WHO WE ARE
Veterinary Business Advisors was formed more than 15 years ago by Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD, with the commitment to providing a wide range of practical legal*, human resources, and practice management services to veterinarians and their advisors nationwide. VBA’s goal is to support members of the veterinary industry as they navigate the complex web of risk management, business strategy, and the growth and development of their organization. As highly qualified professionals with a broad spectrum of experience, we provide the highest level of comprehensive business, human resources, and legal advice in the profession.
We understand each of our client’s unique objectives and assist them in successfully meeting or exceeding their full potential. As a trusted advisor, VBA builds long-lasting relationships with our clients by integrating customized consulting services with personalized and responsive attention to detail. We focus on educating them on strategic, practical, and effective solutions to add maximum value to their business results, while operating with the highest level of commitment, collaboration, competence, and compassion.
Veterinary Business Advisors is committed to the success of the veterinary industry and strives to promote awareness of important legal and business concepts in order to facilitate the ability of the profession to provide superior care and service to both patients and their owners.
Meet our VBA team leaders
Charlotte Lacroix, DVM, JD
Founder and CEO
- Earned her Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1988 from UC Davis, completed a large-animal internship at the University of Guelph (Ontario, Canada), and worked at an equine medical and surgical referral practice serving northern New Jersey
- Earned her JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1997
- Is in-demand as a speaker around the world, frequently presenting at NAVC, AVMA, WMPG, VMG, AAHA, WVC, and other major veterinary associations, along with numerous radio and TV appearances
- Contributes regularly to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association, NAVC’s Today’s Veterinary Practice and Veterinary Practice News, American Animal Hospital Association, Veterinary Clinics of North America and Veterinary Economics-DVM360 publications
- Is past president of NAVC and also has served in leadership roles for AVMA, AAHA, AAEP, NJAEP, NJVMA and PVMA
- Serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine
Kellie Olah, CVPM, SPHR, SHRM-CP
Practice Management & Human Resources Consultant
- Certified Veterinary Practice Manager
- Certified Veterinary Business Leader
- Nationally certified: Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
- More than 15 years’ experience in the HR field, including serving as former head of an HR department in a large technology company
- Social and Emotional Intelligence Coach
- Earned her undergraduate degree in political science from Rutgers University
- Previously served as a technician in a wildlife rehabilitation facility
- Co-Author/Editor of AAHA’s Guide to Creating an Employee Handbook, Fourth Edition
- Contributes to Today’s Veterinary Business, AAHA’s News Stat, Veterinary Practice News, as well as The Social DVM blogs
- Presents at Zoetis, Covetrus and PVMA
- Actively volunteers in various organizations, most notably the “Night to Shine” event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation.
Regulatory & Practice Operational Consultant
- Over 30 years’ experience in veterinary medicine including practice ownership and served as a hospital administrator.
- Consults with veterinarians nationally in various risk and practice management areas. Her areas of expertise encompass compliance with DEA regulations, as well as other state and federal regulations, clinic and hospital practice management & operations, finance and marketing.
- Served as a two-time President of Veterinary Specialty Practice Alliance (VSPA).
- Received th National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), Southern Arizona Woman Business Owner of the Year Award
- Key Opinion Leader for Zoetis Animal Health
- Race approved nationwide speaker including AVMLA, AVMA, State VMA conferences, Zoetis, Epicur, Stokes, Cubex and multiple other sponsors.
- VBA’s transaction liaison. Kara is our client’s personal guide through all aspects of practice transition. She will walk you through documentation requests, communicating with staff, and potential buyers.
- Served as President and Project Manager for Holland Twp. PTO. Experienced in obtaining grants, public relations, advertising, and managing a diverse team.
- Earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications, Cum Laude from Rowan University in 1999.
- Over 15 years in the veterinary industry
- Over 20 years’ experience as a client service professional.
Katie Hemmendinger, JD, MBA
- Extensive experience negotiating and drafting a wide range of transactions including acquisitions, stock-purchase agreements, leases, real estate purchase and sale agreements, service contracts, and construction contracts.
- Previous experience as an Associate at law firms and in-house legal departments specializing in transactions and real estate.
- Earned dual JD/MBA degree from Seton Hall University.
- Earned bachelor’s degree from Susquehanna University.
- Licensed to practice law in New Jersey.
- Grew up in the veterinary field in a family-owned animal hospital in upstate New York which provided a unique understanding and appreciation for the day-to-day struggles that small business veterinarians face.
- Over 10 years of experience working as a practice manager specializing, in client de-escalation situations.
- Spent 2 years working for IDEXX, specializing in client-to-lab problem solving communications and received multiple recognition awards acknowledging excellence and superiority in teamwork and client communication.
- Earned his Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Binghamton University while serving as the university’s elected fencing team captain (go Bearcats!), as well as leading the team to several first place victories in multiple states.
- Has competed in national fencing competitions across the country such as Jr. Olympics, various North American Cups, and Nationals under American Olympian Iris Zimmerman.
- Spent 2 years teaching fencing to children first grade and up.
- Co-founded the Pets in Need Clinic (PINC), a charity clinic devoted to helping pet owners effected by the Great Recession (2007-2009) obtain affordable vet care. The PINC clinic is still active and continues to help pet owners to this day.
- Actively participates in The Ocean Cleanup on a quarterly basis to help give back to the environment and reduce pollution in the planet’s oceans.
The roles we play on your behalf:
Business strategist: We help you determine your options and negotiate from a position of knowledge and strength. With our real-world veterinary experience, we’ve walked a mile in your shoes, so we truly understand the nuances and challenges of running a successful practice.
Business coach: Once you’ve clarified your goals, we’ll be by your side—via in-person meetings, phone calls and reporting—to ensure that you achieve them. It’s a level of accountability that helps turn your vision into reality.
Legal advocate: We always strive to find the best, most equitable way to resolve any legal issue you may face—keeping your interests top-of-mind. Equally important, we continually scan the horizon to head off any potential problems, firmly believing that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
Human resources manager: Because your employees are your practice’s greatest asset, an effective HR function is integral to its success. From recruitment to employee management to compliance with today’s myriad employment laws, we make sure you do it right.
Risk manager: Being a veterinary professional is fraught with legal, regulatory and business issues few doctors have the training to anticipate. We have the experience to identify potential risks in advance and take precautionary steps to reduce your exposure.
Teacher: Sometimes, you don’t know what you don’t know about a business opportunity, a set of circumstances, a contract, or running a successful veterinary practice. We’re here to teach you by sharing what we’ve learned, based on decades of experience helping practices grow and thrive.
Matchmaker: Sometimes you need specialized expertise—such as marketing or financial services—in addition to VBA’s capabilities. With an extensive network of trusted veterinary industry professionals, we can help you find the right match.
*Legal services are provided through Dr. Lacroix’s law firm for practices in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the two states where she is licensed to practice law.