Leadership Symposium

Jenn Brandt


September 17, 2022

  • Something to Talk About: A New Era for Workplace Wellbeing

Elected as a distinguished fellow of the National Academies of Practice in Social Work, Jen Brandt, PhD, has worked for over 3 decades as a sociologist, suicidologist, social worker, educator, researcher, and clinician. Her focus areas include social justice, grief and loss, interpersonal violence, complex trauma, crisis intervention, mental health, communications, and developing work cultures and systems that support thriving professionals and teams. Brandt obtained her PhD in Social Work from The Ohio State University, is a certified crisis worker through the American Association of Suicidology, QPR certified suicide prevention educator, and certified anti-oppression informed practitioner through the National Association of Social Workers. She currently serves as the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Director of Wellbeing Initiatives where she co-developed AVMA’s Workplace Wellbeing Certificate and Wellbeing Educator Train-the-Trainer Programs. Brandt co-founded The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine’s Honoring the Bond Program, one of the first in the nation aimed at recognizing and honoring the human-animal bond by providing culturally sensitive support and resources to animal owners and animal care professionals. She has worked as a senior trainer for the Institute for Healthcare Communication since 2004 and currently serves on their board of directors.  Brandt is owned by 4 cats, Sammich, Hammie, Squatch, and Fozzi.

Rhonda Bell


September 17, 2022

  • Gaslighting: Are you burning your practice culture to the ground?

  • What the #$?! Is my manager thinking?

Rhonda has spent the majority of her adult life following her Marine husband from duty station to duty station, all the while collecting pets wherever she went. Despite the nomadic lifestyle, she was able to turn her love of animals into a career as she began working as a Veterinary Assistant, and not long thereafter, as a Veterinary Practice Manager. Discovering veterinary medicine as a career field was the perfect fit but becoming a professional veterinary manager was the game-changer. It was the perfect storm of passion, problem-solving, pets, and people, and she never looked back. Fifteen years flew by before she knew it!

Rhonda graduated with a business management degree from Western International University in 2006 and earned her Certified Veterinary Practice Management certification in 2015 followed later by her Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional certification in 2020 and a Certified Digital Marketing Professional in 2021. A life-long learner, she has also completed a certification as a Master Life Coach and incorporates personal and professional career coaching into her consulting business. She completed the Human-Animal Bond Certification program and is already working on a new learning experience!

She left full-time practice management after an auto-immune disease diagnosis and began to pursue her dream of combining her three loves; People, Pets, and Practice Building. She created Dog Days Consulting and it is forming into a successful social media management and professional branding consulting business. She has a variety of clients, but the majority are small animal practices looking to increase their online presence and engage with their clients on social media. She helps them identify what they want to accomplish for themselves, their businesses, and their online audiences.

Melissa Tompkins


September 17, 2022

  • Are you creating your own drama?

  • Toxicity in the workplace

Melissa started working in the veterinary field in 2003 starting out as a tech assistant/receptionist. She worked her way up to become a practice manager in 2005 and she never looked back. She has worked in general practice (Feline only), specialty, and emergency. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Animal Science from Cal Poly Pomona in 2005, became a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager in 2011. In 2020 she earned her PHRca certification & also became a Certified Compassion Fatigue Professional. She has helped multiple veterinary professionals deal with burnout and compassion fatigue. She owns her own management consulting business; South Coast Veterinary Management Solutions so she can help multiple hospitals with training and other business needs.

In 2018 she was the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association’s Paraprofessional of the year and in 2015 she was a nominated for DVM360’s Practice Manager of the Year.

She is a published author of multiple articles in DVM360.com, Veterinary Practice News, Veterinary Team Brief, Firstline Magazine, Veterinary Economics, and VPN+. She has also been a speaker at several annual conferences and symposiums including VHMA’S management exchange, CVS’s Veterinary Forum, Oklahoma’s Annual Conference, ASEC’s Conference, AAFP National Conference, The Vet Show and multiple local or virtual symposiums. In 2016 She also helped train veterinarians on how to create a feline friendly practice through AVSG’s annual wet lab.

Melissa is highly active within the local veterinary community co-founding the North Orange County Veterinary Hospital manager group and the SoCal Veterinary Manager’s Network and is on the Board of Trustees for the SCVMA. She loves helping other managers and team members grow within the veterinary profession.

She spends her free time running or walking in 5k’s & half marathons. She also spends time with her friends and family. She shares her home with her husband, stepson, and their furry babies.

Rebecca Rose


September 24, 2022

  • 5 Functions of a Team: Create and Maintain a Healthy Work Environment Workshop

Rebecca Rose, CVT, certified career coach, has a diverse background in the veterinary community as a credential team member and leader. She has worked in and managed veterinary clinics, collaborates with industry partners, authors articles and books, and facilitates engaging team workshops.  Rose’s enthusiasm for professional development in veterinary medicine is contagious, as she encourages and supports veterinary teams in reaching their highest potential. She believes there are ample opportunities in veterinary medicine to build and maintain a healthy, sustainable life and career. Her most current role includes Outreach Specialist and Manager within Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice. 




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