Annual Conference Speakers
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Joseph Axne

Joseph started IT-Guru to assist small and medium businesses in Denver Metro with their IT support needs in 2003.  IT-Guru focuses on providing clients with a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Solution assuring the business owner’s Intellectual Property is protected against the consistent threats that exist within any technical environment.

Joseph is extremely active in the IT Management community. He attends related trade shows and conferences to assure his business stays up on the latest technology trends and solutions. He was the past president of the local Microsoft Small Business Server User Group training local consultants in Denver on “Best Practices” around IT Management and systems maintenance.

Joseph is also an active member of VetPartners a national group of trusted veterinary consultants and advisors.


Byron Farquer, DVM, CVA

Byron S. Farquer, DVM is a Boettcher Scholar, and graduated from Colorado State University with honors in 1991 possessing both a BS and Doctorate Degree.His portfolio of experience includes veterinary hospital ownership, advanced business, real estate, and brand marketing education, as well as certification in business appraisals. He is a recognized expert in ownership transition, practice management and valuation. He is a frequent national lecturer and published author. His topics include business development and structuring, practice financial analysis and profitability, professional image, ownership transition, and strategic business planning including mergers and alternative exit strategies. Currently Dr. Farquer owns two Simmons & Associates practice appraisal and brokerage firms located in Nevada and California, and serves on a number of industry advisory boards. He is the founder of a practice management educational company SmartStart Practice, LLC in Portland, OR that improves profit performance for small business owners. He holds the Certified Valuation Analyst (CVA), certification by NACVA. The only business valuation credential accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).


Bash Halow, CVPM, LVT

Bash is a graduate of the College of William and Mary, a Certified Veterinary Practice Manager and a Licensed Veterinary Technician.  As a partner with Halow Tassava Consulting and a veteran practice manager with more than 16 years of experience, Mr. Halow has helped dozens of veterinary hospitals understand how to build stronger teams and responsibly and ethically grow their businesses.  He is a frequent contributor to Veterinary Economics and DVM 360 and is a member of the editorial advisory board for Firstline Veterinary Management Magazine.


Jennifer Hock, M.S.S.L., DEL

Jennifer Hock, DEL works for Patterson Veterinary as a Leader Development Specialist and teaches the PVU Executive series (both small animal and equine). In addition, Jennifer speaks nationally and internationally on the topics of veterinary practice management and leadership. She has 16 years of veterinary practice management experience with an overall 20+ years in the industry. Jennifer’s experience and strengths are operational streamlining, change management and leader and leadership development. Additionally, she has consulted with many practices and veterinarians over the course of her career. Jennifer holds a B.S. degree in Organizational Leadership, a M.S. degree in Strategic Leadership and a Doctorate in Executive Leadership (DEL). Jennifer resides in Cañon City, CO with her husband Roy and her golden retriever, Dolly.


Jennifer Raphael Komsky, Esq. 

Jennifer Raphael Komsky earned her B.S. in 1994 from the University of California, Santa Barbara and earned her J.D. degree in 1997 at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. She was admitted to the State Bar in 1997. Current memberships include the State Bar of California and the Los Angeles County Bar Association.

Prior to specializing in employment law, Jennifer practiced in the areas of medical malpractice defense and business litigation. She has focused on employment law exclusively for over 15 years, defending employers in all phases of litigation before State and Federal Courts and administrative agencies. Jennifer regularly counsels human resource professionals and business owners, providing ongoing advice and guidance on company policies and personnel matters as well as conducting employee trainings. Jennifer's clients include small and family-run businesses up to nationwide and global corporations. No matter the size of the business, Jennifer's approach remains the same: determine the needs of the client early on and design the best strategy accordingly.


Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD

Dr. Lacroix owns and manages Veterinary Business Advisors, Inc., a national consulting firm, which advises veterinarians and attorneys on veterinary business and legal issues, with a focus on veterinary business transactions and human resources. With over 20 years of experience in the veterinary industry, she is a skilled negotiator and business strategist. She assists her clients in determining the relevant and important business aspects of a diverse array of situations. Dr. Lacroix lectures extensively nationwide and overseas, and is a frequent speaker at AVMA, NAVC, WVC, VSIPP and other veterinary association and industry meetings and seminars.

Monica Maxwell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP

Monica is the Chief Human Resources Officer at DoveLewis Emergency Animal Hospital, a nonprofit 24-hour emergency and intensive care animal hospital in Portland, Oregon. Monica graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Science in psychology, and she has nearly 15 years of experience at both for-profit and nonprofit organizations. She shares her expertise with other veterinary practices through and through in-person lectures throughout the United States. Her specialties include conflict management and leadership development.



Andreas has over 20 years of combined veterinary and human health care administration experience. He currently works with Burzenski & Company as a Veterinary Consultant, and was formerly the Hospital Administrator for the Valley Cottage Animal Hospital, a role in which he was strongly focused on Finance, Information Technology and Human Resources. His background also includes managing another veterinary hospital and extensive experience both in human hospital administration and various emergency medical services positions. Additionally, he is very proud to be a Management Instructor for Patterson Veterinary University’s Practice Management Series, and enjoys helping other managers to work through their operational challenges.
In 2001, Andreas earned a Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Healthcare Administration. He also earned a Certificate of Advanced Studies in Gerontology in 2003, and a Master’s in Business Administration with a Finance concentration in 2005. In 2008 Andreas earn the Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification credential and achieved Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) certification in 2010. He added the SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) designation in 2015.
His passion for excellence in client care and operational efficiency has inspired him to share his years of hard-learned lessons with others in the veterinary community. National publications such as AAHA Trends Magazine and DVM360 have featured his insight and perspective. As an active member of the VHMA, served on the Program Committee and has served on the CVPM Board since 2013.


Julie Poncier, CVT, CVPM, PHR, SHRM-CP

Julie Poncier is a management consultant with twenty years of experience working in veterinary hospitals.  Prior to consulting, Julie spent eight years as Hospital Administrator at a ten-doctor practice which, provided general, 24 hour emergency, and specialty services.  

Julie has also worked with a veterinary-specific accounting firm impacting change in over 20 practices by teaching managers and owners how to understand and utilize their financial statements to impact profitability, increase practice value, and improve organizational health.  Julie has spoken at local, state and national conferences about her specific areas of expertise, which include financial management and key performance indicators, inventory management, organizational development, communication strategies, conflict mediation, employee engagement and retention, performance management, employment law, manager/owner relationships, and Manager “Moxie” skills for new managers.  Also trained as a mediator, Julie can facilitate discussions that diffuse conflict in the workplace and create a healthy and productive culture of trust and accountability.

Jan Spence

Jan Horton Spence is an international speaker, consultant, trainer and business coach. With contagious charisma and a zest for life which make her an excellent motivator and leader, the Georgia native has used her vast knowledge in sales, marketing, communications, finances and business operations to help numerous clients including Pillsbury, Walmart, and Frito-Lay.


Jan and her husband, Mitch, launched the second FiltaFry franchise in the U.S. in 2003.  As CEO, Jan built such a successful operation that they were awarded the “2005 Franchisee of the Year” by the International Franchise Association.  Meeting their four-year plan, they sold the business in 2007 at 300% ROI.  Since then, Jan has circled the globe as a trainer, consultant and speaker for franchisees, organizations and companies.


Jan serves on the boards of Association of Talent Development – Northeast Florida and Compass Finances God’s Way – Florida. She serves on committees with the local Meeting Professionals International chapter and is active in her home church of Beach United Methodist in Jacksonville, Florida.  She and her husband of fifteen years enjoy traveling the world when not at home attending Jaguars football games and cultural events.


Lori Teller, DVM
Dr. Teller is a graduate of Texas A & M University and a board-certified diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in Canine and Feline Practice. She has worked at Meyerland Animal Clinic in some capacity since she was 12 years old, and she's been there as a veterinarian ever since graduating from veterinary school. She has special interests in internal medicine cases, particularly those regarding GI diseases and autoimmune problems. She also greatly enjoys cytology as a diagnostic tool for lumps and bumps and working with senior animals to alleviate pain as they age. Dr. Teller has been very involved in the veterinary profession and is a Past-president of both the Harris County and Texas Veterinary Medical Associations and was a recipient of the TVMA's Recent Graduate of the Year Award as well as the President’s Award in 2007 and 2009. She has served on several committees and task forces for the American Veterinary Medical Association, including the Animal Welfare Committee. She currently serves on the AVMA Board of Directors. In addition, she is a Trustee for the TVMA’s VPAC and helps to raise awareness and funds for political causes important to veterinary medicine. Dr. Teller is also the Chair of the Board of Certification for the American Society of Veterinary Journalists and a founding Board member of the Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative.  She was named one of 14 Veterinarians to Watch in 2014 by Veterinary Practice News, and she has a monthly radio spot on Houston’s public radio station where she highlights the importance of veterinary care for dogs and cats. She serves as a mentor to many veterinary students, recent graduates, and young leaders helping them navigate the complicated world of veterinary medicine and life beyond the boundaries of work.


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