After thirty years spent in the John Lewis Partnership, where she worked in both trading divisions (Waitrose and John Lewis) and Group spending over ten years on the John Lewis Management Board, Laura moved in 2014 to a portfolio career where she uses her commercial and people insights to work with a number of
very different organisations.
As HR Director Laura was directly responsible for driving and maintaining John Lewis’ iconic employment proposition. And as a member of the John Lewis Management Board she was part of the team that delivered a fully integrated omni channel operating model through a series of major change programmes. The John Lewis retail proposition was transformed to take account of the growth in online business whilst preserving the core values of a heritage business and she remains passionate about the co owned business model and helping similar organisations flourish.
Laura now works with the Capital and Regional plc as a Non Executive Director, with the Ministry of Defence on the Defence People and Training Board and the People Committee and with the British Horseracing Authority. She is also a member of Women in Retail and a Trustee of the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich.
I qualified from Bristol Vet School in 1990 and worked in practice before moving into the pharmaceutical industry. During my time in industry, I was closely involved with the launch of the first BVD vaccine and gained from the experiences of the management training programmes of an international organisation. Prior to joining XLVets in 2006, I was Marketing Manager for Bayer Animal Health in the UK. As Chief Executive I am responsible for supporting the Board of Directors to ensure that we set the best strategy for the organisation and deliver on our goal. Through cooperative-competition we strive to achieve clinical excellence in what we do, grow our practice businesses through meeting our clients needs, increase our business efficiency and effective practice communications, and most importantly, delivering high quality training for all our practice teams. And whenever I can I enjoy mountain climbing and getting out on my bike.
I am a born and bred Yorkshire man – though hail from the down-to-earth outskirts of Barnsley rather than the more picturesque parts of the county! I have always had an interest in surgery (especially orthopaedics), so spent four years in a busy city-centre small animal practice in West Yorkshire before moving down to help develop the small animal side of Larkmead, in 1998, where I continue to pursue small animal clinical work
Colin Mitchell - Vice Equine Executive Chair & Equine Director
I qualified from Edinburgh Vet School in 1995, and worked in large animal practice in North Yorkshire for 8 years. In 2003 I joined Roger Scott in practice in Hexham and became a partner a year later. I gained my post graduate certificate in Equine Practice in 2004 and a Certificate in Veterinary Business Management in 2016. After serving as Vice Chair of the XLVets Equine Executive, I joined the Board of XLVet UK in 2018. Away from work I am a fell-runner, mountain biker and skier.
Colm McGinn - Chief of Implementation at XLVets UK Ltd.
A graduate of Harper Adams, I've over 25 years experience working in a variety of commercial roles in the veterinary industry, in the UK and Ireland. I spent 10 years with Fort Dodge Animal Health, where I was responsible for the livestock business unit. Thereafter I spent 12 years with Centaur Services, the veterinary wholesaler, finishing up as the Director of Customer Service, Sales & Marketing. I am a Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and completed my Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in 2012.
Following graduation from the Royal Veterinary College in 2011, I worked in 100% equine practice in the north east and was always interested in the 'business side' of practice. I joined the XLVets team in January 2015 as XLVets Equine Business Manager in a maternity cover role, which was a great opportunity to try non-clinical work. Having thoroughly enjoyed non-clinical work I moved into a new role within the XLVets operations team to lead the delivery of business process efficiency within XLVets, its affiliated businesses and member practices. During the last few years of transitioning from clinical practice to a business role I've undertaken the University of Liverpool Certificate in Veterinary Business Management and I'm currently working towards an MBA part time with Northumbria University, due to complete in September 2019.
Outside of work, I enjoy walking my two chocolate labradors 'Rolo' and 'Buttons' in beautiful Northumberland.
Based in the XLVets office at Dalston as People Development Manager, I will be delivering a variety of people projects which will benefit members. My background is all things learning, providing advice to business leaders/owners and providing learning and consultancy in leadership and management training. I love being outdoors so in my spare time you will find me mountain biking, walking or running.
Charlotte Johnson - VetSkills Operations Assistant
Based in Ripon, I work as Operations Assistant for VetSkills. When delegates book onto a course I will be there to guide them through the VetSkills process, making sure everyone gets the most from their experience.
Originally from Shropshire, I studied at Harper Adams where I graduated in 2007, I moved to North Yorkshire in 2010. In my spare time I enjoy walking, shooting and beating with our two Cocker Spaniels. I also enjoy running, biking, swimming and baking.
My role involves developing the XLVets IT infrastructure to enable effective and efficient communication between member practices. I provide IT support and development services to XLVets and try to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible! I spend most of my time working from home but attend weekly meetings with the team at the XLVets office in Dalston. In my spare time I enjoy playing football, cycling and walking in the Lake District.
I graduated as a Vet in 2012 first working at a Small Animal XLVets practice, followed by an 'out of hours' only role, before going on to locum for the past three years. This enabled me to develop my interest in teaching and mentoring with a focus on EMS students and New Graduate Vets. I joined the XLVets team in March 2018 to help design and implement mentoring services, creating a variety of ways for XLVet practices to offer this to their New Graduates and other team members. In my spare time I like to travel and be outdoors or just stay in with a cup of tea and dote on my two cats!
Toby Lightfoot - IT and Business Intelligence Manager
Based in the XL Vets Office in Newcastle I joined in February 2018 as Business Intelligence Manager. I'm here to help you turn data into actionable intelligence. When not working I like to spend time with my two children, walk in the Lakes, skateboard and go running.
Based at the XLVets office in Newcastle, I work as Accounts Payable Coordinator supporting the financial efficiency of the business and ensuring suppliers are paid promptly. Outside of XLVets life I am usually walking my two year old Cocker Spaniel, reading books or shopping!
Paul Whittle - IT Systems and Web Support Specialist
Based in Newcastle, I joined the team in 2019. A self confessed geek, I look after IT Systems, Website Support and Audio/Visual systems. When I'm not working, I enjoy spending time having BBQ's (I can BBQ in the rain if required), Flying, and when I'm not in the air, I enjoy going for walks with my partner Sarah and our two French Bulldogs,
Bella and Frankie
Based in the XLVets Newcastle office, I joined the team in 2019 working as Farm Animal Marketing Executive. Graduating from The Royal Agricultural University (Cirencester) in 2018, I have a love for agriculture and the farming sector. Much of my free time is spent on our family farm in Northumberland whatever the weather, if I am not there you will find me at the beach or in the pub.
I am based at the office in Newcastle having joined XLVets in May 2019 as Membership Support Executive.
Please feel free to talk to me about a range of meetings (including the AGM, national meetings, team meetings an regional meetings), our VetSkills courses and about any support you may require to get the most out of your membership with XLVets.
In my spare time I enjoy walking my King Charles Cavalier (who has a rather unusual name of Leuluai, he is named after one of my favourite Rugby players). I am a sport enthusiast who can usually be found watching Leeds Rhinos or Leeds United.
Based in the Newcastle Office, I joined the XLVets team in May 2019.
I am passionate about Marketing and Communications with experience across Agriculture Food and Business Enterprise. I look forward to working with and supporting the needs of the XLVets Community.
Personally, my husband and I farm free range laying hens and sheep in Northumberland and we have two children.
Gemma Gabriel - Companion Animal Marketing Executive
Originally from Nottingham, I moved to the North East to complete my BSc in Marketing with honours in Marketing Communications at Newcastle upon Tyne University. Having grown attached to the city, I have lived here ever since. I have spent the previous 11 years working at the PDSA, working with veterinary practices throughout the UK to provide a charitable service or to promote pet health campaigns.
Based in the Newcastle office, I joined the team in January 2020 as Marketing Communications Executive. After completing my degree in Fashion Communication at Northumbria University, I went on to work in Retail Management whilst developing my passion for writing and marketing. I am easily found at local gigs, restaurants or dog walking in my local park.
Born and Bred in South London and then I met a Geordie Lass and moved up to the Northeast 12 years ago... and now I'm married and have two little boys, Harry and Ted.
Work wise I have 20 years of experience in IT working in the Private sector in London and then mainly the Public sector in the Northeast in the NHS and local council so bring a wide range of experience and knowledge with me.