Focus on Leadership and Management

This year’s speakers will include:

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.

Sam Burkey, Yoga Teacher

Sam has been practising yoga for over 20 years, travelling to many different parts of the world to study and explore many different styles of yoga.  Her very personal approach draws from several different yoga traditions and is underpinned by a deep appreciation for anatomy and physiology.

Danielle Bowers, Front of House, Drove Veterinary Hospital

Danielle joined the Drove Veterinary Team in July 2017. She has always had a passion for animals and being able to combine with a customer service-based role, Danielle has found very rewarding. Danielle is currently working on her Gold BVRA award after completing the Bronze and Silver awards last year. She was nominated for ‘BVRA Veterinary Receptionist of the Year’ 2019 and has received nominee certificates in the Pet Plan awards every year. Danielle enjoys working in a branch environment and being able to work closely with the clinical team.

Leigh-Anne Brown, Vets4Pets

Leigh-Anne has been a small animal GP for twenty years and a practice owner of Vets4Pets Harrogate for twelve. The challenges keep changing and keep her engaged and 2020 has been particularly interesting.

Richard Casey, Blue Cross

Rich Casey worked in HR in a range of industry sectors before entering the veterinary world with PDSA in 2011. He joined Blue Cross in 2016 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.

Sarah Dena, L&D Consultant

Sarah Dena is a freelance L&D consultant excited by enabling business performance and growth through impactful learning strategy. With 20 years professional experience in a variety of industries, Sarah is excited to bring her energy and expertise to SME’s who share her passion for putting people at the heart of the business to drive performance. Her specialism is leadership development, designing and implementing solutions that create learning cultures from the top.

You can connect with Sarah at

Becky Dobell, VetPartners

Becky is a Business Support Manager for VetPartners.  Her role focuses on servicing the needs of practices, by understanding the support and development they require. She provides analysis and solutions on topics including; staff management and engagement, business operations, marketing, client relations and experience as well as practice performance and productivity. Becky worked as a nurse in practice for 6 years before and has had a number of roles supporting teams in practice improve their ways of working.  Prior to VetPartners, Becky worked for Centaur Services in their Inventory Management team providing consultancy to practices on their stock management.

Katherine Eitel Belt, LionSpeak

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.

Dr Elizabeth Jackson, School of Management, Curtin University, Western Australia

Liz has an industry and education background in agri-food supply chain systems. She has worked at Newcastle University and the University of London’s Royal Veterinary College where she expanded her research interests into maritime economics, agribusiness and food supply chains (to include livestock marketing, livestock supply chains, farmer attitudes to biosecurity) and while also exploring the development of veterinary business education. Elizabeth is now a Senior Lecturer in Curtin’s School of Management where her teaching relates to supply chain management, procurement and distribution and she continues to research food and agribusiness systems.  She is on the board of Sheep Producers Australia and is a member of Western Australian Farmers’ Federation Livestock Council.

Professor Bill Lucas, Director of the Centre for Real-World Learning and Professor of Learning at the University of Winchester.

In the last decade Bill’s focus has been on understanding more about the dispositions all people need to thrive in life and how to develop them. In 2017 Bill was appointed to be the co-chair of the new PISA 2021 Test of Creative Thinking, which will be influenced by his model of creativity. Bill is Director of Fellowship Learning for THIS Institute, Cambridge.

Bill is also an academic adviser on creativity to Arts Council England, adviser to the OECD’s Centre for Educational Research and Innovation and to the Church of England, the chair of Eton’s research and innovation centre, a patron of the Pegasus Theatre in Oxford, chair of The English Project and a member of the LEGO Foundation’s advisory board.

Bill travels extensively to present key notes and facilitate workshops, most recently in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Philadelphia, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Qatar, Auckland and Dubai.

Bill is a prolific author and has written more than 100 books and papers. He will be drawing on The habits of an improver: thinking about learning for improvement in healthcare and published by The Health Foundation in his talk.

Peter Orpin, Anval

Peter graduated from Bristol 1983.   He joined a practice in Leicester in 1984 and worked with colleagues to grow the business from a 4 vet 10 person predominantly single site business to a multisite business operating from 4 sites with 7 business operations.

For the last 20 years he has worked as a consultant for Anval delivering business advice to practices.

He was president of the BCVA in 1999 and during that time was actively involved in the BCVA Health Planning group and chaired the Strategic Review in 1996.

Peter’s major interests are in preventive medicine, health planning and practice development and his particular interests are Johne’s disease and cost effective control mechanisms. He has lectured and delivered consultancy in China, Canada, Chile, Australia, Ireland and Japan.

In 2016 he was awarded Dairy Vet of the Year in the National Cream Awards and has been awarded the Tuckey award for best paper delivered at BCVA three times.

His major passions have always been how to improve the quality of work we can provide for clients whilst achieving a happy well-balanced motivated team.

Peter is also a Director and co- founder of®: a web health management tool to help vets and farmers improve cattle health, and became a board member of SPVS in January 2020.  He has been actively involved in developing resources for COVID 19 and EMS support for practices.

Kayleigh Page, Front of House, Drove Veterinary Hospital

Kayleigh joined Drove Veterinary Hospital in 2015. Over her 5 years at Drove, Kayleigh has become the lead branch receptionist for the group that has 6 branches across Swindon. Kayleigh is also a member of the BVRA, and has achieved their accredited veterinary receptionist award, and was nominated for veterinary receptionist of the year. She is passionate about training and helping new receptionists develop into their new roles.

Renay Rickard, Kernow Veterinary Group

Renay is Practice Manager and Director of a large multisite (6) mixed practice in Cornwall. In the past six years they have been through a process of merger, acquisition of new businesses and then moved into a larger corporate group.  Renay joined one of the original businesses as a 16 year old YTS school leaver in 1985 and progressed from an animal care trainee through to Head Nurse , eventually moving into practice management in 2004. After the merger of three businesses into Kernow veterinary Group, she became overall practice manager in 2014 and became a director in 2017.

Renay is a past president of VMG and is also a past chair of the VN Futures Career Development Group, having also sat on RCVS working groups for practice standards and Schedule three.  She holds the VMG Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management and has just completed a level 7 Diploma in Strategic Management & Leadership.

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

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

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

Whilmari Swift, Vet Dynamics

Whilmari previously worked for Barclays bank as small business manager, before moving into project management. After which, she spent 3 years as a business manager for Vets Now and for 2 years she has supported joint venture partners, as a business manager for Companion Care/Vets4Pets Vet Group, before joining Vet Dynamics as a business development coach in 2016.

Over the years, she has achieved numerous qualifications including an Advanced Business Development Diploma and Management certificate, project management and LEAN business qualification. A diploma in NLP, emotional intelligence and mindfulness and is a qualified team coach and an accredited flow consultant. She is also a director alongside her partner in a non-veterinary retail business.

Whilmari is passionate about helping independent veterinary practices grow to their full potential and enjoy working with each business; not only as their coach but as a business partner to achieve their ultimate vision.

Andrew Whitfield-Roberts, White Cross Vets

Andrew started nursing in 2008 in Shropshire,  He studied at Rodbaston College and after passing his VCA and ANA awards he qualified in 2015 as an RVN . A move to Liverpool and 5 years later he has since been a Head Nurse and Practice Manager.  He has a passion for sharing and teaching about nursing skills and pushing the promotion of Male veterinary nurses. Currently he is Head Nurse at White Cross Vets – St Helens and a committee member and health and welfare officer for The Midland Dachshund Club .