Staff Information

Working For You to Better the Profession

Executive Director

Executive Director

Troy Alexander

Troy Alexander is TVMA’s chief administrative officer and serves as CEO of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation as well. He directs the staff in pursuit of TVMA’s mission, which includes advocacy, continuing education, member services and public relations. He is responsible for staff development and for staying abreast of new ways that TVMA can better serve veterinary medicine in Texas. Troy is responsible to the TVMA Executive Committee.

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Associate Director

Associate Director

Angela Russell, CMP, CAE

Angela supports the Board of Directors, 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 works with TVMA's Business Alliances that provide discounted services and products for members and works with the Leadership Development Committee and the Power of 10 Leadership Program.

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Director of Government Relations/General Counsel

Director of Government Relations/General Counsel

Trent Hightower, JD

Trent is the Director of Government Relations/General Counsel. His 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. Trent also assists TVMA’s leaders in designating the legislative priorities of TVMA and works as an advocate for TVMA before the state legislature, working to protect and promote the profession of veterinary medicine.

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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.

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Media Specialist

Audrea Wood

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

Director of Education and Meetings

Erin Scott

Erin manages all meeting functions and continuing education programs. She plans, organizes, develops, markets and implements the TVMA Annual Conference, regional conferences and other meetings. Erin negotiates and manages meeting agendas and brochures, exhibitor and sponsorship solicitation and event contracts. She also provides full staff support for the TVMA CE & Conference Committee.

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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.

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Accounting Assistant

Deborah Walton

The Accounting Assistant processes all incoming Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable for TVMA, TVMF and VPAC and assists the Finance Director with special projects and helps support Membership and product ordering overflow.

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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.

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Director of Membership and Marketing

Director of Membership and Marketing

Donna M. Eberhart, CAE

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, Industry Advisory and Recent Graduate/Student Liaison committees.

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Membership and Credentialing Assistant

Ruthie Smith

Ruthie supports both the Membership and Credentialing departments. This includes processing new member applications, updating member information, and creating membership reports as well as processing CVA program applications and certificates.

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Member Relations and Foundation Specialist

Christine Buendel

Christine is responsible for providing first contact and administrative support 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.

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Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Chief Operating Officer

Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation Chief Operating Officer

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.

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Director of Development & External Relations

Casey McBee

Casey is the Director of Development & External Relations and manages the development and fundraising functions of the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation. She also assists in building awareness of TVMF and its mission and creates, organizes and guides giving and fundraising events throughout the year.

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Feline Relations Specialist

Feline Relations Specialist


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. Luna’s medical care is provided by the Texas Veterinary Medical Foundation.

A heartfelt thank you to Epicur Pharma/Stokes Pharmacy for their generous sponsorship of Luna's medications.