The Association boasts incredible expertise among our membership. That includes Loudon County Animal Services’ Nina Stively, a forward-thinking leader who knows her way around a hot pepper and will be sharing her superhero communications skills with you at the upcoming Spring Conference for Animal Welfare on June 16-17.
Name: Nina Stively, MS (Veterinary Science), CAWA
Member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement since: 2015
Organization: Loudoun County Animal Services, a municipal agency outside of the DC Metro area that provides animal sheltering, community outreach and humane law enforcement for a county of about 400,000 residents
Organization’s Mission: We resolve to serve our community by promoting public safety and the compassionate treatment of all animals through humane education, community outreach, sheltering and law enforcement.
Q&A with Nina Stively
The Association: What do you think is the most important part of your job?
Nina Stively: The most important part of my job is helping our community through judgement-free law enforcement and animal sheltering.
The Association: You’re an expert at messaging the public on sensitive topics. What’s one new thing you’ve learned about this in the time of COVID-19? What could you plan for, and what couldn’t you have planned for?
NS: I’ve learned that people really are willing to solve their own problems when you give them the right tools. We were spending so much time accommodating owner surrenders, and strays and unwanted litters, but COVID-19 has given us the time to slow down, think things through and help people help themselves. The drop in intakes has been staggering!
On the converse, what I wasn’t prepared for was the impact that the change in our intake population has had on our staff. When the majority of your intakes result in happy endings, staff look forward to coming to work, and that joy sustains their passion through the hard cases. However, once we closed for the pandemic and only took in the critical cases, it created a tremendous amount of complex emotions and compassion fatigue that we are all trying to work through now as a team.
The Association: What’s keeping you healthy and resilient?
NS: Working so closely with our partner agencies throughout the county is very inspiring. Seeing our social services teams, emergency planners, elected officials and fellow first responders keeps me going and makes me want to maintain my team’s engagement to keep up with their great examples.
Outside of work, I have been spending time in the garden, prepping for a summer of salsas, sauces and canning. Nothing clears your mind, literally and metaphorically, like a fresh batch of hot peppers!
The Association: How have you benefitted from your involvement with The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement?
NS: Without question, becoming a CAWA set me apart from other candidates when I applied for my current position. I could not be happier with The Association. I love having access to the amazing network of talented people who are all so focused on professionalizing the field we love.
The Association: What advice do you have for someone considering membership in The Association?
NS: You have nothing to lose but bad habits and outdated techniques, so join! We are advancing the animal welfare profession every day, and the more people who come with us on the journey, the more successful we will all be. Everyone is so willing to build each other up, it’s a fantastic resource for learning, development and peer support.
The Association: Speaking of learning and development, we’re thrilled that you’re going to be presenting at the 2020 Spring Conference for Animal Welfare. What’s the number one reason attendees should attend your session, “Hashtags & Hatemail,” on June 16?
NS: Our profession is a frequent target for bullies—members of the public, people who have a bone to pick, even fellow animal welfare professionals who disagree with our way of doing things. Nothing feels better than shutting down a bully, and I can’t wait to show you the best way to do it.
The Association: What’s the important thing attendees will learn at your session?
NS: Attendees are going to learn how to call out BS on social media with professionalism, finesse and honesty—and how to build up a crew of online followers who eventually will do this for you!
The Association: What superhero skills will attendees learn during your session?
NS: Superhero skills obtained may include: hand-to-hand keyboard warrior combat, quick witted compassion building, and writing posts that are so transparent, your bullies will run out of nonsense!
This coming Wednesday, May 20, Nina will share a sneak peek at what she’s planned for the workshop. Register for the one-hour webinar “Hashtags & Hatemail” and we’ll see you at 3 ET/noon Pacific.