Business & Leadership Track

Hello and welcome to the 2021 Business and Leadership Track!  This track will dive deep into business education as well as personal and career development for current and rising leaders in veterinary medicine.  The lectures and workshops provided to you in this track are aimed to promote leadership development by exploring skills in building financial success, buying your first practice, operating social media, tackling student loans and budgeting, navigating your first job, and more!  You will hear from business professionals, empowering veterinarians, and military veterans who are excited to share their experiences with all of you.  Whether you’re a student, a new graduate, or an experienced veterinarian, this track will provide you with all the necessary tools and guidance to become a successful a leader. Enjoy!

 I Got My DVM…Now What? How to Prepare and Land Your Ideal First Job
  • Michelle Larsen, DVM
  • Zoetis
  • Description: Dr. Larsen will discuss the steps to finding and preparing for a job after graduation from veterinary school.  She aims to build confidence in new graduates and find their ideal first job.
  • Bio:  Dr. Larsen graduated from Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in 2011. Following graduation, she completed a 1-year small animal medicine and emergency rotating Internship at The Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine in Vienna, VA. Prior to veterinary school, she completed her bachelor’s degree in finance from The George Washington University and worked in the financial sector for 6 years. Upon completing her internship, Dr. Larsen was the Clinic Manager at the Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners in Avondale, AZ and practiced emergency medicine exclusively for 4.5 years.  Dr. Larsen joined Abaxis Global Diagnostics as a Professional Services Veterinarian for the Western U.S. in 2015. She moved into a Zoetis headquartered position through the Abaxis acquisition in 2018 and is currently the Director of Diagnostic Platforms- Medical Affairs for Zoetis Diagnostics. She still practices part-time as a relief doctor in the Denver metro area and is active in organized veterinary medicine. In 2015, she was selected as an AVMA Future Leader and completed the first phase of a veterinary well-being year-long project. Most recently, she is the immediate past-president of the Denver Chapter of the Colorado VMA and is currently leading the Colorado Task Force for renewal of the veterinary practice act in 2021. She helped launch the VBMA chapter at Midwestern University and remains adjunct faculty since 2014.  She lives in Colorado with her husband, Matt, daughter Leah (3), and son Landon (1 year), Spokane (Aussie mix), and Isabelle (granny cat). In her spare time Dr. Larsen enjoys Crossfit workouts, hiking, and paddle boarding.  She enjoys veterinary medicine most when it is aligned with outstanding practice management.
Resumes, Cover Letters, and Interviews, Oh My!
  • Michelle Larsen, DVM
  • Zoetis
  • Description: Dr. Larsen will provide a list of top 5 do’s and don’ts as well as some examples of ideal and nonideal cover letters and resumes. She will also provide a list of top 5 do’s and don’ts and ways to prepare for interviews.
Climbing Mt. Student Debt – Student Loans and Repayment Strategies – generously sponsored by Veterinary Information Network Foundation (VIN)
  • Tony Bartels, DVM
  • VIN
  • Description: Discuss student loans and repayment strategies for current veterinary students and new graduates.
The 5-year Plan to Financial Success
  • Adam Conroy, DVM
  • Description: Dr. Conroy will discuss his 5-year plan for students after they graduate from veterinary school. He will focus on achieving financial goals/success in the first few years after graduation.
  • Bio: Dr. Adam Conroy graduated from the University of Illinois in 2005 where he completed both his undergraduate and veterinary education. Upon graduation his goals were focused on becoming a proficient surgeon, practice owner and becoming a strong leader.  To help accomplish these goals,  Dr. Conroy went to work for Dr Dan Markwalder at Animal Care Clinic in Algonquin, IL.   After 2 years of working closely with his mentor, Adam became a partner and went on to open 4 more locations over the next 15 years.  Over that time he developed a strong passion for mentorship and leadership development.  Those interests ultimately led him co-founding MarkRoy Consulting with his longtime business partner Dr. Markwalder.  Together they traveled nationally performing lectures on the importance of customized mentorship and personal development.  Based upon the feedback they received from these speaking engagements and consultation sessions they co founded two other companies, 7S Society and Vet Mentor Solutions.  7S Society was created to help empower veterinarians to live out their dream of becoming  a practice owner.  Vet Mentor Solutions was created as a catalogue of strategic mentoring videos that helps create confidence and adjunctive mentoring to veterinarians at all stages in their career. In 2020, Adam and his partners at Animal Care Clinic, strategically decided to partner their group of hospitals with a larger organization called Mission Veterinary Partners.  This partnership has provided Adam a national platform to carry out his mission of creating the ideal mentorship, leadership and goal oriented experience for veterinarians.  He continues to perform orthopedic surgeries weekly and adores his wife, 2 boys and 3 pups.
The Importance of Goals and How to Formulate a Team
  • Adam Conroy, DVM
  • Description: Dr. Conroy will discuss the importance of not only making goals but also working hard to achieve those goals.  Dr. Conroy will also walk through how to formulate a supportive team that will set you up for success and help you reach your career goals.
Stress, Money, and Resiliency
  • Sonya Lutter, Ph.D., CFP®
  • Kansas State University
  • Description: Money has consistently been a top stressor for individuals across the United States. The impacts of COVID-19 have further elevated stress, which has had a negative impact on overall well-being. Strategies for improved well-being will be covered. Elements of effective communication will be reviewed as it applies to the role of money in relationships.
  • Bio: Sonya Lutter, Ph.D., CFP® is an endowed Mary L. Vanier professor and is head of the Department of Applied Human Sciences. She holds degrees from Kansas State University and Texas Tech University in marriage and family therapy and financial planning. Her progressive work in financial therapy is summarized in Financial Therapy: Theory, Research, and Practice with co-editors Drs. Brad Klontz and Kristy Archuleta. Lutter won the best theoretical research paper award at the national Financial Planning Association meeting two years in a row with her colleagues on Savers & Spenders: Predicting Financial Conflict in Couple Relationships and The Financial Implications of Cohabitation. Her research for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on The Intergenerational Transfer of Money Attitudes and Behaviors was instrumental in moving practical implications forward at the national level. Lutter has been active in promoting financial literacy and financial well-being on campus. She has worked with multidisciplinary teams to focus on finances within relationships, food insecurity, and financial behaviors of veterinary and pre-veterinary students. Lutter’s work at the financial counseling centers at Texas Tech University and Kansas State University have guided her effectiveness of financial counseling research agenda, which culminates with a co-edited book with Dr. Dorothy Durband titled, Student Financial Literacy: Campus-Based Program Development.
Job Satisfaction, Compensation, and Employee Turnover in Rural Mixed Animal Practices
  • Brad White, DVM, MS
  • Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine
  • Description: Dr. White will discuss his findings from a survey of practitioners within the first 10 years of their career.  This survey focused on drivers of job/career satisfaction as well as physical, emotional, and financial health. 
  • Bio: Dr. Brad White received his D.V.M. from the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked for six years in a mixed animal practice in southeast Missouri.  His emphasis in practice was beef cow-calf and stocker medicine and management.  He then worked for two years in beef production medicine at Mississippi State concurrent with the completion of his Master’s degree.  He is currently on faculty at the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and serves as director of the Beef Cattle Institute. Dr. White is a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association, Kansas Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Bovine Practitioners, and Academy of Veterinary Consultants.
Gold Standards of Compassionate Communication – generously sponsored by Lap of Love 
  • Dani McVety, DVM
  • Lap of Love
  • Description: In veterinary medicine, our clients serve as proxy for their pet’s wishes in almost every interaction they have with a veterinarian; from the decision to amputate a limb, chose surgical versus medical treatment, and even the choice of removal of “life support” and initiate euthanasia is a common path that the veterinarian must walk the client through on behalf of the pet.  Legally, the clients are in fact owners of the patient and our communication and established rapport with that owner is imperative if we are to gain the trust such that our medical knowledge will be put to use for the betterment of the pet and/or the treatment of a disease.  Learning how to gain that rapport via both verbal and nonverbal communication is where the rubber meets the road! 
  • Bio: Dr. Dani McVety founded Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice just 3 months after graduation from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. Now an Inc 5000 company, and 6 time recipient of the Gator 100 award, Lap of Love has visited the homes of over 150,000 families, with a nationwide network of over 120 passionate doctors and a full time interdisciplinary support staff. Their team is dedicated to making the end of life experience for pets, and the people that love them, as dignified and peaceful as possible. Dr. McVety has become widely known among veterinary students nationally and internationally for her ability to authentically share her personal struggles through veterinary school. Her underlying message is one of accountability, hard work, and a focus on entrepreneurism. Dr. McVety and Lap of Love have been featured on numerous local, national, and professional media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Entrepreneur Magazine, Huffington Post, and many more. She is proud to be a Gator and is the youngest recipient of both the UF CVM’s Distinguished Young Alumni Award (2013) and the Florida Veterinary Medical Association’s President’s Award (2014). She was honored to also receive the Tampa Bay Up and Comer’s 40 under 40 Hall of Fame award and the Pet Industry Woman of the Year in 2017. With a home base and business headquarters in Tampa, FL, Dr. McVety’s most prized moments occur at home, with her husband Dominic, and children Baron (12), Collins (9), and Lion (1). Her non-human kids include 2 dogs, Blitzen and Grace, and horse, Vanna.
Surviving Vet School…and Beyond!
  • Leanne Mathew, DVM
  • Lap of Love
  • Description: Navigating and surviving the uber-intense bubble known as “vet school,” can be daunting, exhausting, and even seem impossible on certain days, but it doesn’t have to be this way! Your years in vet school, while challenging, can also be one of the best times of your life.  This presentation will provide you with some real-life tips and tricks for not only surviving but hopefully thriving, during vet school and once you enter the “real world!”  For best results, an open mind, some common sense, and a desire for personal growth are recommended.
  • Bio: As a survivor of vet school and (somewhat) recent graduate, Dr. Leanne Mathew currently works as a veterinary recruiter, trainer, and mentor for associate doctors at Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice.  She found her true home within veterinary medicine working and connecting with other DVMs passionate about geriatric pets, veterinary end of life care, and support of the human-animal bond.  Dr. Mathew graduated from the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 2017, and began work as an ER clinician at a busy specialty and emergency hospital in San Antonio, remaining there until 2019.  During this time, she recognized her passion for guiding and caring for pets and their families during the end-of-life experience and began working with Lap of Love in Houston as an associate veterinarian.  Her work with Lap of Love recently presented the opportunity to relocate to their home office in Tampa, where she now resides with her Golden Retriever, Bowie.  In her free time, Dr. Mathew loves being outdoors with her pup, watching (and occasionally participating in) sporting events, and is a wannabe restaurant critic, frequently trying out new food scenes and cuisines.
Chicken Feed to Cash Cow – generously sponsored by AVMA Trust

  • Angie Payne, Licensed Agent
  • Description: This presentation will identify how to transition from a student budget to a professional budget including estimating housing costs, evaluating contract benefits, protection planning, planning for student loan payments, savings and more. 
  • Bio: Angie and her husband Kevin founded Payne Financial Strategies, Inc in 2000. They are both AVMA LIFE Authorized Agents and are consistently one of the top 3 agent offices in the country. In addition to AVMA LIFE, they offer services and strategies for personal and business planning specifically for the veterinary community. They place tremendous value on evaluating the needs and budget of each individual client, implementing the planning strategies for success and providing quality customer service. Recognizing student loan debt as a growing issue for veterinarians, in 2020 Angie became a Certified Student Loan Professional®. She is able to review personal circumstances, student loan information, and repayment plan options to help clients achieve their financial goals. Outside of work, Angie enjoys spoiling her grandkids, spending time with family and friends, cooking and watching football. She is a lifelong Kansas City Chiefs fan.
The Life of an Item: The NAVLE Demystified – generously sponsored by International Council of Veterinary Assessment 
  • Elizabeth Johnson Million, DVM
  • ICVA
  • Description:  The International Council for Veterinary Assessment (ICVA) is committed to supporting and guiding veterinary students throughout the NAVLE process. The ICVA is proud to offer The Life of an Item, a presentation for veterinary students that explains the process of creating the NAVLE. The presentation covers the following areas:
    1. Overview of the ICVA
    2. Item writer criteria and training 
    3. Item review
    4. NAVLE administration and breakdown
    5. NAVLE item performance analysis 
  • Bio: Dr. Elizabeth Johnson Million is the Assistant Director of Outreach and Engagement of the International Council for Veterinary Assessment, working closely with the CEO and staff to promote the mission of the organization to all stakeholders and playing an integral part in strategic outreach. Dr. Million grew up riding horses and hiking in the mountains of east Tennessee. After graduating from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, she worked at a busy small animal practice outside Houston, Texas, before jumping back into the academic world and serving in a unique role as the first Assistant Dean of Student Success at Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Million worked to promote individual student success and wellness initiatives for the CVM, as well as focus on early academic intervention and collaboration between academic counselors, mental health counselors, student tutors, and faculty advisors and course directors. Dr. Million also coordinated all NAVLE-related initiatives for the CVM, including the NAVLE Prep Rotation for clinical year students. Dr. Million enjoys staying involved with the Veterinary Leadership Initiative (VLI) and honing her communication and group facilitation skills. Dr. Million also works in veterinary hospice and in-home end-of-life care in Atlanta. Aside from work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, A.J., their dogs, Daisy and Jolene, traveling, reading, and spending time outdoors.
Buying a Practice Pt. 1 – Preparing for ownership
  • Dr. Nick Pope
  • Description: This is the first part of a 2-part series looking into practice ownership.  This discussion is going to investigate steps and things that you can do now as a student and your first few years out as an associate to help prepare you for your journey into ownership.  We will be looking at various forms of ownership, ways to source opportunities, and how to make your personal financial profile stand out for banks.  The second part of the series will be a live virtual discussion that builds on these lessons and walks you through the in-depth steps it takes to acquire a hospital.
  • Bio: Growing up in Oklahoma with an agriculture background I knew I wanted to be a veterinarian from a young age.  Along the way, I found enjoyment and draw to all things practice management and the entrepreneur’s journey.  After graduating from vet school at Oklahoma State University in 2015, my wife Elizabeth (a fellow small animal veterinarian) and I moved to her home state of New Jersey to start practicing small animal medicine.  We currently own two, multi-doctor locations and are looking to continue to build our network.  I love talking about practice ownership any chance that I get.  I am proud to be a mentor on, where I can continue to connect, share, and help students and young associates that aspire of ownership along their career path.  When I am not in one of my practices you will find me working on our small farm with our cows, goats, and chickens or spending time with our son, Benjamin, and two dogs, Eloise, and Brody.
Careers in Military Veterinary Medicine – generously sponsored by Encore Vet Group 
  • Dr. Tim Loonam
  • Encore Vet Group
  • Description: Dr. Loonam, a former Lieutenant Colonel and Airborne Ranger in the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps,  and current Director of University Relations for the Encore Vet Group, will give an entertaining overview of entry-level and career opportunities for veterinarians in the Active Duty and Reserve/National Guard Armed Forces.  He’ll discuss Health Professions Scholarships, tuition payback, and opportunities for fully-funded clinical and R&D residencies, and will mix in some of his experiences in clinical medicine and public health in the Iraq War. 
  • Bio: Dr. Tim Loonam is a former multi-DVM, mixed-animal practice owner and currently, the Director of University Relations for the Encore Vet Group ( While still the Medical Director of Grace Animal Hospital in Lexington, SC (, Dr. Loonam speaks at veterinary colleges and veterinary meetings around the country on a variety of practice management, veterinary leadership, and clinical topics. He earned his DVM from the University of Georgia where he received senior clinical awards, and then spent several years as a U.S. Army Veterinary Corps Officer including a tour of duty in Iraq where he received the Bronze Star Medal. After leaving the Army in 2005, Dr. Loonam opened Grace Animal Hospital as a start-up business where they now have 6 DVM’s, a staff of 35 employees, and more than 15,000 clients. His AAHA hospital has been named Hospital of the Year more than 12 times in the Greater Columbia, SC, area. He and his staff regularly host veterinary student externs from around the country, and Dr. Loonam is well-known for his genuine personal and entertaining speaking, mentoring and teaching styles.
Social Media Do’s and Don’ts Every Veterinary School Grad Should Know
  • Dr. Garret Pachtinger
  • VETgirl 
  • Description: In today’s world, people might look at you like you’re from outer space if you don’t have some sort of social media presence, especially if you’re under the age of 30. From Facebook and Instagram to Twitter and LinkedIn, there are numerous social media platforms that allow us to like, share, post, react, network, and reach our target audience in the blink of an eye.  Although social media can provide sense of community and be a great educational and marketing tool, social media can also present potential risks, result in distribution of poor-quality information, damage to professional image, breaches of patient privacy, violation of personal–professional boundaries, and licensing or legal issues.  This lecture will discuss important do’s and don’ts of social media and help the veterinary graduate navigate the waters of social media safely.
  • Bio: Dr. Garret Pachtinger, DACVECC is a board-certified veterinary specialist in emergency critical care.  Dr. Pachtinger graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School.  He then pursued an internship at the Matthew J Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he has also completed an emergency fellowship and residency at the Matthew J Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pachtinger is the Co-Founder of VETgirl, the number 1 online CE resource for busy veterinary professionals and the Director of Critical Care Education for VEG, the Veterinary Emergency Group.  Dr. Pachtinger lectures throughout the world on emergency and critical care and has been published in numerous veterinary journals, textbooks, and peer reviewed learning tools, and is on the editorial board of Today’s Veterinary Practice.
Contract Negotiations
  • Dr. Lance Roasa
  • Dr. Lance Roasa
Veterinary Emergency Group (VEG) Prospective Career Options – generously sponsored by Veterinary Emergency Group
  • VEG
  • Description: Veterinary Emergency Group has one focus: emergency. Emergency is all we do, and that’s why we do it best. VEG is a true partner with your primary vet, acting as an extension of their practice for after-hours emergency care. When it comes to emergency veterinary medicine, VEG is also an excellent place to work. We take pride in our staff members and the value they bring to our hospitals and the communities we serve.
  • Bio: Veterinary Emergency Group is the obvious place to take your pet when you are having an emergency. People pass by bigger and fancier hospitals to come to us because they know we will treat them and their pets the way they want. We are the obvious place for general practices to refer their patients. Vets see us as true partners who contribute to their success and happiness. VEG is the best place to work if you are interested in a career in veterinary emergency medicine. Our employees brag about their jobs and their friends are jealous.
Resumes, Cover Letters and Interviews, Oh my! Tips for Getting Started with Your Job or Internship Search
  • Dr. Michelle Larsen
  • Description: In this workshop, Dr. Larsen will discuss her list of top 5 do’s and don’ts as well as give examples of ideal and not ideal cover letters and resumes.
Buying a Practice – Part 2
  • Dr. Nick Pope
  • Description: This will be part 2 of a two-part lecture/lab series.  In this lab, Dr. Pope will give an in-depth look at practice ownership from start to finish.  The part 1 (lecture) will serve as a prerequisite to this lab where Dr. Pope goes over the basics of buying and owning a practice.  This lab (part 2), will look at a real-life example of a hospital for sale and the steps to purchasing the hospital.