VetPartners Kicks Off 2021 with Successful Virtual Annual Meeting

Feb 15, 2021 at 7:07 pm

Whether we like it or not, everyone is becoming accustomed to once-in-person meetings being held virtually, and VetPartners’ latest iteration was by all accounts a success. For the second time in the association’s history, members gathered via Zoom using the virtual meeting platform Pathable to listen to discussions on the veterinary profession’s most pressing issues, participate in networking activities, receive association updates, and more.

“Like the members of many associations, our members are looking forward to the day when we can meet in person,” said Gina Fortunato, MBA, VetPartners 2021 president. “But until that day comes, I was so pleased to see the member engagement and interaction during chat discussion, meeting breakout sessions, and individual messaging via our virtual platform at our Annual Meeting.”

VetPartners announces 2021 Board of Directors and updated mission statement

VetPartners’ 2021 Board of Directors includes:

President: Gina Fortunato, MBA
Immediate Past President: Deborah Stone, MBA, PhD, CVPM
Vice President: Debbie Boone, CVPM
Secretary: Amanda Landis-Hanna, DVM
Treasurer: Glenn Hanner, CPA, CITP, CVA, CGMA
Director: Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM, CVA
Director: David McCormick, MS, CVA
Director: Sarah Rumple
Director: Robert Sanchez

VetPartners 2021 Board of Directors


The new VetPartners mission statement was also revealed during the 2021 Annual Meeting:

VetPartners fosters a community of members better prepared to meet the business needs of the veterinary profession by providing education and networking.

VetPartners 2021 Annual Meeting highlights

vetpartners virtual annual meeting via zoom

From intense panel discussions and interactive breakout sessions to fun trivia games and a mixologist-led social “gathering,” the 2021 VetPartners Annual Meeting offered something for every attendee. If you weren’t logged in, here’s what you missed:

  • “The Questions that are Lost” — Ever struggle with asking that nagging question because you’re afraid it might be inappropriate or misinterpreted? Sponsored by Hill’s Pet Nutrition, this session was led by Samuel M. Richards, PhD, HPS, an award-winning professor and sociologist at Penn State University who instructs the largest race and cultural relations course in the U.S. Attendees were able to ask anything, including the often avoided questions about race, gender, ethnicity, disability, LGBT issues, and more.
  • “The Future is Meow” — In a landscape where mental health, work-life balance, DEI, and different models of veterinary practice are all hot topics, what does the future hold for new veterinary graduates? This panel discussion included thoughts from Jules Benson, BVSc, MRCVS; Christina Tran, DVM; and veterinary students Mario Barenas, Sarah Montoya, and Sam Schopler.
  • Trivia Time — Networking is the name of the game with any VetPartners meeting, and this organized trivia session, hosted by Quizmaster Andy Loud, allowed members to network while showing off their random smarts, or their exceptional Googling (i.e., cheating) skills.
  • “Overcoming Barriers in Cost of Care Conversations” — In this revealing session, Wendy Hauser, DVM, shared results from a two-year clinical study, conducted with support from the ASPCA Pet Health Insurance program, identifying barriers to cost-of-care conversations with clients, and solutions to overcome each barrier.
  • “Artificial Intelligence in Veterinary Medicine” — What is artificial intelligence, and how is it being applied in veterinary medicine to improve patient health and solve some of the problems facing the profession? Conor Guptil and Seth Wallack answered these questions and more during this enlightening session.
  • “Connecting Meaningfully Virtually” — If you’ve never heard the smooth-as-butter voice of former radio professional Sandy Weaver, you’re missing out. During this session, Weaver walked attendees through the secrets to connecting with others in a virtual setting (and most of the attendees walked away wishing she’d read us a bedtime story each night…).
  • “Complete Compensation: Models that Motivate Veterinary Employees” — Salary? Production? ProSal? Veterinary compensation has been a hot-button topic for some time, and this panel didn’t shy away from any of the controversy. Panelists included Bridgette Bain; Joy Fuhrman, DVM, MBA, CPA; Wendy Hauser, DVM; Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA; Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM, CVA; and Brad Patton.
  • “Evolution of the Veterinary Real Estate Market: What All Consultants Need to Know” — The veterinary real estate market is changing, and even consultants who don’t specialize in succession planning and practice sales should stay updated on the latest developments. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, DVM, CVPM, CVA, and Daniel Eisenstadt got everyone up to speed.
  • “Mean People: Why COVID-19 is Making Us Crazy, and What We Can Do to Help” — With many clients facing economic or healthcare-related hardships, exhausted veterinary teams are often taking the brunt of these stressed pet owners. During this session, the decidedly least mean person on the planet, Debbie Boone, CVPM, dug into some brain science insights and provided communication tips to help calm the savage client.
  • CareCredit Social — No VetPartners meeting is complete without the finale event: the CareCredit social. For this virtual gathering, registrants received a fun mixology kit in the mail, brought their own alcohol of choice, and mixed up some mules… which were delicious.

vetpartners carecredit social

Thoughts from VetPartners members

“I thought Pathable was great and easy to use! It was a virtual experience, but made me feel as if we were almost all together at a conference! Loved how you didn’t have to choose what session to go to and that everyone could be in the same session.”

“I really enjoyed the meeting as a whole. It was well done. The group is very engaged and warm. I learned a lot and will definitely be budgeting time and money for all VetPartners meetings in the future.”

“The meeting exceeded my expectations with all of the amazing ingredients that came together to build a robust, valuable, and engaging event.”

Thanks to our sponsors

As usual, this VetPartners meeting would not have been possible without the generous support of our industry partners. Thank you!

  • AVMA Trust
  • CareCredit
  • Hill’s Pet Nutrition
  • Nationwide (Pet) Insurance
  • ASPCA Pet Health Insurance
  • Beyond Indigo Pets
  • Forchelli Deegan Terrana LLP
  • Vetley Capital

The final word from our president

“VetPartners has a lot to look forward to in 2021,” Fortunato said. “Our goal is to continue to enhance member value by providing outstanding educational and networking opportunities. With virtual, in-person, and, soon, hybrid meeting opportunities, we have the opportunity to reach an even broader member audience with relevant education via a newly developed educational content calendar, and expand member networks with other veterinary business professionals.”

Thank you for attending the 2021 VetPartners Annual Meeting! Missed the meeting? Don’t worry! Members can register to access all the content—including the meeting recordings, speaker handouts, chat transcripts, and the virtual exhibit hall—until August 2021. This on-demand access is only $75! Learn more here!

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