Letter from the President: Feeling Very Connected

Dear Friends & Colleagues:

Wow!  The Spring Conference for Animal Welfare (June 16-17) was so much more than I anticipated. I hope you felt the same. I’ll admit it…. I had some concerns beforehand.  I knew we had solid, valuable content, but I couldn’t know how our members, sponsors, and attendees would engage.

I was worried, but YOU made the conference a huge success by actively connecting during the sessions, speaking with sponsors in the virtual exhibit hall, and joining everyone for Happy Hour. I actually found myself feeling a little sad when it was all over. While I certainly missed seeing you in person, this virtual conference exceeded my expectations. Thanks to our pivot to a virtual format, we were able to share great information and networking opportunities with well over 900 of you! 

Over the past two weeks we’ve received really great feedback: 

“I wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the virtual Spring Conference. The program was really well put together, and the topics were spot on.” 
– Marcia Mayeda, CAWA, Director of Animal Care and Control, County of Los Angeles

“I really have to thank The Association for quickly jumping into action, rearranging the schedule and putting the DEI panel front and center in the conference.” 
– Ed Jamison, Animal Services Director, City of Dallas 

Sending a big congrats on a VERY successful virtual conference! Even with it being virtual, I still felt very connected – especially with the Happy Hour session and the Exhibit Hall. And I didn’t experience any technical issues!” 
~ Casey Kleekamp, Purina/Petfinder

“Thank you for this amazing opportunity to learn about a variety of topics that will help me grow in animal welfare.” 
~ Anonymous Survey Respondent

While the conference itself has come to a close, the opportunities to take action have begun. I’m excited to share that the conference recording is now available. If you registered for the conference, you can access the recording in the Contents tab of each session in the Agenda section of the Conference Site.

If you caught the “Commitment to Action: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Animal Welfare” panel discussion, then you participated in on one of the most impactful sessions of the conference—and you know the hard work we’ll be undertaking as a field. I shared our pledge to keep this work at the forefront of The Association’s priorities during my opening remarks at the conference, but it can’t be conveyed often enough: we are committed to action on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in animal welfare and we want you with us on this journey. Take next steps with us this coming Wednesday, and join us for a free webinar, “Communicating To A Divided America” with Peter Panepento.  
This free webinar will equip your organization with the tools that staff, volunteers, and board need to listen thoughtfully and communicate effectively with supporters who span the political and social spectrum.
Thank you for attending The Spring Conference for Animal Welfare and for allowing The Association to be your partner in leadership and learning. I’m looking forward to being together again, but until then, let’s keep advancing animal welfare together. 


P.S. If you haven’t already, please take 5-7 minutes to complete the conference evaluation.  You’ll then be able to submit your email address to enter to win either a free one-year membership to The Association OR a free registration to The Fall Conference.

Jim Tedford, CAWA, is President and CEO of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement.

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