Tracey Gray-Walker is the CEO of AVMA Trust. Her strategic objectives include unifying the strategic positioning of the Trust while enhancing member experience, improving productivity and efficiencies all while creating additional value for members.
Prior to joining the AVMA Trust in 2019, Tracey led AXA Association and Affinity business. During her tenure the business saw double digit growth for 2 consecutive years.
During Tracey’s career in Financial Services she received various awards and recognition, including but not limited to one of The Network Journal’s "Twenty-Five Influential Black Woman in Business," and she was featured in Profiles in Diversity Journal as one of its "Women Worth Watching". She was also included among Uptown Professional’s prestigious list of, "Top Executives in America", and a Women of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Greater New York.
Michael Zimmer is the Chief Financial Officer of AVMA Trust. Michael works with the CEO and other key team members to increase and enhance the overall value of AVMA Trust for its members. Michael has an extensive knowledge of a broad array of insurance products and distribution channels, information technologies, capital management techniques, and deal structures and negotiations.
Core financial functions he has managed include strategic financial planning and analysis, financial reporting, accounting and controls, treasury management, regulatory management, reinsurance, audit and risk management, budgeting and cost-benefit analysis, capital management, financial and operating system implementation, and data governance.
Michael is a CPA and has a Bachelor of Science - Accounting from Binghamton University.
Cynthia Smith is the Member Experience Officer of AVMA Trust. She works with the CEO and other key team members to increase and enhance the member experience, member engagement, and the overall value of the offerings available to members.
Cynthia has more than 20 years of association experience with the American Medical Association Insurance Agency, Inc., where she focused on product development, product improvement, research, digital product strategy and overall product portfolio management.
Cynthia is a graduate of Fisk University, with a major in Business Management. She is also a licensed Illinois Life and Health Insurance Producer.
Dr. Linda Ellis is the Director of Trust Veterinarians for the AVMA Trust, with 16 years of experience in veterinary professional liability and business risk management. Dr. Ellis is passionate about supporting and advocating for AVMA member veterinarians insured thru the PLIT and LIFE sponsored programs. She speaks regularly with veterinarians and practices regarding difficult situations or facing a malpractice claim or license complaint and reviews professional liability claims submitted through the PLIT program to advise the insurance carrier on veterinary care.
Another primary focus of Dr. Ellis’ role is education of AVMA members on the most common causes of claims and how to manage their risk. She makes visits to veterinary colleges to speak with students and attends and presents at veterinary conferences as part of an educational outreach to help veterinarians avoid malpractice and board complaints, as well as to discuss professional and business coverages that veterinarians need to protect themselves and their practice. Dr. Ellis also identifies claim trends and topics for PLIT newsletters to keep AVMA members informed.
Dr. Ellis graduated from Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine in 1991 and practiced companion animal medicine and surgery for 14 years prior to joining the AVMA Trust. She is a member of the AVMA, AAHA, and Illinois State VMA.
Stephanie Blaser is the Marketing and Communications Director for the AVMA Trust. In this role, she works directly with the CEO and other senior team members to reinforce and grow the AVMA Trust brand by building on and enhancing member experience and member engagement.
Stephanie brings over 25 years of marketing and communications experience to the role, having held a variety of positions in industries including both for-profit and not-for-profit education and the retail sector. Her skills include website development, email marketing, digital advertising, print production, writing, editing, and content development.
Stephanie received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from DePauw University, where she graduated summa cum laude. She also attended Northwestern University, where she pursued a Master of Arts degree in English Literature. She is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honorary society.
Dr. Rebecca Stinson graduated with a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Georgia in 2002. After graduation, Dr. Stinson fulfilled her childhood dream of working with horses as an equine veterinarian and later became a founding partner in Carolina Equine Hospital in the piedmont area of North Carolina. Throughout her career, Dr. Stinson has been passionate about helping students identify their own path in the veterinary field. This passion prompted a career shift in 2016 to focus more on education and working with students.
Dr. Stinson taught as adjunct faculty at Averett University and Berry College in Georgia as a Clinical Assistant Professor and College Veterinarian. Dr. Stinson then joined the Academic Affairs team at Virginia Maryland CVM as an Associate Director for Student Support. In 2019, Dr. Stinson was thrilled to join the AVMA Trust as Student Services Representative. In this role, Dr. Stinson coordinates the student outreach with the wonderful team of professionals at AVMA LIFE and AVMA PLIT to provide the best member value possible to SAVMA members.
Throughout her career, Dr. Stinson has been actively involved in organized veterinary medicine including serving as AVMA Vice President from 2014-2016, as well as serving on numerous task forces, committees and councils.
Dr. Stinson and her husband share their life with her horse, two cats and a dog on their farm in North Carolina. They are fortunate to have a wonderful son and daughter in law and three amazing grandchildren.
Tom O’Shaughnessy is the Director of Program Operations of AVMA Trust. He is responsible for partnering with the CEO to drive the trust’s operating capabilities and enhance the membership experience. In addition, he focuses on the employee experience by assessing and implementing processes and technological solutions.
Tom joined the AVMA Trust in 2019, with over 20 years of financial management experience. He has been a leader in restructuring, reformulating, and growing organizations, as well as creating and executing programs at the Fortune 500 level to improve overall business function. Tom is a graduate of the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana and has a Masters of Personal Financial Planning from the College of Financial Planning. He is also a Registered Investment Advisor, a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), and is a past president and current member of the Great Lakes Study Group, the local board of the National Institute of Pension Administrators (NIPA).
Nakia Burress joined AVMA Life in November 2020 as the Trust Program and Operations Manager. In her role, Nakia focuses on operational activities in coordination with business partners and service providers to increase quality assurance.
Nakia has over 14 years of experience in the insurance industry, with a background in operations, sales, and customer service support within Allstate, where she focused on creating efficiencies and processes that increased customer satisfaction.
Nakia is a graduate of University of Illinois at Chicago, with Bachelor of Science in Finance and is currently pursuing her MBA and MSIS at Lewis University in Romeoville. She is also a licensed Illinois Property, Casualty, Life, and Health Producer.
Belkys Llanes joined AVMA LIFE in August 2017 as Member Advocate. In her role, Belkys is responsible for helping members navigate the health insurance system. This includes helping members choose the appropriate health coverage, resolve medical claims, understand complex bills, and coordinate with Medicare.
Prior to joining AVMA LIFE, Belkys worked for 14 years as a sales and agent support representative at HealthPlan Services, specifically for the AVMA LIFE account. Belkys graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Management Information Systems.
Dr. Nina Mouledous joined the AVMA Trust as a Trust Representative on June 23, 2008. Dr. Mouledous speaks to AVMA members insured through the PLIT and LIFE-sponsored programs, answering questions related to malpractice allegations and practice situations. She reviews professional liability claims, assists in the defense by identifying experts and appraisers, and advises the insurance broker and underwriters about new developments in veterinary medicine. Additionally, Dr. Mouledous visits several colleges of veterinary medicine in the United States, represents the PLIT and LIFE programs at various veterinary conventions and speaking engagements each year, and contributes to PLIT publications.
Before joining the AVMA Trust, Dr. Mouledous was the owner and sole practitioner for nineteen years of Equine Veterinary Services, Ltd, a mobile equine practice that specialized in Thoroughbred racehorses at Hawthorne Racecourse (Chicago, Illinois) and Arlington Park (Arlington Heights, Illinois). In addition to her practice, Dr. Mouledous developed a trap-neuter-release program at the racetracks to help control the feral cat population. She also mentored pre-veterinary students during the summer.
Dr. Mouledous is a 1985 graduate of Louisiana State University, School of Veterinary Medicine. Born and raised in New Orleans, Dr. Mouledous secured her first job as an associate veterinarian at a unique small animal, exotic, and equine practice in the French Quarter. Four years later, she relocated to Chicago and started her equine practice in 1989. During her career, Dr. Mouledous has served as a consulting veterinarian for the Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation as well as a board member for the Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protection Association.
"I am very excited to begin my new career with the AVMA Trust," said Dr. Mouledous. "I am proud to help my fellow veterinarians protect their reputations and to enhance the image of the veterinary profession."
Dr. Mouledous and her family reside in Downers Grove, Illinois.
Cynthia MacKenzie, DVM represents the AVMA Trust around the country, raising the awareness of the PLIT and LIFE insurance programs and risk management solutions to veterinarians and veterinary students.
Prior to joining the AVMA Trust, Dr. MacKenzie was an Equine Technical Services Veterinarian at Luitpold Animal Health, providing continuing education, technical literature and consultation to veterinarians and their clients. Previously, she was with Merck Animal Health as a Senior Equine Technical Services Veterinarian and an Associate Director of Learning and Development. Additionally, Dr. MacKenzie co-founded the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief campaign to provide vaccines to qualifying equine rescues. Dr. MacKenzie also worked in private practice in California and Kentucky.
She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine and Bachelor of Science from Texas A&M University. Dr. MacKenzie holds active memberships with the American Veterinary Medical Association, and the American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the Indiana Veterinary Medical Association.
"Throughout my veterinary career, I have gained an appreciation and understanding of the tremendous value that the AVMA and PLIT provide," Dr. MacKenzie said. "Therefore, it is truly an honor to join the PLIT team and serve the veterinary profession in this role. I look forward to being an advocate for veterinarians and veterinary students."
The AVMA Trust was delighted to welcome Dr. Jennifer Frey to the Trust Veterinarian team in October 2019. In her role, Dr. Frey assists the Trust by delivering educational content, bolstering awareness of the Trust’s professional and personal insurance programs, and tailoring veterinary risk management solutions for AVMA members.
"I am excited to become a member of the AVMA Trust team", Dr. Frey said. "I have always been a proud supporter of the AVMA and look forward to serving AVMA members and the veterinary community through advocacy, support and education."
Prior to joining the AVMA Trust, Dr. Frey practiced companion animal medicine and surgery in the Chicagoland area. She received her DVM and BS from the University of Illinois. Dr. Frey currently lives in Oak Park, Illinois with her husband, two children, a rambunctious Shih Tzu mix named Lexie and a newly adopted kitten, Cosmo. In her free time, she enjoys attending her children’s sporting events, reading, and traveling anywhere there is sun and sand!
Dr. Kara Escutia joined the AVMA Trust in January 2021. As a Trust Veterinarian she plays a key role in the activities of the Trust, including providing guidance to the brokers and carriers on veterinary topics and protocols, reviewing professional liability claims, providing support and advocacy to insured members, discussing potential or actual claims with members who call PLIT, and developing and presenting educational programs to veterinary students, veterinarians, and veterinary teams.
"I am very excited to join the AVMA Trust team and start my new career in the ever-changing world of veterinary risk management," said Dr. Escutia. "I have always been a proud member of the AVMA and feel privileged to support my colleagues in such an important role."
Dr. Escutia has spent most of her life in Illinois—growing up in Plainfield, then attending the University of Illinois for both her undergraduate degree and Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine. Since graduation in 2011, she has worked in companion animal practice prior to joining the AVMA Trust team.
When Dr. Escutia is not working, she enjoys staying active outdoors and spending time with her husband David, and sons, Luka and Liam. She shares her home with a dog, Turtle, and one cat, Bagel. Dr. Escutia and her family reside in St. Charles, Illinois.
"It's the best coverage I've found. I've kept it for over 30 years."
—Dr. Richard L. Runyon, Eastridge Animal Center
"AVMA LIFE provides one-stop shopping for a variety of insurance needs. I felt the agent was honest and concerned for me and my family."
—Dr. David McMillon, Former owner of Hoisington Veterinary Hospital
"I recommend that all veterinarians take advantage of [disability insurance made available through the Trust]... It saved me and could for you as well when an unexpected health issue affects your life and practice."
—Walter E. Gorham, DVM
"I ended up developing a chronic illness that forced me to retire early from my veterinary practice. I believe that having disability income [insurance] helped keep me alive and from falling into poverty. The AVMA Trust representatives treated me with respect and support [and] as part of their family."
—Ken Gorczyca, DVM
"In retrospect, it’s hard to believe I ever considered not being properly insured. The quarterly cost on top of all my other bills and student loans, my ignorance of the information, and my naïve young and tough ideology nearly caused me to miss out on one of many lifesavers I’ve encountered over the last 26 months. Had I simply overlooked my AVMA LIFE information, who knows how things would have progressed."
—Dr. Brian Godsey, Marketplace Animal Hospital
"I love that I can get Life, AD&D, and Disability coverage all with one company that I know and trust."
—Dr. Melissa Hawkins, Hospital Director, Noah's Brandywine Animal Health Care Center
"I don't know what I would do if it weren't for the comforting and genuinely sincere support of AVMA LIFE and New York Life who was there in my time of need. My senior claims representative has been here for me every step of the way... guiding me through the claims process with sincere interest, concern, and a helping hand."
—Dr. Barry Wander