2022 Annual Meeting Speakers

2022 Annual Meeting Speakers

Keynote Presentation
Thursday, January 13
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM


Dr. Jean-Yin Tan is a board-certified equine veterinary internal medicine specialist with international experience in 4 states, 2 provinces, and almost 17 years of expertise in both specialty practice and ambulatory care. She graduated from Cornell University in 2005, completed a large animal internal medicine residency at University of Minnesota in 2008, obtained certification in professional management in 2020, and is currently in an MBA program with anticipated graduation in August 2022. She has held leadership roles in veterinary diversity, equity, and inclusion as the inaugural Chair of the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) DEI Taskforce, a founding member of the ACVIM (American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine) DEI taskforce, and a founding member of the AVMA-AAVMC (American Veterinary Medical Association-American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges) Joint Commission for a Diverse, Equitable, and Inclusive Veterinary Profession. She has spoken on both equine medicine and diversity internationally. A recipient of the 2019 AAEP Good Works Award, she was a recipient of Avenue Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2020 and received the University of Calgary educational leadership award in 2021.

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – State of the Veterinary Profession: Do We Have a Diversity Issue?

Hot Rocks Presentations

Thursday, January 13
10:30 AM – 11:45 AM


John Volk is senior consultant with Brakke Consulting and the 2019 recipient of the VetPartners Pioneer Professional Award. He is principal author of five landmark studies of the veterinary profession, including the Veterinarian Wellbeing Studies.

SESSION – Wellbeing of Veterinarians and Staff: Latest Insights

A new study reveals the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of veterinarians and practice team members. The third edition of the Merck Animal Health Veterinarian Wellbeing Study was just recently completed. For the first time, the survey included non-veterinarian practice team members as well as veterinarians. In addition to the impact of the pandemic, this study takes an in-depth look at burnout and various factors that contribute to it.

You’ll learn:

  • Attendees at this session will learn about the state of mental health and wellbeing in the profession, as well as a number of tools that individuals and practices can employ to improve wellbeing, and to reduce stress and burnout.


Bruce Truman is a pet technology business executive with expertise in emerging digital technologies, virtual care, and business development.

His advisory board positions include: Petegrity – a pet health insurance marketplace with robust technology, NAVC Retriever – a leading recruiting app for veterinary practices, and Basepaws – a leader in feline health, providing at-home genetics and biome testing. He serves as the chief commercial officer for Fear Free LLC and senior vice president of business development for whiskerDocs.

His volunteer work includes his role as a founding board member of the Veterinary Virtual Care Association (VVCA), along with ten other industry leaders. Bruce is a past president of VetPartners, a strategic advisor to CATalyst Council and serves on the Association for Veterinary Informatics (AVI) interoperability committee.

SESSION – We are running out of dogs??????

It is a general industry belief that shelters (AKA animal welfare organizations AWO’s) are still full of homeless dogs and that there is a dire need for donations to AWOs to help save these dogs from euthanasia. The general public is being encouraged to adopt not shop. This Hot Rocks will show via real data that is not the truth and that we have a critical shortage of dogs that will lead to significant negative impacts on the industry overall unless this is addressed through the encouragement of responsible breeding programs. I’m advocating to bring back the days of bitches having a first litter at home and the family giving the puppies away. I will prove we need to stop frowning upon those who choose to breed at home or buy a puppy. Sales of puppies should not be discouraged, but encouraged in a responsible way with training, education and certification. Discussion will include interviews with leading experts like Dr. Mary Greer and others.

You’ll learn:

  • Data from industry leadership shows a clear shortage of puppies.
  • To meet the demand for dogs responsible breeding must happen.
  • VP members will be informed and can then transfer this knowledge to their practices to impact thinking and advance advocacy.
  • Tools to help breeders and veterinarians work together will be shared.

Friday, January 14
8:45 AM – 9:45 AM


Gina Fortunato is currently the AVP, Veterinary Services at Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group, sole provider of the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plans and President of VetPartners. Over her career, Gina has specialized in coaching and developing others on situational leadership, change management and solution selling. With 3 horses, three in-door cats and 2 barn cats, Gina has seen first-hand the value of partnering with veterinarians for the health of her pets.

Wendy Hauser, DVM is the founder of Peak Veterinary Consulting and has practiced for 30+ years as an associate, practice owner and relief veterinarian. She has worked in the animal health industry as a pet health insurance executive and as a technical services veterinarian. Dr. Hauser, passionate about education and innovation, partners with both industry partners and individual veterinary hospitals. She is a regular presenter at veterinary conferences, facilitating workshops on hospital culture, associate development, leadership, client relations and operations. Frequently published, she is the co-author of “The Veterinarian’s Guide to Healthy Pet Plans.”

SESSION – This is going to cost what?
Taking the surprise out of the cost of veterinary care

Studies have shown that pet owners want to partner with their veterinary teams and appreciate honest conversations about how to care for their pets. However, cost of veterinary care discussions with clients are often avoided until services are needed. This is a missed opportunity to help pet owners understand and be prepared for their pet’s future health care needs, and how to pay for them. The hot rocks “This is going to cost what? Taking the surprise out of the cost of veterinary care” will dive into the importance of having this discussion to the client-veterinary relationship and provide simple, useful suggestions on how to initiate these conversations with clients in a fun way and informative way.

You’ll learn:

  • Cost of Care communication wheel for dogs and cats


Dr. Christine Merle – Strategic Alliance Manager- over 10 years of experience working with and for corporate entities and distribution in various commercial/ sales roles.

Co-presented by Rebecca Horvath – manager of New and Expanding Business for Penn Veterinary Supply (experience in veterinary practice, pet insurance and overseeing over 200 new or expanding practices in the last 3 years).

SESSION – The Future of Veterinary Practices
An Independent Veterinary Distributors View & Experiences

We’ve all heard it and seen it – consolidation. So how has that impacted veterinary distributors? This talk will discuss the experiences and changes that are being seen by Penn Veterinary Supply – a 40 year old independent family owned veterinary distributor. Specific areas that will be addressed include new practices, impact of marketplaces, buying groups, corporate consolidation, supply chain logistics and product/service innovation.

You’ll learn:

  • Evolving role of veterinary distribution; new avenues of opportunities for consultants and independent veterinary practices.

Friday, January 14
11:00 AM – 12:30 PM


Kelley Detweiler is founder and managing partner of Kolibry, LLC. Kolibry assists companies in streamlining compliance designed to avoid potentially costly regulatory fines and legal difficulties. Kelley’s expertise is focused on providing clients with the resources and knowledge to function securely and compliantly. Kolibry is a consulting group powered by a team of former DEA agents, diversion investigators, pharmacists, security professionals and regulatory experts, which provides a full suite of DEA compliance, state regulatory compliance, drug security and anti-diversion solutions to professionals working within the veterinary, healthcare, pharmaceutical, supply chain and cannabis industries to ensure that controlled substance operations are handled in a safe, secure and compliant manner. With services designed to identify compliance gaps, mitigate risks, remediate existing issues and streamline compliance competency through education and training, Kolibry is committed to supporting clients by helping them navigate a myriad of regulations to ensure harmonization of approach and adherence to requirements.

Mary Mongioi, Esq., is a partner at Forchelli Deegan Terrana, LLP based in Uniondale, New York. Ms. Mongioi concentrates her practice in veterinary corporate and transactional matters, and chairs the firm’s Veterinary Practice Group, providing strategic counsel to both large corporate and individual veterinary businesses. In the last twenty four months, Ms. Mongioi and the Veterinary Group have closed in excess of 500MM in veterinary practice acquisitions. She advises her clients on all aspects of corporate law, including practice acquisitions and sales, private equity roll-ups, regulatory compliance matters, including the structuring of management services organizations and Federal, State and local business licensing, and controlled substance statutes and regulations. In addition, she serves as outside general counsel to her clients, assisting with risk management, and together with other members of the Veterinary practice group, offers counsel with respect to the drafting and negotiation of executive employment agreements, non-compete agreements, severance agreements, separation counseling and compliance with wage and hour, leaves and discrimination laws. Ms. Mongioi is a graduate of Wagner College and Hofstra University School of law, and has served as chair of the VetPartners program committee.

SESSION – So you think you’ve got it all “under control?”
The top five things that lead to non-compliance with State and Federal Controlled Substance Regulations

This talk will provide practical advice with respect to reporting, record keeping and diversion prevention in veterinary hospitals and include a brief discussion of Federal and State Controlled substance regulations. As the industry is consolidating and practices are purchased at a rapid pace, we will focus on the diligence items (pitfalls that could lead to non-compliance and unintended consequences of that non-compliance) that must be understood and implemented on behalf of both Seller and Purchaser parties. We will focus on the top four violations that are noted in DEA veterinary inspections; registration issues, lack of physical security, poor recordkeeping and failure to complete background checks.

You’ll learn:

  • This talk will update members on Federal Controlled Substance Laws and serve as a refresher course on compliance – particularly with regard to registration issues, employee requirements, authorized user logs and recordkeeping requirements for control drugs, federal inventory requirements, theft or loss, and security requirements. It will also include a “deal checklist” from both a seller’s perspective and a buyer’s perspective – what diligence must be provided and reviewed and what each party must undertake both pre and post-closing to ensure compliance with Federal and State Controlled Substance Laws.


Debra Hamilton is the principal at Hamilton Law and Mediation, PLLC, (HLM). HLM uses understanding based alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methodologies to transform disagreements over animals . Debra facilitates conscious conversations between parties providing them the tools and opportunity to choose peaceful conversation over litigation.

Her presentations are rooted in conflict transformation and self-reflection. Attendees learn in a more holistic way how to recognize their own triggers which provides them with the ability to nip conflict in the bud.

Debra is an attorney, certified conscious contract provider and conflict coach. She speaks internationally and is a best-selling author of Nipped in the Bud-Not in the Butt-How to Use Mediation to Resolve Conflicts over Animals.

SESSION – Conscious Conversations

This program invites attendees to explore their triggers, impulses and mindset when reacting to conflict. It helps attendees identify their role in a conflict and how they can control those triggers, impulses and mindset to serve them better.

You’ll learn:

This program is especially timely given the post COVID turmoil colleagues and clients find themselves navigating, which often has spiraled out of their control.

  • Recognizing the triggers, impulses and mindset that sets up their response to a conflict event.
  • Choosing a different way to review and react to a difficult event that serves the attendee and their practice better.
  • On the spot skills , Stop Drop and Roll. These skills serve the attendees by helping them apply these desired new processes quickly and easily.
  • Process to implement yourself and practice wide, questions and answers, that help minimize conflict.
  • System to set up for easy use to communicate effectively and minimize conflict.


Dr. Ed Branam is the Vice President and National Veterinary & Animal Services Program Leader for Safehold Special Risk, Inc. Dr. Branam received his DVM from Michigan State University in 1977. Following two years of private practice, he completed a small animal internal medicine residency at UC Davis. Ed remained on staff at UC Davis for three years following completion of his residency before entering private referral practice. He joined Hill’s Pet Nutrition in 1986 and ABD Insurance in 2000. ABD is now Safehold Special Risk, Inc.

At Safehold, Dr. Branam directs one of the oldest and largest national insurance programs dedicated specifically to the veterinary and animal services industry. His diverse experience has made him uniquely suited to work with veterinarians, national and state professional licensing organizations, attorneys, insurance companies and financial institutions developing solutions to animal related medical, risk management and liability issues.

Dr. Branam specializes in working with private equity, multi- owner, franchise, purchasing group and non-profit organizations. His focus is on leveraging over 30 years of industry expertise toward identifying critical areas of exposure and working with clients to develop risk mitigation strategies designed to enhance workplace safety, management team and asset protection while controlling overall insurance expense.

Dr. Branam has published over 40 professional articles and lectured extensively on medical and insurance related topics. He is currently the contributing author on insurance and risk management for Today’s Veterinary Business, a national bi- monthly publication. In addition, he is actively involved with several organizations focusing on national and state legislative issues important to the animal services industry.
Dr. Branam is dedicated to serving, protecting and promoting the many facets of the veterinary and animal services industry in a fast paced, rapidly evolving business environment.

SESSION – Violent Intruder in the veterinary workplace

Risk Management is simply the prevention or mitigation of known risks by means of awareness and proactive planning. While some risks are almost universally understood and addressed others are not! A quick Google search noted as of September 2021 the US had experienced 470 mass shooting events with 482 killed and another 1,927 people injured. The dramatic increase in unprovoked violent acts against innocent people throughout our country is frightening. Sometimes random, sometimes retaliatory; businesses, churches, schools, movie theaters, outdoor public events and even military installations have not been immune to these unprovoked acts of violence.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe workplace free from recognized hazards for its employees. The veterinary practice environment has traditionally focused on bites and scratches, slips and falls, strains and sprains, lifting and repetitive ergonomic exposures. However, what has been done to protect against a potentially violent intruder? Possibilities range from an irate client frightening office staff and clients over a billing issue or negative medical outcome to a disgruntled employee, spouse or boyfriend barging in through a back-office door in search of retribution for some perceived wrong.

Fortunately, the vast majority of irate clients and disgruntled employees take out their frustrations in non-violent ways, such as verbally, via social media or through the legal system. Though unfortunate, unhappy clients are something we have learned to deal with as employers and medical professionals serving the public. Personal and business relationships that move from people’s private lives into a public setting can be even more difficult to manage. In contrast, very few if any veterinary hospitals are prepared to identify or respond to a truly violent intruder. Understanding the basic mentality of violent intruders along with early recognition of danger signals and proactive team training on how to reach if and when a violent intruder or active shooter event actually occurs are key to promoting a positive outcome.

You’ll learn:

  • Awareness of risk imperative in today’s cultural environment
  • Staff training important component of hospitals overall safety and risk management program
  • Resources available to assist with training and implementation