Congress Speakers

Dr Abosede “GB” Ajayi, MBBS, MRCP, MSc(SEM), FRCEM,Consultant in Emergency Medicine & Consultant Sports Physician, Chair – Medical Commission, European Universities Sports Association

Abosede, better known as “GB” is a practicing A&E doctor and sports doctor and currently works as Great Britain Sevens Team Doctor (for both men & women’s squad. She has extensive expertise in NHS and sport leadership garnered from experiences across 3 Olympic Games, 4 Commonwealth Games and 5 World University Games – 3 of these as Chief Medical Officer.

GB has a proven track record in forming and leading teams within the sporting and NHS environments and is uniquely placed to apply insights from years of working at the coal face in A&E, where she works under pressure, making life and death decisions daily; to help those working under extremes of pressure and scrutiny perform to their utmost and indeed excel and flourish in such environments.

GB is able to use her passion and energy, fuelled by these experiences to facilitate others in their journey to maximising and achieving their potential – whether on the field of play, in the classroom, on the shop-floor or in the board room, with particular focus on diversity in leadership.

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.

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.

Dr. Craig Bennett, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts

Craig started as Chief Excecutive of The Wildlife Trusts in April 2020, with the ambition of putting a third of the UK’s land and sea into nature recovery by 2030.

He has been described as “one of the country’s top environmental campaigners”, by The Guardian as “the very model of a modern eco-general” and has been listed as one of the UK’s top “social media CEOs”.

Craig was previously CEO of Friends of the Earth where he re-focused the organisation on its unique role of empowering communities to take action to tackle the climate and ecological crisis. This resulted in a step-change in the scale and impact of the movement with over 200 new Friends of the Earth community groups set up during his tenure. Craig led Friends of the Earth to numerous campaign victories including bees, fracking and against the expansion of Heathrow Airport.

Earlier in his career, Craig was Deputy Director at The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), and Director of The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (from 2007 to 2010). Before that, he campaigned on corporate accountability, trade, and wildlife issues at Friends of the Earth and on international wildlife crime at the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA).

Craig has twenty years’ experience of designing and contributing to executive education and leadership programmes at numerous universities and business schools, including the Judge Business School, London Business School, and Duke CE. He is Honorary Professor of Sustainability and Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School. He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography from The University of Reading and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation from University College London, and an Honorary Doctoral degree from University College of Estate Management (UCEM).

Twitter: @CraigBennett3

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.

Rachel Davis PhD, PGDip, PGCAP, BSc (Hons.), FHEA

Rachel is a developmental coach and educator, dividing her time equally between private coaching clients and a part time senior lectureship in veterinary education at The Royal Veterinary College (RVC). Having started out life as a scientist, researching and teaching animal locomotion, Rachel slowly but surely became more interested in the learners than the learning.  Seven years spent in academic development at the RVC cemented this feeling and Rachel subsequently enrolled in a coaching training programme at The University of Hertfordshire in the hope of being more useful to her ‘learners in need’.  Realising she needed to create time and space to continue her coaching journey, Rachel left her full-time role at RVC to focus on a PGDip in Coaching and Mentoring Practice at Oxford Brookes University. Fast-forward four years and Rachel is still fascinated by learning and challenge and feels lucky to be able to combine her passions for people, conversation and learning in her personal and professional life.

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.

Lynne Gaskarth, Veterinary Surgeon, Drove Veterinary Hospital

Lynne Gaskarth is a Veterinary Surgeon and one of six business owners at the Drove Veterinary Hospital in Swindon, Wiltshire. Drove is a first opinion small animal practice, with a hospital and 6 branch practices. Lynne qualified from Liverpool in 1999, gained the RCVS Certificate in Small Animal Medicine in 2008, and is an advanced practitioner in small animal medicine.

Drove is an active member of XLVets UK, of which Lynne is also a Director, and Drove was the winner of the SPVS wellbeing large practice award in 2019.

Leading a team of 20 vets, Lynne continues to strongly believe that first opinion practice can provide a fulfilling clinical career as well as a satisfying work life balance and is a passionate supporter of flexible working patterns and a positive workplace culture .

Georgina Hills, IVC

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

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

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).

Dr Hannah James CEnv, MIEMA, PhD, BSc – Sustainability Manager, VetPartners

Since January 2020 Hannah has been the Sustainability Manager for VetPartners, creating and delivering the company’s first sustainability strategy. She is also responsible for environmental compliance and CSR activities.

She joined VetPartners from Yorkshire Water, where she developed the company’s framework for natural, social and human capital assessments, embedding sustainable accounting principles throughout the business. In 2018 and 2019 she served on BSI’s expert committee for the ISO14007 standard: Determining Environmental Costs and Benefits – acting as UK delegate to the international working group.

Hannah began her career as a sustainability consultant with AECOM, specialising in energy efficient design and district heating. She has a PhD in Low Carbon Technologies from the University of Leeds – during which she was seconded to the Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology as an EPSRC Research Fellow – and a BSc in Environmental Sciences from the University of East Anglia

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.

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.

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.

Femi Otitoju, Challenging Consultancy

A charismatic and inspirational leader, Femi is a diversity and inclusion specialist with a career spanning over 30 years. Combining a scientific background with persuasive and engaging training skills, Femi is often described as a “gifted presenter”.

Femi founded Challenge Consultancy in 1985 to provide high quality, effective training and consulting services for the private, public and voluntary sectors. Challenge is now an association of trainers and consultants designing and delivering solutions for a wide range of UK and global organisations, including senior leadership teams at the BBC, Eli Lilly, Imperial College London, Nationwide, the United Bank Ltd, Viacom and Zenith Bank.  Femi has designed much sought-after Unconscious Bias and Inclusive Leadership programmes and delivered a wide range of equality and diversity courses, cultural awareness, dignity at work, coaching, mediation and Board development services.

Femi’s most recent success has been in being engaged to design and deliver training on harassment, bullying and sexual harassment at the Houses of Parliament.

Kelly Paull, Clinical Psychologist, NHS

Kelly is a Clinical Psychologist working in an acute hospital NHS trust. She completed the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology in south Wales following varied pre-doctoral work placements, including offending behaviour work within the prison service and dementia research. Since 2013, she has worked for North Bristol NHS Trust in their clinical health psychology service. She specialises in long term health conditions and the effect of trauma and PTSD. She works with individuals experiencing persistent pain, hospital inpatients on surgical wards and, most recently, she has been working with a hospital staff wellbeing team in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Growing up in a veterinary household, Kelly has had links to the veterinary profession from an early age.

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’.

Andre Rigo, Director of Sales, Cainthus

Andre Rigo graduated in Veterinary Medicine at State University of Londrina- Brazil in 2005. He is passionate about technology and livestock and after graduated started his career working with IVF embryo technology.

In 2008, he became partner of an Ag tech company, driving the business and operations in Brasil as Director of Operations. He had an active role on business strategy, sales and people management and leadership, including leading projects in Russia and the USA.

In 2015, the Brazilian start-up was sold to a FTSE 250 company and Andre received an invite to move to the USA leading the expansion of the business in that country as General manager.

Currently, he is Director of Sales at Cainthus and is in charge of business expansion in the USA.

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.

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.

Helen Silver-MacMahon PGDip PSCHF Cert VNECC DipAVN(surg) 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.

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.

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