Animal Welfare Professionals

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  • 1.  Becoming a new leader

    Posted 01-24-2023 09:18 AM
    Hello all,  I'm starting a new path as a shelter leader. What are tips for a successful first 90 days?


    Janet Graham

  • 2.  RE: Becoming a new leader

    Posted 01-24-2023 11:05 AM
    Hi Janet- congratulations!!

    My recommendations for your first 90 days are to do a lot of listening and learning, and not a lot of acting or changing.
    • I would shadow/ work in every department alongside your team. Clean kennels. Train as an adoption counselor. Assist in the vet clinic if you have one.
    • Schedule one-on-one meetings with as many staff members a you can. Find out what they want to see in a leader, what they want for the future of the shelter, what is one thing they would change if they were in charge and had complete control.
    • Connect with nearby shelters that are doing well and go visit them.
    • Connect on platforms like this and all the other amazing online discussion communities for shelter leaders available today.

    And then lastly- cut yourself some slack. Many people will want you to fix everything and have it all figured out the day you step foot through the door, but that is just not realistic. Don't hold yourself to impossible standards.

    Listen and learn, and only then establish an action plan for your next 90 days about what you want to accomplish based on what your organization's lifesaving gap is, along with other mission/ values/ goals.

    Alexis Pugh
    Director, Memphis Animal Services

    Organizational Management
    & Pet Support Services Specialist

  • 3.  RE: Becoming a new leader

    Posted 01-25-2023 07:43 AM
    Congratulations, Janet!

    Number 1 rule: ask questions and don't be afraid to admit you don't know something!
    Also, this resource from AAWA (formerly SAWA) might be helpful - it's their new Animal Welfare CEO plan.

    And don't forget to have fun!

    Emily Wood
    Broward County Animal Care
    Fort Lauderdale FL