By Kerry Garofano, New England Federation Board Member
When I joined the New England Federation of Humane Societies (NEFHS) Advisory Council last year, sure, there was a volunteer job description, but I really had no idea what I was in store for. With an animal welfare background but a career trajectory that had steered me to the (very necessary) role of fundraising, marketing and communications, I welcomed the opportunity to further build my skill set and exposure to the interdisciplinary world that my fellow NEFHS members bring to the table.
It’s helped – and continues to help – the evolution of the messaging I communicate to our donor base about the changing dynamic of animal shelters in New England.
It’s built a network – one where we are supportive of and collaborative with one another. From exchanging ideas, to sharing policies so as to not reinvent the wheel (and strain already limited nonprofit resources), to assisting with animal transfers and disaster support, it provides a link that we’re in this together.
It’s opened up my eyes, and those of my coworkers, to new ideas and techniques and more.
With all that in mind, I’m excited for the future! And specifically, I’m excited about the 2019 NEFHS Annual Conference. Why? Well, while the full conference schedule will be published online shortly, here’s a little teaser… on March 30-April, 2019, over 350 animal welfare professionals and volunteers of all kinds will convene in Warwick, RI for the annual conference that covers everything from cat programs, to dog programs, to field services, community issues, and everything in between. But what I’m most thrilled about is the conference’s continued forward-thinking focus. This year’s conference will even have a whole day-long track dedicated to New England trends. And while my organization is talking about it and feeling its effects literally every day, I welcome the opportunity for an exchange with others across our region. Our respective focuses in our day-to-day roles as well as our part in the animal sheltering world as a whole make an opportunity like this a highly worthwhile investment.
It’s a challenging new endeavor in the world of animal sheltering, but a focus on the future is a welcome forum. Together we can be proactive rather than reactive to the emerging challenges of the animal welfare world, creating more humane communities and beyond.