Fall Conference: 5 Questions We Always Ask with Swati Patel

Have you registered yet? Our lineup for the Fall Conference for Animal Welfare Advancement has been carefully curated to ensure the topics are the most relevant and important to the animal welfare profession–like Swati Patel’s session on compensation and livable wages.

The Association: We can’t wait to see you in New Orleans—also known as the birthplace of jazz. In keeping with that theme, what are you most jazzed about these days?
Swati Patel:
l am most jazzed about understanding and facing the challenges of living in a post-pandemic world. How to work, where to work, & with whom to work are all changing! 

The Association: What are you most jazzed about for our time together?
Swati Patel: I am jazzed for the opportunity to meet with animal welfare leaders and discuss how we can think outside the box on how to attract and retain talent during times of record inflation and the Great Resignation. 

The Association: We are looking forward to your session The Future of Compensation. Can you share a little more about what defines a livable wage? Should shelters be offering a livable wage to employees? How might they go about ensuring that? 
Swati Patel:
The definition and inputs for determining “livable wage” are themselves under debate. However, most common inputs are cost of basic living in modern society, which typically includes housing, food, transportation, utilities, healthcare, and education. We have defaulted to minimum wage, a governmental benchmark, as the guideline. Whether to offer compensation beyond the market rate or at minimum wage is a philosophy that each organization must decide for themselves, but the conversation is happening here and now. Having the budget and funds to pay more is often at the root of determining whether an organization can offer a livable wage.

The Association: What can attendees prepare or think about before your session?
Swati Patel:
Some questions to ponder before the session are:

  • What is your philosophy, now and directionally, when it comes to paying your employees?
  • Do you know your employee population, and what personal challenges they are facing?
  • Do you believe you should be paying more than market or minimum wage, considering that your employees may be facing challenges, to cover their basic needs? 

The Association: What favorite Zoom meeting outfit will NOT be making it into your suitcase this November?
Swati Patel:
A tunic with running shorts.

More Presenter Q&As

Fall Conference: 5 Questions We Always Ask with Michael Kass
Fall Conference: 5 Questions We Always Ask with Lara Jakubowski
Fall Conference: 5 Questions We Always Ask with Dalbin Osorio
Fall Conference: 5 Questions We Always Ask with Jeremy Van Groll


The Association is the only international society of leaders actively leading and managing community animal shelters/animal control agencies.


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