Proven Strategies

Veterinary technician holds a kitten at a vaccine clinic

The Best Friends Podcast Episode 79

Animal welfare feeling the effects of the nationwide staffing crisis
September 9th, 2021

The United States is suffering from a severe labor shortage, and just about every industry is feeling it. From hospitality to healthcare, transportation, banking, agriculture — and yes, animal welfare is also finding it challenging to hire new staff and retain the staff they already have.

Best Friends recently surveyed our Network partners and nearly nine out of every ten organizations that responded said their staffing is below where it should be. They cited numerous reasons, but an inability to recruit and budget freezes were at the top.

This week, we hear from two people dealing with this crisis. One is a shelter director in the panhandle of Florida, and the other is the founder of a national recruiting firm that helps municipal governments and nonprofits recruit and retain talent.

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John Robinson - Escambia County Department of Animal Welfare

John Robinson

director, Escambia County Department of Animal Welfare

John Robinson has been working for Escambia County Animal Services since February of 2014, leading his organization and the community through a dramatic change in culture, and transitioning the Animal Services operations to more modern policies, programs, and principles.

John’s career in Animal Care and Welfare began in high school, working with a veterinarian in a rural Tennessee community. After school, the first 20 plus years of his career were in the retail industry, starting with local pet supply stores, eventually operating a chain of these stores and a wholesale distribution center. The connections and relationships he formed at that time lead to his involvement with a variety of animal welfare organizations that his companies supported. This interest in Animal Welfare was the catalyst for his career change.

In Memphis, Tennessee, John was the Director of Operations for the Humane Society of Memphis and Shelby County, and later the Shelter Manager for Collierville Animal Services, also serving as a Board Member on the Tennessee Animal Control Association. He holds multiple certifications from NACA, NACI, FEMA, etc., and has held leadership roles on multiple deployments with the ASPCA, HSUS, and AHA, assisting with major cruelty cases and disaster response. John is currently the lead for Escambia County’s Emergency Operations ESF-17, and his experiences enabled Escambia County to play critical roles throughout the panhandle in response to Hurricanes Michael and Sally.

John’s experience in both large and small municipal and private animal welfare organizations, plus his familiarity with the national organization’s operations, helps him to understand the needs of all FACA members, and he looks forward to continuing his role in the advancement of Animal Welfare for Florida.

Heidi Voorhees - GovHR USA

Heidi Voorhees

president and co-owner, GovHR USA

Heidi Voorhees is the president and co-owner of GovHR USA and possesses more than 30 years of collective experience working in local government. She has served as both a municipal leader and partner with local governments and nonprofits, handling executive search and management consulting. Heidi’s exceptional communication style and lasting relationships have positioned her as a widely-respected leader in her field across the U.S. She is deeply focused on understanding the culture of each organization that GovHR USA serves.

Executive searches conducted by Heidi for GovHR USA are uniquely tailored around clients and achieved through consensus-building and decision-making with a wide range of community leaders. This in-depth and thorough consulting method sets Heidi apart from others in her industry; she leads executive talent searches that expertly identify imperative skill-sets, and provide a robust match for core values and professional environment.

The crucial ability to understand the needs, challenges, and perspectives within clients’ organizations is ingrained in Heidi’s fundamental strengths; she works in a highly effective manner with elected and appointed officials to assist them in making critical personnel decisions. Through this exemplary approach, she understands the intricacies that exist within organizations and communities. Realizing the importance of her clients’ human resource and executive management needs, Heidi works tirelessly to advise and consult, so that she can strategically connect the best talent available with her clients.

Heidi is extremely passionate about her commitment to advancing women and minorities in local government, which is also a strong emphasis of GovHR USA. She believes in conducting extensive outreach in the search for talented individuals which results in highly qualified candidates from all backgrounds.

closed caption icon   Episode Transcript