VMAE Awards Program

Each year VMAE recognizes the outstanding accomplishments of our members and the work they do on behalf of their associations during our Annual Summer Conference. Awards are presented for the following categories:

  • Executive of the Year
  • Best in Business
  • Distinguished Service

The 2022 awards were presented at the VMAE Annual Awards Luncheon on July 29 during the AVMA Convention in Philadelphia, PA.

2022 Executive of the Year
Heather O’Steen, CAE
American Association of Feline Practitioners

The 2022 Executive of the Year was presented to Heather O’Steen, American Association of Feline Practitioners. VMAE is pleased to loudly recognize Heather as this year’s Veterinary Medical Association Executive of the Year. Some of Heather’s highlights include:

  • A 234% growth in membership over the last ten years by implementing membership growth strategies, creating new programs to meet needs, and creating return on investment for membership dues.
  • Also, during her tenure, attendance at the annual convention has increased nearly 500%. They adapted quite well during the pandemic with a very successful virtual convention and trade show, and have built on that success to develop a very robust catalogue of online learning offerings.
  • She has successfully created many industry and organizational partnerships.
  • Created a successful brand awareness policy that extended her association’s reach to become a go-to resource in the industry when it comes to feline health and welfare.
  • She’s initiated research partnerships, as well as been instrumental in the development of educational tools for her members to use with pet owners.
  • Just celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Cat Friendly Practice program and recently launched the Cat Friendly certification program. A program that won an ASAE Gold Circle Award and our own Best in the Business award in 2021.
  • Grown the staff size from ¾ of one employee to 16 who work either full or part-time.
  • As an AMC, she also provides executive oversight to ten other associations.

And with all that, she’s a mom of two and still finds time to be a girl scout leader. Congratulations Heather!

2022 Distinguished Service
Susan Blevins
Georgia VMA

Susan Blevins, Georgia VMA, has been a VMAE member since joining the Georgia VMA in 2014. She joined the VMAE Board of Directors in 2018 and served as a Director and President. Her leadership skills, as well as her insight has provided distinguished guidance for the board and VMAE.

2022 Best in Business – Under $750k Annual Budget
Registered Technologists and Technicians of Canada
RVT Career Navigator

A key accelerant in advancing RVTTC’s mission has been the creation of the RVT Career Navigator, a career planning and advancement website for the Registered Veterinary Technologist and Technician profession. The RVT Career Navigator, launched December 17, 2021, as a resource to identify the amazing diversity of the RVT profession with a goal to increase retention. This RVT tool is a dedicated career planning and advancement website to support and empower Registered Veterinary Technologists and Technicians and to position the profession as a career with limitless opportunities. The RVT Career Navigator is a national, bilingual, and interactive website where RVTs can investigate, explore, personalize, and create their own career pathway based on their skills, experience, education, interests, and professional goals.

They were able to successfully obtain funding from both the Government of Canada as well as Ontario for around $120k to help build the site. The RVT Career Navigator encompasses the following sections:

  • Who are RVTs?
  • Want to become an RVT?
  • Career paths
  • Chart your career
  • Tools & resources
  • Join a discussion
  • Mentorship
  • FAQs

By supporting these RVTs and becoming a valuable resource to unite the veterinary technology profession, the RVTTC facilitates positive change for RVTs all across Canada, which, ultimately improves the lives of the patients they care for.

2022 Best in Business – Over $750k Annual Budget
Texas VMA
Advocacy for Rural Veterinarian Incentive Program

Texas VMA’s advocacy program was successful in getting the Rural Veterinarian Incentive Program (RVIP) launched. The RVIP is a loan repayment program for veterinarians who commit to practice in underserved areas of the state. The Texas VMA was successful in getting four veterinarians elected to the Texas House, and, with their help, this newly cultivated veterinary caucus was able to secure a million dollars in funding for this program at a time when few other initiatives were being considered. Texas VMA is currently working with the Texas Animal Health Commission to draft rules for the program, which hopes to begin selecting loan repayment recipients as early as next year. It is believed that this will have a positive animal welfare impact in 189 counties (out of 254) that are considered rural.