About the Speakers

Bridget Heilsberg, DVM is the immediate past president of WVLDI (Women’s Veterinary Leadership Development Initiative). She completed her bachelor’s degree in animal science with a focus on reproduction and genetics at Cornell University in January 2003. Shortly after, she enlisted in the United States Naval Reserve and moved to California. In 2006, she was activated with the Navy in support of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

Dr. Bridget moved to Phoenix, Arizona upon returning home and worked as a veterinary technician at Animal Medical and Surgical Center of Scottsdale as well as teaching at Kaplan College in the Veterinary Technician and Respiratory Technician programs. She moved to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2009 for veterinary school.

While in veterinary school, Dr. Bridget channeled the leadership skills that she gained in the Navy and was elected as the Student Delegate from CSU to the Student AVMA. While a delegate, she continued to push for excellence in the organization and continued her service as the National Student AVMA President from 2102 to 2013. After graduation, she completed an internship at JEH Equine Reproduction Services and Hospital and was welcomed on as an associate once the internship concluded.

In May 2016, Dr. Bridget started her own ambulatory practice in the North Texas and Texoma area.  She continues her focus on overall wellness, therapeutic nutrition, and preventive sports medicine. She is incredibly grateful for the support of the community and hopes to continue to give back to the local area by hosting client education seminars and continuing her work with NCTC’s Equine Program.


Makenzie Peterson, MSc serves as the Director for Wellbeing at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC). She works to advance AAVMC’s strategic goal of fostering a culture of wellbeing throughout academic veterinary medicine by promoting preventative systems-based initiatives. Makenzie provides subject-matter expertise on the science and application of evidence-based wellbeing practices, as well as the development and implementation of strategic organizational changes to improve the overall wellbeing of academic communities.

Previously, Peterson served as Wellbeing Program Director at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine and as Vice Chair of the the AAVMC’s Veterinary Medical Health Professions (VMHP) group. At Cornell, Peterson developed and led a comprehensive wellbeing program to enhance community wellbeing, productivity, satisfaction, and academic and professional success for faculty, staff, and students.

She formerly served as a health specialist for an MIT/Harvard-sponsored start-up that was based in Harvard Business School’s Innovation Lab which focused on educating college students on health topics. Peterson is also a health and wellness coach, certified rape crisis counselor, and opioid overdose prevention educator.

Peterson regularly speaks on topics related to mental and physical health, stress reduction, suicide prevention, compassion fatigue and burnout, mindfulness and meditation, interpersonal communication, grief and loss, imposter syndrome, growth mindset and resiliency, ethics and core values, and other wellbeing-related topics.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in International Studies and a Master of Science (MSc) in health promotion and health education from the University of Utah. She will also be completing her Doctor of Social Work (DSW) from the University of Southern California in 2022.

Jeff Sanford, M.B.A., PhD ABD is the Director of Financial Literacy and Practice Outreach at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine where he teaches Practice Management and consults with veterinarians in Georgia and across the country. He teaches specialized business education programs for veterinarians and has developed industry assessment tools including the Practice Mapping Growth Tool, Practice Performance Health CheckStrategic Marketing Assessment for Veterinary PracticesActivity Based Costing Analysis for Understanding Fees Structures and the Practice Valuation Assessment.

Mr. Sanford piloted practice management rotations in 2007 at the UGA CVM and has expanded the program to University of Florida, Auburn, North Carolina State, Michigan State, UC Davis and Washington State.  Today over 400 students and 300 practices have participated in the rotations.  Many participating practices have had recorded revenue growth in excess of 30% a year and profits above 30% of gross. Overall, he has evaluated over 800 practices. 

His accomplishments include assisting veterinarians to start, buy or sell practices with a capital formation of over $470 million.  Mr. Sanford was the 2014 recipient of the Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award which is UGA's highest award for teaching and contributions to improving the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere. He is currently working on his PhD in Adult Education.Sanford has been named the 2014 recipient of the Walter Barnard Hill Fellow Award presented annually by the Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach. The Hill Fellow Award is UGA's highest award in public service and outreach, recognizing sustained, distinguished achievement and contributions to improving the quality of life in Georgia or elsewhere.


Perry MacLennan is a workforce and business lawyer helping companies establish or expand operations in South Carolina and comply with various laws applicable to doing business here. Perry focuses on employment law, economic development incentives, contracts and general corporate matters. He teaches Business Law at the College of Charleston and is active in the community and the legal profession.

Perry has a passion for employment law. He regularly blogs about workplace issues at www.scemployersblog.com and counsels clients daily on human resource concerns such as hiring, firing, leave, discrimination, safety and immigration. A skilled litigator when business disputes arise, Perry has argued before the Supreme Court of South Carolina and routinely handles lawsuits in both state and federal court. He has experience representing companies in government investigations from OSHA, the EEOC and the Department of Labor.

Perry also assists companies with economic incentives related to launching or growing their South Carolina presence such as fee in lieu of tax agreements, job development/tax credits and grant funding.

He regularly counsels clients on Fair Housing issues such as housing discrimination and compliance with the Federal Fair Housing Act and various HUD regulations. Perry has represented housing providers during fair housing investigations and lawsuits. He also provides advice/counsel to national fair housing training and compliance providers.

Perry currently serves as the President of the Clemson Young Alumni Council, President of the South Carolina Bar Young Lawyers Division and Administrative Director of the ABA Young Lawyers Division.

Tannetje’ Crocker, DVM is a 2009 graduate from the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine. She is passionate about mentorship and empowering both veterinary students and young veterinarians to embrace the profession and find joy and success. Growing up Dr. Crocker was always passionate about horses and was inspired to become a veterinarian. Since graduation she has worked as an equine ambulatory vet, small animal general practitioner, and an emergency veterinarian. She currently lives in Texas with her spirited 8-year-old daughter, funny 4-year-old son, and supportive husband of 14 years. Follow her veterinary journey @dr.tannetje.crocker or www.drcrockerpetvet.com