Working for a Better Tomorrow

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With an eye toward addressing the challenges facing the veterinary industry, VetPartners, a national nonprofit association of veterinary business specialists dedicated to serving the veterinary profession, recently held its annual meeting. Highlights of the meeting included:

A record 22 new members were inducted from various veterinary industry backgrounds. Established in 2002, VetPartners™ now has 270 members ranging in over ten professional categories of expertise pertaining to veterinary practice management. “We’re proud that VetPartnerscontinues to attract talented industry professionals. It speaks to the power of our collaborative community and the passion our members have to work together for the good of the veterinary profession,” said Board President Jeff Thoren.

The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA) was honored with the Pioneer Professional Award. The award, presented to an individual or organization, is in recognition of 20+ years of service as a ‘pioneer’ in veterinary practice consulting or advising. For more than 30 years, the VHMA has worked to fulfill its mission to enhance and serve veterinary management professionals, through superior education, certification and networking. “VHMA was the first professional environment in which I could learn, grow and freely share amongst practice management peers. It has gifted me with lifelong friendships and enriched my professional development beyond a measurable scale. I could not be who I am today without VHMA,” said VetPartners Past President Shelley Johnson of Patterson Veterinary.

The association named its 2018-2019 Board of Directors. The newly appointed VetPartners™ Board of Directors are:


  • Jeff Thoren, DVM, PCC, BCC, President
  • Nancy Dewitz, Vice President
  • Camala Bailey, CPA, CVA, Treasurer
  • Gina Fortunato, Secretary
  • Bruce Truman, MBA, Immediate Past President


  • Debbie Boone, CVPM
  • Bill Schroeder
  • Pamela Stevenson, CVPM

Emphasis on diversity
During the annual meeting, the association conducted a session on Diversity in Veterinary Medicine, led by Monica Dixon Perry, CVPM, a topic the association plans to make a point of emphasis in 2018 and beyond.

“The members have indicated a sincere and genuine appreciation of making them aware of the lack of diversity in the industry,” said Dixon Perry, a partner/consultant at Veterinary Management Consultation. “In addition, there was an overall response that a call to action is needed and warranted.”

A result of the call to action was the announcement that VetPartners would form a diversity task force with the mission of better educating and informing VetPartners members about the lack of diversity in the veterinary profession, “so that this group of leaders can be provided with tools and resources to assist with increasing diversity in our profession,” said Dixon Perry.

“The more diverse the veterinary profession is, the more resilient it can be with our changing society,” said Shelley Johnson. “In addition, there has been a need to understand and educate about diversity in this profession for a long time. There are symptoms resulting from a lack of diversity in this profession. We believe that the need is far reaching, which includes pre-Vet students to existing DVMs/Teams as well as understanding the diversity of our clients.”

The task force will be finalized during the spring.

“The inspiration to the (task force) is the interest of VetPartners members to be active in awareness and understanding; to be leaders and contributors of the conversation for the profession on diversity and inclusion,” said VetPartners Member Shelley Johnson.

“We know that there are some amazing conversations ahead which will encompass the human element, strategic considerations, political framing and symbolism as related to the profession,” said Johnson.

The long-term goal of the diversity task force is straightforward: “To be better tomorrow than we are today,” said Johnson.