WHO WE AREPETER BROWN, DVM | President
After joining Chuckanut Valley Veterinary Clinic in 1991, I, along with my amazing partners Greg Ingman and Jake Searle, focused on creating a family environment that provided great medicine. Every decision was made with the question “is it best for the pet?”. By leading with medicine, our financial success was amazing.
It was also critical that we had a family culture, which we worked tirelessly to create. This culture led to long-term retention of our doctors and staff. Retention of clients depends on staff consistency. Chuckanut had the most amazing team, as well as clients. The consistent double-digit revenue growth over two decades happened because of our great people and our focus on always providing the best medicine.
With the success of Chuckanut (leading the industry in % diagnostics, ATC, and client compliance) in a rural part of Washington state, I was presented with many great opportunities to teach veterinarians throughout the world (North America, Europe, Asia, Australia). The focus of my presentations has been how to use the “wow factor” of customer experience to enable hospitals to practice best medicine and drive financial success.
Cara is a dream come true for me. I have been searching for an opportunity to build a company that represents what I have learned through my Chuckanut journey. I love this profession; it is the greatest career in the world, but I worry about the future. Consolidation often damages the family culture that made a hospital successful. Job satisfaction is dropping and suicide rates are climbing. Cara will address these issues with its family approach.
NELI SEEM, MBA | Vice President Operations
Neli Seem fell in love with animals at a young age on her grandmother’s farm in Bulgaria where she spent her summers growing up. Stray cats and dogs were often her favorite playmates providing hours of laughter, love, and joy during the warm summer days. Today, Neli continues to enjoy the unconditional love and affection pets provide with her family dogs Lola and Theo.
Cara Veterinary is a passion career for Neli allowing her to combine her deep corporate experience with her love for animals. Neli brings 25 years of experience as a global retail operations leader and management consultant with proven track record of successfully scaling businesses poised for rapid growth and new market opportunities. She is a transformational executive and versatile process architect who has led business transitions from start-up stage to world class operations by optimizing resources and collaborative partnerships while driving strategic programs with international teams across geographies, business units, and brands to generate revenue and market share.
She is recognized for instilling a disciplined, yet innovative operating culture focused on world-class hospitality while maintaining a growth mindset to thrive. Her strengths are in developing talent and building inclusive, dynamic, and vibrant cultures where teams co-create remarkable achievements through coaching, mentoring, training, and empowering creativity and risk-taking.
Outside of work, Neli enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and attending her kids’ sports activities.
KATIE RAWLINGS, DVM, MBA | Head of Medicine
Dr. Katie Rawlings started going on farm calls at age six with a family friend and equine veterinarian. In love with the romance of healing animals and helping their people, she knew she would be a veterinarian. She considers veterinary medicine a complicated puzzle involving data collection and knowledge application to formulate the best plan and treatment. Within her field, she loves treating lacerations and wounds and sees them as a form of reconstruction. She also likes the variety of presentations found with internal medicine and surgery cases. Prior to becoming a veterinarian, Dr. Rawlings completed a Masters in Business Administration from Washington State University. She worked for wireless providers managing the development of their product catalogs. While part of the IT community, she also had the pleasure of managing teams in the United States and India to serve their cellular customers. Her life long passion for animals and their people brought her back to veterinary medicine after 7 years in the IT world. Dr. Rawlings graduated from Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. She has completed an internship in Equine Medicine and Surgery and has greater than 14 years experience in both Small Animal Private Practice and Emergency Medicine.
In addition to veterinary medicine, Dr. Rawlings has a passion for small family businesses. This stemmed from her parents endeavors as entrepreneurs in the hospitality and utilities industries. Together, they instilled the spirit of working hard to build companies that promoted a focus on the product as well as the client and growing their employees to be their absolute best. Dr Rawlings’ combined love of veterinary medicine and passion for family businesses makes her opportunity to lead the doctors of Cara in the practice of best medicine and outstanding client care the gift of a life time.
Dr. Rawlings is a wife and a mom. She enjoys running, hiking, camping and skiing. Although it does not happen enough, she relishes curling up in a comfy chair with a book and cup of coffee. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and children. You can rarely find Dr. Rawlings without her labrador retriever Emmie; her cherished friend, running partner and companion.
STEPHEN HELLER | Controller
Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Stephen P. Heller is an animal lover at heart, whether he’s giving a home to rescued pot-bellied pigs, goats and horses, or tending to a menagerie of the more domesticated variety that roam his home.
It wasn’t surprising that the first job in Stephen’s finance career was based in the animal field, working as a controller for a Ranch in Othello, WA, where he managed cattle, land, and agriculture. A college senior at the time, this experience was instrumental as a springboard for his career as a CPA. Stephen’s passion for accounting and finance continued to develop through leading audit, tax and consulting teams at CliftonLarsonAllen, a top 10 national accounting firm.
From there he had the distinct opportunity to work at two renowned Seattle institutions, The Seattle Times and Starbucks. He led a variety of teams across multiple disciplines for both companies, including financial operations, data management, and business consolidation and analysis. Most importantly these experiences instilled the importance of investing in community and humanity, as both companies’ positive impacts have been felt everywhere from local neighborhoods to across the globe. It is this unique combination of professional experience and personal values that brought Stephen full circle back to the animal field, to help lead Cara Veterinary to join the ranks of these storied Pacific Northwest institutions with a positive impact on community, humanity, and pets.
Married to another born and raised Pacific Northwesterner, Stephen and his wife love chasing their two young girls and their rescue pup, Sadie, around the numerous parks and other fun outdoor areas in town. When they aren’t with family on the Washington coast, you can find them traveling to Hawaii or Arizona to chase some sunshine, or watching the Hawks on Sundays.
BUILDING BUSINESSES IS OUR LIFE
In addition to our healthcare legacy, our families have built businesses in hospitality and other industries to national and international scale, and operate in all 50 states. We have owned or led the growth of businesses including:
OUR RESOURCES ARE YOURS
We have built extensive resources and relationships over our decades of healthcare and other business pursuits. We will employ all of these to build Cara into a premier provider of veterinary medicine. Areas in which our resources may add value to your practice include:
- Preserving and scaling culture
- Customer engagement
- Hiring, training, & retaining
- Pricing optimization
- Inventory management
- Technology & systems
- Real estate site selection