Advisory Board.  She is also Vets Now’s professional standards director and is responsible for driving clinical and professional ecxellence across the company. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1999, she worked in small animal practices until 2007 before moving into emergency and critical care. Laura has attained an MSc in advancing healthcare practice and has interests in quality improvement. professional culture and client communication.

Iain Price – PhD

Iain is a qualified neuroscientist, executive coach, experienced trainer and educator who is passionate about elevating people’s thinking to help them better understand themselves and their teams.  Iain combines an infectious, enthusiastic training style with a disarming, insightful and thought-provoking coaching approach.  Iain regularly works across the corporate, start-up, step-up and not-for-profit sectors as well as individuals transitioning out of elite sport and employment.  Iain grew up working on a farm in the Welsh borders, loves climbing and surfing and is married to a GP.

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 30 years’ experience in PR & digital marketing.  His practical and actionable presentations reference his work with independent veterinary practices as well as complementary experience from other industries. Andrew regularly presents in person and through live webinars, most recently on subjects that have helped practices successfully communicate with both prospects & clients through the pandemic.

Angela Rayner – MRCVS

Angela is Clinical Services Manager 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 error.

Helen Silver-MacMahon – Cert SAN RVN, VetLed

Helen is an RCVS Knowledge Champion for her role in the sustained training and use of a surgical safety checklist within the small animal theatre at the former Animal Health Trust.

In 2018, Helen began an MSc in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors at the University of Edinburgh. The programme supports healthcare professionals in using evidence-based tools and techniques to improve the reliability and safety of healthcare systems.

It includes how good teamwork influences patient outcomes, key concepts around learning from adverse events and teaching safety, understanding the speciality of clinical human factors, as well as the concept of implementing, observing and measuring change, monitoring for safety, and it focusses on quality improvement research and methodologies.

Helen has been a Veterinary Nurse for 21 years, after qualifying in 2000 she went on to gain the Diploma in Advanced Veterinary Nursing (surgical) in 2005. Helen also holds a certificate in emergency and critical care and a certificate in small animal nutrition. Helen enjoys coaching, lecturing and mentoring and has published several articles. Helen also has extensive referral surgical nursing experience.

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

Liz is the Managing Director and one of the founding partners 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 17 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 currently completing a Diploma in Personal Performance Coaching with The Coaching Academy. Liz is also a Director for the VMG. Liz is passionate about all aspects of 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.

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.

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