Staff

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Christine Shupe, CAE

Executive Director

Christine Shupe, CAE

Christine graduated from the State University of New York College at Oswego with a Bachelor of Arts degree, major in Political Science. Christine started her career as an administrative assistant for the lobbying firm of Shea and Gould in Albany, NY. Christine continued her career at the New York State Legislature as the Legislative Aid to Assemblywoman Frances T. Sullivan. Christine joined the association management firm of Capitol Hill Management Services where she first started serving as the Executive Director to the VHMA in 1998. In 2003, Christine earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation awarded by the American Society of Association Executives. In 2003 Christine started her own association management company CQS Management Service, LLC. Christine has served as the Executive Director to the VHMA since 1998. As the Executive Director Christine serves as the chief executive of the Association, having responsibly for the active management of the affairs of the Association.

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Peggy O'Brien, MS, SPHR, CMP

Learning and Development Manager

Peggy O'Brien, MS, SPHR, CMP

Peggy started O’Brien Planning and Consulting practice after over twenty-five years of leading a learning and development function at a contract research organization. Peggy has helped organizations assess their training needs as well as designed, developed, delivered and evaluated learning solutions (meetings, conferences, and on-the-job). Peggy has a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education and a Masters degree in Continuing and Vocational Education from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She completed an Associate Degree in Meeting and Event Management and earned her Certified Meeting Planner (CMP) certification in 2014. Peggy joined the VHMA staff in 2014 and provides oversight for the development of the association's educational programming.

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Lori Lang, CB, Certified QB Proadvisor

Membership Coordinator/Bookkeeper

Lori Lang, CB, Certified QB Proadvisor

Lori Lang established Accurate Bookkeeping Services in 2003 after many years of working as a bookkeeper/legal assistant. She provides bookkeeping services for many local businesses and also offers consulting services as a certified QB ProAdvisor. She joined the VHMA staff in 2006 as a bookkeeper and eventually took on the position of Membership Coordinator.

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Gerard Gervasi

Director of Strategic Partnerships

Gerard Gervasi

Gerard graduated with a Bachelor of Science from Christian Brothers University in Business Management and Marketing and has earned the Certified Manager designation. In 1985 he received a Wildlife Restoration Certificate of Education from Mississippi Department of Wildlife, Fisheries, and Parks and assists that division with wildlife management projects. Gerard had a 14 year career in the management consulting and training field before he had the “calling” to the veterinary profession. For the past 19 years he has served as the Hospital Administrator and co-owner for Collierville Animal Clinic, P.C.

Gerard has served the VHMA in various positions since becoming a member including: State Representative for Tennessee (2000-2002), Area Director in (2002-2003), Treasurer (2003-2005 and 2013), Vice-President (2005-2009), and Interim-President (2009), President (2010-2012), Past-President (2012-2014). He also served as Chairman of the Industry Liaison Committee. Gerard has served as the Director of Strategic Partnerships since 2014. Gerard facilitates and supports relationships between the VHMA and industry vendors and organizations that support that association's mission.

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Leza Raffel

Marketing and Public Relations Director

Leza Raffel

A graduate of Ithaca College with a Bachelor of Science from the School of Communications, Leza founded the Communication Solutions Group in 1991. Her full-service marketing and public relations firm has supported VHMA since 2010. For VHMA, Leza specializes in overseeing the development and implementation of membership recruitment plans, marketing programs to promote the association's products and services, and public relations coordination and outreach.

Allison Burke

Allison Burke, CAE

Membership Manager

Allison Burke, CAE

Allison Burke joined VHMA as Membership Manager in May 2020. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and brings over seven years of experience in the association management field.

Before joining VHMA, she served as Marketing and Membership Manager of SAFE-BioPharma Association. As a seasoned association membership professional, she has previously held positions across a wide variety of industries.

When away from the office, Allison volunteers with her local Junior League, where she has held several fundraising leadership positions and sits on the Advisory Committee for the Bryan-College Station CDBG funding allocation.

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Kelli Albarado, CAE, CMP

Director of Business Development

Kelli Albarado, CMP

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Kelli started her professional career at the age of 17 at a local television station, KABB-TV. Over the next thirty years, Kelli’s work focused on marketing, operations management, and business development. Kelli worked for several professional organizations, including the National Skeet Shooting Association, the San Antonio Spurs, and, most recently, the Veterinary Emergency & Critical Care Society (VECCS). During her 14 years at VECCS, she developed a deep appreciation for the veterinary world and its constituents. Her role as Director of Operations at VECCS gave her broad experience in all areas of non-profit association management.

Kelli earned her Certified Meeting Professional certification in 2014. From 2014 to 2016, she completed several certificates programs, including the Advanced Professional Development Certificate and Association Management Certificate from the American Society of Association Executives and the Executive Association Management Certificate from the University of Texas at Austin.

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Susan Savage, CVT, CVPM, MBA, PHR

CVPM Candidate Liaison

Susan Savage, CVT, CVPM, MBA, PHR

A graduate of North Central University with a Master’s in Business Administration with a specialization in Human Resources, Susan is currently elevating her education by pursing a Doctorate in Business Administration continuing with a Human Resources specialization. She has worked in the veterinary community for over 30 years starting as a certified veterinary technician and eventually pursuing a career in practice management where she applied her knowledge while working as Practice Manager for Clermont Animal Hospital for 20 years. She received her CVPM designation in 2004, as well as her PHR designation in 2013. She has been an active member of VHMA volunteering for the membership committee and serving on the Board of Directors for almost 10 years. She currently is continuing the dream of serving the veterinary community by serving as the Candidate Liaison to the Certified Veterinary Practice Manager program. Susan joined the VHMA staff in 2017.

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Cathrine Hackney

Community Manager

Cathrine Hackney

Catherine holds a BA in English literature from Colorado State University and previously worked for Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) as the coordinator for state chapters and the online member community. She has proven expertise of the Higher Logic community platform and has been a recipient of the Higher Logic MVP award in 2016, 2017, and 2018. Catherine is an experienced online community manager with a history of working in the nonprofit industry. She finds being a part of the nonprofit industry to be very rewarding and enjoys connecting with members and working together to create a great member experience.