Opening Speaker, sponsored by
Kate Richardson-Walsh, is the most capped female hockey player in her country’s history, and was captain of GB and England women’s hockey teams for 13 years.
After securing a bronze in London 2012, Rio 2016 was her fourth Games and finally yielded the coveted Olympic Gold medal. An inspirational and charismatic leader she has been widely credited for helping build the incredible team ethos and commitment that drove the GB team to a nail biting victory against Holland in the final. Alongside her GB duties Kate won the European Championships with England in 2015 and secured a bronze and two silvers in three successive Commonwealth Games.
Kate currently serves as an ambassador for the Women’s Sport Trust, supports disability hockey as an ambassador for Access Sport, and sits on the British and European Olympic Athlete’s Commissions. She was chosen to carry the GB flag at the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympics and was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Honours.
Kath Aplin BVSc CertCHP MRCVS, Boeringer Ingelheim
Kath Aplin qualified from Liverpool in 1995, and for the following 20 years worked in large animal, predominantly dairy practice in Somerset and then Cumbria, with a year in New Zealand.
In 2015 Kath joined Boehringer Ingelheim as a cattle Veterinary Adviser.
Sara Armitage, CVS Group
After being a veterinary nurse for 8 years and securing her Advance Nursing Diploma, Sara moved into a sales role with Mars selling clinical and life stage diets to veterinary practices. She then had various roles within the vet market place with pharmaceutical companies like Intervet, Janssen as a key account manager, product manager and then regional manager – culminating with a National Sales Manager role with Elanco. She join CVS 6 years ago and is responsible for the buying of pharmaceutical products, equipment and other associated products for the 470+ sites, Animed Direct, Buying Groups (VetShare and MiVetClub) and Vetisco. Sara also initiated and looks after the own brand range for CVS – MiPet and is now responsible for the CVS Logistics division. She is a member of the Executive Committee at CVS – the senior management team that leads the strategic direction for the CVS Group PLC.
Richard Artingstall MBA MA VetMB Cert SAS MRCVS (ILM 7 Coaching and Mentoring) – Explorevet, IVC, Vale Referrals
Richard Artingstall is a referral veterinary surgeon (orthopaedic and soft tissue surgeon) and clinical director of Vale Referrals, a multidisciplinary referral centre in the South West. He has undertaken an ILM 7 in executive coaching and mentoring and is the founder of Explorevet which focuses on professional coaching and development for veterinary surgeons, managers and nurses. Richard has completed an MBA which has focused on the issue of organisational change in the veterinary industry. He has an interest in the role of professional and clinical coaching in both enabling change on a personal and organisational level and first-hand experience of managing clinical and managerial teams through significant transition into corporate ownership and the challenges that this entails in a veterinary environment.
Safia Barakzai BVSc MSc DESTS Dipl. ECVS FRCVS
Safia qualified from Bristol in 1998 and shortly after, started a residency in equine surgery at Edinburgh University. She stayed on at Edinburgh as a lecturer and senior lecturer for another 9 years before leaving academia for private practice. In 2017 she started her own surgical consultancy offering peripatetic surgery services. She is a RCVS recognised specialist and a European specialist in equine surgery and has published widely in this field.
Louise Brennan, BBS BSc RVN, Royal Canin
Having qualified with a Business Degree in Marketing, Louise spent the early part of her career in business development within banking before moving into general veterinary practice whilst qualifying as a RVN. Her interests in practice were nutrition, behaviour and the role of Nurses in practice growth, before joining ROYAL CANIN® in 2010. Through sales and marketing roles with ROYAL CANIN® across the UK and Ireland, Louise has brought her veterinary and business acumen to support vet professionals and practices reach their full potential by identifying opportunities and providing recommendation coaching. Louise, in her current role as Perfect Clinic Manager, actively champions development of the whole vet practice team to deliver quality pet owner experiences that can result in better patient care.
Victoria Bushby, BVSc CertAVP MRCVS
Victoria graduated from Bristol University in 2004 and spent 11 years working in farm animal practice in the North of England. From 2006 she has been performing advanced laproscopic breeding surgery in sheep and was head of this service within the practice. Having been brought up on a dairy farm she has always had a particular interest in dairy health. In 2015 Victoria became a partner in the family dairy business alongside her parents and brother she decided to leave full-time veterinary practice to join the family business. She is enjoying the challenges of running a dairy business and working closely with the family as well as being able to put into practice a lot of the advice she has dished out over the years!
Dr Caroline Clarke, BSc, MSc, PhD, The Open University
Caroline Clarke is a Senior Lecturer in Organization Studies at the Open University. Caroline has a variety of research interests located in the field of Organization Studies, with a particular emphasis on identity, research as an embodied emotional practice, anxiety, insecurity, gender and power. Caroline’s research has focussed on academics in business schools, and most recently first-opinion veterinary surgeons, sparking a new interest in the area of human-animal relations. Caroline has published her work in a number of prestigious journals such as Human Relations, Organizational Studies, and The Academy of Management Learning and Education, and co-edited a book ‘Researching with Feeling. When not working, Caroline is a slow and intermittent runner, and aspires to a tidy house, while never quite achieving it.
Professor Debbie Cohen OBE MD FFOM FRCGP FRCP FAcadMEd
Debbie is an Occupational Health Physician, Director of both Student Support and the Centre for Psychosocial Research, Occupational and Physician Health at School of Medicine, Cardiff University. Debbie also leads a service for Welsh Government that provides all doctors in Wales access to CBT free. Debbie runs a novel programme building emotional intelligence for medical students in Cardiff. She provides expert advice to Wales and UK Government on services for doctors with mental ill health, work and health and the fit note. She is the Faculty of Occupational Medicine (UK) lead on physician health. Debbie helped establish in 2011 the UK Association of Physician Health.
Debbie researches in physician health and improving the conversation about work and health in health practitioners. Her latest research investigates disclosure of mental ill health in doctors and medical students and shared decision making in work and health conversations. In 2012 Debbie received the OBE for her contribution to occupational medicine.
Carolyne Crowe BVetMed (Hons), BSc (Hons), MSc, Dip coaching, Dip Stress management and Wellbeing, MRCVS, VDS
Carolyne is an experienced equine vet, an award winning personal performance coach, mentor, international speaker, researcher and lecturer. Carolyne has a Masters degree in Workplace Health and Wellbeing and continues to do research in veterinary team health, wellbeing, performance and engagement. She is a master trainer in DISC behavioural profiling, a CPCAB trainer in Stress management and Wellbeing, a certified trainer in Resilience, a Mental Health First Aider and an Honorary Lecturer of the University of Liverpool. Carolyne is a training consultant for VDS Training specialising in coaching, leadership and resilience training, empowering individuals, teams and practices to be the best they can be and to thrive both personally and professionally.
Catriona Curtis, Pets at Home Vet Group & SPVS
An Edinburgh 2004 graduate, Catriona is SPVS president elect and CPD and Congress officer for the society. Throughout her career which has spanned mixed and small animal practice, 6 years in the pharmaceutical industry and more recently as Vet Talent Manager for the Vet Group she has had an active interest in and been passionate about the development of new and recent graduates. From 2011 to 2017 she organised the SPVS final year student seminar at Lancaster. Throughout her involvement at the seminar (2004-2018) she has witnessed the change in our profession from the perspective of recent graduates and also watched with interest as a new generation has entered our workforce. She is very interested in how we adapt and change our working environments to meet the changing needs of the profession and in the mindset of vets as they adapt to and accept change.
Gordon Dunn, People Director, Pets at Home Vet Group
Gordon joined the Pets at Home Vet Group in July 2016 and has over 30 years of experience in Human Resources and Organisational Development. He has worked across many sectors, including retail, management consultancy, financial services and human healthcare – both in the UK, France, India and China. He has a particular interest in recruitment and retention in challenging labour markets, developing leadership capability and wellbeing.
Jerry Dunne, Medivet
Jerry graduated from UCD Dublin in 2004. He worked for 2 years in a mainly large animal practice in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales. He then moved on to small animal practices in Cardiff and London, including PDSA. Jerry started working with Medivet in 2012 as a fulltime surgeon in one of the biggest veterinary hospitals in London. In 2015 he became a hospital partner. He has also been able to pursue his other dream of becoming a qualified helicopter pilot.
Amy Dyce, BSc (Hons) BVM&S MRCVS, Vets4Pets Straiton & Bonnyrigg
Amy qualified from the RD(S)VS, Edinburgh in 2012 and spent a year in small animal practice, before returning to Edinburgh to do an internship. She then briefly locumed before moving to Vets4Pets, where she was made partner of her first practice, Straiton, in 2015 and second, Bonnyrigg, in 2017. She enjoys the many different veterinary aspects of first opinion general practice, but her true passion is in developing the businesses and leading her teams. She feels it’s tremendously satisfying to be able to watch your practice grow and see your people develop. It’s also offered her an amazing learning experience and so many transferable skills!
Ebony Escalona, The Brooke and Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify
Ebony has worked in equine practice as a GP, intern and locum. She has BSc in Conservation Medicine, a PhD in equine gut health and a PG cert in Vet Ed. Ebony is one of the four veterinary advisors at The Brooke, an international charity involved in equine welfare. She has also been involved as an Advisor and Educator for a Learn Appeal Project, providing basic veterinary, farrier and husbandry knowledge to rural communities without access to internet connections. She is a non-clinical training advisor at the Veterinary Defence Society, an honorary lecturer at Surrey University and a trustee at Streetvet. Ebony founded the Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify online community which encourages vets to share their experiences and ideas. VSGD now has in excess of 10,000 followers and daily online engagement with around 8,000 vets and nurses. Ebony was the recipient of the 2018 RCVS Inspiration Award for her work with Vets: Stay, Go, Diversify and her involvement in the Learn Appeal Project.
Brian Faulkner, MRCVS, The Colourful Consultancy
Brian has worked in over 300 practices in the UK both as a clinician and a practice management consultant. His MBA focused on the role of leadership and organisational culture on financial performance within veterinary practice. He set up, developed and then sold a cluster of SA practices between 2002 and 2009. His practices were runners up for Pet Plan Practice of the Year and Brian was their Vet of the Year in 2008. He has a Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and is a lecturer in Veterinary Entrepreneurship at Nottingham University and Vice Chair in Business and Professional Studies at the European School of Veterinary Post graduate studies. Brian is a SPVS Past-President.
Lynne Gaskarth, Drove Vets
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, 6 branch practices and its own OOH service. 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 Ltd and through Lynne’s ongoing involvement with the Leadership Programme she has developed an active interest in employee engagement and mentoring. Leading a team of 20 vets, each with varying requirements for flexible working patterns, can present challenges, but Lynne continues to strongly believe that first opinion practice can provide a fulfilling clinical career as well as satisfying a work life balance.
Sean Gilgallon, Citation
Sean was involved in health and safety in the RAF before leaving to work as an independent H&S consultant. Two years later he joined the Cooperative Group as a regional health and safety manager in the North East and Cumbria, looking after some 300 retail outlets, funeral parlours and farms. In 2007 Sean was asked to join CVS UK Ltd as their health and safety manager. He quickly realised the pressures and stress of the veterinary profession were causing problems in the company and he was part of the team that introduced mindfulness into CVS. Sean now works for Citation and oversees their veterinary client offering. He is a trained ‘Mindfulness in the Workplace’ Trainer and as well as running courses within CVS, he has also spoken about mindfulness at both H&S and Wellbeing conferences in the last few years.
Georgina Hills, IVC & VMG
Georgina started as a student veterinary nurse in 1995, back in the day of the green practical book! Since then she has worked throughout practices in the southwest as a nurse and Head Nurse with breaks working as a lecturer and internal verifier for Bicton College and a year managing a Mountain bike holiday Company in Spain. Georgina started as Head Nurse at Vale Vets and Referrals in 2010 and then became Practice Manger after completing the level 5 ILM diploma and learning on the job! In 2013 to prove to herself and those around that she knew what she was doing George sat the Certificate in Veterinary Practice Management (CVPM) awarded by the then VPMA and won the Glynne Davis Memorial Award for outstanding achievement in the examination. George now sits on the CVPM exam board and encourages other Practice Managers to sit the award to further their career.
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.
Paul Horwood BVetMed DBR MBA MRCVS, Sandstone Communications
Paul qualified from the Royal Veterinary College in 2000, and took up a large animal internship and residency, including 6 months in California at UC Davis. He then joined the newly formed Westpoint Practice in West Sussex, and became initially a Partner, and then a Director in the business as it grew from a one site, 3 vet practice, to 25 sites employing over 100 people. Before becoming a vet, Paul had been an officer in the Royal Marines, and maintained his links to the military by joining the Army reserves. This led to a 7 month tour of Afghanistan in 2012 with the Grenadier Guards, conducting infantry operations in the Upper Gereshk Valley in Helmand province. Following the Private Equity buy-out of Westpoint Vet Group in 2014, he stayed on and became Managing Director of the Westpoint part of the new Origin Group that now had pig, poultry, and laboratory sectors within it. In 2017 Paul left Westpoint and set up Sandstone Communications, a leadership training company, with an ex intelligence officer, and the former CFO of Ralph Lauren and Disney Asia. This delivers business skills training to professional services companies, such as lawyers, accountants and doctors and work closely with VDS Training in the Veterinary sector.
Emma Mamo, Mind
Emma is Head of Workplace Wellbeing at Mind. Emma joined Mind in 2007 and, since 2010, has led Mind’s campaigning for mentally healthy workplaces – playing a pivotal role in thought leadership to position mental health in the workplace as a key priority for employers and Government. Emma has led culture change through engagement with employers, health and safety professionals, HR audiences and Government on mental health in the workplace and back-to-work support for people with mental health problems. She also supports networks of employers and stakeholders to share best practice and develop business-to-business peer support. Emma has worked in the disability sector since 2005 and previously worked for Mencap, the learning disability charity.
Tracey Morley Jewkes, Blacks Vets
Tracey Morley Jewkes is employed as Managing Director of Blacks Vets, a 5 site Practice in the Black Country with an Accredited Veterinary Hospital and own OOH. Tracey has contributed to both corporate and SME businesses including climbing the career ladder at BT, owning her own manufacturing company bought as a going concern and sold as an award winning international business and latterly her own management consultancy. TMJ loves contributing to sustainable profitability through competitive advantage using her experience in leadership, sales, marketing, people development, the development of high performing teams, coaching, business process reengineering, business transformation, finance and project management experience. She lives in Staffordshire with her retired Border Force spaniel and her partner Simon.
Catherine Oxtoby, BVSc PhD MRCVS – VDS
Catherine qualified from Bristol Vet School in 2000 and worked as a small animal and equine vet in the South West for 13 years.
In Sept 2013 she began a PhD in Patient Safety at Nottingham Vet School, co supervised by the School of Psychology. Her research investigated the causes and types of errors in veterinary practice, the effect of organisational culture on patient safety and the adaptation of an interprofessional teamwork training programme from human medicine for use in veterinary practice.
She graduated in July 2017 and presently works for the VDS as a risk manager, implementing human factors principles and developing system strategies and training programmes to help vets and veterinary practices mitigate errors and improve patient outcomes.
Caroline Pearson MA VetMB MRCVS CertRP MSc CMgr MCMI, Progressive Vet Consulting
Caroline qualified from Cambridge University in 1999 and worked as a small animal clinician in Oxfordshire and the South West for 10years
before undertaking a senior managerial position in the recruitment industry. In 2017, she completed a Master’s degree in Business Management and Leadership, achieving Chartered Manager status. Her original research into In Practice Veterinary
Leadership has been published in the Vet Record. Caroline is the founder of Progressive Vet Consulting, providing coaching and in practice training, and earlier this year launched Attract Recruit Retain, in collaboration with VetLed, to help veterinary practices address their short, medium and long-term recruitment and retention needs.
Joanne Reeve FRCGP PhD, Hull York Medical School
Joanne combines a career as an inner city GP, and an academic working on revitalising expert generalist medical practice at the heart of primary care redesign. Amid the deafening stories of crisis in the NHS, there is a quiet revolution taking place. Changing population needs together with challenges of recruitment and retention in our workforce offer opportunities to rethink and refocus health care. Joanne’s research seeks to offer a new account of generalist practice as a solution to the challenges we face. Joanne has been working with the RCVS Graduate Outcomes Working Group to consider how the shared (and disparate) experiences of generalist practice in vet and human medicine could help us both think differently about the future of our professions.
Alan Robinson B.V.Sc. MRCVS DMS, 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.
“I believe most practice owners are working much too hard, for far too long and for much too little reward, because of inefficiency, frustration and poor profitability in your veterinary business”
Susan Room is a professional voice and executive coach who helps people think and speak with greater confidence and clarity. Before coaching, she was group marketing director and Executive Committee Member of ISS A/S, JLW (now JLL) and Lafarge Tarmac (now Tarmac). She works one-to-one and with groups, and is a popular guest speaker, particularly at women’s events. She also speaks and coaches pro-bono for the 30% Club. Susan is trained as a Professional Certified Coach, has a Masters degree in Voice from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, is a member of the Voice And Speech and Trainers Association (VASTA) and the International Coach Federation, and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Her clients include Accenture, EY, the Financial Times, PA Consulting, a California-based multinational technology group and two global asset management firms.
Miles Russell, The George Veterinary Group & VMG
Miles is a director and practice manager of The George Veterinary Group a large independent practice based in Malmesbury, Wiltshire with four species specific departments. Miles has management responsibility for all none clinical activities of the practice one of these being the finance of the practice. He trained with one of the four big accountancy firms before working and becoming a partner in a firm of chartered surveyors. He has be working in the veterinary industry now for 10 years and join the board of VMG in 2018.
Susie Samuel, Vet Help Direct
Susie is the MD of VetHelpDirect. She graduated from Cambridge University in 2001 and spent 10 years working in a variety of practices including mixed and small animals. In 2006, she set up the website VetHelpDirect.com and the business quickly developed into a Veterinary Specialist Internet Marketing Agency. Susie believes that vet practices often underplay their clinical excellence, standard of care and impact they have on the lives of their patients and clients. VetHelpDirect helps practices engage and communicate digitally with their communities to show the value and care that they deliver day in and day out, helping them to educate, gain and retain ideal clients.
In 2014, Susie graduated from the Google Certificate in Internet Marketing and in 2015 VetHelpDirect won the Veterinary Marketing Award for Practice Marketing with Inglis Vets.
Simon Shott graduated in Philosophy at Hull University sometime in the early 90’s! Since then, Simon has spent twenty-five years focussed on the talent function, leading organisations through significant revamps in their strategy and operations for attracting, hiring, onboarding and retaining talent. Included in Simon’s portfolio is the dark art of employer brand and reputation, how a company defines and deploys their “employee value proposition”, especially crafting the reason why talent is going to want to join your business, taking it to market, then maintaining a positive sentiment and reputation externally. Helping companies to quantify the business value of hiring the right people and ensuring that teams understand how reputation directly impacts commercial success and how they contribute to that.
Nick Steele, Zoetis
Nick Steele, National Business Consulting Manager for Zoetis has more than eight years experience of learning and development within the medical and veterinary markets. Since joining Pfizer in 1997, Nick has held business and people management roles developing expertise in account management and sales. He now applies this experience, knowledge and skill to helping veterinary practices develop their teams and deliver business results now and for the future. Nick has an Honours degree in Molecular Genetics and spent two years at Aberdeen Medical School as a post-graduate research student working with Prof Hugh Pennington. In 2011, he completed his CIPD certificate in Learning & Development. He is also an accredited coach and practitioner in personality profiling.
Dr Nuala Summerfield, BSc BVM&S DipACVIM(Cardiology) DipECVIM-CA(Cardiology) MRCVS, RCVS, American and European Specialist in Veterinary Cardiology, Virtual Veterinary Specialists
Nuala graduated from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies and completed a residency in veterinary cardiology at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. She obtained her Diploma in Veterinary Cardiology in 2002, following which she spent 15 years working as a cardiologist in both academia and private practice in UK, France and Switzerland. During this time, Nuala recognised the real need to make specialist knowledge and advice more accessible to first opinion practitioners wanting to diagnose and manage their own cases in-house. Seeing the opportunity to do this through a real-time, collaborative and educational telemedicine platform, Nuala founded Virtual Veterinary Specialists in 2017.
Ben Sweeney, Simply Locums
Ben qualified from the University of Liverpool and ever since then his career has followed anything but the traditional path. He has worked in mixed, equine and more recently companion animal practice, achieving his CertAVP in 2013. Ben identified a real problem with recruitment during his time as a locum and set up Simply Locums in 2016 with the aim of connecting the whole veterinary community and improving accountability without the large recruitment fees. His mission is simple-help everyone we work with to find their own vet happy. Away from ‘vetting’, Ben is a keen hockey player and likes to ‘relax’ by training for long distance Ironman Triathlons where he is often accompanied by his Secretary Spaniel, Monty.
Sheena Warman, Bristol University
Sheena Warman graduated from the University of Glasgow. She spent four years in mixed practice in Hertfordshire, before undertaking a residency in small animal medicine. Since 2004 she has been a clinical teacher at the University of Bristol, and in recent years has become increasingly involved in aspects of veterinary education and curriculum development. She is currently Programme Director for the BVSc, and is in the final stages of a doctorate exploring recent graduates’ experiences of reflection during the Professional Development Phase.
Renate Weller, BEVA President & CVS Group
Originally a Munich graduate Renate has worked as an equine vet in several different countries in ambulatory and referral settings. Until recently she has been employed as Professor of Imaging and Biomechanics at the Royal Veterinary College where she has split her time between clinical work, research and teaching. She has developed several initiatives to enhance student and staff well-being including the Vetfit programme, that promotes stress relief through exercise. Renate holds a Masters in Veterinary Education and has been awarded a National Teaching Fellowship for her contribution to teaching and learning. She has recently joined CVS as the new director of learning where she is putting her skills as an educator to good use to facilitate professional development of the veterinary team.