Are you ready to reach new heights in interpersonal effectiveness, leadership, communication, wellbeing, conflict management, and inclusive workplaces? Look no further! Introducing VMA Inspire, VMAE’s exclusive six-week program designed specifically for staff members of veterinary medical associations!

This new VMAE offering is designed for current VMA staff level members. While we may extend VMA Inspire to Chief Staff Executives of VMAs in the future, we focus on team members in this inaugural year. Highlights:

  • Transformative Learning Experience: Led by industry-leading experts, our comprehensive course delves into the core pillars of success for your team. From mastering effective leadership strategies to fostering a culture of open communication, your staff will gain the skills and insights needed to excel in today’s dynamic veterinary association landscape.
  • Stay Ahead with Association Trends: Equip your team with the latest industry insights! Our program doesn’t just stop at personal development; it also covers cutting-edge association trends. Keep your organization at the forefront by staying informed about the latest developments and best practices.
  • Boost Employee Wellbeing: A healthy team is a high-performing team! Our program places a strong emphasis on personal wellbeing, ensuring that your staff remains resilient, focused, and motivated. Happy and fulfilled employees contribute to a positive work environment and increased productivity.
  • Network and Learn Together: In addition to invaluable skills, participants will connect with peers, fostering a sense of community and providing a platform for collaborative learning. Networking opportunities abound as your team forms lasting connections with colleagues.
  • Diversity, Equity & Inclusion: Forge a more inclusive and supportive workplace and association! VMA Inspire empowers your staff to create a workplace culture and organization that celebrates diversity. Elevate team dynamics, enhance decision-making, and nurture a culture where everyone feels valued and respected.

Participants must be current VMA staff level members.

Participants must commit to attending all six (6) sessions. In the event of an unanticipated absence, the participant commits to viewing the recording of the missed session.

Sessions start at 10amPT/1pmET and last for two (2) hours, except for the first Skills Lab, which will last 2.5 hours.

Meetings are held via Zoom.

Insights Discovery – Sponsored by Elanco

Insights Discovery is a simple and accessible four-color model that helps us understand ourselves and others. Every person has all four-color energies with them; it is the combination of these energies which creates each unique personality. Our color energies refer to a set of characteristics that tend to be our most preferred or most natural way to be. Sponsored by Elanco

Note: This session runs 10 am – 12:30 pm PT/1 pm – 3:30 pm ET. The first half hour will be devoted to welcome/kick off and a NABA hand exercise.


Dr. Hulon is the Wellbeing Consulting Veterinarian for Elanco Animal Health. A native of Alabama, Dr. Hulon graduated from Auburn University with both her undergraduate degree and D.V.M. She has Certifications in Insights Discovery, Compassion Fatigue, Positive Psychology, Mental Health First Aid, QPR Suicide Training, Fear Free, the Human Animal Bond. Dr. Hulon is very involved in organized veterinary medicine. She’s a past president of the Kentucky VMA and currently serves on the Alabama VMA Wellbeing, Membership and Constitution/Bylaws committees.

Leadership Essentials for Veterinary Medical Association Staff

Great leadership creates great workplaces. Everyone is a leader in the workplace. What kind of an impact are you making? One framework to improve leadership is through the domains of emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and empathy, and relationship management. Within these four domains are 12 specific skills that can be learned to increase your knowledge and proficiency in leadership. Additional skills that are essential for leadership success include: giving and receiving feedback, asking the right questions, and developing a leadership mindset.

Michelle Harcha, DVM, MA, BCC, ACC

Dr. Michelle Harcha founded LeadYourShip, LLC to share her passion and knowledge of communication and leadership skills. Her 35-year career in the veterinary profession included 10 years leading and expanding the professional development curriculum and communications training for veterinary students at The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Throughout her career, she has continued her education in communications, leadership training, and emotional intelligence through specialized workshops, certifications, and graduate study.

With LeadYourShip, LLC, Michelle leads small groups through half-day or full-day workshops designed for their specific challenges to create opportunities for growth. She presents assessment tools to help professionals achieve a new level of personal understanding, which enhances their abilities to communicate with others. Professionals who complete her workshops demonstrate improved communication skills that help them create a more positive work environment for all employees, which, in turn, translates to a better experience for clients and patients.

Her passion for communication training began with her entry into professional veterinary practice. While working as an emergency veterinarian, she earned her first certification in Everything DiSC®. She experienced a personal transformation through using tools to communicate more effectively with clients, colleagues, and staff in an often stressful environment.

This will be an interactive session designed to enlighten participants about the subtle yet pervasive nature of unconscious biases in daily interactions and decision-making processes. Participants will engage in guided self-reflection through questionnaires, partake in intimate discussions and examine the unique impact of biases through tailored case studies. The session will conclude with actionable strategies for mitigating bias, encouraging participants to commit to personal or professional actions that promote inclusivity and awareness.

Latonia Craig, EdD, MA, MEd

Dr. Latonia Craig is a prominent leader and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in the veterinary field. She is the inaugural Chief, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the leading professional organization in the veterinary field. In this role, she leads the development and implementation of strategic initiatives to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within the veterinary community, nationally and internationally. In her previous role, Dr. Craig served as the Assistant Dean for Inclusive Excellence in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University where she led the nationally recognized program, Vet Up! helping to prepare over 113 underrepresented students all over the nation for veterinary school.

Dr. Craig currently leads the nationally recognized program Journey for Teams – a flagship diversity, equity, and inclusion program offering a pathway for veterinary professionals to enhance their skills in diversity, equity, and inclusion through micro-learning modules. The program has garnered over 18,000 users all over the world.

In addition to her professional achievements, Dr. Craig has been featured on the cover of Today’s Woman magazine, and in 2016, she was selected as a “Top Forty Under 40” professional in the Louisville Business First magazine. Dr. Craig has received two (2) national “Innovative Programs in STEM” awards from Insight Into Diversity magazine.  She holds a Certified Diversity Professional (CDP) certificate and an Insight Discovery Practitioner (IDP) license.  Dr. Craig earned a bachelor’s degree in political science, a master’s degree in Pan-African studies from the University of Louisville, a master’s degree in educational leadership from the University of Cincinnati, and a doctorate in leadership education from Spalding University

Member Magic: Mastering Communication with Members

Get ready to sprinkle some magic into your association management toolkit! Effective communication isn’t just a skill—it’s the secret ingredient to success, and “Member Magic” is here to help you master it.

Join us for a lively session where we’ll dive into the wonderful world of communication with association members. From phone conversations to writing emails to the opportunities for face-to-face interactions, we’ll explore it all and show you how to work your magic across every medium.

We’ll equip you with all the tricks you need to handle tricky situations with finesse. Say goodbye to frowns and hello to smiles as you learn how to turn upset members into your biggest fans.

Managing expectations doesn’t have to be a balancing act. We’ll share practical tips and real-world examples to help you keep things crystal clear and ensure everyone’s on the same page. We’ll also unveil the secrets to going from friendly to downright helpful. Get ready to leave a lasting impression that’ll have your members singing your praises.

Let’s elevate your skills, deepen those relationships, and embark on a journey toward communication excellence together!

Terra Shastri

Terra provides career coaching to veterinarians and conducts vital economic research for hospitals across North America. With a degree in Communication Studies/Business Administration degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and an MBA, Management Essentials from Schulich School of Business, Terra is well-equipped to lead. She’s a seasoned contributor to veterinary publications, sharing her expertise in client experience, communication, marketing, management, and compliance. As the Chief Experience Officer at the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association, Terra oversees special projects that drive the profession forward.

Beyond her academic achievements, Terra holds certificates in Leadership Excellence and Quality Service Excellence from the Walt Disney Institute. She’s also certified in Carbon Literacy and Conscious Inclusion, showcasing her commitment to sustainability and inclusivity. Terra’s passion for the profession and innovation shines through in her creation of the JumpStart Boot Camp workshop for veterinary teams, a testament to her dedication to shaping the future of veterinary practice.

Don’t Let the Tail Wag the Dog: Body Language for Building Personal and Professional Success

In this entertaining presentation, learn how to convey trust, competency, empathy, and charisma by leveraging the signals you’re sending others through body language, word choice, and vocal inflection. You will be able to dial up your warmth and competence cues to help you achieve success in all areas of your life. This session will show you how to build rapport, confidence, and credibility. You will learn to catch and address the seven universal micro-expressions and know what to do to have greater influence. You will leave with strategies to help you successfully talk to and create meaningful personal and professional relationships.

How to Embrace Your Inner Sloth: Techniques for Controlling Stress & Anxiety

In this stressful, fast-paced world, many of us face anxiety and depression. But even if you’re incredibly busy, you can make some time to embrace your inner sloth and relax. This session will help you find ways to let go of the stress of worrying about the future, live in the moment, control negative thoughts and emotions, ask for help, and learn to say “no.”  Life doesn’t have to be so hard!  You will leave with strategies and tips you can use immediately to improve the quality of your home and work life.

Karlene Belyea, MBA

Karlene is the VP of Wellness for Mission Veterinary Partners. Previously, she served as the CEO of the Michigan Veterinary Medical Association for 15 years and has more than 30 years of experience in management and team building. She holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan. Karlene’s passion is speaking to groups about how to improve communications, culture, and wellbeing in the workplace. She is a certified Everything DiSC® Trainer and presents sessions on behavioral styles, generational differences, body language, leadership and influence, creating positive and productive work cultures, wellness, work/life integration, finding happiness and brain training/neuroscience.

Association Laboratory has been surveying the association landscape for the last 13 years, looking at the issues impacting associations’ members and what associations are doing about it. We will discuss two big issues that stood out in the 2024 Looking Forward Impact data—competition is coming from new places, which changes the way your members view your value proposition, and the changing nature of veterinary practice means that your members are not necessarily the one driving membership and purchasing decisions. Let’s work to create solutions to those issues.

Nikki Golden, CAE

Nikki is a strategist with Association Laboratory, which helps associations make research-based business decisions—on everything from membership to strategic planning to educational programming/certification—using state-of-the-art research.

Nikki built her association career working in both marketing and membership, with the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and the National Roofing Contractors Association. She honed her leadership and governance skills as executive director of the International Society for the Advancement of Spine Surgery.

Nikki has been recognized for her work in the association world, making the inaugural list of Association Forum of Chicagoland/USAE Forty Under 40 list. Nikki currently serves on the Board Association Forum of Chicagoland and is an active member of ASAE, earning her Certified Association Executive designation in 2013.

Participants will receive full tuition scholarship for the program but must be current members of VMAE. Those who wish to participate in VMA Inspire but are not yet VMAE members, are invited to join as individual members simply and conveniently at this link.

CE Credit
Upon completion of all six modules, participants will receive a digital badge as a certificate that may be submitted for 12 hours of CE or CAE credit, depending on the rules in their state.

Secure Your Team Member’s Spot for Success
Space is limited to 10 staff members! The program is geared toward a small group cohort to maximize the learning experience. Don’t miss out on this unparalleled opportunity to invest in your growth and success. The application process is simple and quick. Just follow the steps at this link.

Questions? Please reach out to Candace Joy, VMAE Inspire Consultant,, Adrian,, or Tesha,

Inspire. Empower. Lead.