We are honored to introduce you to one of animal welfare’s brightest stars – the CEO of SPCA Tampa Bay, chair of The Association’s Spring Conference Committee, and an Association board member to boot. She’s one you wanna know, if you don’t already.
Name: Martha Boden, PMP, CAWA, The Association’s Spring Conference Committee Chair, member of the board for The Association
Member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement since: 1999 (I think – might have to check with Jim!)
Organization Name: SPCA Tampa Bay
Organization’s Mission: Through passionate collaboration with our community, we transform the lives of animals.
Q&A with Martha Boden
The Association: What do you think is the most important part of your job?
Martha Boden: Highlighting and celebrating humanimality – that very unique relationship between humans and animals that brings nearly indescribable joy to our lives.
The Association: You’re an expert at project management – what’s one new thing you’ve learned about this topic in the last few weeks? What could you plan for, and what couldn’t you have planned for?
MB: I feel the past few months have reinforced the value of having a plan, even if you change it daily. In the midst of chaos, the framework a plan provides gives you guard rails, if nothing else, and often a focal point. I find it’s easy to get paralyzed without a framework because there are simply too many options. A plan forces you to make choices. You may revisit your choices, but at least you’re doing it consciously. That conscious decision typically makes it easier for others to come along with you, too.
The Association: What’s keeping you healthy and resilient?
Seriously, it’s been the connections with my colleagues, both locally and across the industry, that have buoyed me through the pandemic. Knowing I had others with whom to share ideas, solve problems and vent frustrations was incredibly comforting. I did plan and plant a vegetable garden, too.
The Association: How have you benefitted from your involvement with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement?
MB: I actually joined The Association when I was still a volunteer at Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis. Their operations director at the time (late ‘90s) said if I wanted to make a career transition into animal welfare, I needed to join The Association (then SAWA). Mike was absolutely right – becoming a member of The Association helped me understand the breadth and depth of the professionals in our field and gave me the courage to imagine myself in the industry.
Once I became a member, I started volunteering on various Association committees. Committee involvement helped me build strong relationships across the country that became a vital support network for me when I got my first job in the field. It also exposed me to new ideas and problem-solving opportunities, as I helped shape conference content, draft best practices, and support The Association’s growth. I strongly encourage any SPCA Tampa Bay employees to consider Association membership as I know it will help them become better professionals.
The Association: What advice do you have for someone considering membership in The Association?
MB: Don’t wait – join today! Then get involved. There are so many options for engaging in The Association’s work – committees, task forces, The Learning Center, conferences, etc. While Association staff does a great job pushing things out to members, you and the industry will be richer if you invest yourself in its programs. There is no better organization than The Association to help you do more for animals through your own professional and personal growth.
The Association: Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give to who you were ten years ago?
MB: Ten years ago….hmmmm, where was I? I was back in IT consulting, taking a break from animal welfare and wondering if that break had been a mistake. I accepted my current position with SPCA Tampa Bay a year later. I now know how powerful and restorative that break was for me. It allowed me to gain new insights into myself as a leader and the industry in relation to other fields. I know we have a growing number of “lifers” in animal welfare, and completely understand the pull of the work. But I regularly encourage colleagues to take a break and look at this from outside the field. It’s another way to add color to the tapestry we weave in support of humanimality.
P.S. Big shoutout to Wingnut, pictured with Martha, above. And if you want to follow Martha’s advice and are a member interested in volunteering, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with information about your expertise and your volunteering interests.