JANUARY 9-12, 2020

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile

Evolution of Leadership


Registration open

Meet the leaders who will be speaking at this year's Veterinary Leadership Conference

Jack Advent, CAE

Jack Advent

Jack Advent, CAE is the Executive Director of the Ohio Veterinary Medical Association, a post he has held since 1998. He worked for two Ohio trade associations prior to joining OVMA.

Advent is a past president and board member of the Veterinary Medical Association Executives as well as the Ohio Society of Association Executives. He earned his certified association executive (CAE) designation from the American Society of Association Executives in 1994.

He previously served on the AVMA Animal Welfare Committee and on two AVMA legal issues task forces. He has also served in various volunteer roles for The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, the Ohio Department of Agriculture and within his community. Advent is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and a resident of Westerville, Ohio.

Bryanna Andrews

Bryanna AndrewsBryanna Andrews is a 4th-year veterinary student at the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies in Edinburgh, Scotland. She has numerous years' experience with wildlife, exotics, and zoo animal medicine, and she hopes to focus on wildlife conservation medicine once graduating. In Scotland, Bryanna has both founded and organized nearly a dozen conferences on nutrition, behavior, and bat medicine, is completing a teaching certificate in higher education, and is a marine mammal medic for stranded marine life. In her spare time, she loves hiking with her partner and her working Labrador, Fynn, and scuba diving in the chilly North Sea.

Bridgette Bain, PhD

Bridgette Bain

Dr. Bridgette Bain was hired by the AVMA in July 2013. She maintains the statistical reliability of surveys and ensures the consistency of various data sets to be used in analysis. Dr. Bain contributes to the interpretation of data for publications and assists in the development of both survey instruments and economic models. She holds a Ph.D. in financial economics from the University of New Orleans.

Kaitlyn Boatright, VMD

Kaitlyn Boatright

Dr. Kate Boatright is an active leader in her local and state veterinary medical associations and serves on the Veterinary Business Management Association (VBMA) Alumni Committee. She currently works as a small animal general practitioner and emergency clinician in western Pennsylvania and enjoys mentoring students and recent graduates. In addition to her clinical work, Dr. Boatright is a freelance writer who currently authors the "Finding Balance" column for Today's Veterinary Practice. She also speaks at conferences and veterinary schools around the country on team building, communication, and the unique challenges facing recent graduates.

Caroline Cantner, VMD

Caroline Cantner

Dr. Caroline Cantner joins the AAVMC in 2020 as Director for Strategic Initiatives. Dr. Cantner brings five years of association experience with her through her work as at AVMA as Assistant Director for Student Initiatives, Western Region. She was a small animal general practitioner prior to transitioning to association work and is a second generation veterinarian. Dr. Cantner received her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania and her BA in government from Dartmouth College. Prior to veterinary school she worked in the non-profit field through the AmeriCorps program and in government as a constituent services representative for a state senator. Dr. Cantner is based out of Denver, Colorado.

Mia Cary, DVM

Mia Cary

Dr. Mia Cary, a 1999 University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine graduate (Go Gators!), is a consultant, coach, speaker, and workshop facilitator specializing in leadership, communication, strategy, teamwork, innovation, energy infusion, and wellbeing. Her purpose is activating others to thrive. She is the former Chief of Professional Development and Strategic Alliances for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Chief Innovation Officer for the North American Veterinary Community (NAVC). She currently serves on the Pet Peace of Mind (PPOM) Board of Directors and is a Past President of the American Association of Industry Veterinarians (AAIV). Dr. Cary is an advocate for the veterinary profession, serves on the Board of Advisors for the Veterinary Entrepreneurship Academy (VEA), and is CEO and Change Agent at Cary Consulting. Prior to her work with the AVMA, Dr. Cary held education and leadership roles at the NAVC, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Novartis Animal Health.

Amy Castro, MA, CSP

Amy Castro

Amy Castro is a workplace communication expert specializing in leadership, talent acquisition, and customer service. She has more than 20 years of experience working with individuals and organizations helping them to solve their biggest challenges, including hiring "right fit" employees, leading employees effectively, and providing exceptional customer service.

In addition to writing her weekly Performance Communication® Blog, Amy writes for pet industry publications including a monthly management column in Pet Age magazine and featured articles in publications such as PetVet and Pet Boarding and Daycare magazines.

Amy is the founder and president of Starlight Outreach and Rescue, a Houston-area shelter outreach and rescue organization, and she has personally fostered more than 1,000 animals. However, her work with animals isn't limited to rescue. Amy worked for more than six years at a veterinary practice in New York and several years in a busy grooming shop, so she's familiar with these environments and knows firsthand the challenges they present – including meeting the expectations and needs of demanding customers.

Kayla Cory

Kayla CoryKayla is a second-year veterinary student at Texas A&M University. She grew up with dogs and horses in the small town of Krum, Texas which helped her decide at a young age that she wanted to be a veterinarian. Kayla plans to practice small animal medicine, either in the EC or GP setting. Eventually, she hopes to practice on reptiles because they are her favorite animals. She spends her free time competing and performing with a ballroom dance organization on campus.

Cynthia Courtney, DVM

Cynthia Courtney

Dr. Cyndie Courtney is a small animal associate veterinarian practicing outside of Kansas City Missouri. She speaks and writes nationally on effective communication in veterinary teams and is a WSAVA Next Generation Award winner for her work on this topic. She has leveraged technology to help empower her ability to practice as a young mother with a diverse clientele.

Garry W. Cowan, DVM

Gary CowanDr. Garry W. Cowan is an AVMA House of Delegate member representing the state of Kansas and serves on the AVMA Legislative Advisory Committee. Dr. Cowan is the owner of East Douglas Veterinary Clinic in Wichita, Kansas. He graduated in 1984 from Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Besides being committed to continuing education, he has a special interest in dermatology. Dr. Cowan is also member of the American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology, the Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, and the Wichita Veterinary Medical Association.

Katie Ebers, DVM

Katie Ebers

Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Dr. Ebers now calls Hattiesburg, Mississippi her hometown. She currently works at Town and Country Animal Hospital, a private practice focusing on small animals and exotics. Some of her favorite cases include the injured wildlife birds they see and match with rehabilitators. She also teaches Mammalogy at a four-year institution.

Dr. Ebers graduated from Mississippi State University College of Veterinary Medicine with both DVM as well as a master's in veterinary science with an emphasis in public health. Her veterinary experience has been very diverse, from working on research projects, to conducting disaster response workshops, to working in private practice, to teaching online courses.

Joy Fuhrman, DVM, MBA, CPA

Joy Fuhrman

Originally from South Africa, Dr. Fuhrman has extensive experience in financial consulting and corporate accounting. A graduate of Colorado State University's combined MBA/DVM program, she brings with her a combination of veterinary practice management, financial analysis, business valuation, professional development, and leadership training skills.

Her veterinary experience includes small animal general and emergency practice and small and large animal anesthesia and pain management. She has served on the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association Board of Directors and helped develop their Power of Ten Leadership Academy program. She is also an Adjunct Faculty at Midwestern University's College of Veterinary Medicine.

In her current role as Chief Operating Officer for Shepherd Software, Dr. Fuhrman is responsible for managing the marketing and business operations for this practice management software company. She also provides financial and practice management consulting services to its clients.

Mark Graban

Mark Graban

Mark Graban is a consultant, professional speaker, published author, and entrepreneur. Mark's passion is to apply Lean and Toyota Production System principles to improve quality of care and patient safety, to improve the patient experience, to further develop medical professionals and employees, and to help build better workplaces and stronger organizations for the long term.

He is author of Lean Hospitals: Improving Quality, Patient Safety, and Employee Engagement and is co-author (with Joe Swartz) of Healthcare Kaizen: Engaging Front-Line Staff in Sustainable Continuous Improvements and The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is also the founder of www.LeanBlog.org.

He serves as a consultant to healthcare organizations through his company, Constancy, Inc, and in partnership with the firm Value Capture. He is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He has focused on improvement in human healthcare since 2005, after starting his career at General Motors, Dell, and Honeywell.

Wendy Hauser, DVM

Wendy Hauser

Wendy Hauser, DVM earned her veterinary degree from Oklahoma State University in 1988. A small animal practitioner, she has been an associate, practice owner and relief veterinarian. After a successful hospital sale, Dr. Hauser worked in industry as a Technical Services Veterinarian, leaving in 2015 to establish Peak Veterinary Consulting. Dr. Hauser's most recent career move was becoming the Assistant Vice President, Veterinary Relations at Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group, where she serves as the voice and face of the company to the veterinary profession, in addition to new business development.

She has been highly engaged in AAHA in both new initiatives and as an AAHA Board Member and Vice President. She currently serves as the AAHA Delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates. Often published, she is the co-author of The Veterinarian's Guide to Healthy Pet Plans. Dr. Hauser is a frequent presenter at veterinary conferences, facilitating workshops on hospital culture, communication, leadership, veterinary team development, client relations and operations.

Jason Johnson, DVM, MS, DACT

Jason Johnson

Jason currently serves as Vice President and Dean of Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine, where he led the strategy approach for establishment of the college and garnered broad local, regional, state, federal and organizational support.

Dr. Johnson is also the founder and Executive Director of the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia (CAHA), whose aim is to improve the animal and human health of the Appalachian region through developing research and research funding support on Appalachian animal health issues, developing public education, advocacy, and training programs, and developing curriculum and mentorship programs to promote veterinary practices in underserved areas.

He serves on the Legislative Advocacy Committee representing AAVMC and serves the Society for Theriogenology in the House of Delegates. He was recently honored to be one of eight individuals in the US selected to be on the joint AVMA/AAVMC Futures Commission, representing industry, academia, private practice and thought leaders charged with blueprinting the relevant future of veterinary medicine.

Ralph Johnson

Ralph Johnson

Ralph Johnson was raised on a family farm in North Dakota and became reluctantly familiar with animal husbandry practices and attendant chores during childhood. He gravitated to association management as his professional home. Most recently he served for 18 years as the CEO of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) and of PetAid Colorado, the healthcare safety net for pets in need. Presently he serves as CEO of VMAE (Veterinary Medical Association Executives) to support veterinary executives in creating thriving organizations and providing effective leadership within the veterinary profession. He represents VMAE on the boards of the Pet Nutrition Alliance, CATalyst Council, and Partners for Healthy Pets. His honors include the Humane Award and the President’s Award from the AVMA, the Distinguished Service Award and the Executive of the Year Award from VMAE, the Association Professional of the Year Award from the Colorado Society of Association Executives, and the Distinguished Service Award and the President’s Award from CVMA.

Candace Joy

Candace JoyCandace Joy has served as Chief Executive Officer of the Washington State Veterinary Medical Association since 2002. She is a past president of Veterinary Medical Association Executives and currently serves on AVMA's State Advocacy Committee. Her training in servant leadership, non-violent communication and generational studies provides her with the insight and ability to work with a variety of people within an outside of the veterinary profession. Ms. Joy enjoys writing, hiking, travel, and the arts. She has two cats, Pookie and Eloise, who both long to live in a single-cat household.

Julie Kumble, M.Ed.

Julie Kumble

Julie Kumble, M.Ed., owner of Greater Good Leadership, is a researcher, writer and consultant and presents on leadership and gender issues in politics and professions to international audiences. She has been a US State Department Fellow, recipient of the International Women's Day award from the Amherst League of Women Voters, grantee of the Foundation for Motivated Women, and US Peace Corps volunteer. She is a founding director of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative. As a research consultant at Cornell, she co-authored a book with Cornell University Dean Emeritus Dr. Donald Smith on women's leadership in veterinary medicine called Leaders of the Pack, Women and the Future of Veterinary Medicine (Purdue University Press). She is currently researching servant leadership in veterinary medicine and beyond.

In veterinary medicine, she has written numerous articles on women's leadership and has led seminars at veterinary colleges at Auburn, Cornell, Iowa State, Lincoln Memorial, Louisiana State, Minnesota, Purdue, St. George's, Ross, Virginia-Maryland, universities, and others, as well as the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, American Veterinary Medical Association, SAVMA Symposium, NAVC, and Western Veterinary Conference. She is a founding director of the Women's Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative (WVLDI) and she developed a course on women's leadership in veterinary medicine which debuted in March 2014 at Cornell and subsequently became offered at other veterinary colleges.

Ava Mastrostefano

Ava MastrostefanoAva Mastrostefano began her journey through veterinary medicine at 14 years old, shadowing a doctor at her local animal hospital. While earning her undergraduate degree at Roger Williams University, Ava completed various internships within the veterinary profession, conducted undergraduate research and even worked as a veterinary technician with that very same doctor she started with as a teen. After graduating summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology, she started veterinary school at Tufts University in 2018. Now, as a second-year veterinary student, Ava has settled into her many roles as a student leader, all while working towards her own personal and professional goals. Ava's veterinary interests focus around marine animal medicine. During undergrad, Ava worked extensively in the field of marine mammal and sea turtle rehabilitation. As a first-generation student navigating through veterinary school with a disability, Ava is no stranger to many major issues in the veterinary profession such as burnout, student debt, diversity and accessibility. She works within her community to promote health and well-being as the co-president of the SAVMA Wellness Committee at Tufts.

Zach Mercurio, MS, PhD

Zach Mercurio

Zach Mercurio, PhD is an organization and leadership development researcher, adjunct professor, strategist, and keynote speaker. He is the bestselling author of The Invisible Leader: Transform Your Life, Work, and Organization with the Power of Authentic Purpose. Zach specializes in purposeful leadership, meaningful work, and positive organizations, and has worked with and advised leaders in global companies, non-profits, K-12 schools, and universities around the world. Some of his clients have included the National Park Service, Ghirardelli Chocolate Company, Crocs, Telstra, and the Alzheimer's Association. His work has been featured internationally in media outlets such as The Huffington Post, Thrive Global, Psychology Today, Inc. Magazine, and Forbes. Zach earned his PhD in organizational learning, performance, and change at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, CO where he serves as a researcher and affiliate professor in the department of psychology and the school of education.

Lisa Perius

Lisa PeriusLisa is Executive Director of the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association (IVMA), where she has worked since 1996. She is a graduate of Indiana University and a big Hoosier fan.

As Executive Director of IVMA, she has overseen an expansion of member services that demonstrate association value, increase in association members, improved legislative presence, update of the association governance structure, and yearly strategic goal reviews and assessments.

She has been an active member of Veterinary Medical Association Executives (VMAE), serving as its president in 2002. Lisa is the current chair of the VMAE's national Power of 10 leadership program. She is a member of the Indiana Society of Association Executives (ISAE) where she participates in the yearly Strategy Circles program. Lisa serves on ISAE's Leadership Development Committee.

Her skillset in strategic planning and successful association management has led to the development of Strategy Vision 20-20 to assist organizations vision for the future.

Michele Pfannenstiel, DVM

Michele Pfannenstiel

As the CEO of Dirigo Food Safety and with more than 18 years of specialized experience across the spectrum of health sciences, food safety, quality/logistics, audits/compliance, and manufacturing solutions, Dr. Michele Pfannenstiel's unparalleled breadth of knowledge and depth of available resources helps businesses grow, comply with regulations, and inspire consumer trust. A US Army veteran, Dr. P earned a BA in Economics and Geology from Wellesley College after which she served in the Peace Corps. While in her second year of study at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine, she was chosen for the prestigious Health Professions Scholarship Program through the US Army and commissioned in the US Army Veterinary Corps, where she gained her extensive food safety and regulatory compliance skills. She has extensive experience as a food safety consultant and educator, including teaching workshops at the Stone Barns Center and the Empowering Women Veterans in Business and Agriculture Conference.

Emanuel (Chip) Ponsford, DVM

Emanuel (Chip) Ponsford

Dr. Ponsford owned and operated a small animal hospital in El Paso for 27 years. He spent five years as Chief of Staff of a national corporate practice, and was a top 20 producer. For the past several years, Dr. Ponsford has studied the Toyota Production System (Lean) and how it might be applied to veterinary medicine. He (along with Mark Graban) has written articles on Lean for dvm360 online. He recently led a webinar on Lean management for AVMA's Lead and Learn series and spoke at the AVMA VLC 2019 with Mark Graban. Dr. Ponsford is the founder of www.leanvets.com and is the author of the new book Lean Veterinary Practice Management: Higher Quality, Less Waste, Greater Staff Engagement and Continuous Improvement. He currently lives and works in the Dallas area.

Dan Price

Dan Price

Dan Price founded Gravity Payments from his university dorm room at just 19 years old. His mission – which remains the core of Gravity to this day – was to help the hard-working small business owners who are consistently overcharged and underserved by their credit card processors. Today, nearly 20,000 independent businesses across all 50 states trust Gravity to save them millions in fees and hours of frustration by making it easy for them to accept payments.

Dan captured national attention in 2015 when he decided to raise the company's minimum salary to $70,000 a year. Dan believes businesses have enormous power to promote social good, regardless of what industry they're in, by serving communities instead of shareholders and putting people over profits. In 2019, Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote in The New York Times that Gravity's story provides "proof that capitalism can have a heart."

Dan's leadership has earned him many awards, most notably Entrepreneur Magazine's "Entrepreneur of 2014" and the 2010 SBA "National Young Entrepreneur of the Year," awarded to him by President Obama. In addition to these formal awards, Dan has been credited by other business owners who have decided to raise the minimum salaries at their own organizations.

Anna Reddish, DVM

Anna Reddish

Dr. Anna Reddish is the Eastern Region Assistant Director for Student Initiatives with the AVMA. She works closely with student AVMA chapters and veterinary students at 15 veterinary schools in the Eastern US and Caribbean. Dr. Reddish also works on AVMA Wellness initiatives with Dr. Marci Kirk. Prior to joining the AVMA, she practiced mixed animal medicine. Dr. Reddish is a 2013 graduate of the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Lloyd Reitz, DVM

Lloyd ReitzDr. Lloyd V. Reitz, Jr. grew up on his family's fourth-generation dairy farm in Shamokin, PA. In addition to caring for cows, he grew up with a wide variety of animals, including horses, pigs, chickens, rabbits, cats, dogs, and even a couple of emus. Because of his love for animals and science, Dr. Reitz chose to pursue a degree in Biology from Messiah College, graduating in 2001. He then continued his education at Bucknell University, obtaining a Master of Science in Cellular Biology in 2004. After receiving his M.S., he moved to Richmond, VA, and completed an Emerging Infectious Disease Fellowship with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Association of Public Health Laboratories, working in the Chemical Terrorism and Response Laboratory at the Department of General Services for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Upon completion of his fellowship in 2005, Dr. Reitz and his wife moved to Mississippi, where he received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University's College of Veterinary Medicine in 2009. After graduation, Dr. Reitz returned to the central PA area, and began practicing. He and his wife began renovations on their century-old farm house. They have three children, Collette, Trey and Elliott; two dogs, Molly and Dash, and four cats, Elizabeth, Violet, Jack-Jack and BB8-Lightning Strike. Dr. Reitz was President of the PVMA in 2017 and is currently Secretary/Treasurer. He is also President of the Board of Directors for pvmaAssure and chair of Power of 10. He is a member of the Veterinary Leadership Planning Committee for the AVMA.

Renee Schmid, DVM, DABT

Renee Schmid

Renee Schmid, DVM, DABT, is a toxicologist, Senior Consulting Veterinarian in Clinical Toxicology and veterinarian supervisor for Pet Poison Helpline/SafetyCall International. She has been with the organization since 2013, during which time she has had the opportunity to lead the team of veterinarians that span from coast to coast. Dr. Schmid graduated from Kansas State University with a BS in Agriculture/Animal Science as well as her DVM. Dr. Schmid has been a member of executive boards for local and state VMAs as well as numerous non-profit organizations. Most recently, Dr. Schmid served as a trustee for AVMA LIFE 2014-2018. These experiences have allowed for the development of effective leadership when miles separate the team.

Claire Simeone, DVM

Claire Simeone

Dr. Claire Simeone is a conservation leader, working fearlessly to heal the animals and ecosystems of our planet. Claire is a veterinarian at The Marine Mammal Center, the world's largest marine mammal rehabilitation hospital, specializing in working with marine mammals, studying the connections between animal health, ocean health, and our own health.

Dr. Simeone is the Director of the Hawaiian Monk Seal Conservation Program and leads Ke Kai Ola, the Center's hospital and education center dedicated to saving endangered Hawaiian monk seals in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. A graduate of Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, Claire completed an internship with the National Marine Mammal Foundation and SeaWorld San Diego and worked with both The Marine Mammal Center and NOAA Fisheries before assuming her current role.

In addition to leading conservation efforts for the endangered Hawaiian monk seal at The Marine Mammal Center, Claire is committed to leading with heart, and awakening intuitive leadership in others. Dr. Simeone was the first veterinarian ever selected as a TED Fellow, has authored more than a dozen scientific articles and five book chapters on marine mammal health and medicine, and is a seasoned speaker. Dr. Simeone's work underscores the connection between humans and animals, and how our very survival relies on a return to listening to the wisdom the natural world has to share.

Aaron Smiley, DVM

Aaron Smiley

Dr. Aaron Smiley practices small animal medicine in central Indiana and leads two practices for Vetcor. He is the vice president for the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association and is on the University of Illinois Veterinary Alumni Board.

Dr. Smiley is an early adopter of telemedicine technology and has completed over 1,400 cases. He is an expert on the incorporation of virtual care into practice and has lectured on the topic at national meetings.

Dr. Smiley is also the co-founder of VetMed2.0, a think tank focused on discovering divergent ideas in veterinary medicine. The company organized the first annual Hackathon at the University of Illinois and is currently developing a technology to match veterinary mentors and mentees.

Scott Spaulding, DVM

Scott Spaulding

Dr. Scott Spaulding served on AVMA's Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee helping to chart the course for the profession's future economic health. Dr. Spaulding is President and Chairman of the Board of the Mixed Animal Veterinary Associates North America, Inc., a management group for 20 mixed animal veterinary practices he founded in 2016. Dr. Spaulding is also President and CEO of the Badger Veterinary Hospital. He graduated in 1986 from the University Wisconsin at Madison School of Veterinary Medicine.

Julie Squires, CCFS

Julie Squires

Julie Squires is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist and Certified Life Coach who brings a unique perspective and approach to support the sustained energy and passion of those exposed to the highly stressful and emotionally charged environments of veterinary medicine, animal welfare, lab animal research and animal rescue. She does this in a very distinct way, by empowering them to help themselves through easy-to-implement yet powerful, practices and insights.

Julie has over twenty-five years of experience within the veterinary industry both in practice as a veterinary assistant and hospital administrator and outside of practice leading organizations, developing and executing training, workshops and 1:1 coaching, most notably for Nestlé Purina, Bayer Animal Health and IDEXX Laboratories. She is a Certified Compassion Fatigue Specialist through the Traumatology Institute.

Her company, Rekindle LLC, offers on-site seminars, workshops, online courses and private coaching and is the result of the need Julie saw to help those that work with animals maintain their wellbeing and mental health. Julie is also the host of the popular podcast "Rekindling: Compassion Fatigue Solutions for Animal Workers."

Deborah Stone, MBA, PhD, CVPM

Deborah Stone

Deborah Stone owns and operates Stone Veterinary Practice Management (StoneVPM) and VetWorldMedia based in Austin, TX. She has been involved with the veterinary profession for more than 30 years and has experience in specialty, emergency, and general practice management.

She earned an MBA with a concentration in business management and completed her PhD in Organizational Leadership. Deborah is a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager, accredited from the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. Deborah devotes much of her time toward community service activities and holds memberships with many associations.

She is the AVMA's digital education lead, an international and national speaker, and published author. Deborah enjoys spending time with her family as well as performing with her bands the LaxaTones, No-Lo Prophets, and Barkin' Cats.

Diana Thomé, DVM

Diana Thome

Dr. Diana Thomé graduated from Washington State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2004 and practices small animal medicine. She owns of a 5 doctor AAHA accredited practice in Richland, WA. Dr. Thomé joined the Washington State VMA in 2013 before transitioning to the role as the Washington State Alternate Delegate in the AVMA House of Delegates in 2016. Her passion in organized veterinary medicine is advocacy at the state and national level for the veterinary profession and the patients we serve.

Dr. Thomé is a wife and mother to two school aged boys. She enjoys fishing and competing in triathlons, half marathons, and marathons in her spare time.

Emily Tincher, DVM

Emily Tincher

Dr. Emily M. Tincher (Auburn '16, Kentucky '12) is a second-generation veterinarian focused on developing the leadership and communications skills necessary to best serve pets and their owners. After completing a rotating internship in Kentucky, she moved to Philadelphia where she is an emergency doctor at Hope Veterinary Specialists, a specialty referral hospital.

She is a National Adviser for the Veterinary Business Management Association and proud National VBMA Board alumna (2015). Dr. Tincher believes that relationship building and helping others to be their best professional self through servant leadership can ignite true change in the veterinary profession. She continues to find avenues such as the AVMA Early Career Development Committee and the Veterinary Leadership Institute to promote this positive change.

Outside of veterinary medicine, Emily enjoys all University of Kentucky sports, competing her horse in the sport of Eventing, and spending time with her husband and two perfect dogs.

Josh Vaisman, CCFP, MAPPCP

Josh Vaisman

Josh Vaisman, CCFP, MAPPCP is co-founder of Flourish Veterinary Consulting. Having served the field of veterinary medicine since 1998, he has filled a variety of roles including technician, hospital administrator, and hospital owner. Pulling from his experience in practice and a variety of post-graduate certifications and a master's degree in applied positive psychology, Josh is now dedicated to helping cultivate environments in which veterinary professionals can thrive. He brings those values to life by empowering individuals with evidence-based resilience skills and supporting the growth of authentic positive leadership throughout the field.

Kristina Williams

Kristina WilliamsKristina (Kristy) Williams is a second-year veterinary student at Colorado State University. She is her class president and has also held leadership positions throughout her employment prior to veterinary school. She is originally from Boston, MA but was most recently working as a pathology veterinary technician at SeaWorld San Diego prior to her veterinary school enrollment.

Sarah Wooten, DVM, CVJ

Sarah Wooten

Dr. Sarah Wooten graduated from the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in 2002 and has 16 years clinical experience. A certified veterinary journalist, Dr. Wooten writes and speaks to veterinary and pet parent audiences via multiple channels. Her passions include improving the veterinary-client relationship, leadership development, and personal growth and transformation

Kristin Wuellner, DVM

Kristin Wuellner

Dr. Kristin Wuellner (Auburn ‘16, Clemson ‘12) is a fun-loving veterinarian with interests that extend beyond the exam room – she's passionate about how education, marketing, and scientific outreach can enable pet parents to make the best decisions for their pets. Currently, she is the Veterinary Digital Education Specialist at Hill's Pet Nutrition located in Topeka, KS. Prior to this role, she worked in small animal private practice and completed a one-year clinical internship with Nestlé Purina. She's a proud alumnus of the National VBMA Executive Board (2015) and now volunteers for the AVMA's Early Career Development Committee. Her personal leadership philosophy is a commitment to self-awareness, servant leadership, and creativity.

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A special thank you to VLC Presenting Partner Zoetis.