This likely won’t be the first time you’ve heard me talk about (brag about?) SAWA’s network and the tremendous value it brings to our members each and every day. I don’t apologize for my pride in the group because, quite frankly, I have built a 32-year career with my network at its foundation. I knew, coming into this field in 1984, that there was a lot I didn’t know at all. But, I soon learned that there was a great big industry out there filled with knowledgeable folks.
At my first animal welfare conference, I was a sponge soaking up information as quickly as I could. And I discovered that I was not alone. There were so many other animal welfare professionals out there, all of whom had seen and done more in this field than I had even dreamed of seeing and doing. That event planted a seed that has grown and flourished for the past 32 years. I have learned a great deal, but oddly enough I still don’t know it all! But, if I’m stymied by a question or issue, there is a very good chance that someone in my now extensive network of colleagues and friends can help me.
SAWA has grown to about 1,100 members, many of whom have come on board within the past decade. Our growth has been amazing, but we know there are still many more professionals who would be great additions to the network. They could learn from us and we from them. But, we need to find them and convince them that they’re missing out on something great.
In my travels in the past year and a half as your President and CEO, I’ve learned that there are far too many people in our industry who still don’t know about SAWA and the many benefits we can bring to their work. Look for us at state and regional conferences in the year ahead. If the people won’t come to SAWA, SAWA will go to the people! And if you know of a great event that should be on our radar, please reach out and let me know at email@example.com.
Finally, we could use your help to identify potential members in your circle of influence and invite them to the SAWA table. If you are a destination organization with wonderful transport partners at the source end, consider sponsoring them as SAWA members. Despite our ramped-up marketing efforts, we have no doubt that our greatest asset in spreading the word about the best professional association — and the strongest network in the business — is YOU.