After 2 years of seeing the animal welfare world through hundreds of virtual meetings, while having conversations with amazing people from extraordinary organizations it was great to see that all of you do actually exist. Each and every one of you are just as amazing in person as you have been through our virtual conversations.
If nothing else would have happed at EXPO I would have come away with a sense of fulfillment. However, what I witnessed on a daily basis was truly unforgettable. In every session, roundtable, speaker assembly, vendor booth, social event, and to be honest every nook and cranny in the convention center I witnessed HOPE. I saw people from all walks of life and all levels of animal welfare looking for change and "believing" that change is possible. I saw multiple sessions where the session speakers reached out to the audience and brough them into the discussion and because of this it made the programs and information portrayed in the sessions appear more attainable and thus HOPE was born. We truly had a conversation in each session because it appeared that people were being talked to rather than talked "at".
You could see how hungry for knowledge people were. Business cards were handed out, like candy on Halloween. Only there were no tricks here only offers of help through sharing of programs. policies procedures, hiring tips, marketing, etc. I can only imagine the massive amount of information shared between organizations over the last week as we all got back to the office. I know that I personally have sent information to 35-40 people and requested information from many that I found looking forward in animal welfare rather than looking behind.
This was an extraordinary experience, and I would like to thank all who shared this experience with me.P.S. don't forget that learning never ends at Maddie's University https://university.maddiesfund.org/