Gallery: The top 10 2015 Practice Manager of the Year nominees

Gallery: The top 10 2015 Practice Manager of the Year nominees

The final winner of the Veterinary Economics contest, sponsored by VPI-Nationwide, will be announced at CVC Kansas City in August. For now, come see the contenders ...
Jun 09, 2015

The few.

The proud.

They're the top 10 finalists in the 2015 Veterinary Economics Practice Manager of the Year contest, sponsored by VPI-Nationwide.

Flip through the following pages to see who made the first cut and some of their inspiring ideas, and then try to guess whom judges will pick as the big winner. And please join us at CVC Kansas City Aug. 28 to 31 for a very special reception revealing this year’s Practice Manager of the Year.

For more about past nominees, last year's Practice Manager of the Year and stories in the next few weeks from these nominees, head to

Heather Blount, CVPM
Atlantic Animal Hospital and Pet Care Resort
Wilmington, North Carolina

“[Heather is] great at finding the balance between being respected, firm and responsible, but also friendly and approachable to staff and clients. She is constantly working to make sure our practice provides the best veterinary care and service to our clients.” — nomination

“In print and online publications, newsletters and message boards, I read about others going through some of the same troubles and, even if their advice is something I’ve tried, it’s nice to hear others have the same problems. I have been known to return from meetings with new team-building exercises and bulletin board quotes, but my favorite is to return knowing that we already do what’s being taught. Then I can a ‘pat on the back’ to my team because we’re ahead of the curve and on track.”

Veronica “Ronnie” Hanley
Ventana Animal Hospital
Tucson, Arizona

“Ronnie juggles three jobs at once as manager, receptionist and IT woman. Since she’s been in charge of marketing, new-client numbers are up and our word-of-mouth has been huge. Ronnie also helped create a partnership with the local humane society.” — nomination

“[Seeing competitors changing their vaccine protocols,] I created a report to show what revenue would be lost by switching from annual to three-year vaccines and adding heartworm and Ehrlichia testing as recommended by the local VMA. [We offset lost revenue] by capitalizing on the opportunity to offer surgeries to clients who don’t want to travel to a specialist. Our heartworm and Ehrlichia testing has been well-received by clients, and our number of surgeries has increased by more than 7 percent.”

Katie Hill, CVT, CVPM
Newberry Animal Hospital
Gainesville, Florida

“Katie is our super-charged CVPM who began over 10 years ago as a CVT. She supports the doctors as they provide the highest-quality patient and client care and translates that to how she takes care of her staff. And, in the little spare time she has, she runs our pet adoption program.” — nomination

“Our four locations have three amazing office managers. They are responsible for walking around their clinics and checking in with each department. We’ve identified issues at clinics well before they become problems. The most important things is that employees feel their voices are being heard.”

Jennifer Inbody, CVPM, PHR
Alliance Animal Health Center and Animal Hospital of Park Glen
Fort Worth, Texas

“Jennifer has not only grown both of our hospitals, but also encouraged and grown her coworkers. She improved our level of care with weekly staff meetings, helped us remodel a hospital, helped us get AAHA accreditation and started wellness plans.” — nomination

“Looking at the industry trend of a declining patient visits, I decided to introduce wellness plans. I used resources from the Internet as well as VPI-Nationwide’s PAWS (Preventive & Wellness Services). I asked for input from team members and pet owners. I then presented the plan to the practice owners. We launched the plans last year and have been very pleased with the results thus far.”

Jessica Manning, CVPM
Village Animal Hospital
Lexington, Kentucky

“I’m always learning. I attend annual conferences and local CE events. I watch webinars and read articles. I bounce ideas back and forth with colleagues. I’m also involved in the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association’s Emerging Leaders program.”

“When I started as manager at 23 years old, I had staff members older and with more experience in the veterinary industry than myself. I started by learning what motivated and encouraged each team member. I took an individualized approach and created an atmosphere of two-way communication. I’ve seen lower staff turnover than ever before.”

Dawn Rosch
Barrington Animal Hospital
Barrington, Illinois

“Dawn’s work reenergized the staff and resulted in a 40 percent increase in new clients over six months compared to last year. Her management abilities are beyond anyone’s expectations.” — nomination

“I started a new referral program with incentives for clients and employees. The 50-50-50 program offers a new client 50 percent off their first visit and a $50 credit to their account. In addition, the referring client or employee who hands out the referral card also receives $50. The staff learned that exceptional customer service leads to rewards for them both monetarily and in job satisfaction.”

Cheryl Sanchez, MBA
Miller Clark Animal Hospital
Mamaroneck, New York

“She loves her job and makes sure everyone here knows how happy she is to be here. She tries to get the team to love their jobs, too.” — nomination

“I started scheduling frequent lunch-and-learns for the staff. [The most recent] was for heartworm, flea and tick prevention. We looked at signs in dogs and cats, and products we can recommend for our patients. It was a fun, relaxed atmosphere. We talked about our current numbers (how many of our patients leave with the products) and set goals—with possible prizes—to increase the numbers. I coordinated flyers and marketing materials to post in the practice and on social. And we’re tracking both individual and team numbers.”

Julie Steinbeck
New Haven Veterinary Clinic
New Haven, Missouri

“Not only is Julie a great practice manager, but she started her position as an excellent dog trainer and skilled groomer. Julie has worked hard to create a cohesive team by delegating more responsibilities to team members and empowering them to excel.” — nomination

“Taking over as manager wasn’t an easy decision. At the time I was working part-time and raising my family, but I was up for the challenge. I spoke to employees about their jobs—what they’d change and what they thought they did best and would most benefit the hospital. I was able to increase wages, create a 401(k) and foster an environment where coworkers don’t gossip.”

Wesley Taylor
Mercy Animal Hospital and Mercy West Spay & Neuter Clinic
Gardendale, Alabama

“Wesley spearheaded the process of opening a second practice (an affordable spay/neuter clinic). He also created The Mercy Project, which educates people in economically depressed areas about pet population control as well as affordable and sometimes free options to help alter and vaccinate their pets.” — nomination

“The more we work ‘outside our walls,’ the more successful we are ‘inside the walls.’ Over the past three years we increased revenue by over 25 percent. We continue to welcome over 130 new clients each month. Our clients are excited to say, ‘I saw your booth at the festival!’ or ‘I saw your Spay Day information and that is wonderful!’ Staff members have a new sense of pride, [knowing] they’re a part of a business that maintains focus on the public.”

Melissa Tompkins, CVPM
The Cat Care Clinic
Orange, California

“She’s always so focused, determined and motivational. She helps the clinic grow and helps team members to grow themselves. I can’t imagine a functioning clinic without her.” — nomination

“After discussing with the practice owner and the other managers, I assigned a technician and assistant to each doctor. We started assigning appointment times for technician appointments and asked assistants to load the exam rooms instead of receptionists. We now have better communication between the front and the treatment area because receptionists can direct their questions to anyone on the doctor’s team.”