The Team

Lisa Balzer

CVM Canada Executive Director

Lisa Balzer
Lisa Balzer came to CVM Canada from cross-cultural missions. She and her family spent fifteen years serving with a media and healthcare organization in Singapore and throughout Southeast Asia, where she was the director of radio training, led teams, and worked with refugees. Her professional background started in commercial broadcasting and communications, and later she completed a degree in international development and a masters in refugee protection and forced migration. Lisa’s family has deep and life-changing ties to vet medicine, through her daughter Thizbe, who was a veterinary student planning to serve with CVM. Thizbe ran ahead to heaven very suddenly in 2020. Lisa is called and passionate to continue her daughter’s legacy – by supporting veterinary students and professionals in Canada, and facilitating them to use their skills to serve God’s creation around the world. She currently resides in rural Saskatchewan with her husband and their dog, and is a delighted granny to her son’s child.

Dr. Jessica Semper

Board Member

Jessica has been with the board since 2018 and is very thankful to be able to have an insider’s look into how the Lord is using CVM Canada for His purposes here at home, and around the world. She lives in the west and has enjoyed mixed-animal mobile medicine so much that she started her own practice in January, 2022. She’s thrilled to be doing life with her husband Chris as well as their fantastic families who all live in the same area. Jess’s four-legged sidekicks include her horse ‘Lyric’, and dog ‘Trill’.

Dr. W. Ben Stoughton

Board Member

Dr. W. Ben Stoughton
Ben is from Merritt Island, Florida, and is a large animal veterinarian and professor at the Atlantic Veterinary College (AVC) on Prince Edward Island (PEI). He is currently an AVC CVF advisor and has been involved with CVM (USA) since 2004. He joined the CVM Canada Board in 2022. Prior to God calling his family to PEI in December 2017, he was a Lecturer at Texas A&M University (TAMU). He completed his undergraduate and DVM degrees at the University of Florida, and an internship at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala. After this, he completed a Large Animal Internal Medicine (LAIM) residency at TAMU and became Board Certified in LAIM in 2013. He then completed a Ph.D. studying Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. His family includes his beautiful wife, 4 children, 3 horses, 4 cats, 5 chickens, cattle and 2 dogs. He lives Coram Deo and loves teaching, photography and vegetable gardening.

Dr. Brenna Sakatch

Board Member

Dr. Brenna Sakatch graduated from the University of Calgary in 2020 and moved to Olds, Alberta with her husband Parker. She works in small animal practice in Airdrie, and is currently on maternity leave. Brenna has been involved in CVM since she started vet school – leading the CVF group for UCVM and participating in short-term mission trips to Mexico & Alberta. Her and Parker welcomed their son René in 2023 and share their home with a dog – Buster and a cat – Coffea.

Dr. Ralph C. Richardson

Board Member

Dr. Ralph Richardson retired in 2019.  He served as dean and CEO of the K-State Olathe campus from August 2015 to July 2019, after serving for 17 years as dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Kansas State University.  He is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Specialty of Internal Medicine) and a Charter Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (Specialty of Oncology).  He graduated from Kansas State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in 1970 and served as a captain in the United States Army Veterinary Corps from 1970 to 1972. He completed an Internship at Purdue University in Small Animal Medicine and Surgery in 1973, and a Residency at the University of Missouri-Columbia in Small Animal Internal Medicine in 1975. In 1978 Dr. Richardson completed a Training Program in Clinical Oncology at the University of Kansas Medical Center-Kansas City. He came to K-State after one year of private practice in Miami, FL and 22 years at Purdue University, leaving there as Professor and Head of the Clinical Sciences Department. During that time, he consulted in private practice in Chicago, IL.  Dr. Richardson is Past President of the Veterinary Cancer Society, the Specialty of Oncology in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine, and the American Association of Veterinary Clinicians. He was an active member of numerous professional veterinary medical associations and organizations.  He and his wife, Beverly, have three grown sons and live in Olathe, KS, a suburb 0f Kansas City.  He serves as an elder in his local church and enjoys participating in biblical counseling education along with his wife.

Dr. Becky Holvik

Board Member

Dr. Becky Holvik
Becky has served on the CVM board for nine years!  With a passion for students she makes every effort to be at their events.  This is not easy as she works as a full time small animal veterinarian (OVC Class 1999), runs a hobby farm and has a family of her own to care for.  She even has managed to serve in Kenya on short term mission and sits on the CVM USA board, representing Canada.

Dr. Neil Connery

Board Member

Dr. Neil Connery
Dr. Connery graduated from Dublin, Ireland in 1995 and after a time in practice and a surgical residency, gained specialization in small animal surgery in 2002 and a master’s degree in 003. Neil Moved to Calgary with his family in 2003 and has worked offering surgical services to the surrounding community since then. He is married to Jan for 22 years and has 4 daughters and 3 cats (but is always rescuing the one with the crooked leg!) He enjoys reading and writing poetry and is engaged in small group leadership to children in the local church. Neil first learned of CVM during his residency in Dublin when he attended the prayer breakfast at the ACVS surgeons conference. He has been involved with CVMC since 2014 and is committed to seeing a flourishing CVM fellowship group at the University of Calgary vet school.

Michelle Larkin RVT

Board Member

Michelle Larkin RVT
Michelle Larkin is a Registered Veterinary Technician that graduated from Dalhousie University’s Faculty of Agriculture in 2015. She currently works in Bedford, NS in a Small Animal Practice. She lives in a small rural town on her family’s beef farm with her horse Flynn, and dog Aghy. Michelle has traveled to Northern India with CVM, is the Beef Leader for her local 4-H group, and she plays the fiddle in her Church’s praise band.

Dr. Jenna Noordenbos

Board Member

Dr. Jenna Noordenbos
Jenna was born and raised in Ashern, Manitoba, and currently works as a mixed animal practitioner at Central Veterinary Services in Oak Bluff Manitoba. Jenna graduated from the Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 2020 and played an active role in the CVM student group during the 4 years of her degree program. While at the WCVM, Jenna led the CVM group through twice weekly prayer meetings and weekly devotionals. She joined a short term mission trip to Honduras in 2019 and has been waiting to go back ever since. As a recent graduate she has been enjoying all the avenues as a mixed animal vet and was led to join the CVM Canada Board in 2022. Jenna is looking forward to brining awareness of the CVM to others within and those interested in the profession. When she is not working, Jenna enjoys adventuring outdoors with her dog, Nala, and baking!

Dr. Debbie Hoffele


Dr. Debbie Hoffele
Dr. Debbie Hoffele graduated from Ontario Veterinary College in 1988 and has worked full time, part time and as a locum in small animal practice in Ontario and Nova Scotia. She currently resides in Fonthill, Ontario with her husband, Stephen, who is a professor at Brock University and 2 grown sons. She has travelled to Northern India and Honduras with CVM and is also a member of the missions committee at her local church and has travelled with/led teams to various countries for ministry. Dr. Hoffele joined us as the Western Canada Regional Represenative in 2018.