Fall Conference: 5 Questions We Always Ask with Michael Kass

The Fall Conference for Animal Welfare Advancement is less than two months away, and we hope you’re planning to join us and let the good times roll. We checked in with Michael Kass, founder of the Center for Story and Spirit, who’ll be presenting on “Telling You Financial Story to Different Audiences.” Here’s what he’s most jazzed about for November 14-16.

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?
Michael Kass:
I’m jazzed about my newest culinary skill–making crepes! And, at a deeper level, I’m excited about how many people are starting to wake up to the fact that the way we treat the nonhuman world, animal and plant alike, is no longer sustainable. That growing awareness is opening up space for genuine shift and transformation that’s really exciting.

The Association: What are you most jazzed about for our time together?
Michael Kass: I always get jazzed to meet new people to share my passion for storytelling, finance, and the intersection between the two. It’s always so powerful and nourishing to support the work of people making a difference in the world. Also the beignets. I’m jazzed for beignets.

The Association: Can you give examples of how financials can enhance storytelling?
Michael Kass:
All too often, organizational storytelling and financials are kept separate–stories are for emotions, financials are for the Board. But the truth is that our financial well-being is an essential part of our organizations’ stories, impact, and vision of change. A budget, for example, is much more than a list of income and expenses. It tells the story of our organization’s priorities, how we’re planning for the future, and even reveals where we might be facing challenges. In the workshop, we’ll look at how these documents can help support powerful storytelling at every level of an organization.

The Association: What can attendees prepare or think about before your session?
Michael Kass:
It may be interesting to think about the role that storytelling plays in your work. Who is responsible for telling stories? And, on a similar note, who within the ecosystem of your organization understands your finances and how they relate to your mission, vision, and strategy? Other than that, just come with a spirit of curiosity!

The Association: What favorite Zoom meeting outfit will NOT be making it into your suitcase this November?
Michael Kass:
Shorts. Definitely have a habit of wearing a business shirt with shorts in the summer months.


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


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