Citation Business Breakfast: Employment Law Update
Presidents’ Welcome and Congress Opener, Keynote Speaker: Sabrina Cohen-Hatton


How to train your team to love their jobs
Helen Silver-MacMahon 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.

Session Synopses

Incivility in the workplace- what would you do? Stand and fight, turn and run or ignore it?  Turn and run or ignore it, every time!? Am I right?  Feeling vulnerable, alone, useless, sad, tired, and like there’s no way out, It’s so much easier to turn and run  or ignore incivility or poor culture in the workplace rather than address it, but maybe it’s time to change our stance, find the courage to speak up and stay and fight for once!  By creating a culture where any member of the practice team, regardless of job title or pay grade, feels empowered to speak up when they have concerns and stand up to poor or bullying behaviours, knowing they will be heard, a happier, healthy and safer team will emerge and patient outcomes are guaranteed to improve.

Helen is an RVN who is currently studying for a Masters in Patient Safety and Clinical Human Factors at Edinburgh University. Through developing an understanding of the impact  behaviour has on clinical outcomes and patient safety in a human health setting she is able to investigate how these can be applied in veterinary practice.

In this session, Helen will share case study examples and evidence to explore the role that every team member has in embedding a safe and just culture in vet practice, whether they are receptionist, nurse, new grad, practice owner or manager. She will look at how to set goals, make changes and measure the effect of those changes.

Shared Leadership
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. Currently she is working on her MSc Healthcare Management.

Session Synopses

In an increasingly complex world with more expertise and more specialisation, it is less effective in any setting for one person to give orders and others to follow.  This is the thinking behind ‘Shared Leadership’ which is a model increasingly promoted within the human healthcare setting.  In many cases, no individual clinician is an expert in all aspects of the care needed for the patient and therefore cannot lead the others in the team through an entirely command and control model. Instead, individuals within the team take on leadership responsibilities associated with their own area of specialism or interest. Shared leadership offers the potential to empower, and motivate staff at all stages of their career, and allow those in the formal leadership role to delegate with confidence.

Helen Ballantyne obtained a degree in Pharmacology before becoming a veterinary nurse. After ten years as a RVN, she retrained as a human centred nurse, spending two years in cardiothoracic intensive care before moving into transplant nursing.  She will share her thoughts on how the shared leadership model may be applied to veterinary practice, with particular emphasis on empowering nurses to achieve better outcomes for their patients, their clients, themselves and the whole practice team.

Flexible Working in Practice: what you told us
Silvia Janska, SPVS & Flexee and Jessica May, Flexee

Silvia Janska BSc(Hons) MSc BVetMed PgCertVBM MRCVS

Silvia obtained a BSc in Veterinary Science and a MSc in Wild Animal Biology prior to graduation with a vet degree from RVC in 2014. Throughout her 8-year education at the RVC, she also worked in their e-Media department on various projects that enhanced student learning. After graduating she completed an equine internship and a Certificate in Veterinary Business Management at Liverpool University. Alongside her primary career as an ambulatory equine vet, Silvia also consults within the animal health industry (www.innoveting.com) and leads a project on flexible working in the vet profession (www.flexee.vet).

Jessica May, MRCVS

Jessica has a veterinary foundation in mixed and equine practice having spent seven years working in the United Kingdom and in Hong Kong. Having worked in a variety of clinics, she has experience of first opinion, referral hospital and charity settings. In 2019, she joined the independent Swedish telemedicine company, FirstVet, to launch their pioneering service in the UK. Jessica has a strong interest in flexible working and how it can benefit veterinary professionals and businesses. Jessica qualified as a vet from the Royal Veterinary College in 2012 with a degree in veterinary sciences and a graduate degree in veterinary medicine.

Session Synopses

Do you offer flexible working to your team? If not, why not?  Silvia Janska and Jessica May have had over 500 responses from employers and employees to their industry wide survey about flexible working. Their results show there is a strong demand for flexible working from both employers and employees. During their research they have met practices who have risen to the challenge and tested solutions to offer more flexibility for their staff. However, many employers are still reluctant to test new approaches, citing such things as complex rotas and a concern about fairness to all. Further, there still seems to be some misunderstanding about what flexible working means and the benefits it can bring when it works well. In this session, Silvia and Jessica will pose the question ‘Could flexible working work in my practice while sustaining a profitable business and keeping a unified team?’.

1:00pm – Lunch in the Exhibition
Veterinary Social Work: A New Paradigm
Angie Arora, Seneca College, Toronto, Introduced by Diane James, Blue Cross

Angie Arora, Seneca College, Toronto

Angie Arora is a registered Social Worker from Toronto, Canada with over 16 years of experience working at the cross-sections of the human-animal-bond, more specifically in the areas of pet loss and veterinary wellness.  As a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist, Angie works with animal-care providers to foster wellness and address systemic causes of burnout and compassion fatigue. She serves as the Board Secretary for the International Association of Veterinary Social Work, is the Research Chair for the International Association for Animal Hospice & Palliative Care and volunteers her time to address equity issues within veterinary medicine. She works with VetVine as a Virtual Pet Loss Facilitator and is the Lead Coach for their VETPeers Wellness and Professional Resiliency Coaching Program.

She is a Professor with Seneca College’s Social Service Worker Program, where she was the principal investigator of a research study that developed guidelines for veterinary teams to better support clients through their pets’ end of life. Angie obtained her Bachelor of Social Work from Ryerson University and Master of Social Work from York University.

Diane James, Blue Cross

Diane James is the Manager of Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service, having had a career in HR and training in both the human and animal world, Diane found her open door policy led her to complete her post graduate in counselling, which after working with human loss and grief, led to her dream job with Blue Cross. This role has seen the free support service grow to offer phone, email and recently the new addition of webchat. As well as accredited training and courses for animal professionals in the area of Pet loss, emotional support and Bereavement.

Diane works with many organisations, nationally and internationally, also being a member of the international association of Veterinary social workers, Diane has contributed to the training of the North American  association for Pet loss and bereavement counsellors, who use the Blue Cross Pet Grief cycle in the training they provide.

Diane regularly contributes to all forms of media locally and nationally, on the Topic of Pet Bereavement and is also co-chair of the academic based group pets passing, as well as this she is a Trustee of the Helplines Partnership board.

Session Synopses

Those working in UK veterinary practice will be familiar with bereavement training and some practices may provide support to their teams for compassion fatigue. We are also aware of the many animal-assisted therapies such as PAT Dogs, Hearing Dogs for the Deaf and of course, Guide Dogs for the Blind.  But in addition, and arguably the fourth cog in the wheel, is the connection between violence against humans and animals. How do we recognise and respond to animal abuse and support pet parents who face domestic violence? What is, or should be, the role of veterinary practitioners in supporting the needs of pet owners, especially those experiencing challenges in their lives while still working within scope of practice? Angie Arora is Professor and Social Worker specialising in the human-animal bond, based at Seneca College in Toronto Canada and is on the inaugural Board of the International Association for Veterinary Social Work. She has worked in a large animal hospital as a veterinary social worker, providing bereavement training and counselling, support for compassion fatigue and served as a liaison between veterinary staff and pet owners at times of crisis. She describes the concept of veterinary social work with an introduction from Diane James, from Blue Cross, a trained Pet Bereavement Counsellor, who is looking to introduce this area into the work they do.

Carbon Footprinting your Digital Footprint
Ian F Bitterlin CEng BSc(Hons), BA DipDesInn, FIET, MCIBSE

Ian is a Chartered Engineer with more than 50 years in engineering including 30 years’ experience in data-centre power and cooling, formerly CTO for Emerson Network Power in EMEA and Visiting Professor to the University of Leeds, and now principal at Critical Facilities Consulting.

An active blogger, trainer, author of many technical papers on critical power and cooling with presentations and keynote speeches made around the world, Ian is a Fellow of the IET and Member of CIBSE. In the past decade Ian has been Technical Chair of the Data Centre Council of techUK, Chair of the DCSG of the BCS, Accredited Tier Designer of the Uptime Institute and ex-Chair of the Technical Working Group in EMEA for The Green Grid.

In addition, Ian sits on data-centre standards committees and bodies, including as an Expert Member of TCT/7 – EN50600, Data Centre Infrastructure, Expert Member of ISO/IEC JCT1 SC39 WG1 ‘Resource Efficient Data Centres’, Project Editor of ISO/IEC 30134-1 and a member of BSI Committee IST/046 ‘Sustainability for, and by ICT’ and was awarded ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Data Centre Industry’ at both Data Centres Europe in 2009 and DatacenterDynamics EMEA in 2015.

Session Synopses

Practices are increasingly thinking about sustainability, but how do you reduce your digital carbon footprint while continuing to be as efficient as possible in data storage and use of technology?  Although the energy needed for a single internet search or email is small, those scraps of energy, and the associated greenhouse gases emitted with each online activity, can add up. The carbon footprint of our gadgets, the internet and the systems supporting them account for about 3.7% of global greenhouse emissions, according to some estimates. It is similar to the amount produced by the airline industry globally… and we are talking pre Covid air travel, not 2020!  Ian Bitterlin, a Former Visiting Professor at Leeds University, knows a thing or two about data and shares some tips for greening up your technology.

Profitable Conversations
Lisa Bainham, President, Association of Dental Administrators and Managers (ADAM)
Session Synopses

Good Leadership and Management starts and ends with good communication.  Everyone in your team should feel as important as everyone else and you, as leader, should have a good grasp of the personalities in your team and how to get the best from them.   Lisa Bainham is President of the Association of Dental Administrators and Managers and has over 23 years’ experience as a manager of a busy multi-site dental practice.   She compares and contrasts the challenges faced by dental practices with vet practices and shares some of the solutions she has found to ensure her whole team work smarter not harder. Good businesses constantly evolve, adapting and changing to new challenges, and the teams that put communication first will have reaped the benefits in the past year.  From how and where to talk to clients about cost, to embracing digital comms without losing the personal touch, to managing any ‘well poisoners’ in your team, this session will take a wide ranging look at the importance of ensuring every conversation with clients or team members is profitable!


Quality Improvement: Too important to leave to just the vets
Pam Mosedale, RCVS Knowledge

Pam is QI Clinical lead for RCVS Knowledge and Chair of the RCVS Knowledge Quality Improvement Advisory Board.

She was Lead Assessor for the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme until very recently. She has worked in first opinion practice for most of her career.

She is also an SQP assessor for AMTRA and edits the BSAVA Guide to the Use of Veterinary Medicines and organises the BSAVA Dispensing Course.

Pam has been involved in establishing Quality Improvement resources for the veterinary practice team. She is passionate about QI becoming part of the normal working day for veterinary teams and contributing to a just learning culture in practice.

Session Synopses

Who is responsible for drawing up protocols & checklists and carrying out the audits, in your practice?   These are vitally important tools for practice improvement and are a new requirement for the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme and the awards.

Who is responsible for drawing up protocols & checklists and carrying out the audits, in your practice?   These are vitally important tools for practice improvement and are a new requirement for the RCVS Practice Standards Scheme and the awards.

Putting these tools in place is one thing, but what is the point of them and how do you convince the whole team to use them?

Sometimes these QI tools are seen as purely clinical, even though their successful implementation is all about teamwork and communication. You might be surprised how often someone is tasked with, for instance, checking the temperature of a fridge with no idea why, or even what, the correct temperature is!

This session, led by Pam Mosedale explores the role of practice managers, nurses and the reception team in ensuring quality improvement is properly understood and embedded throughout the whole practice team.

Managing Debt
Georgina Hills RVN, 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.  In March 2021 George took on the role of Referrals Business Manager for Pride Veterinary Centre and now looks after a multi disciplinary team and referral service in Derby.

Session Synopses

Depending on who you speak to, the pandemic has been either good for reducing if not eliminating bad debt or has made things much worse.  It may be you are taking more upfront payments, but consultations in the car park can mean fewer conversations about cost.  For most it is probably a bit of both, but maybe it has created an opportunity to revisit this perennial headache.   Good debt management is a mix of water  tight systems, transparent pricing, an effective policy re insurance claims and excellent internal and external communication.   Added to this is an understanding of your client base and a strong policy on when to write off bad debt.

What we talk about when we talk about Digital?
Amy Xu, Blue Cross

Amy currently works for Blue Cross’s clinical development team, overseeing strategic projects and clinical service design. Prior to joining Blue Cross, she worked as a digital strategy consultant across the corporate and public sectors. She also sits on the Trustee board of a tech-for-good start up charity that aims to use data to provide safe sanitation to everyone across the world. She has a BA in Geography from UCL and a MSc in Management from Imperial College Business School. She is a dedicated mum for two adopted tabby cats.

Session Synopses

Everyone talks about digital transformation, but what does it entail? How do you make it work for your organisation and crucially your clients? Amy Xu, a service designer at Blue Cross and former digital strategy consultant, explains why it is imperative to think about Digital holistically and beyond the realms that many would consider as part of a digital transformation programme, such as your ways of working. She will also share how Blue Cross is putting inclusive design at the heart of its digital projects and why the ‘perfect archetype client’ is elusive.

1:00pm – Lunch in the Exhibition
What Makes Some Practices Supersonic?
Mark Harwood, Hazlewoods

Mark has been with Hazlewoods since 2003 and works solely with veterinary practices. Mark advises on a whole range of matters including profit improvement, tax planning, valuations, ownership change and buying and selling practices. Mark regularly writes for the veterinary press and presents to the profession.

Session Synopses

There are those practices that do well, then there are those that really fly.  They are super profitable, their teams are happy and staff turnover is low.  So what are they doing that makes them a cut above the rest?  According to Mark Harwood,  numbers do matter, and the successful practices know which KPIs to measure, how often, and what to do with the results.  It is also about creating good habits (and minimising the bad!),  attention to detail, a positive mindset, consistency, and teamwork. In this session, Mark will use a mix of different case study practices to drill down to the essentials, comparing and contrasting the supersonic practices.  He will provide some top business tips from these practices together with a check list of ten take outs that you can start implementing in your practice now, to help you and your team take off and keep flying.

Body Language: Your most important communication tool
Gary Lafferty, Speaking and Presentation Coach

Gary Lafferty is a Speaking and Presentation Coach, International Speaker and 2 x #1-best-selling author of the books ‘Average to Expert’ and ‘Make More Money from Speaking’.

He has mentored tens of thousands of people across six continents not only on what to say, but how to say it, in such a way that inspires confidence, builds trust and elevates your authority to your audience.

He is the CEO of an international personal achievement company. His products and programs simplify the process that entrepreneurs have to do to become sought after and the go-to person in their industry. He is a sought-after Expert Strategist and consults to some of the world’s largest Personal Development and Training companies.

As a speaker Gary has shared international speaking platforms with the likes of Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street and Apple Inc Co-Founder, Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak, and many others.

Session Synopses

Whether you have to deliver a presentation, head up a staff meeting, or simply meet a new potential client, chances are that you will take the time to prepare what words you want to use. However, how many times do you take the time to consider the non verbal cues we are giving when we are delivering those well crafted words of wisdom?

Numerous studies have proven that upto 93% of our communication is nonverbal. But we rarely think about our body language and what impressions we are creating in the minds of those listening. They say that first impressions are important and that people are constantly judging us.  The world of business is no different. As a matter of fact, this environment is an whole arena of unspoken language. Often, it’s what isn’t said that is heard the loudest. From pitches to board meetings, your body language illustrates your confidence, your commitment and your intentions more than you may realize.

The truth is that body language is either working with you or against you — there’s not a lot of room in between.  From manspreading to hands in pockets, leaning in vs arms crossed, you really can influence how your message is received.  And the two need to work together; if your gestures are not in alignment with your words, then you will lose trust.

Gary Lafferty is an author, who has taught and mentored tens of thousands of people across six continents in how to structure and monetize their message.  Here he shares some tips on making the right impression without opening your mouth!

Veterinary Websites Fit for a Pandemic and a Post-Covid World
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 29 years’ experience in PR & digital marketing.  His presentations often reference his work with 160 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 ‘Interacting with your vet during Covid-19’, ‘How to buy a website’ and ‘Driving digital engagement’.

Session Synopses

One thing that Covid taught us is that a veterinary practice website is about a lot more than just offering a shop window for prospective clients.  As receptions came under pressure and practices fought to keep up with an un-predictable and rapidly changing situation, practice owners found that their website became a vital conduit to inform, direct and in many instances slow down client demand for services.

In this session, Andrew Rastall shares his experience of creating and managing vet websites, with case study examples of how the websites of small to medium sized practices can stand up to even the most organised opposition.  He will show how to ensure your website is technically future-proofed as well as capable of dealing with the un-expected.  He will take you through what he believes is the single most critical technology that will revolutionise how your practice’s website will perform in 2021 & beyond and describe the seven website building blocks that have remained consistent throughout the pandemic period.


21st Century Leadership: from now to wow
Richard Casey, VMG President & 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 and is Head of Clinical Development, a role in which he oversees the development of the charity’s veterinary services and manages its partnerships with private veterinary practices. He is President of the Veterinary Management Group.

Session Synopses

Research by VMG has identified some key strengths and weaknesses that managers perceive in their skill sets.  That is the ‘Now’.  How do you correctly identify your own personal management and leadership weaknesses and strengths, and plan a path from ‘Now’ to ‘Wow’?  In this session, Richard Casey will explore what good looks like in terms of key leadership skills and take you through a list of the areas that the evidence suggests managers want to strengthen.  For each of these, which will include such things as giving and receiving feedback, developing teams and planning and organising, Richard will offer one top take home tip, plus signposting to where you might go next for your own personal development plan.

Evidence Based Leadership
Kerrie Hedley, XL Vets and Caroline Clarke, Open University

Kerrie Hedley, Chief Operating Officer, XLVets

Following graduation from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011, Kerry worked in 100% equine practice in the north east where she was always interested in the ‘business side’ of practice. Kerry joined the XLVets team in January 2015 as XLVets Equine Business Manager in a maternity cover role, offering the opportunity to try non-clinical work. Kerry now oversees the operational running of XLVets as Chief Operating Officer.

During the last few years of transitioning from clinical practice to a business role Kerry has undertaken the University of Liverpool Certificate in Veterinary Business Management and an MBA. Kerry undertook some research for her MBA dissertation into the barriers and enablers to female vets becoming business owners – ‘I feel very privileged to be continuing that important research to increase the representation of all veterinary women in leadership roles across the profession’.

Outside of work, Kerry can be found walking my two chocolate Labradors ‘Rolo’ and ‘Buttons’ in beautiful Northumberland, baking, doing yoga or taking on yet another DIY project!

Caroline Clarke, Open University Business School

Caroline Clarke is a Senior Lecturer in Organisation Studies at the Open University Business School. She has a variety of research interests located within Organization Studies, with a particular emphasis on identity, anxiety, insecurity and power. Caroline’s empirical research includes a focus on first-opinion veterinary surgeons.  More recently, Caroline has developed an interest in post humanism, critical animal studies and managing in the Anthropocene.  Her work has been published a variety of journals including Human Relations, Organization Studies, Academy of Management Learning and Education, The Veterinary Record, and Gender, Work and Organisation.

Caroline lives outside Bath, together with her numerous children and a rather plump Duck Tolling Retriever called Paddy.

Session Synopses

In 2019, VMG awarded the first of their annual grants to support research aimed at advancing the understanding of contemporary veterinary business, leadership and management.

Two of the first recipients of these awards will present their work in this session and compare and contrast any overlaps in their findings.  Kerrie Hedley, Chief Operating Officer at XL Vets has investigated why women vets appear to be under-represented in leadership positions within the UK.  Caroline Clarke, Senior Lecturer in Organisational Studies at the Open University followed up her earlier research into women in vet practice by looking at why so many qualified vets leave the profession and what, if anything, leaders can do to stem the flow and even encourage those who have left, back into practice.

Leading in a time of Change
Rebecca Tindall, Head of People and Development at PDSA

Rebecca Tindall is currently Head of People and Development at PDSA. With over 20 years experience in the field of Organisational development across multi disciplined organisations and sectors, Rebecca brings a range of experience about how organisations maximise their performance through their people.

Session Synopses

Through ‘normal’ times, a well-managed vet practice should be a relatively stable and unchanging workplace.   You may not know which clients you will see that day or what new clinical cases are going to be presented and as a manager, you may see different people issues day on day.    However, the systems, the premises, your relationships with colleagues are hopefully stable, functional and productive.   But want happens when nothing seems stable? what we learnt through the pandemic was how challenging rapid change can be.  One thing about rapid uncontrollable change is that its happening and you are managing it!

This session will focus on helping us reflect on how we have managed change, what can we learn about us as leaders from the period of time we have been through and what can we do differently when faced with change in the future. Rebecca Tindall, Head of HR and Development at PDSA, describes how to create that culture and to be that leader, drawing on some of the experiences managers have faced since March 2020.

1:00pm – Lunch in the Exhibition
Vision, Values and Strategy
Katherine Eitel Belt, LionSpeak

Katherine Eitel Belt is America’s Unscripted Communications Coach!  International speaker, author, and coach, Katherine is best known for helping professionals develop courageous, unscripted conversations with clients, co-workers, and audiences.  Whether communicating from the treatment room, boardroom, or from the stage, Katherine’s clients love her simple yet powerful formulas for delivering messages with clarity, courage, and inspiration.

Her company, LionSpeak, uses a proprietary leadership tool called The Lioness Principle to help dental, veterinary, and discretionary healthcare practices as well as corporate sales/executive teams achieve extraordinary results by leveraging their ability to communicate with greater impact.

Katherine is a Spotlight-On-Speaking champion, National Speaker’s Association member, Speaking Consulting Network board member, past-president of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, Dental Business Institute faculty instructor, and recipient of the Linda Miles Spirit Award.

Session Synopses

The traditional approach to vision and values can make great wallpaper for corporate headquarters or pithy sound bites on a website but in reality they often never actually influence behaviour or decision-making at the ground level.  Whether you are part of a large group or a small independent practice, you need your team to understand and buy in to your vision, values and strategy.  They should be alive, meaningful, and influential for your team.  It is hard for them to do that if you haven’t clarified these for yourself and articulated them in a clear and inspiring way.  And your vision and values is not a ‘one and done’ but should be constantly reviewed and refreshed, particularly after something as life changing as a pandemic.   If well written and communicated they will then form the basis for all subsequent communication and the benchmarks for you to measure team behaviour and performance.   In this session, Katherine Eitel-Belt will outline a new and “re-envisioned” approach to vision, values, and strategy, what to include and what to leave out and how to use them to rally and align your team to become accountable for the outcomes you need and want.

Restoring the Joy:  post Covid
Jesse McCall, Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Jesse McCall, MBA is currently a Director and Improvement Advisor at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI). Jesse joined IHI in 2007 and over his tenure has designed, executed, and evaluated programs and projects around the world. Currently, Jesse is the Improvement Advisor for the IHI Joy in Work Results-Oriented Learning Network. Outside of IHI Jesse is a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University, specifically on courses related to the Science of Improvement. Jesse has expertise in program and product development, practical application of the science of improvement, human capital management, marketing and communications, customer relationship management, and large-scale initiative operations. He received his undergraduate degree in Business Administration from Northeastern University in Boston and his MBA at the UMASS Amherst Isenberg School of Management.

Session Synopses

As we come out of the pandemic, many workers in both human and veterinary medicine across the world are reporting high levels of stress and burnout.  So how can we restore the joy?

The  Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) started in the US and now has a footprint across the world from Asia to Latin America, Europe to Africa and the Middle East.  A key area of work is to offer new thinking and resources around joy in work – to share principles and techniques that enable the workforce to truly thrive, not just survive.

The most joyful, productive, engaged staff feel both physically and psychologically safe, appreciate the meaning and purpose of their work, have some choice and control over their time, experience camaraderie with others at work, and perceive their work life to be fair and equitable.  There are proven methods for creating a positive work environment that creates these conditions and ensures the commitment to deliver high-quality care to patients, even in stressful times.

Jesse McCall leads the Joy in Work team at IHI.  For this interactive session he joins us from the US to share how teams can work together to nurture their colleagues and address the issues that drive burnout and sap joy in work. These are packaged up in a practical framework that can be easily adapted for different healthcare settings, with an aim to reverse the worrying trend of burnout and to create positive work environments that foster equity, camaraderie, meaning, choice, and a shared commitment to deliver high-quality care.

Four Questions to Achieve Team Compliance without being the ‘bad guy’
Katherine Eitel Belt, LionSpeak

Katherine Eitel Belt is America’s Unscripted Communications Coach! International speaker, author, and coach, Katherine is best known for helping professionals develop courageous, unscripted conversations with clients, co-workers, and audiences. Whether communicating from the treatment room, boardroom, or from the stage, Katherine’s clients love her simple yet powerful formulas for delivering messages with clarity, courage, and inspiration.

Her company, LionSpeak, uses a proprietary leadership tool called The Lioness Principle to help dental, veterinary, and discretionary healthcare practices as well as corporate sales/executive teams achieve extraordinary results by leveraging their ability to communicate with greater impact.

Katherine is a Spotlight-On-Speaking champion, National Speaker’s Association member, Speaking Consulting Network board member, past-president of the Academy of Dental Management Consultants, Dental Business Institute faculty instructor, and recipient of the Linda Miles Spirit Award.

Session Synopses

In an era of inclusive leadership with the emphasis on consensus and teamwork, it may sound old fashioned to say ‘my practice; my rules’, but these should not be incompatible.   In this session, Katherine Eitel-Belt looks at the reasons someone might not be delivering the outcomes you want.   Are they unaware of what they should be doing?  Do they not have the skills, the emotional intelligence or the intellect required? Or are they choosing to be non-compliant?  Working through these and really understanding each step will allow you to rationalise under-performance and tackle bad behaviour so that you can finally build that dream team: self-directed, innovative, compliant and aligned!


Practice Consolidation
David Giraldi, Vet Partners, Italy in conversation with Alan Robinson, Vet Dynamics, UK

David F. Giraldi, GP. Cert. Practice Management & Admin, CEO VetPartners Italia, National & International Congress Speaker

After almost 30 years’ experience as a practicing veterinarian, David F. Giraldi became the CEO of VetPartners Italia in 2019, with the aim of making the VetPartners Italia group the first choice in Italy.

Since then, VetPartners Italia has grown and has some of Italy’s most respected and trusted practices in the group that build on their success day by day with dedication and passion and share the same core values: Respect, collaboration and support for each other.

Following graduation in veterinary medicine at Bologna University in 1992, David moved to the UK where he worked in an equine practice in Newmarket and then in a busy mixed practice on the outskirts of London. After 6 years he moved back to Italy and opened the ‘Ospedale degli animali di Ferrara’, a 24/7 hospital offering 1st and 2nd opinions and specialized in small animal care.

During his career he became passionate about Practice Management and obtained a several qualifications in Business Management. In 2017 he obtained a GP Certificate in Practice Management and Administration. He founded the GP.Cert (P.M.&A.) Course for SCIVAC in Italy and he is the Italian representative for ESAVS for Practice Management.

David has spoken at several conferences both national and international talking in particular about ‘sustainable growth of the veterinarian profession’. He is particularly interested in change management and growth and has spoken extensively on the subject of change in highly volatile environment such as the present in Europe.

Practice Management has become vitally important in Italy and is now recognized essential for practices to grow and succeed.

David’s passion is to help vets develop structures/systems to achieve success with a healthy work life balance, improving both the standard of patient care and the workplace environment and therefore the welfare of colleagues, clients and their pets.

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.

Session Synopses

For the UK, purchase and consolidation of vet practices started around 20 years ago with a change in legislation allowing non vets to own practices.  This has led to very large independently owned businesses and large partnerships and a handful of much larger ‘corporate’ vet groups.  This is in sharp contrast to much of mainland Europe where a fragmented market of small privately owned vet practices is still the norm.  But a number of the larger players who operate in the UK are now moving into Europe.  What are the lessons to be learnt from the UK, probably the most mature veterinary market in the world right now.  Can ‘corporatisation’ of the profession lead to a rise in standards?  Is there a danger that profit will be come more important than values? What are the alternative ways to exit your practice, including selling to your team?  What other models are available? Does maturity leave space for new start ups?  David Giraldi has worked in practice in the UK and Italy and has spoken at vet congresses across the world.  He explains why he made the decision to join Vet Partners in Italy and assesses the lessons that can be learnt from the UK experience.  He is in conversation with Alan Robinson of Vet Dynamics, a business consultancy based in the UK that works largely with independent practice.

Team Engagement and Retention
Joop Loomans, DVM PhD MBA – Managing Director, Oculus Insights BV

Joop Loomans graduated at the Veterinary Faculty of Utrecht University the Netherlands in 1988. For the first thirteen years of his career he was an associate and later partner in an eight-vet mixed practice in the east of the Netherlands. His main field of interest was equine and large animal practice with a special focus on management. In 2001 Joop was asked to join the Department of Equine Sciences at Utrecht University to lead and grow the Equine Clinic.  Another mission was to perform scientific research on the social and economic situation of equine veterinarians, including market research in the field of (semi)professional horse owners. This resulted in many submitted scientific articles in international peer reviewed veterinary journals, lectures all around the world and a doctoral thesis entitled: “The equine veterinarian: past present and prospects of a profession”.

With Bob Magnus, Joop organized “Equine Business Management Strategies International” in Europe, Australia and the United States. This resulted in the start of Oculus Insights, a global veterinary business education company that has grown also into coaching, consulting and full management of veterinarians and veterinary practices. In 2010 Joop was asked by the management of the Department of Equine Sciences, Utrecht University to perform a fact-finding mission at Heilan International Equestrian Club in China. This resulted in a long-time relationship. Until September 2019, Joop was designer and Chief Veterinarian of the newly built first western equine clinic in mainland China and team veterinarian for the Jiangsu province eventing, show-jumping and dressage teams. In April 2020 Joop finished a two-year Executive Medical Business Education program.

Joop is designer and program director of a post graduate certificate course created by Utrecht University and Oculus Insights on management, strategy and leadership for veterinary professionals.

Furthermore, he is executive director of the Equine High Performance Sport Horse Group, a global initiative to join forces of human and equine athlete programs to improve our horses and rider’s health, performance and longevity.

Session Synopses

Whether you are managing a vet practice in North America, the Netherlands, Italy, China or UK, finding young committed skilled vets and vet nurses has been a key challenge over the past few years with little signs of things improving.  Therefore understanding how to engage and retain those you have is more important than ever.  Joop Loomans is a vet based in The Netherlands, and a partner in Oculus Insights, a consultancy providing business management and performance solutions to vet businesses across the world.  He will share data collected by Oculus and examine the common challenges as well as offering some solutions to team engagement and retention.

Giving and Receiving Feedback
Miguel Ángel Díaz Sanchez – DVM, New Way Coaching

Miguel is an International Certified Coach by ICC and Center for Executive Coaching (USA),  UC Berkeley Extension Instructor and co-author of the Veterinary Practice Management Course.

After leading his own practice for more than 25 years, Miguel Angel Diaz founded the company New Way Coaching www.newwaycoaching.es.  He trains vets in Leadership and Effective Communication and travels around the world delivering his message: “With a positive attitude, commitment, the right tools and training to use them, enjoying the privilege of running your own clinic is possible”.

An International and Ted Talk speaker, he has lectured in countries such as Russia, Poland, Italy, France, Portugal, Greece, Chile, Malaysia, Philippines, Turkey, India and Spain.

Miguel is author of the book “7 Keys to successfully running a Veterinary Practice”, present in more than 12 countries and translated into English, Polish, Chinese and Italian and author of many articles about motivation, leadership, team building, and effective communication.

Session Synopses

Miguel Angel Diaz Sanchez (Pancho Vet) brings his 25 years experience of running a veterinary hospital in Spain to his coaching business, working with vets and vet practices across the world.  He sees many cultural differences and of course the economic climate in which vets are operating varies from Latin America to Asia to Northern Europe, but one very familiar theme has emerged.  Vets all over the world seem to be particularly poor when it comes to both giving and receiving feedback!  In this session, Pancho explores some of the possible reasons for this and comes up with some solutions.  Whether you are a manager, giving feedback to your vets, or a vet who struggles to accept feedback, Pancho’s humour, common sense, international perspective and sound advice make this a must see lecture.

1:00pm – Lunch in the Exhibition
Why we still need to talk about women
Elli Kalemtzaki, Certified Coach & NLP Practitioner; Gudrun Ravetz, Simply Health Professionals, Makenzie Peterson, Women Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI). Chair: Torill Moseng, Norwegian Veterinary Association and Vice President, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE)

Elli Kalemtzaki, DVM, Certified Coach & NLP Practitioner

With 20 years in the veterinary industry and veterinary marketing in a region of 18 markets and extensive experience in coaching and leading workshops across Central Europe and the Middle East, Elli is passionate about helping veterinary professionals break out of the busy trap, create a more profitable veterinary practice, secure lifelong clients, and enjoy a work life balance.

Elli is a graduate of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and holds a postgraduate degree from the National School of Public Health in Athens, Greece. She is also a Professional Coach certified by Adler International, Toronto, Canada since 2010 and a Certified Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic programming since 2012. For more information about her work please visit www.vetconsultancy.com

Gudrun Ravetz – BVSc MRCVS

Gudrun Ravetz is a Past President of the British Veterinary Association and of the Society of Practising Veterinary Surgeons.  Gudrun has had a portfolio career including as a clinician, working in industry, management, as a veterinary consultant and as a Non-Executive Director.  Gudrun has also completed a graduate diploma in law. Gudrun is particularly focussed on the workforce challenges of the profession and ways in which this and veterinary working environments can be improved and was recently the chair of the BVA’s Good Workplace Working Group.

When not working on various things vetty she is happiest in the middle of nowhere running, biking or swimming.

Makenzie Peterson, MSc

As a member of their program leadership team, Makenzie Peterson serves as the Director for Wellbeing at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). She works to advance AAVMC’s strategic goal of fostering a culture of wellbeing throughout academic veterinary medicine by promoting preventative systems-based initiatives. Makenzie provides subject-matter expertise on the science and application of evidence-based wellbeing practices, as well as the development and implementation of strategic organizational changes to improve the overall wellbeing of academic communities. She speaks on a variety of wellbeing-related topics across the profession to drive positive change.

Makenzie Peterson’s previous roles included being a health specialist for a joint MIT/Harvard-sponsored start-up located in Harvard Business School’s Innovation Lab focused on educating college students on health topics, and at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine as their first Wellbeing Program Director creating community wellbeing initiatives for students, staff, and faculty. She served on the Wellbeing Committee for the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, and currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.

Born and raised in Alaska, Makenzie graduated from the University of Utah with a master’s degree in Health Promotion & Health Education and will complete her Doctorate of Social Work from the University of Southern California in 2022.

Torill Moseng,Vice-President, Federation of Veterinarians of Europe (FVE)

Torill is a small animal practitioner, educated in Oslo, Norway. She became an exchange student in Ghent, Belgium, before working and owning two clinics in Oslo Norway for the past 20 years, mostly carrying out surgery and dental work.

Torill has been President for the Small Animal Practitioners Norwegian organization from 2004 – 2007, a Board member of Norwegian Veterinary association NVA  from 2008 – 2014, Vice President of UEVP from 2013 – 2017, General secretary for UEVP from 2017 – 2019.

She has been NVA President since 2014, a Delegate for FVE, UEVP  since 2007 and FVE Vice-President since 2019.

Torill has also worked in Live TV as a professional in Good Morning Norway for 22 years

Session Synopses

When Vet and Veterinary Practice Business consultant, Elli Kalemtzaki carried out an on-line survey of women in the profession ahead of a presentation she will give at WSAVA/FECAVA Congress, she was amazed by the range of responses.  Some respondents  reported perceived gender bias from employees and pet owners, others asked why she was raising this at all as, in their opinion, ‘it was no longer an issue’.   In the UK, research commissioned by the British Veterinary Association, just a couple of years ago, presented two CVs of vets to veterinary leaders, male and female, identical except for gender.  The responses suggested a surprising level of bias in a country where there is now a very high percentage of female vets.   In the US, recent research has shown a gender pay gap across the veterinary profession.  Add to that reports that women’s career equality has suffered significantly during the pandemic.  So do we still need to talk about women in the veterinary profession?  There is no doubt that across the world the number of women in the profession is increasing, so how are business owners and employers going to attract and retain the best vets for their practice?  And how can women themselves ensure the profession works for them as well as ensuring they best serve the profession.  Elli Kalemtzaki will summarise her survey  findings, Gudrun Ravetz, ex-President of BVA will cover that research and Makenzie Peterson will report from the US.  Torill Moseng will give a pan European perspective as well as chairing questions and comments from the audience.