Meet the Keynote Speaker
Living the Inspired Life
Amma Jo is a Harrisburg local who has dreamed up a life where she can be fueled by her passions. She is a singer, designer, author and speaker. She brings her high energy and positive outlook to the stage for her keynote talks. Her mission is simple… to inspire people to live their dreams, push past their fears and discover their life’s missions.
Dr. Paul DeMars
Dr. Robert DuFort
Dr. DuFort received his DVM from the University of California, Davis, in 1980. He completed internships in small-animal medicine and surgery at Sacramento Animal Medical, followed by a small-animal internal medicine residency at Cornell University and residencies in clinical pathology, microbiology, and pathology at University of California, Davis. He is currently a senior internal medicine consultant with IDEXX.
Dr. Kristin Jacob
Dr. Jacob is a partner and cardiologist with CVCA Cardiac Care for Pets - the largest veterinary cardiology practice worldwide. She taught at the university level for several years, where she received an award for revising the cardiology curriculum. Dr. Jacob also has collaborative publications in veterinary cardiology mainly focusing on feline arterial thromboembolism. Dr. Jacob received her undergraduate and veterinary degrees at Cornell University and pursued her internship and residency at The Animal Medical Center, where she received an award for her resident research project. She is active in the Maryland VMA and in ACVIM.
Dr. Elizabeth Lutz
Dr. Jay McDonnell
After earning his veterinary (DVM) and master’s (MS) degree from the University of Missouri, Dr. McDonnell spent four years in general practice in Missouri and Oregon. Knowing he wanted to do more, he undertook a three-year neurology-neurosurgery residency at Tufts University in Massachusetts, and in 1998 was board-certified in neurology by the American College of Veterinary Medicine. Since then, Dr. McDonnell has been on a dual path of academia and private practice, first joining the faculty of the University of Georgia where he taught in the hospital and classroom. From 2000 to 2004, he was chief of neurology-neurosurgery at Tufts University. There, he helped established the in-house magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) suite, a brain surgery unit, and minimally-invasive CT-guided biopsy program.
Since moving to Maryland, Dr. McDonnell has become well-known for his work in the definitive treatment of brain tumors and spinal cord tumors, foramen magnum decompression/dorsal laminectomies, Wobbler’s disease, and the use of pituitary surgery to treat canine Cushing’s disease. In 2009, he founded Veterinary Neurology of the Chesapeake. Four years later, seeing the need for veterinary MRIs, he opened Veterinary Imaging of the Chesapeake. Today, both units are joined as one organization, VNIoC, to bring forth the most advanced neurology, advanced imaging and neurosurgical treatment in the region.
Teaching continues to be important to Dr. McDonnell. Believing that a balance of the academia and private practice enables him to keep at the forefront of veterinary neurology, he is an assistant clinical professor at Tufts University and a consultant in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. McDonnell has lectured nationally, internationally, and regionally, and has published more than 20 journal articles, reviews, and book chapters. He is a founding member of the Veterinary Neurosurgery Society, and the exhibit coordinator for its biennial symposium.
Dr. McDonnell and his wife, Leigh, who is Vice President of Animal Health and Welfare at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, have a very precocious Hound/Labrador Cross named Drake.
Dr. Michael Nappier
Dr. Sheilah Robertson
Dr. Sheilah Robertson graduated from the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Following time in private practice and an internship she undertook specialized training in anesthesia and completed her PhD at the University of Bristol. She is board certified in anesthesia and in animal welfare by the respective American and European Colleges and holds a certificate in small animal acupuncture. In 2019 she received her certification as a Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine Palliative and End-of-Life practitioner by the Chi Institute of Chinese Medicine. Currently she is the senior medical director of Lap of Love Veterinary Hospice, a large network of veterinarians dedicated to end-of-life care and in-home euthanasia throughout the USA. Dr Robertson is also a courtesy Professor in the Department of Small Animal Clinical Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.
Dr. Rebecca Syring
Rebecca Syring, DVM, DACCECC (Diplomate of the American College Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care) graduated Michigan State University (1996) and completed a one-year rotating internship (1997) and one-year emergency fellowship (1998) at the University of Pennsylvania. She then completed a three-year residency in emergency and critical at the University of Pennsylvania (2001) and passed the ACVECC credentialing exam for board-certification in emergency and critical care (2001). Dr. Syring has been employed as an assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania (2001-2011) and is currently a critical care specialist at VSEC (2011-present). She currently serves as a medical director at VSEC while continuing to see patients through the emergency service and ICU. She has published multiple scientific papers, book chapters and lectured both locally, nationally and internationally on topics pertinent to emergency and critical care practice.
Dr. Ashley Olds-Sanchez
Ashleigh Olds-Sanchez is the owner of Galisteo Basin Veterinary Services, an equine practice focusing on Equine Sports Medicine, Lameness, Dentistry and Surgery based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Previously, Dr. Sanchez founded Aspen Creek Veterinary Hospital in Conifer, Colorado, which she grew over 12 years to a very successful 6-veterinarian, progressive mixed-animal practice before selling it to allow her to better pursue her passions of teaching and focusing on equine sports medicine.
Dr. Sanchez completed her undergraduate studies in Equine Science at Colorado State University before achieving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from U.C. Davis. She then completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana before beginning her career in private practice. Dr. Sanchez completed the rigorous process of board certification in Equine Practice through the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners in 2013 and has been serving on various committees of the ABVP since then.
Dr. Sanchez has been published in JAVMA several times and has presented at ACVS and numerous VMA and other RACE approved conferences. She very much enjoys speaking and teaching as one of her passions for veterinary medicine.
While horses are her ultimate obsession, Dr. Sanchez does enjoy working with and can be found wrangling many species including pot bellied pigs, goats, llamas, alpacas, as well as dogs and cats. She loves surgery, dentistry, and critical care, so if something needs cut, poked, sewed up, or is trying to die, Dr. Sanchez doesn’t care what species it is – she will jump right in!
Dr. Amy Polkes
Dr. M. Scott Echols
Dr. Tracy Farone
Ms. Heather Romano
Ms. Rebecca Rose
Rebecca’s career in the veterinary community is quite diverse. She has worked as a veterinary technician at a mixed animal practice, offered veterinary technician relief services throughout the state of Colorado, and was the first paid administrator to the Colorado Association of Certified Veterinary Technicians (CACVT). In addition, she managed two AAHA-accredited veterinary practices.
Rebecca has co-authored books related to career choices for veterinary technicians. Her writings can be found in several training books and veterinary related magazines. She facilitates customized workshops at local, state, national and international venues. She hosts online programs with her CATALYST VetPC Team geared towards practice prosperity, team development, and wellbeing. Finally, through Rebecca’s coaching and insight, veterinary managers and other team members can increase their understanding in areas specifically affecting them.
Rebecca’s background includes industry council experience and extensive association participation including president of both the CACVT and the National Association of Veterinary Technicians in America (NAVTA). She has won two awards from the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA): Technician of the Year & Industry Partner of the Year.
You will see Rebecca finds great joy in assisting veterinary teams in reaching their highest potential in order to THRIVE!
Veterinary Technology Tracks
Ms. Erica Mattox
Erica is a Clinical Manager at WestVet Animal Emergency and Specialty Hospital in Boise Idaho. Erica passed her VTS exam in 2009 to become one of the first VTS (ECC) in Idaho. She served as the president of the Idaho Society of Veterinary Technicians and Assistants for ten years. She is very passionate about anesthesia, emergency medicine, feline medicine, and the profession of Veterinary Technology in general. When not working, teaching, or arranging continuing education she enjoys anything outdoors and her two children Sean and Alexandra.
Ms. Rachel Poulin
Ms. Courtney Waxman
Courtney Waxman, CVT, RVT, VTS (ECC) is originally from Arizona and found her passion for emergency and critical care medicine after completing an internship during her technician schooling. She has spent over 12 years working in private emergency/specialty practice, and her areas of special interest include CPR, mechanical ventilation, one-on-one case management, critical care nursing, critical thinking, and technician training. Courtney currently works as an Instructional Technologist for Purdue University’s Veterinary Nursing Distance-Learning Program and in the Veterinary Teaching Hospital’s emergency and ICU departments.
In addition to Purdue, she is the NAVTA District-6-Representative, the President-Elect for the Indiana Veterinary Technician Association, on the Veterinary Nurse Initiative advisory-team, a speaker on ECC topics at the national/international level and has been published in several veterinary technician/nursing journals.
Off duty, she enjoys world travel with her husband, reading, yoga, and spoiling her two dogs, Biggs and Ollie.