The Best Friends Podcast Episode 104
It’s not easy to take risks, especially if you’re someone who prefers the familiar. But believing that change isn’t necessary because “this is how we’ve always done it” can be detrimental to your lifesaving efforts.
Our field is constantly evolving, and to save as many lives as possible, we have to be willing to try new approaches, even when that means going beyond our comfort zone.
This week we’re joined by two risk-takers, Stacy Rogers and Makena Yarbrough from Best Friends. We talk about why it’s so important to take risks and how to do it smartly.
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senior director, regional programs, Best Friends
Makena Yarbrough is the senior director for regional programs for Best Friends Animal Society. She is working with coalitions and partners in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and South Carolina to establish lifesaving programs and policies to help them reach no-kill by 2025. In her home state of Virginia, she is a board member for the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and has been working toward a no-kill Virginia for many years.
Before joining Best Friends, Makena was the executive director of the Lynchburg Humane Society, the largest no-kill organization in the state of Virginia, and was recognized by Maddie's Fund as a recipient of the 2018 Maddie Hero Award. When she joined Lynchburg Humane Society in July 2009 as its first executive director, the organizations save rate was 49 percent. She quickly worked with the organizations board to develop and implement a long-range plan to take the community to no-kill. Under her leadership, the organization tripled the size of the board of directors developed a more financially equitable relationship with the city of Lynchburg began managing the regional spay/neuter clinic created a citywide effort to provide free spay/neuter for community cats and substantially increased community funding, awareness and involvement in the cause. The result was an increase in the save rate to 94 percent.
Makena began her animal welfare career in 2000 with the Richmond SPCA, first as the director of education and then as the director of operations. Before assuming her position at the Lynchburg Humane Society, Makena was the associate director for the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA.
regional director, Great Plains and Midwest, Best Friends Los Angeles
Stacy Rogers is the Midwest Regional Director for Best Friends Animal Society. In this capacity, she works with shelters and rescue organizations in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and West Virginia to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters.
Before joining Best Friends, Stacy was the Executive Director at Almost Home Humane Society in Lafayette, Indiana. She began her career in the kennels of Almost Home at a time when the organization's save rate hovered near 30 percent and witnessed the dramatic changes in animal welfare that resulted in the no-kill movement coming to her community. After an inspiring visit to the Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Conference in 2012, Stacy led Almost Home to no-kill by focusing on gap analysis, working creatively with a small budget, and collaborating with human service agencies to keep pets out of the shelter.
Stacy lives in rural Indiana with her husband and their menagerie of pets, including three dogs, four cats, and three llamas.