Proven Strategies

Dog and cat

The Best Friends Podcast Episode 29

Best Friends Professional Development Symposium
September 3rd, 2020

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. In our lives, both professionally and personally, we’ve had to make big changes. From working at home to wearing masks to the operational changes we've had to make, life is a whole lot different than it was 6 months ago. And the restrictions on travel and gatherings meant animal welfare's "conference season" was over before it even started.

The Best Friends Professional Development Symposium is not a replacement for the Best Friends National Conference, but this dynamic, two-day, online event features many of the leading lifesaving experts from across the country. This is part of a new initiative from Best Friends, presented in partnership with Southern Utah University.

This week we learn more about the symposium from Tawny Hammond, the National Director of Learning Advancement for Best Friends.

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The Best Friends Professional Development Symposium: Reaching New Heights in Contemporary Animal Services is a new dynamic online symposium for animal services professionals and students devoted to lifesaving innovation and revolutionary change for pets and people.

The field of animal welfare is rapidly evolving as animal services organizations become resource centers, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated that change. In this creative two-day online event, you’ll learn more about the changes happening in the field and the latest in lifesaving from leading experts.

The symposium is part of a new initiative from Best Friends, presented in partnership with Southern Utah University (SUU). The goal is to develop prestigious academic learning opportunities that will facilitate career paths and clarity in contemporary animal services.

Presentation topics include:

  • Redefining Animal Services
  • Field Services Moving Forward
  • Keeping Pets with Families
  • Lifesaving as a Community Ethic
  • Leadership for Lifesaving Change
  • Compassionate Badassery
  • Fundraising During Economic Uncertainty
  • What’s the Deal with Cats?
  • Fast-Tracking Pets Through the Shelter System
guest icon Guest this week

Tawny Hammond

Tawny Hammond

national director of leadership advancement, Best Friends Animal Society

Tawny has more than 30 years of experience in the public service arena, creating and implementing programs and services for people and their pets, working effectively with appointed and elected officials, and creating and leading teams focused on professional excellence and lifesaving best practices.

Tawny currently leads Best Friends’ leadership advancement initiatives with a focus on strengthening existing leaders’ skill sets for the goal of ending the killing of shelter pets in their communities. An additional focus will be developing programs to assist seasoned leaders from other fields and disciplines who are interested in making the transition to animal welfare and services leadership. For the majority of her career, she has facilitated leadership programs for professionals and community organizations, as well as focusing on the building of dynamic teams, professional development and succession planning.

She served for more than 25 years in municipal government in Fairfax County, Virginia. She brought the Fairfax County Animal Shelter to a 90-percent live release rate in less than two years by removing breed restrictions, growing a robust volunteer program, establishing a cutting-edge foster program for the dogs losing their lives, strengthening community cat programs and establishing the animal shelter as a community center for residents of Fairfax. Tawny is also the former Chief of Animal Services for the city of Austin, Texas. Under Tawny’s leadership, Austin and Travis County reached a new milestone in 2017, achieving live outcomes for 98 percent of the more than 17,000 animals who came through the doors.

Tawny is devoted to ending the killing of pets in shelters and believes that how we treat pets and their people is connected to social justice, community wellness and our compassion as a society. She and her spouse, Amy, and their dog Rosie, live in Traverse City, Michigan, where they enjoy the beautiful Michigan outdoors.

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