Meet The Team
Dr Susan McKay BVM & S, MRCVS, MBA – Director
After 8 years working as a vet in practice, I needed a fresh, new challenge. Joining a pet food company meant I gained a great grounding in PR and communications but also gave me an understanding of the needs of commercial organisations. I led a customer service team to award winning standard, learned about proactive approaches to issues management and about the characteristics and needs of market leading brands.
I could see that understanding the audience was vitally important – and never more so than when communicating with veterinary teams, farmers and retailers. A trade marketer was born! I developed a passion for putting myself in their shoes and developing communications that spoke to them as individuals.
In 2002, I launched Companion Consultancy – an agency dedicated to companies who need to communicate to people who own and care for animals. We aimed to become companions to our clients, in the sense that we would work alongside them, aligning ourselves to their goals and acting as an extension to their teams. Did it work out that way? I’m proud to say that some of the clients that we took on in that first year are still with us, several job roles and companies later.
I love to spot new ways to communicate more effectively and to seek out the places where our tribes can be found. A bit of blue sky thinking where I can match up what I know about professionals and combine it with some new ideas, or a quiet spell spent wordsmithing and my day is complete.
These days, our projects include reputation management, technical articles, social media, blogger outreach, large multiple element campaigns, online content, CPD training materials and more.
Jenny Langridge – Business Development Manager
Jenny studied equine science at Writtle College and spent some time as an equine nutritionist before working in sales and marketing in the equine, automotive, retail/wholesale and recruitment sectors. Her passion for animal health won out however, and she spent sixteen years in the commercial team at Vet Times, working in business development with clients ranging from new start ups to global multinationals, and the development of creative and innovative print and digital marketing solutions.
Jenny particularly enjoys working with clients to form a deep understanding of their business and develop bespoke PR and marketing campaigns that meet objectives and make the most of commercial opportunities. Her specialism in media allows the development of projects and partnerships that harness the creativity and technical capabilities of the Companion Consultancy team to offer clients a personal and inspired service.
Outside of work, Jenny enjoys a life of servitude to her feline overlords, but sometimes manages to escape to the outdoors for mountain biking, walking and wild swimming, and is also permitted to play the piano, do some arts and crafts, and take part in Viking re-enactments.
Dr Fiona Farmer BVSc MRCVS – Account Manager
Fi worked as an equine vet for over 10 years, which took her from the deserts of Dubai (where the odd camel got treated) to the beautiful Norfolk countryside. Alongside first opinion work, her passion of competition horses led her to FEI officiating, where she has qualified as an FEI 3* official vet. This regularly takes her to international FEI competitions in the UAE, Europe and around the U.K. Keen to be more than ‘just a vet’ Fi has founded several businesses – a fitness class specifically for mums, and a carpentry contracting company with her husband.
Her work at Companion Consultancy is the perfect blend of veterinary, business and creativity, and she enjoys working closely with clients to help create their story. She particularly enjoys being part of such a friendly, hardworking team to bounce ideas off, and support one another.
Outside of work, Fi can be found running around after her young children. If time permits, you can find her on the back of a horse or in the gym, but it’s far more likely she will be knee deep in something child related!
Claire Newton-Ransom BSc (Hons) – Account Manager
Claire has worked in the equine and veterinary industry for over ten years, and her passion for the welfare of animals (including the human variety) led her to a career in veterinary practice management. She has worked in both the UK and Australia and has a particular interest in utilising emotional intelligence in business and leadership.
A keen interest in the therapeutic effects of the human-animal bond inspired her research into equine assisted psychotherapy at university, for which she was awarded first-class honours.
Claire later took on an editorial position at a veterinary journal as well as contributing regularly to UK pet magazines and industry publications. Now at Companion Consultancy, she enjoys working with clients on a variety of projects, as well as leading the Veterinary Woman initiative.
Outside of work, she can normally be found attempting yet another DIY project whilst fixing-up a 200-year-old house.
Katy Ellison – Account Manager
Katy is a qualified vet who has worked in clinical practice for 22 years. She started her veterinary career in a mixed practice in rural Cambridgeshire before moving to a small animal practice on the Norfolk/ Suffolk border in 2003. It was while working here that she started to cultivate a love of writing, starting out some years ago by penning short articles for the local media on behalf of her practice.
In 2021 she joined Companion Consultancy, initially on a temporary basis before joining the company permanently in February 2022. Combining her extensive clinical knowledge with her love of writing is a dream come true and she particularly enjoys the challenge of presenting clinical information in an engaging and creative way.
On a Wednesday evening she can be found playing the violin in the Suffolk Sinfonia, a total change from the day job! At weekends, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children and walking her black Labrador in the beautiful Suffolk countryside.
Maddie Speare – Social Media Manager
Maddie joined Companion Consultancy in October 2020 wanting to develop her skills and knowledge in the PR and marketing sector by using her love of human psychology to help her understand different audience personas and generate insightful communications on social media platforms.
Since joining the company, Maddie has achieved a multitude of certificates in online courses based on digital marketing, content creation, SEO and many more. Being our Social Media Manager means you’ll often find Maddie editing Instagram reels, creating TikToks and snapping pics for clients’ social media which she loves working on.
Being an animal lover with various pets at home, Maddie enjoys working within the pet sector which enables her to explore the ever-changing trends and adjust techniques and tactics to stay hot on them too.
Outside of work, Maddie is happiest when spending time with friends and family, whether that’s drinks with the girls (most Friday nights!) or family beach walks with her Dalmatian Milo.
Tom Sanderson – Head of Design
Tom loves a challenge. Which is good because being Senior Creative at Companion Consultancy brings a different challenge along approximately every 7 minutes and 29 seconds.
At any time of the day Tom can be found making a social banner for Facebook or editing a 2 minute TV commercial or designing a brochure for a new pet brand or recording and editing a podcast or building a website or photographing cute animals in baskets or developing a new pet toy or even writing some hold music!
It is that varied! And he loves this!
The poet, William Cowper once wisely stated that: ‘Variety is the spice of life’ and even though Tom is unfamiliar with any of Billy’s other gems of wisdom – and is also slightly intolerant to some spices – it does adequately illustrate that there is never a dull moment in the Creative Department of Companion Consultancy.
Tom started out as a copywriter. Well, he really wanted to be a stuntman, then an astronaut, then Marty McFly! But, time machines not having been invented yet, sensibly studied as a copywriter. He wanted to build ideas and images with words but quickly learned to use graphics and design to further enhance his creative concepts.
Outside of work Tom plays guitar and sings in a few bands that regularly gig around Suffolk, Essex and beyond. True to stereotype, he is also a massive – and proud – geek, and absorbs anything Marvel or Star Wars related within parsecs.
He lives in Ipswich with his incredible family and huge ginger cat.
Jenny Silventoinen – Senior Designer
As a graphic designer, Jenny loves taking an idea (or a company brand) and bringing it to life. She works on both print and digital designs and revels in the opportunity to work creatively every day. She has extensive industry experience and aims for perfection in every project she undertakes.
Jenny studied graphic design at Swindon College of Art and Design in the early 1990s and has worked in various design agencies and sectors over the years. Prestigious brands include: Disneyland Paris, Advantage Travel, Collins Education, Cambridge University Press, Pearson Education and the Royal Society of Chemistry. This is her first experience of working within the vet / pet industry. With her passion for animals and love of graphic design, she thinks she’s finally landed the perfect job!
Outside of work, Jenny loves the great outdoors and spending time with her family. She enjoys dog walking (she is a volunteer for the Cinnamon Trust), yoga, pottering in the garden and running. Jenny has a passion for vegetarian cooking and her creative side is always experimenting with new recipes.
Her guilty pleasures include binge-worthy box sets, a good British drama, Scandi crime series, Gardeners’ World, reading and theatre. She lives in rural Cambridgeshire with her Finnish husband, 8 year old daughter and 3 posh cats!
Lola Stewart – Junior Designer
Lola studied graphic design at Nottingham Trent University where she specialised in branding, editorial and packaging design. She also gained an interest in illustration and printmaking on the course which she often incorporates into her work at Companion.
Lola joined Companion Consultancy in October 2021 as a junior designer, where she works closely with the senior designers on a variety of briefs that challenge and develop her skillset and creativity. Everyday is different at CC, which is one of Lola’s favourite parts of the job.
Outside of work Lola enjoys going to live music events, experimenting with cooking recipes from different cultures and spending time with her two kittens, Miso and Zelda.
Nell Lamb-McKay – Junior Designer
Nell joined the Companion team part-time in August 2021 whilst also studying to complete her UAL extended diploma in general art and design.
Nell’s love of art and design makes her role at Companion fun and interesting, she’s forever learning new techniques that aid her both at work and in her college course.
With five dogs at home, Nell knows all about the realities of being a pet owner and often combines this knowledge with her skills in art to create top of the range pet product designs.
In her spare time, you’ll often find Nell working on an elaborate art piece, relaxing at home with her mum and sister or boogying at local bars and clubs with her girlfriends.
Tibbie Lamb – Administrative Assistant
Tibbie joined the Companion team part time as an admin assistant at the start of November 2021 whilst also studying A-levels in Economics, English Literature and Mathematics.
Part of Tibbie’s role is making sure operations in the office happen smoothly and effectively which means she’s often on the move, shipping parcels, managing orders, corresponding with colleagues and keeping our websites looking great. Managing and uploading to the Vet Report website is a part of the role that Tibbie enjoys the most, she particularly enjoys using her recently learned SEO skills to help rank web pages highly in web search.
Outside of work and sixth form, Tibbie loves socialising with friends, spending quality time with family and you’ll most often find her with her head in a good book.