Our CEO Reflects on 5 Years at EHS

Last week, I celebrated my 5-year anniversary at the Edmonton Humane Society (EHS). Looking back on the last five years, there is so much to reflect on and be proud of.

When I joined EHS as CEO, one of my priorities was to create a new strategic plan. I loved this process as I was able to engage with our community and staff to gather their feedback, allowing us to build a foundation on which EHS could grow. Within the strategic plan, we completed several new projects to help us achieve operational excellence, including a risk management framework, which has helped us identify and mitigate many risks that organizations like ours face. As our current strategic plan will end in 2024, we are excited to continue paving the way with a new visionary plan that will move EHS and animal welfare forward. We have recently completed our first phase of stakeholder and public engagement to help shape this next plan and it has been inspiring to review the results and see the passion our community has for animals.

Another highlight has been spending time with the many wonderful staff I have the privilege of working with. When I first started at EHS, I spent time shadowing them in their roles and I’ve continued to spend time with the team and learn about everything that goes into our collective work. This has allowed me to see firsthand our team’s compassion and professionalism. I have been able to witness much of both the happiness and the sadness that is inherent in the work of an animal shelter. Being present for difficult animal surgeries and euthanasia gave me a glimpse into the hard days, while participating in adoptions and seeing the amazing progress dogs make while under behaviour modification showed me the hopeful side of our work. Every day I am inspired by our team and the animals we care for.

While the COVID-19 pandemic brought many enormous challenges, I was able to see our team truly come together and unify around our important work. And I witnessed the community continue to support us while the world was in a state of chaos. Our staff, volunteers and the community truly came together to make progress on our plans and care for animals in need, and we came out of the pandemic much stronger than before.

One of my personal highlights has been seeing EHS become a national Nonprofit Employer of Choice (NEOC). We have now won this award three years in a row and I could not be prouder of our team for voicing their thoughts and sharing their insights so that we can continue to make our workplace better. We have the very best people on our team, and I am grateful to be able to lead and work alongside them.

Finally, seeing the animal welfare field continue to professionalize has been very important. To that end, I worked towards my Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) designation which I achieved in 2023. I am honoured to be one of only a handful of Canadians to hold the CAWA designation. I am always very impressed by how many professionals attend the national Humane Canada Summit for Animals each year, and I love seeing best practices being put into place at many animal shelters across Canada, including ours here. Animal welfare science continues to evolve, and it is important that we are well-educated and current so that we can continue to provide the very best support and services to our animal and human clients.

My first five years at EHS have been truly wonderful…full of learning, discovery, inspiration and setting the foundations for success going forward. It has been a privilege to work alongside our amazing staff, an incredible senior leadership team, dedicated volunteers and a supportive Board of Directors. I look forward to everything the future holds for EHS!

Liza Sunley, Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA)
Edmonton Humane Society

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By |2024-04-11T15:15:13-06:00April 11, 2024|