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Meet the VIC Board of Directors


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The Veterinary Innovation Council is lead by an incredible team of professionals committed to improving the future animal healthcare.

We are grateful for their leadership and support.

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Jules Benson, BVSc MRCVS, AVP

Dr. Jules Benson is a strategic industry leader focused on ways technology and data can transform the veterinary profession and the lives of animals. He is a 2004 graduate of the University of Liverpool’s School of Veterinary Medicine, a member of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and practiced clinically in the Philadelphia area before transitioning to roles within the animal health industry. Jules brings his experience in marketing, start-ups, and data insights to his role as Nationwide’s Chief Veterinary Officer. He has been active in conservation efforts in Africa and shares his home in Costa Mesa, CA with his wife (Melissa), four cats (Jethro, Wes, Jackie, and Biggs), dog (Bean), and seven bicycles.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Nationwide

VIC VICE-CHAir

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Camille DeClementi, VMD, DABVT

Dr. Camille DeClementi oversees the ASPA Animal Hospital (AAH) which focuses on increasing access to veterinary care in three critical ways: Direct Care, Teaching and Research. AAH provides expert, urgent medical care to some of NYC’s most vulnerable animals. As a component of the NYC safety net system, we provide subsidized care for animals whose owners are experiencing financial challenges and could not otherwise afford medical care for their pet. We also provide medical care for animals who come to us through our internal partners, including victims of cruelty and neglect as part of our partnership with the NYPD. In AAH’s direct care work, we develop and use less costly, yet effective protocols to address common medical conditions with good prognoses in the patients we serve. In our teaching programs, we influence the next generation of veterinarians by teaching our access to care philosophies and techniques to our veterinary interns, fellows, and externs. And in our research work, we test treatment protocols to identify effective, lower-cost options to common conditions and share our findings with the broader veterinary community to influence others to provide greater access to care. Dr. DeClementi received her BS in Biology from Lebanon Valley College of Pennsylvania, and her VMD from the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine. She practiced emergency and general medicine in Pittsburgh and Tennessee before joining the ASPCA Animal Poison Control in 1999. Dr. DeClementi became a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology in 2006 and the American Board of Veterinary Toxicology in 2007 and is a Certified Veterinary Journalist. She has spoken on various clinical veterinary toxicology issues and has authored several peer-viewed articles and book chapters. Dr. DeClementi is a past co-owner of the Animal Emergency Clinic in Champaign, IL.

Vice President, ASPCA Animal Hospital

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Todd East, DVM

Dr. Todd East has had an entrepreneurial spirit since graduating from Michigan State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2003. After a couple of years as an associate veterinarian, he started his first business in 2005, East Veterinary Relief Services. This venture not only allowed him to indulge his entrepreneurial nature but also gave him the opportunity to experience multiple different practice styles, flow, and functions that helped him shape his vision for his own practice. His goal of practice ownership was realized in 2007 and he quickly applied the learnings of his previous roles including servant leadership, customer focus, medical quality, and staff empowerment. Dr. East continues to bring this entrepreneurial spirit and principle-based leadership style to his current role of Director of Veterinary Affairs at Royal Canin. Thinking beyond nutrition and leveraging industry insights that being a part of the MARS family of companies provides, Dr. East and his team strive to leverage innovation and bring value to an ever-evolving industry. Dr. East resides in Nashville, TN with his wife (also a veterinarian), son, daughter, and two dogs.


Director of Scientific Services, Royal Canin

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Aimee Gilbreath

A seasoned leader in both non-profit and private-sector organizations with extensive experience in a range of industries spanning biotech, consumer goods and philanthropy, Aimee has a proven track record of driving organizations to achieve growth and success.

Growing up in Phoenix, AZ, Aimee had practically every pet possible (horses, goat, dog, cat, rabbit, snake, rat). When She moved to Los Angeles it was the first time she didn’t have a pet in her household. To fill the void, she looked for pet related volunteer opportunities which fatefully led her into the world of animal welfare, shelters, and rescue groups. She fell in love with the stocky, blocky headed dogs most people call pit bulls, adopted one, and got inspired to help on a larger scale.

Today, Aimee is proud to serve as president of PetSmart Charities, which is not only the leading funder of animal welfare but also an organization committed to supporting pets and those who love them. PetSmart Charities believes it’s more important than ever to support the whole family—which, for over half of the population, includes pets.

Prior to her role at PetSmart Charities, Aimee served as the executive director of the Found Animals Foundation, Inc., a non-profit supporting pet owners and animal welfare organizations with a mission dedicated to saving pets and enriching lives, where spearheaded activities for the foundation’s 1,000+ B2B clients and 5 million B2C customers nationwide.

President, Pet Smart Charities & Pet Smart Charities of Canada 

VIC Secretary Treasurer

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Dr. Eleanor Green

Dr. Eleanor Green is the Founding Dean of Lyon College of Veterinary Medicine. She is a Diplomate of ACVIM and ABVP. She received a BS in Animal Science from the University of Florida and a DVM from Auburn University.

She established a veterinary practice in Mississippi as partner/owner. She became a founding faculty member of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Mississippi State University. Her academic appointments have included: equine faculty member at University of Missouri; head of Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and director of large animal hospital at the University of Tennessee; chair of Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and Chief of Staff of large animal hospital at the University of Florida. She served as president of three national organizations: American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, American Association of Veterinary Clinicians.

Her awards include: 2004 Award of Distinction from UF College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 2011 Wilford S. Bailey Distinguished Alumni Award from Auburn, 2012 Women ‘s Progress Award for Administration and 2015 Distinguished Achievement Award for Administration at Texas A&M, and induction into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame in 2013.


Founding Dean, lyon college school of Veterinary Medicine

VIC  Immediate Past Chair

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Jason W. Johnson, DVM, MS, DACT

Jason is a proven leader who focuses his energy on igniting the veterinary space to envision the bold future we can create together. He is most satisfied creating platforms that perpetually give back to people and animals. Period. Passionate, credible, internationally recognized leader with 17+ years of leading change with within the veterinary space he was the co-founder/Vice President & Dean of LMU-College of Veterinary medicine, the 30th college of veterinary medicine in the USA, founder of the Center for Animal and Human Health in Appalachia, among other initiatives. His career has found him as a boarded veterinarian, private practitioner, practice owner, professor, VP & Dean, consultant, researcher, multiple board member & serial founder. Recognized in veterinary cosmos most notably as a visionary innovator, collaborator, expert communicator and team builder, and change agent. Skilled at inspiring teams toward a shared vision and a preferred future driven by sound business decisions and incessant evaluation of metrics. He has conducted international veterinary work across 7 countries and believes it is our distinct privilege and responsibility to elevate animal health around the globe.

Chief Medical Officer, IDEXX

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Bob Lester, DVM

Dr. Lester is a graduate of Oregon State and Washington State Universities, and a graduate of the American Association of Veterinary Medical Colleges Leadership Academy.

He spent his early career as a small town mixed animal practice owner before joining the founding leadership team at Banfield Pet Hospital. At Banfield he held positions in medicine, operations, franchising, human resources and professional relations. After a rewarding twenty-year career at Banfield/Mars Inc. he left as Vice President of Professional Relations. He spent the last four years on the founding team at the Lincoln Memorial University College of Veterinary Medicine where he served as Assistant Dean. He continues to lead the LMU-CVM practice management course. Dr. Lester and colleagues most recently founded founded WellHaven Pet Health, a veterinary lead group practice that empowers veterinary leaders through personal and professional development. WellHaven Pet Health both buys and builds quality companion animal primary care practices.

In addition Dr. Lester serves on a variety of professional, university, and college committees, boards and task forces including as a two time gubernatorial appointee to the Oregon Veterinary Medical Examining Board which he chaired from 2013- 2015, a state delegate to the American Association of Veterinary State Boards, a site team member for the Council on Education, consultant for Guidepoint Global, board member and Treasurer at Pet Peace of Mind a non-profit which keeps hospice patients together with their pets through end of life, and a board member for the North American Veterinary Community.

His family includes his wife Crystal, two daughters McKenzie and Paige, and two Yorkie’s Jessie and Woody.

Chief Medical Officer, WellHaven Pet Health

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Rustin M. Moore, DVM, PhD, Diplomate ACVS

Dr. Rustin M. Moore, the Ruth Stanton Chair in Veterinary Medicine, became the 11th dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine on Sept. 1, 2015.

A two-time graduate of the college, Dr. Moore has served Ohio State as chair of the Department of Veterinary Clinical Sciences, executive director of the Veterinary Medical Center, associate dean for Clinical and Outreach Programs, and associate executive dean.

He has taught at all levels of the undergraduate, professional and graduate curricula, both at Ohio State and at Louisiana State University (LSU), where he served on the LSU faculty from 1994 to 2006. He has served as an advisor, co-advisor or committee member for 21 doctoral or master’s students, as well as the clinical advisor for more than 25 interns and residents.

His clinical interests include equine lameness, surgery and colic and its associated complications, and his research has led to his being a principal or co-investigator on approximately 120 funded grants. In addition, he has authored or co-authored more than 15 book chapters, and his work has been published in over 120 peer- or editor-reviewed manuscripts and 175 scientific abstracts. His service on editor reviewed boards includes the journal Veterinary Surgery, and he has served as a manuscript reviewer for several additional prestigious journals. He has been a frequently invited speaker at national and international equine veterinary clinical, research and educational symposia. Today, he speaks regularly about the Human-Animal Bond and the Power of a Pet (zooeyia), the importance of Diversity and Inclusion, and the topic of One Health.

In addition to extensive and substantial service to his department, college and the university, Dr. Moore has contributed wide-ranging service and outreach efforts to his discipline, to the community and beyond. For example, while at LSU, he assumed emergency leadership of a large-scale rescue effort of nearly 500 horses and other animals during the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. A national leader, he has served as president of the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians, on the board of directors of the American Association of Equine Practitioners, on the board of regents of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons, and as an equine health advisory board member for the Ohio Department of Agriculture, among others. He currently serves as the dean representative on The Ohio State University Foundation Board, member of the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Wildlife Center, member of the Board of Directors for the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, and an appointed member of the Ohio State Racing Commission Medication Committee.

In addition, among his numerous awards, he received the Pfizer Award for Research Excellence, the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Distinguished Faculty, and the LSU University’s Distinguished Scholar Award. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award by the International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in 2013 and was inducted into the West Virginia University’s Academy of Distinguished Alumni in 2015. He received the Jack Judy Distinguished Service Award from the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians in 2017.

A native of Spencer, WV, he earned a BS degree, summa cum laude, from the West Virginia University; a DVM, summa cum laude, and a PhD from The Ohio State University. In addition, he is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Surgeons.

Dean, The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine

Molly McAllister

Molly McAllister, DVM, MPH

A mom, runner, nature lover, and veterinarian with a passion for creating a sustainable and thriving veterinary profession globally in support of the human animal bond. In my role as Chief Medical Officer at Mars Veterinary Health, I seize the opportunity to help improve the health and wellbeing of veterinary professionals to build an industry in which we can better serve today’s pets and their owners. Healthy vets. Healthy pets. Healthy communities.


Chief Medical Officer, MARS VETERINARY HEALTH

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Whitney Miller, DVM, MBA, DACVPM

Fueled by her passion for making a positive impact in pets’ lives, Dr. Whitney Miller serves as Petco’s Chief Veterinarian. In that role, she is the lead veterinary subject matter expert advising Petco as a health and wellness company, oversees the company’s standards of excellence in animal care and welfare; provides strategic direction and medical management for Petco’s growth in veterinary services; and provides cross-functional support across the company to marketing, communications, legal, merchandising, pet services, and more. Dr. Miller leads the Petco medical team, which supports full-service hospitals and mobile vaccinations clinics operating in over 1000 Pet Care Centers nationwide. Over the course of her veterinary career, Dr. Miller has spent time in emergency and general companion animal veterinary practice, worked in pharmacovigilance reporting for Zoetis, and spent time in federal government relations for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) – advocating on animal welfare issues. Dr. Miller received her DVM and MBA degrees from Colorado State University and has been board certified in Preventive Medicine since 2018. Dr. Miller continues to practice companion animal medicine every chance she gets.


Chief Veterinarian, Petco

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Kelly O'Brien

Kelly O’Brien has been with Chewy Health since October of 2022, where she leads the veterinary relations efforts and is responsible for the creation and execution of all profession-facing programs, initiatives, and partnerships.

 

Prior to coming to Chewy, Kelly spent 10 years at Mars—six years with Banfield Pet Hospital followed by four years at Mars Veterinary Health. At Banfield, Kelly built the professional relations function from the ground up. Her role included leading the public affairs program, developing the organization’s industry engagement strategy overseeing stakeholder engagement and academic outreach, and implementing programs to help integrate Banfield associates into the profession. At Mars Veterinary Health, her duties expanded to include enterprise-wide initiatives and partnerships as well as extending the public affairs program to cover the interests of all Mars practices in North America, which included managing all legislative and regulatory issues spanning general, specialty, and emergency practices.

 

Before her entry into veterinary medicine, Kelly spent 6 years at Hubbell Communications, a Portland, OR-based agency, and held several different roles (operations, communications, advocacy) at Oregon Business and Industry, a statewide business association. Growing up in rural Oregon, Kelly spent her childhood and teen years riding horses and taking care of a menagerie of pets. She graduated from Georgetown University with a Bachelor of Science degree and currently resides in Portland, OR with her husband, two young daughters, and her dog Max.

Director of Veterinary Relations, Chewy Health

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Lauren Olavessen

Coming Soon

Chief Veterinary Officer, Bitwerx

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Scott Shatzberg DVM, PhD, DACVIM (Neurology)

Scott Schatzberg, DVM, PhD, Dip ACVIM (Neurology) is the Chief Medical Officer at Thrive Pet Healthcare. Prior to joining Thrive as SVP of Specialty and ER medicine (2017), Dr. Schatzberg was the founder, CEO, and Chief Medical Officer of The Animal Neurology and Imaging Centers. Dr. Schatzberg has been in the veterinary space for over two decades, in both academia and the private sector. He’s taught hundreds of students, trained many interns and residents and has authored over 100 veterinary manuscripts and book chapters.

Chief Medical Officer, Thrive Pet Healthcare

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Karen Shenoy, DVM

Effective Jan 2022, Dr. Karen Shenoy has been appointed Chief Veterinary Officer for Hill’s US. She joined Hill’s Pet Nutrition in 2008, progressing through roles of increasing responsibility and serving most recently as Director, Field Sales and Engagement. Previously, she held the roles of Associate Director – Veterinary Affairs and Senior Manager – Academic Affairs, as well as field-based roles, including Practice Development Veterinarian, Veterinary Affairs Manager, and Professional Consulting Veterinarian Team Leader. Additionally, she completed a 6-month short-term assignment with the Hill’s Global Marketing and Innovation Team. Prior to joining Hill’s, Dr. Shenoy worked as an associate veterinarian in small animal practice, as part-time adjunct faculty with a veterinary technology program, and at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota, which has grown to be the world’s busiest wildlife hospital with an annual caseload of 19,000 patients. There, she gained experience in training, public relations, management, and fund-raising, in addition to clinical work. Karen holds Bachelor of Science (Veterinary Science) and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees from the University of Minnesota. She is an active mentor with the Women in Leadership and Management in Animal Health (WILMAH) organization and the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. Previously, she served on the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Early Career Development Committee (2012-2015) and on the Board of Directors for the National Wildlife Rehabilitators Association (2007-2011). She, her husband, James, and 8-year-old daughter, Maya, reside in the Kansas City area with their menagerie of pets, including 3 mixed-breed shelter dogs: Hoppy, Porter and Growler. They are avid followers of the University of Minnesota Golden Gopher sports teams, and Karen also enjoys competitive swimming.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Hill's Pet Nutrition US

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Dana Varble DVM, CAE

Dana Varble received her B.S. in Zoology from Southern Illinois University in 1999 graduating Suma cum laude with departmental and university honors having completed an honors thesis evaluating abnormal behavior in captive Spectacled Bears. She earned her veterinary degree with high honors from University of Illinois in 2003 where she pursued a non-traditional clinical rotation schedule and fulfilled her clinical and academic requirements at University of Illinois, University of Tennessee, Louisiana State University, Brookfield Zoo, and University of Pretoria. She also completed an externship at Marathon Veterinary Hospital including clinical experience at the Sea Turtle Hospital and Key West Aquarium.

She has practiced clinical medicine in exotic pet, small animal general practice and emergency medicine and continues to serve as an associate veterinarian on a limited basis for Chicago Exotics Animal Hospital in Skokie Illinois and as a relief veterinarian for emergency services. She has served as a veterinary consultant to the Mississippi River Sturgeon Project and Central Arizona Animal rescue.

She has spoken locally, nationally, and internationally at conferences and seminars on herpetological and exotic animal medicine and surgery and has written several publications in the same field. Her interests are varied but include organized veterinary medicine, learning methodology, venomous bites and stings and antivenom development, herpetological medicine and surgery, working canines, soft tissue surgery, and improving job satisfaction for all veterinary health team members.

She joined the Association of Reptile and Amphibian Veterinarians in 2003, served on the board of directors from 2008 to 2014, and was the president of ARAV from 2012 to 2013. She continues to serve as the managing editor of the Journal of Herpetological Medicine and Surgery for ARAV. She is also a member of American Veterinary Medical Association and Association of Exotic Mammal Veterinarians.

In January 2015, she joined NAVC as the Executive Director of ARAV and progressed to the Executive Director of Pet Nutrition Alliance and Senior Director of Hands-On workshops in October 2017. In October 2018 she was promoted to Vice President of Veterinary Education and in January of 2020 she was named Chief Veterinary Officer. In 2021 she earned her Certified Association Executive designation from the American Society of Association Executives.

As a NAVC spokesperson and veterinary industry expert, she promotes public health and veterinary practices to industry and external audience through media interviews and appearances in international, national, local and trade media including CNN, CNN International, Steve Dale’s Pet World, Pet Life Radio, NBC News Network, the number one cat show in the world Catittude. and local media outlets including Tampa Bay Times and ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX TV affiliates across the country.
She shares her home with a mixed-up brown dog named Hannah, a Leonberger named Kodi, a tank of cichlids, four ball pythons, Phil, Jake, Hickok, and Saffron, and a domestic human and his kiddos Patrick, Lexi, and PJ.



Chief Veterinary Officer, North American Veterinary Community

Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD

Kurt Venator, DVM, PhD

Dr. Kurt Venator has been with Purina 16 years, currently serving as Chief Veterinary Officer. Along with his team, Dr. Venator travels throughout the country to draw on his expertise and speak about small animal nutrition and veterinary medicine, as well as provide nutrition education and professional development to veterinary clinics and schools. Dr. Venator also serves as Director of the Purina Advisory Council, a group of world-renowned veterinarians who help lead the advancement of pet nutrition, health and wellness across the globe. Dr. Venator earned his DVM from Cornell University and PhD in Behavior & Physiology from the University of Texas at Austin. He resides in upstate New York with his wife, Kristi; sons, Parker, Camden and Knox; and yellow Labrador Retrievers, “Sailor” and “Chance.” In his spare time, Dr. Venator enjoys fly fishing and being with his family.

Chief Veterinary Officer, Purina

Link Welborn, DVM, DABVP

Link Welborn, DVM, DABVP

Dr. Link Welborn is a diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners, certified in Canine and Feline Practice, the owner of six AAHA Accredited hospitals in Tampa, Florida and an AAHA past president.

Link is Chief Executive Officer of Veterinary Study Groups, the umbrella organization for the over 60 Veterinary Management Groups (VMG), and Chief Veterinary Officer North America for Covetrus.

Contributing to numerous collaborative veterinary initiatives, he served as AAHA Delegate to the AVMA House of Delegates, past chair of the AVMA Veterinary Economics Strategy Committee, AAHA Representative to the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, and as a member of the AAHA-AVMA Preventive Healthcare Guidelines Task Force. Link was a member of the AAHA Canine Vaccination Guidelines Task Force since its inception in 2002 and served as chair 2010-2020. He was also contributing reviewer for the 2019 AAHA Canine Life Stage Guidelines.

Link helped spearhead the development of the AAHA/VMG Chart of Accounts, AAHA-Accredited VMG Groups, and the VSG/AVMA Principles of Veterinary Data Ownership & Stewardship.

His awards include the AVMA President’s Award, AAHA Practitioner of the Year Award, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Alumni Achievement Award, Florida Veterinary Medical Association Veterinarian of the Year Award and the first AAHA Dedicated Service Award in 2018.

Chief Executive Officer, Veterinary Study Groups | Chief Veterinary Officer North America, Covetrus

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Jennifer Welser, DVM, DACVO

As a champion of veterinary professionals who care for pets – some of the most passionate and resilient people I know – I advocate for new and innovative approaches to meet their needs, along with the needs of their patients. I have just ended my tenure as Chief Medical Officer and Quality Officer for Mars Veterinary Health where I lead the Medical Affairs function across the organization and partnered closely with the chief medical officers at each practice to grow access to high-quality, innovative veterinary care worldwide in support of our Purpose: A BETTER WORLD FOR PETS. Previously, I served as Chief Medical Officer at BluePearl, during which time I helped establish the organization’s clinician-driven culture, developed the medical leadership team and operations, and evolved the practice's residency and internship program. I received my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Michigan State University and became a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist after completing a rotating internship at Auburn University and an ophthalmology residency at Animal Eye Associates in Illinois. Before joining BluePearl, I practiced as an ophthalmologist at Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals’ Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston and owned a successful veterinary practice in California.

Chief strategy officer, cityvet,

- VIC CHAIR

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Brett Yates

Brett is a leader with a passion for making the world a better place for people and their pets.

Michelson Found Animals has been focused on ending euthanasia in shelters for 15 years and as that goal gets much closer to becoming a reality, we continue to evolve so that we can make this world a better place for the pets that we all love so much. 

Pets are family members and MFA is making it easier for everyone to experience the joys of owning a pet regardless of their race, gender, social space, economic situation, or for any other reasons. We do this by helping people educate themselves so they can take great care of their pet, by reducing barriers to owning a pet, and by helping to build the pet care industry that can support all people and their pets. 

We do this through hands-on programs, with investing, grants, thought leadership, and relationships with those that can change the world positively. 

By working with Dr. Gary Michelson and Alya Michelson, we are able to be visionaries for the industry, to champion pets, and to impact the world in incredibly positive ways. 

In addition, Brett has the privilege of supporting the other Michelson family of foundations including:

 * Michelson Medical Research Foundation focused on supporting the young talent in scientific innovation.

 * Michelson Prize & Grants who is focused on developing a non-surgical sterilant for companion animals.

 * 20 Million Minds that is a dynamic leader of digital equity, improving access to higher learning, workforce development, and smart justice.

Chief Executive Officer, Michelson Found Animals Foundation, inc

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