Congress Speakers

Dr Abosede O Ajayi, Specialist Sports Physician

A consultant based in West London, Dr Abosede Ajayi, better known as “GB” is a specialist in both emergency medicine and sports medicine and has more than 15 years experience across a range of high performance sports including England rugby, GB diving and GB basketball. Her experiences as a frontline doctor (including the 7/7 bombings, the Westminster attacks, Grenfell & Covid-19) mean that she is able to think outside the box and is unfazed under pressure. She has attended two Olympic Games in the last year giving unprecedented access and instinct into high performance environments and how to manage disappointment and success. With a passion for music when not in scrubs or pitch side, GB can often be found listening to or singing gospel and jazz standards.

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.

Ed Bailey, MRCVS, Vet Sustain

Ed works for The George Farm Vets in Wiltshire, primarily advising grazing-based dairy, beef and sheep. He also carries out veterinary consultancy work for the Soil Association and OMSCO and is a member of the food and farming working group for Vet Sustain. Ed’s interests lie in helping farmers adopt agroecological approaches to make them sustainable, profitable and resilient.

 

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.

David Black – MRCVS, Vet Sustain

David is Managing Director of Paragon Veterinary Group, a three centre, 25 vet, fiercely independent, mixed rural vet practice in Cumbria.  He is a founder Director and interim Treasurer of Vet Sustain, and Managing Director of VetSalus, a business initiative developing livestock vet collaboration and consultancy globally.

His clinical interests are in dairy practice, particularly reproduction and advanced breeding technologies including embryo transfer and IVF. Post graduate qualifications include a Diploma in Bovine Reproduction and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and he is an Emeritus RCVS Recognised Specialist in Cattle Health and Production. He is Treasurer of the World Association for Buiatrics, and a member of the Dairy Science Forum.

In 2020, he was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and he is passionate about vet-led business, global veterinary collaboration, One Health and Veterinary Sustainability.

 

Dr Sabrina Cohen-Hatton, Firefighter, Psychologist and Writer

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.

Shelley Cook – MRCVS, Little Rock Vets

Shelley graduated from Dick Vet in 2011 and set up Little Rock Equine Vets in October 2019. She completed her Cert AVP in Equine Practice in 2019. The practice covers North Staffordshire and the Staffordshire Moorlands. She set out to build a company that would provide a better way forward for staff, for clients and for the horses in the area. The practice has gone from 1 to a 6-person team in the space of 12 months.

From a staff perspective, the company looks to encourage staff career advancement in the form of buying into the company, ‘we are all parents with children and work together to ensure that our clients and their horses are looked after to a very high standard but not at the expense of our children. This means that creative management of rota’s needs to be implemented but this allows for flexibility within the working day/week’. 

 

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.

Andrew Curwen, – MRCVS, XL Vets

After qualifying as a veterinary surgeon from Bristol Vet School in 1990, Andrew worked for three years in mixed practice in the UK. He then joined Grampian Pharmaceuticals as a Veterinary Adviser and in 2000 moved to Bayer Animal Health where he became Marketing Manager. In 2006 Andrew joined XLVets, a collaborative community of independently owned veterinary practices, committed to working together to share knowledge, skills and resources. As Chief Executive of XLVet UK Ltd he leads a team that serves and supports the XLVet community through the provision of a range of services and initiatives that enable the XLVet membership to first define and then deliver “excellence in practice”. He is a keen cyclist, mountain walker and is learning to turn wood and understand what a dog can teach us about living a good life.

Alison Daubney, Summerleaze Vets & VMG

Alison has spent her whole career in veterinary practice she qualified as a veterinary nurse in 1991, became a practice manager in 1998 and completed an ILM in Professional Practice Management in 2004.  Alison is currently managing a small equine practice in East Devon. Her focus is outstanding care to colleagues and clients alike. In 2019 she was invited to join the VMG board of directors.

In her free time she enjoys walking her dogs, sea swimming and wine tasting in the Rioja region!

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.

Rhiannon Gibbs (MBA), Ad Esse Consulting Ltd

Rhiannon Gibbs (MBA) is a serial intrapreneur, owner and director of Ad Esse Consulting Ltd. She is also a self-confessed continuous improvement fanatic, an obsession that follows her outside of the workplace (much to the delight of her family!).

Rhiannon has been working with social purpose organisations since 2005 and has led multi-million-pound improvement programmes.  She’s passionate about sharing knowledge with the next generation of business leaders to ensure that the future is filled with happy customers and outstanding services.

Lucy Grieve –  MRCVS

Lucy Grieve is an ambulatory assistant at Rossdales’ Newmarket equine practice and current Senior Vice President of the British Equine Veterinary Association.

After qualifying from Cambridge University in 2007, Lucy completed a diagnostic imaging internship at Rossdales Equine Diagnostic Centre, before spending seven years as an in-house vet for Darley’s pre-training facility in Newmarket, where she worked with Thoroughbred yearlings and horses in training. In 2015 she returned to Rossdales as an ambulatory assistant, working on the sports and leisure team whilst still assisting within the Thoroughbred industry. Her special interests are lameness, diagnostic imaging and poor performance.

As a member of BEVA Council since 2012, she serves as chair of the Ethics and Welfare Committee and sits on the Equestrian Sports Committee, liaising with regulatory bodies such as the BHA and FEI. She is also co-opted onto the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) Thoroughbred Research Consultation Group and the British Horse Society Equine Health and Welfare Advisory Committee. She takes an active role in ongoing education of equine vets, writing articles, speaking at events and organising courses.

Zoe Halfacree – MRCVS, Vet Sustain

Zoë is a small animal vet and a passionate advocate for sustainability. Zoë works at Davies Veterinary Specialists as a Soft Tissue Surgeon and also Chairs the Greener Veterinary Practice working group, Vet Sustain. Zoë is an RCVS and ECVS Specialist in Small Animal Surgery. Zoë enjoyed working at The Royal Veterinary College for many years, where she was a Senior Lecturer in Small Animal Surgery. Zoë remains involved in curriculum and clinical practice initiatives in environmental sustainability at The Royal Veterinary College. Zoë has completed a course in Business Sustainability at the Cambridge Institute of Sustainable Leadership and is currently undertaking a Masters in Sustainability and Behaviour Change at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

Joe Hill

Since qualifying 20 years ago Joe has worked in a variety of veterinary practices being exposed to a wide range of technical procedures as well as different business models and management styles.

Joe states ‘In order to be successful, a vet requires the key mix of veterinary ethics and technical knowledge with business acumen and people skills. It is these non-clinical elements that I have focused on over the last decade through completion of my MBA, teaching undergraduate and postgraduate students and journal publications. The development of these skills across the profession is essential for the creation of more successful businesses leading to better patient outcomes and working environments’.

James Hopkins, Equicall

James qualified from Sydney in January 2007 and worked in ambulatory first opinion practice in Australia and the UK. He passed his orthopaedic surgery certificate in 2015. In 2018 in collaboration with a colleague Ian Bellis they launched Equicall the first equine specific out of hours service. Equicall has now grown to 20+ Vets and covers much of the South of England. in 2020 They also started an out of hours call handling centre staffed by veterinary nurses – Equicomms.

James Horner – MRCVS

James started Horner Vets in June this year.   A team that has rapidly grown to 8 employees,  James’ vision is to bring enjoyment back to the clinical profession.  Championing pragmatic veterinary care alongside RVN skills development, the reception from clients in his local area has been amazing!

A Liverpool University Graduate, James has worked in many roles that has culminated in opening an independent practice.  Covering species from Equine to Poultry, from clinical practice to Industry, James now only works with Cats and Dogs.   Academically James holds a CertAVP in Equine Surgery – Soft Tissue and an MBA from Warwick University.

Thom Jenkins – MRCVS, PetsApp

Thom is a vet and has run veterinary clinic groups internationally. He has sat on the board of and been an advisor to various companies both within and outside of the veterinary sector. He is the CEO and Co-founder of PetsApp, a client communication tool used by over 300 clinics, thousands of veterinary professionals and hundreds of thousands of pet owners in the UK alone. Thom is proud of the work the PetsApp pack have done in alleviating the load on veterinary teams facilitating business growth, while improving the care received by pets and their owners.

Jennie Jones Head of Nockolds Resolution

Jennie Jones qualified as a solicitor in 2001 and during her legal career has resolved injury claims in a wide range of areas, including health care and public liability claims. This experience enabled Jennie to use and develop her skills in identifying the underlying reason why an incident occurred and working with all involved to attempt to achieve a practical solution which allowed those involved to move on with their lives. Jennie has a wealth of experience in the practice standards, regulation and complaint handling gained over 20 years in practice and 10 years as a Director of Nockolds.

Jennie heads the Veterinary Client Mediation Service (VCMS). Following the successful trial, which commenced in October 2016, the RCVS Council on 28 September 2017, unanimously approved the decision to continue the service. The service now receives 300-400 enquiries a month, and of those complaints mediated by the team, 86% are resolved.

Jennie oversees the mediation process, and provides a crucial link between Nockolds Resolution, regulators and stakeholders in each sector. Her role is to ensure the ADR schemes delivers an impartial, efficient and effective resolution service meeting the needs of consumers, the professionals/practices and their representatives, and the wider public. An important aspect of Nockolds work is to share the insight gained by the service to benefit both practices and their clients. With significant experience of adversarial dispute resolution, Jennie is committed to promoting ADR and in particular mediation in regulation. She explains that: ‘emotive and professional disputes that can often benefit from this type of resolution process. By acknowledging concerns, empowering the parties, we can often achieve a cost and time effectively resolution.’

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.

Fiona Leathers – RVN, Head Nurse & Practice Manager,Westport Vets

Fiona started out in the veterinary industry in 1998, as a receptionist in a busy mixed animal & exotic practice in Central Scotland. During her time in this position, Fiona became more aware and interested in the role a Veterinary Nurse played in practice and felt this to be a more fulfilling career choice for her. In 2002 after 2 years or training, Fiona achieved her ambition and qualified as a Registered Veterinary Nurse.

Over the years, Fiona has worked in independent practices in Central Scotland in many roles. 2007 saw Fiona moving to a start-up practice where as sole employee she was responsible for overseeing the running of the practice. After 11 years in this role it was time for a new challenge and Fiona moved to an independent practice which had newly acquired two separate businesses, here she took up her current post as Head Nurse & Practice Manager. Fiona has taken pride in this role in which she has brought all three branches together to work as one successful and supportive team. Her passion in the workplace is to provide a supportive training environment for student Veterinary Nurses, provide top level customer care to the clients and ensure positive strategies are used to support the mental health of her work colleagues.

During 2007-2017, Fiona was the Scottish Regional Representative for the BVNA. In 2015, she gained her qualification in wound management and is now the Scottish “Bandaging Angel” for the Veterinary Wound Library, which involves training veterinary teams from independent practices. In 2017, she was awarded The Blue Cross Veterinary Nurse of the Year award at the BVNA Congress. Fiona joined the Board of Directors for The Vet Trust Ltd in this year also and in 2018, became the first RVN to hold the position of Chairperson, a position which she still holds. This year, she has just completed the SPVS ILM Level 3 course and has started the SPVS ILM Level 5.

Alice Moore – MRCVS, Garston Vet Group

Alice qualified as a veterinary surgeon from Cambridge University in 2015.  After completing a 12 month graduate programme at Eastcott Veterinary Hospital she joined Garston Veterinary Group, a large independent mixed practice based in Somerset, where she currently works as an assistant small animal vet.  In addition to clinical work, Alice has been the recent graduate representative on the British Veterinary Association’s policy committee since in 2019.  Alice contributes regularly to the Vet Record through the Young Vet Network column and has written on a variety of subjects including pet-fishing, sustainability, self-evaluation and gender equality.  She joined XLVets in 2021 to collaborate on a project looking to develop and future-proof current working practises, including the facilitation of flexible working strategies.  Outside of work, Alice enjoy’s exploring the countryside with her New Forest Pony, Whisky.

Lesley Moore – RVN, RCVS Knowledge QI Champion

Lesley qualified as a RVN in 2013 at Middlesex University. She has worked in referral, general practice and dedicated out of hours having been a Principal Nurse Manager at Vets Now for 6 years. Lesley’s interest in quality improvement began at Vets Now and in 2019 her team won the RCVS QI Knowledge Award for an audit on emergency anaesthesia. In November 2021, Lesley became the Quality Improvement Co-ordinator for IVC Evidensia, keeping a small nursing role at Vets Now. In addition, she is currently studying for a Post Graduate Diploma in Veterinary Education at the RVC.

Tracey Morley Jewkes, Linnaeus

Tracey is Programme Director at Linnaeus, and previous Managing Director at two Vet Wellbeing Award Winning practices –  Willows, the largest referral centre in the Midlands, and Blacks Vets, a 5 site general practice in the Black Country with an Accredited Veterinary Hospital and own OOH.

Tracey has contributed to both corporate and independent businesses including climbing the career ladder at BT, building her own manufacturing company into an award winning international business and latterly her own international management consultancy.  TMJ loves making a positive difference to people and pets through great business leadership, helping to create an inspiring and rewarding environment to deliver sustainable competitive advantage.

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.

Hannah Perrin, VMG

Hannah Perrin has 20 years’ experience in veterinary practice.  She originally qualified as a pharmacologist, subsequently becoming Practice Manager of a busy four-site mixed practice in Kent.  After ten years with the practice she went back to school for an MA in Health Services Research, followed by a PhD in Veterinary Education exploring occupational identity.  She taught at the Royal Veterinary College for a few years before returning to a more direct practice contact role with VMG, responsible for research, education and operations management.  She is now Learning and Development lead at VMG, and Course Director for the VMG/ILM Award, Certificate and Diploma in Veterinary Leadership and Management.

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 IVC Evidensia’s Group Quality Improvement Director and is responsible for driving a culture of continually improving care delivery across the company. After graduating from the University of Edinburgh in 1999, she worked in small animal practices until 2007 before joining Vets Now where she held a number of roles, the most recent being Professional Standards Director. Laura attained her MSc in Advancing Healthcare Practice in 2019 and is the current Vice Chair of the RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement Advisory Board. She has particular interests in professional culture, client communication and how QI improves team wellbeing.

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.

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.

 

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.

Rachel Simmons – MRCVS, Edhen Veterinary Surgery

Rachel, an Edinburgh graduate has always sought diversity in her career. Alongside working in practice she co ran an academic travel company for many years. When COVID bought the collapse of the travel industry it left Rachel with a lot of spare time, a lot of knowledge in business and a will to create something new. She knew if she was going to return to practice life 5 days a week it had to be under her own roof; Bringing total ownership, total responsibility and occasionally, total pain in the arse moments. Who knew how much admin owning a practice would bring and how many spreadsheets were needed; and who knew how lonely it would be at times.

Edhen Vets is centered around caring for pets and people; with good personal service and 5 key values underpinning everything they do. The past 8 months has been a steep learning curve, but Rachel has quickly identified her weaknesses and what she would have done differently. Non the less, the first 8 months has been a resounding success with turnover far exceeding what was predicted and a very happy team of seven staff.

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.

Mark Tabachnik MRCVS, Wright & Morten Veterinary Surgeons

Mark has been a vet for 25 years, during which time he’s been a business owner, a Clinical Director and now a coach as well.  He is passionate about bringing improved people skills to the veterinary industry for better interpersonal relationships, staff retention and overall happiness.

Shaun Taylor, Yatton Vets

Shaun grew up in the Midlands before moving to Bristol University to study Veterinary Science in 2000. Following graduation from Langford Vet School in 2005, Shaun initially worked in mixed practice in Cornwall, then in small-animal practice in Derbyshire.

Shaun worked for several years as a night-time Emergency & Critical Care (ECC) vet, with Vets Now in Nottingham, then later with Bath Veterinary Group. It was during these years that he forged a passion for ECC medicine and surgery, and was awarded “Vet Of The Year” by Vets Now in 2009.

After nearly 4 years of solid night-shifts, Shaun finally settled back into daytime general practice in the Southwest in 2011. He worked as Clinical Director of an 8-vet small-animal hospital in Portishead for 5 years, before finally deciding to open his own independent family-run vet practice in Yatton in July 2017, with the help of his wife (and fellow vet) Ciara Taylor.

Shaun is a keen winter sports fan and tries to fit in a snowboarding holiday once every 1-2 years. He is also partial to anything that involves cooking, eating or wine tasting! He has been known to try surfing on occasion; and owns a 7’10” Mini-Mal surfboard, and a rather unflattering wetsuit.

Shaun lives in Bristol with my wife Ciara, where they run Yatton Vets together. He married in 2016, and together they have a 2-year old daughter Leah, and a very tolerant cat called Pickle.

Samantha Thompson RVN, Linneaus

Sam qualified from MYF college and has worked in referral hospitals for over 10 years, most recently as the Clinical Services Manager for North Downs Specialist Referral Hospital. During her time at NDSR Sam developed and oversaw the inductions of new joiners. She joined NDSR as she qualified as an RVN and also has experience teaching Veterinary Nursing.

As a Post Registration Programme Manager, Sam works with the team to support nurses who have recently qualified fulfil their dreams of working in a referral hospital. This is done by the development and implementation of a structured and immersive professional and clinical programme. Combining both off site and on-site training to support the practices with ensuring these nurses have a smooth transition into referral nursing.

Alongside her role as PRP Manager Sam also sits on the clinical board, providing a nurse presence in this area. She’s a certified RECOVER Rescuer, is part of the VNJ Editorial board and has a keen interest in quality improvement

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.

Chris White, Pets At Home, VMG

Chris has worked in senior operational management within the veterinary sector for the last 13 years, including roles at Vets Now, The Vet, Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists, VetPartners, and the Pets At Home Veterinary Group where he currently oversees a number of strategic projects.

He has designed and delivered leadership development training on a variety of topics throughout his career and is also a regular contributor to The Veterinary Edge magazine.

He is also an Advisory Board member and guest mentor for XSM (a global, cross-sector mentoring start-up platform), and joined the Board of Directors of the Veterinary Management Group in March 2021 to further realise his passion for cultivating high quality leadership and management.

He is qualified at Master’s level in both Business and HR.

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