DEI Survey Update: Mary Ippoliti-Smith on what the “D” does NOT stand for

Gratitude and appreciation for everyone who has taken the DEI Survey. As of this writing, that’s more than 2,000 professionals from all of animal welfare. If you haven’t already taken it, Mary Ippoliti-Smith of Maddie’s Fund’s Executive Leadership Team shares what to expect—and what we can avoid by taking it—in this short message and video.

I’ve always been fascinated by dinosaurs. And while I’ve never outgrown that obsession, it seems to me the older I get, these guys remind me that it’s really easy to become extinct, even when you’re at the top of the food chain. 

And that goes for all of us in animal welfare.

One of the things we’ve learned from the pandemic is the need to change. Sometimes those changes have happened on a daily basis. And this past year in animal welfare, we’ve really been taking a deep dive into our own prejudices, judgments and biases that have kept us stuck in the past.

But the field is taking steps to change that with an historic, first-of-its-kind survey launched by The Association’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. And here’s what we need you to do…


TAKE THE SURVEY! We need to hear from everyone working in animal welfare—from the frontline folks and the animal control officers to your fundraising team, your board, your adoptions counselors and managers… everyone.

I took the survey, and I can tell you: the questions are gonna really make you think. But for the first time, it’s an opportunity to write down those things you’ve only felt. The survey is designed to be thought-provoking, but it’s going to help chart a new path for us.  

Otherwise, we’re gonna end up like the dinosaurs on my wall—so take the survey!


P.S. We’ve extended the survey deadline to July 13 to ensure we get as many voices in the mix as possible. If you have already taken it—first, thank you. And second, consider if there’s someone in your org who may not have heard about the survey or hasn’t had the time or chance to do so—and share this blog or a link to the survey with them.

Learn More

Got questions? Check out the survey FAQs.


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


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