Executive directorSonoma County Humane Society 5345 Hwy. 12 W., Santa Rosa 95407; 707-542-0882; sonomahumane.org
Professional background: Executive director, Sonoma Humane Society, 2010--present; marketing & communications director, programs director, adoption director, human resources manager, San Francisco SPCA
Education: Integrated Marketing Certificate, San Francisco State University
Describe your organization: SHS is a donor-supported safe haven for animals. Each year we assist an average of 2,400 animals in need. Our guiding principle is that no effort is too great when a life is at stake. To achieve our 97% live release rate, we employ exhaustive life-saving measures: expert medical treatment and rehabilitation, positive reinforcement behavior training, volunteer foster and hospice care, adoption outreach programs and key rescue partnerships.
At our Center for Animals, we provide public and shelter veterinary services and operate a low-cost public spay and neuter clinic. Both our public veterinary hospital and low cost spay and neuter clinic are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), which certifies our rigorous standards of care for animals. Our public veterinary hospital is the only non-profit hospital in the county, with its proceeds supporting our costs of shelter operation.
Tell us a little bit about yourself: As a former "Army Brat" my parents and I moved to the Presidio of San Francisco when I was 16. I quickly fell in love with the Bay Area; in large part because of the way that we value animals here. Growing up as an only child, the animals in my life were my brothers and sisters. My first job was at the "PX" (Post Exchange) where I began my non-profit work. I’ve always been inspired by non for profit businesses as I’m motivated to work towards a common good. My husband, also an Army Brat, shares this philosophy and has been at the San Francisco Zoo for 6 years, where he is the Vice President of Operations. We currently live with our 5 "children" all of whom have 4 legs. 3-Chihuahuas, a Mastiff, and one very sassy Calico cat!
What is your role in the organization?: I provide direction and leadership to guide the programs and operations of the organization towards our goal of making Sonoma County a community where euthanasia is reserved for only those animals who are irremeably suffering or are a danger to people and other animals.
What achievement are you most proud of?: Forging an Adoption Agreement with Sonoma County Animal Care and Control (SC/ACC), effectively ending the euthanasia for healthy animals and those with curable illnesses at SC/ACC.
What is your biggest challenge today?: Finding effective ways to educate and provide services across economic and cultural gaps?
What is the next major project either under way or on the horizon?: Eliminating the euthanasia of healthy feral cats in Sonoma County and increasing behavior resources for dogs at risk
What product or service would/or is helping you do your job more effectively?: A local company, VIP Pet Services, performs all appointment scheduling for our low-cost spay or neuter clinics They operate a seven-day-a-week call center with bilingual staff, which would be very difficult and costly for the Sonoma Humane Society to replicate.
How do you think your profession will change in the next five years?: There is currently a major shift in thinking in animal welfare regarding cats. California as a whole currently euthanizes 70 percent of all cats who come into our shelters. By shifting the resources currently directed to euthanizing these cats, to preventative programs like affordable spay or neuter, many, many more lives will be spared.