2016 Management Conference Lineup and Schedule

Joining us for the 2016 Management Conference in the Motor City? Here’s the full schedule and lineup of world-class speakers.

If you haven’t registered yet, sign up today and see you in Detroit!

Wednesday June 15

Partner Exchange
8:00AM – 5:00PM
Meet one-on-one with our vendor partners in a semi-private setting. Make your appointments in advance, and make the most use of your time in Detroit.

1:30 – 5:30PM

Opening Remarks

Keynote – No Bragging and Nothing Boring
3:45 – 5:00PM
Kivi Leroux Miller, President, Nonprofit Marketing Guide
11 Ways to Share Your Impact

Kivi Leroux Miller is president of Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com and the award-winning author of two books, “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause” and “Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money.” Through training, coaching and consulting, Kivi helps nonprofit communications professionals both learn and love their jobs.

Opening Night Reception – Motown CATS
5:00PM – 6:30PM
Relax on opening night and stay on property, enjoy some local fare and a few beverages. Meet up with old friends or make a few new ones. Sponsored by RKD Alpha Dog

Thursday June 16

8:00 AM – 5:00PM

Partner Exchange
8:00 AM – 5:00 PM

Continental Breakfast
8:00 AM– 9:00 AM

Working Simply with Carson Tate, Owner/Founder of Working Simply
9:00 AM – 10:15AM

Wouldn’t it be great to have a sustainable winning workforce? During this session, you will

  • Learn to design solutions for your organization to boost productivity
  • Gain tools to build a culture that works simply; and
  • Ignite change to accelerate performance.

Carson Tate is a productivity consultant and founder of Working Simply. She authored Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style. She serves as a coach, trainer and consultant to executives at Fortune 500 companies. She is a nationally renowned expert on workplace productivity, whose views have been included in top-tier business media.

10:15 AM – 10:45AM

Birds of a Feather Networking Session
10:45AM – 12:15PM

Innovative ideas, new programs, financial successes

Hear from your peers on ideas that have worked!

Submit your abstract by March 31

Rachel Finney, CAWA, Executive Director, Capital Area Humane Society Ohio
Rachel D.K. Finney is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator with 13 years of experience in animal sheltering. Finney has degrees in nonprofit management, psychology, political science and sociology from Indiana University. She began working in animal welfare as the Executive Director of the Union County Humane Society in Marysville, OH and serves as the Executive Director at the Capital Area Humane Society in Columbus. Rachel operates under the philosophy that we should “never be afraid to do the right thing.” Finney shares her home with her husband, 2 children, 2 dogs and 2 cats.


Katherine Shenar, MA, Executive VP, San Diego HS & SPCA
Katherine Shenar is the Executive Vice President of San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. She has spent more than 20 years working in animal welfare management. She has been integrally involved with five mergers – four in animal welfare – and provides insight and guidance to those considering traveling this exciting journey.


Amanda Gwilliam, Customer Experience Manager, Arizona Humane Society
Amanda Gwilliam is the Customer Experience Manager for the Arizona Humane Society. She oversees the Pet Resource Center, a call center designed to offer compassionate customer experience and provide struggling pet owners who are considering surrendering their pet with alternatives and helpful resources that may allow them to keep their furry companions by their side. Amanda’s background is in managing sales and services teams in retail and call center environments, and she is passionate about employee engagement, organizational culture, and customer relationships.


Jamie FitzPatrick, Director of Animal & Client Services, Maui Humane Society

Jamie started working at a small humane society 14 years ago as an interim job and accidentally found a career in animal welfare. After six years at Heartland Humane Society in Corvallis, Oregon, Jamie became Shelter Operations Director at Willamette Humane Society in Salem, Oregon where she helped oversee the opening of their Humane Alliance model spay/neuter clinic. Three years ago Jamie started as Director of Animal & Client Services for the Maui Humane Society where she oversees animal care, adoption, transfer, intake, and customer service programs for this open admission shelter that receives over 8000 animals per year. Maui Humane Society is a private non profit shelter with the county contract for animal sheltering and animal control services.


Donna Stucker, VP of Development, Humane Society of Charlotte
Donna is the Vice President of Development overseeing all fundraising efforts for HSC. She and her team currently raise over $2 million annually, up from $800,000 in 2008, to support the important work of the shelter which is to be a community resource committed to improving the lives of companion animals through adoption, spay/neuter and education.

Donna currently serves on the Board of the Charlotte Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals and has completed additional studies with the Leadership Gift School through the Institute for Philanthropic Leadership in Charlotte as well as the Business Essentials for Non-Profit Management course at Wake Forest University.


Shirene Cece, DVM, Director of Shelter Medicine, Michigan Humane Society
Dr. Cece is the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) Director of Shelter Medicine, a highly respected veterinarian, expert in animal forensics and expert court witness with a limitless passion for animals and a commitment to veterinary science.


CJ Bentley, Director of Operations, Michigan Humane Society
CJ Bentley is the MHS Senior Director of Operations, a certified professional dog trainer, animal behavior expert, media personality and adjunct professor at Oakland University in animal assisted therapy.

Networking Lunch
12:15PM – 1:15PM

Track Sessions
1:30PM – 3PM

Administration / Finance Track – The Power of Emotional Intelligence
Deborah L. Watts, Ed.D., Area Director, The Oliver Group

At the foundation of our decision making, performance, and productivity is our emotions yet we receive very little training on improving our emotional intelligence (EI).  This program will help attendees understand the benefits of improving and implementing EI competency for overall organization success. “EI is more than twice as predictive of business performance than purely cognitive intelligence” (Gerald Mount, 2006).  And Goleman (1998) states, “80 – 90% of the competencies that differentiate top performance are in the domain of EI.”  Furthermore, there is evidence that shows that the development of “soft skills” or what I call “critical skills” can have significant impact on our lives – from a personal perspective to a an employee/organizational perspective.  At the end of this session, you’ll be able to:

  • Define EI and realize the importance of developing EI competencies;
  • Identify personal strengths and limitations of your own EI;
  • Learn about the EQ-i 2.0 assessment tool and why it is one of the most scientifically validated EI instruments on the market today; and
  • Apply the insight and power of emotions as a source of human energy, information, connection, resilience and influence.  


Dr. Deborah L. Watts is the Area Director for The Oliver Group and has more than 20 years of experience helping people and businesses grow. Her passion is developing professionals into tomorrow’s leaders and coaching leaders on how to optimize their performance as well as the performance of their team. Deborah is a certified EQi-2.0 and EQ 360 coach and a Predictive Index analyst.


Development Track – Donor Loyalty / Donor Retention
Adrian Sergeant, Ph.D., Professor of Fundraising, Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy

In this session we will explore how to build loyalty and foster donor retention in your organization. We’ll draw on learning from 20 years of academic research AND the very best of professional practice from around the globe. By the end of the session participants should be able to:

  • Define what is meant by donor loyalty and understand why it’s such a significant issue;
  • Understand what is meant by donor lifetime value, how to calculate it and how to use it to guide key decisions in respect of donor stewardship;
  • Explain the three key factors that drive donor loyalty and retention and how they can best be managed; and
  • Make changes to their donor retention programs to make a tangible difference to loyalty and retention.

Adrian Sergeant, Ph.D., Professor of Fundraising, Centre for Sustainable Philanthropy, is the world’s foremost fundraising academic. He has received many awards for his services to the  profession, notably being named to the prestigious Nonprofit Times Power and Influence List in the United States in 2010.


Operations Track – Transport Best Practices

SAWA Best Practices & Emerging Trends Committee launches the new SAWA Transport Best Practice Guidelines: Working together successfully, transporting canines & felines and saving more animals.


Outreach/Marketing/Education Track – Crisis Mismanagement
Jeff Caponigro, APR, Fellow PRSA, President & CEO, Caponigro Public Relations

One of the most valuable assets of any organization is the reputation of your brand. In this session, attendees will

  • Understand targeted strategies and tactics, including social media, to manage a crisis;
  • Focus on what you can and should prepare in advance; and
  • Lean how to build good will: “a building with insolation” to thrive under difficult circumstances.

Jeff Caponigro is one of the country’s most respected public relations professionals and top experts in crisis planning and crisis communications. He has managed hundreds of crisis situations throughout his 37-year career in public relations. He is the author of THE CRISIS COUNSELOR: A step-by-step guide to managing a business crisis.


3:00PM – 3:30PM

Track Sessions
3:30PM – 5PM

Administration / Finance Track –One Size Does Not Fit All: Utilizing the Predictive Index to help identify what motivates your employees.
Deborah L. Watts, Ed.D., Area Director, The Oliver Group

Take the guess work out of recruiting, retaining and developing your employees.  Stop using tired and ineffective talent management methods that are not producing results, engaging employees, or optimizing overall performance for the organization.  Are you aware that there are valid, reliable and statistically relevant tools to measure an individual’s motivating behavior?  An individual’s ability in these areas is integral to on-the-job performance, as it relates to performing at or above expectations.  Let me share with you a tool known as the Predictive Index (PI) that you can start using today to better understand what motivates you and your current or perspective employees. In this session, you will:

  • Gain a true understanding of what people need to function at their best – what uniquely motivates, drives or even excites them – in comparison to the needs of others;
  • Learn how the PI Behavioral Assessment ™ can help you decode the complexities of people using a valid, reliable and scientific approach; and
  • Realize what drives workplace behaviors so you can ensure alignment, reach your team’s true potential, and achieve your business objectives faster than you ever thought possible.


Development Track – Why Donors Give
Jeff Nickel, Senior VP, Donor Growth Champion and Jennifer Miller, Creative Director, TrueSense Marketing

  • Who are animal welfare donors?
  • What motivates them to give?
  • What compels the best responses from your donors?

All session attendees to receive “Who are Their Heroes?” Original donor research produced by TrueSense Marketing.

Jeff Nickel, Senior VP, Donor Growth Champion, for TrueSense Marketing, has spent more than 30 years striving to fulfill his personal commitment to   make the world a better place through donor-heroes. Jeff is a frequent speaker and volunteer for the Direct Marketing Nonprofit Federation.

Jennifer Miller has worked for the last 11 years as a Creative Director at   TrueSense Marketing, helping nonprofits raise millions through innovative creative and donor-centered strategies. In 2013, her work won Campaign of the Year in the Gold Awards for Fundraising Excellence (Fundraising Success).


Operations Track – Use of Pharmaceuticals as a Tool in Behavior Modification in Animal Sheltering – Part 1
Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC, Animal Behavior Clinic

Many shelters are utilizing behavior modification programs to benefit animals in their care. Behavior modification plans include environmental enrichment and positive reward based training, and in some cases may be supported by appropriate medications.  This presentation will:

  • Outline the most common behaviors and their manifestations in the shelter (i.e. fear-based aggression, hypervigilance, approach/avoidance, etc.)
  • What behaviors or conditions are likely to respond to medication
  • Goals of medication programs
  • Maintenance (post-adoption) options
  • Situational medication usage in shelter
  • Benefits and risks of medication programs

Dr. Christopher Pachel received his veterinary degree from the University of MN in 2002, operated a house-call behavior practice in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area until 2010 and became board certified by the ACVB in 2010.  He is the owner of the Animal Behavior Clinic in Portland, OR, lectures regularly throughout the US and Canada, has taught courses at the University of MN and at the Virginia Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, and has authored several articles and book chapters.


Outreach/Marketing Track – Creating Your Own Measure of Success
Kivi Leroux Miller, President, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com

Is your nonprofit marketing strategy working? Are you doing a good job? How do you know? During this workshop, we’ll go in-depth to

  • Develop your own customized plan for measuring your marketing success as both an organization and a marketing professional.
  • Hone in on what’s most important to measure, and develop a plan to measure it.  
  • Sort through your options and look at both qualitative and quantitative ways you can evaluate your marketing.

You’ll leave the workshop with a measurement plan you can go back to office and discuss with the people who review your performance and the performance of your marketing strategy.


Event Night – Tastes, Tours and Tunes of the ‘D’
6:00PM – 8:00PM
Explore the future of animal welfare as you tour the Michigan Humane Society new, state-of-the-art, Detroit Animal Care Campus and enjoy the iconic tastes and tunes of the Motor City!

Busses start leaving at 5:15P, last bus leaves at 5:30P

Busses return at 7:45P, last bus departs at 8P


Friday June 17

8:00AM – 1PM

Partner Exchange
8:00AM – 1PM

Continental Breakfast
8:00AM – 9:00AM

What happened to that puppy in the window feeling?
9:00AM – 10:45AM
Miguel Abi-hassan, CAWA, CEO, Halifax Humane Society, Consultant

Mismanaged stress is an occupational hazard of animal welfare work; however, it does not have to consume our lives and affect our ability to save others. Historically, stress prevention has focused on Compassion Fatigue, turnover and burnout.  Though these are detrimental consequences of mismanaged stress, they focus on the end point.  

  • This seminar will take employees back to square one, understanding positive and negative stress.
  • It will refocus energies on building resiliency via a proactive stress prevention and mitigation plan.  

Volunteering at the ripe young age of 8, Miguel Abi-hassan, CAWA found a real passion working for Animal Welfare.  Since then, he has held most positions found in a large Animal Welfare Organization. Currently, Miguel serves as the CEO of one of Florida’s largest Animal Welfare Organizations, Halifax Humane Society. In addition, Miguel also serves as an International Consultant and Instructor with a client portfolio of organizations from all over the world.   Miguel’s educational background in Psychology and Management have helped him develop a unique vantage point for programmatic & logistical consults.


10:45AM – 11AM

Track Sessions
11:00AM – 12:30PM

Administration / Finance Track – FLSA Overtime Exemptions
Steven Palazzolo, Senior Council, Warner Norcross & Judd, LLP

The Department of Labor has proposed revisions to FLSA overtime exemption seeks to significantly increase the salary level needed to qualify as exempt. The ruling could be released before or after this session. Either way, we will discuss what the proposed regulations mean Come prepared to learn about:

  • When and how does the FLSA apply to my organization;
  • What are the exemptions and how do the regulations change them; and
  • What do I do now.

Steve Palazzolo advises clients on union issues and labor and employment law. He counsels employers through complex union matters, negotiates collective bargaining agreements and administers grievances for cases before the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Steve is a frequent speaker for industry organizations, including the Original Equipment Suppliers Association, the Society for Human Resource Management and the Association of Corporate Counsel.


Development/Outreach Track – Keep Your Community Excited to Give:  Creating Your Donor Communications Plan
Kivi Leroux Miller, President, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com

What do you say to donors and other supporters of your cause in between asking them for money? During this workshop, you will:

  • Develop an editorial calendar for a donor communications plan that comes full circle:
  • Ask for support;
  • Thank supporters;
  • Offer additional ways to get engaged, and
  • Report results before asking again.


Operations Track – Use of Pharmaceuticals as a Tool in Behavior Modification in Animal Sheltering – Part 2
Christopher Pachel, DVM, DACVB, CABC, Animal Behavior Clinic


Networking Lunch
12:30PM – 1:30PM


Track Sessions
1:30PM – 3:00PM

Administration / Finance Track – Hiring In the Fast Lane: Interviewing for Results
Rhonda Michel, MBA, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Sr. Human Resources Business Partner, Oasis Outsourcing

Any hiring decision can be a success, or a big mistake. Do you know what can (and should) impact your approach to this important process?  Learn about best practices in hiring & interviewing – from posting the job to meeting the candidate, from conducting a background check to revoking an offer! This session will provide you with great tools as well as the confidence to make your next hire one of your best.

  • Identify legal and policy issues related to the hiring process
  • Create a structured and effective interview strategy
  • Develop good questions and increase your hiring accuracy

Rhonda Michel, MBA, SHRM-SCP, SPHR serves as a Senior HR Business Partner with Oasis Outsourcing.  A certified Hogan Assessment coach, Rhonda draws on over 20 years of experience in corporate business and human resources management, providing expertise to both internal and external customers.


Development/Outreach Track –Expect the Unexpected: Keeping Your Communications on Track Even When It Feels Like You Are Going Off the Rails
Kivi Leroux Miller, President, Nonprofit Marketing Guide

Stuff happens. You could suddenly be out of space due to a large intake; you might need funds for animals needing emergency care. It’s inevitable that the world will throw kinks into your marketing and fundraising plans. But you don’t have to let the urgent always overtake the important. During this workshop, you’ll learn to fit these unexpected challenges into your plan, stay strategic while addressing the immediate needs, and instill a sense of calm and focus into the rhythm of the work.


Operations Track – Changing Needs of Handling Large-Scale Cruelty Cases
Melinda Merck, DVM, Forensic Veterinarian, Veterinary Forensics Consulting, LLC

In this session you’ll learn to:

  • Work well with law enforcement and create a great investigative team;
  • Understand the effects on the shelter staff and community;
  • Process crime scenes involving massive amounts of evidence;
  • Animal housing, handling and care; and  
  • Implement best practices.

Dr. Melinda Merck is a forensic veterinarian consulting on cases involving animals, assisting investigators of animal cruelty with crime scene investigation as well as the examination of live and deceased victims.  She helps with large scale operations including exhumations of burial sites and examination of skeletal animal remains.  She frequently testifies as a veterinary forensic expert for animal cruelty cases around the country including cases involving animal fighting, neglect and trauma. Dr. Merck is a member of the Board of Directors for North American Veterinary Community and is Program Chair of the Veterinary Forensic Science track for the NAVC Conference.  She was a founding member of the Board of Directors for the International Veterinary Forensic Sciences Association.



The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is a community of professionals committed to excellence in the management and operation of animal welfare and control organizations.

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