Eight Things You Missed at #SAWACON

Eight Things You Missed at #SAWACON


We had an amazing time in Portland, Oregon, during the 2016 SAWA Annual Conference and the National Council on Pet Population Research Symposium.

If you didn’t make it, you missed out on a great opportunity to move your organization forward. You’ll have more chances, but here are eight of our favorite #SAWACON highlights:

  1. “Empathy doesn’t mean agreement…You need to have empathy so you can see the other person as human and multidimensional.” On #SAWACON Day 1, Aspen Baker delivered a heart-stirring Keynote Address on compassion and empathy. During her talk, she showed attendees what it means to be pro-voice in the face of misunderstandings and harsh judgement. Watch her TED Talk.
  2. How is it possible to complete one thousand surgeries each month? Ask anyone who attended the tour of the Oregon Humane Society. The organization opened their doors to conference attendees, and hosted an in-depth tour of their state-of-the-art facility. See behind-the-scenes photos.
  3. And the winner is… Houston SPCA! Over 80 organizations submitted videos to the 2016 SAWA PSA contest, and this year Houston SPCA won both the Professional and People’s Choice Awards. Judging was more difficult than ever, but with brilliant storytelling, the HSPCA looked through the eyes of Tucker, a curious pup who finds himself in need of urgent medical care. Check out Tucker’s story.
  4.  A changing of the guard. As her term expired, SAWA Board Chair Judy Calhoun passed the gavel to Gary Weitzman, PhD, San Diego Humane Society. Gary’s term will begin in 2017.
  5. “Science says you’re not nearly as good at multitasking as you think you are.” Scott Crabtree, Founder, Happy Brain Science, engaged attendees with two high-energy sessions, all about using your brain (and science!) to find happiness at work. Get his tools and hacks here.
  6. Continued legacies. Christie Smith, John Nagy, and Gary Tiscornia were honored for fighting for animal welfare throughout their extensive careers. Now, as they retire, they were awarded the status of Honorary SAWA Members during the Annual Business Meeting. Congratulations!
  7. They want you back — meet The Junebugs! SAWA’s premiere event night, Red Roses & Wet Noses, was a smashing success thanks to the cover band charisma of The Junebugs. Their repertoire boasted everything from the Jackson 5 to Bill Withers, and #SAWACON attendees couldn’t help but move to the groove. See the photos or watch them in action.
  8. Think you know how to connect with your audience? Time to get it right. Cathey Armillas shared her marketing secrets with #SAWACON attendees, and got everyone up off their feet to discover the real way to connect with people — first through hugs, then through strategy. Check out her TED Talk.

We’d like to issue a big thank you to all who journeyed to Portland, and encourage those of you who couldn’t make it to join us in Long Beach, California, next year. We couldn’t do it without you!


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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