Staff Information

Working For You to Better the Profession

Executive Director

Executive Director

Chris Copeland, JD, CAE

Chris Copeland is TVMA’s chief administrative officer and directs the staff in pursuit of TVMA’s mission, which includes legislation, continuing education, member services and public relations. He is responsible for staff development and for staying abreast of new ways that TVMA can better veterinary medicine in Texas. Chris is responsible to the TVMA Executive Committee.

Associate Director

Angela Russell, CMP

Angela supports the BOD, Executive Committee and Executive Director. She assists in identifying and selecting TVMA members for appointment to committees and works with the committees to organize their meetings and identify areas for staff support. She is also responsible for member services and membership development.  

Director of Government Relations/General Counsel

Director of Government Relations/General Counsel

Elizabeth Choate, JD

Elizabeth is the Director of Government Relations/General Counsel. Her responsibilities include addressing the legal questions of the membership covering a diverse range of issues including; practice, ethics and employment law, as well as questions regarding the rules and regulations of state and federal agencies. Elizabeth also assists TVMA’s leaders in designating the legislative priorities of TVMA and then works diligently as an advocate for TVMA before the state legislature, working to protect and promote the profession of veterinary medicine.

Director of Communications

Director of Communications

Abel Almendarez

Abel is responsible for TVMA’s member and public communications through print and electronic media. He serves as the association’s creative director, designer, in-house advertisement producer, website administrator and manages the Communications Department. Abel also sets publications schedules and continually updates the design of eNewsletters, theTexas Veterinarian magazine and the TVMA website.

Director of Education and Meetings

Director of Education and Meetings

Ellen Forsythe, CMP

Ellen manages all meeting functions and continuing education programs. She plans, organizes, develops, markets and implements the TVMA Annual Conference, Past Presidents Summit, regional conferences and other meetings. Ellen negotiates and manages meeting agendas and brochures, exhibitor and sponsorship solicitation and event contracts. She also provides full staff support for the TVMA Ethics and Grievance Committee and the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice.

Director of Finance

Director of Finance

Sharon Swedlow

Sharon manages the financial functions of TVMA and its related entities through financial reporting, budget planning and budget preparation supervision. She also advises the TVMA Treasurer and other officers within TVMA’s financial scope.

Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Director

Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Director

Leah Ann Tibbitts

Leah Ann serves as the chief administrative staff of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation. She is responsible for promoting Foundation events and programs, growing Foundation donations and developing new revenue streams.

Director of Development & External Relations

Director of Development & External Relations

Danielle Madrid

Danielle manages the development and fundraising functions of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation. She also assists in building awareness of TVMF and its mission as well as to create, organize and guide giving and fundraising events throughout the year.

Director of Credentialing

Director of Credentialing

Larisa Respondek, CVA

Larisa manages the certification program for Certified Veterinary Assistants (CVA). She is the TVMA liaison for the Veterinary Paraprofessional Committee, Credentialing Committee and the Practice Management Committee. She also assists in providing full support for the Texas Academy of Veterinary Practice.

Member Relations and Foundation Specialist

Member Relations and Foundation Specialist

Janet Knippa

Janet is responsible for providing first contact and receptionist services at TVMA. She takes care of order receipt and fulfillment, greeting and visitor assistance and call routing. Additionally, she provides support to the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Memorial Gift Program.

Accounting Assistant

Casey Brzozowski

Casey processes all incoming Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable for TVMA and TVMF, TAVP and VPAC. Additionally, she assists the Finance Director with special projects and helps support Membership and product ordering overflow.

Media Coordinator

Media Coordinator

Dena Goldstein

Dena manages the development of TVMA's public-facing website, TexVetPets.org, and oversees classified ads. She also assists the Communications Department with public relations, the Texas Veterinarian magazine, the TVMA website, research and other communication efforts.

Feline Relations Specialist

Feline Relations Specialist

Luna

Luna is the voice of (and keeps TVMA in touch with) the feline community. She also provides a much-needed therapeutic service to the staff through her role as the official office cuddler.

Membership and Marketing Manager

Donna M. Eberhart

Donna supports membership growth and activities. Her primary focus is member retention, new member recruitment and welcome efforts, and member-related communications. She serves as a staff liaison for the Membership and Industry Advisory committees.