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Collaborative Leadership in Animal Welfare

Collaborative Leadership in Animal Welfare

Meaningful change within animal welfare requires skilled and collaborative leadership.

But what if those in leadership don’t have an animal welfare background? How much of a difference can they make?

In truth, a transformative difference.

Transformative Difference

For over 20 years, Liza Sunley, EHS CEO, has dedicated her career to understanding the underpinnings of organizational success within the charitable sector. In other words, she has become an expert in building successful organizations, based on the foundational pieces supporting the mission and long-term growth of an organization.

These foundational pieces include long-term strategies, programming, finance, fundraising, governance and human resources.

Organizations addressing critical issues in social services, health, education and environment all require these foundational pieces, and animal welfare is no different.

In fact, the more knowledge, perspectives and diversity of experience brought into an animal welfare charity through its leadership, the stronger the organization becomes, which directly benefits the animals.

An Animal Welfare Lens

Liza completed the Animal Shelter Management Certificate from the University of the Pacific and recently achieved her Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) designation from The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement. The CAWA designation is designed to support and recognize best practices within the profession.

“These programs were broad, and it wasn’t just about animal care,” says Liza. “It was looking at leadership, community programming, fund development, working with volunteers and much more, through an animal welfare lens, which is valuable and unique.”

In her previous positions, Liza worked in organizations addressing domestic violence, poverty and homelessness in Edmonton, which creates a valuable perspective when speaking with the community about the importance of EHS’ support programs.

“In my role, I think that taking the course around community programs is where I started to see the integration of what I had been doing in my previous roles and the work we do at EHS,” says Liza. “The programs and services we offer to try to keep pets with their families, like our PALS programfood bank or our emergency veterinary fund, aren’t just add-ons, they are an integral part of our work at EHS. We want to get ahead of problem in our community.”

Part of getting ahead of a problem is amplifying the organization’s voice through partnerships.

Amplifying Our Voice

In May, Liza was elected to the Humane Canada Board of Directors.

“As one of the oldest humane societies in Canada, I think we have an important role to play, to be a leader in this space by having a seat at the national table,” says Liza. “We’ve got a lot of different groups doing really important work, and I think anytime we can support coordinating those voices and really amplifying those voices, benefits the field as a whole, so I’m excited to have the opportunity to help shape some of that.”

Liza’s wealth of experience, unique ability to recognize issues and identify different perspectives mixed with her understanding of the foundational pieces needed to ensure organizational success through an animal welfare lens, is advancing animal welfare in Edmonton and Canada.