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The right stuff

Brent ToellnerWhile it’s common knowledge within the animal welfare movement, you may not be aware that Best Friends is assembling a team of no-kill superstars to join our own already impressive leadership group.

Over the past few months, Brent Toellner, Scott Giacoppo, Tawny Hammond and José Ocaño have joined our ranks, and they are with us for one reason — to end the killing in our nation’s shelters.

Last July at the Best Friends National Conference, Julie Castle, Best Friends chief development, marketing and communications officer, put a stake in the ground during her closing address to a packed hall at the Salt Lake City convention center and committed Best Friends to leading a movement to end shelter killing in this country by 2025. This is our “moon shot” and like President Kennedy’s commitment to put a man on the moon by the end of that decade, Best Friends is prioritizing our organizational resources and efforts to achieve the goal laid out so powerfully by Julie.

Brent, Scott, Tawny and José are proven leaders (see their bios at the bottom of this post) who represent a veritable “who’s who” in animal welfare. Each of them has led or had a leadership role in transforming major municipal shelters and cities into no-kill communities.

They will be serving in roles that vary, but the great thing is that we couldn’t expect or demand more from them than they expect and demand of themselves — an end to the killing in shelters. The point of all this horsepower is to support a regional focus to achieve no-kill nationwide by 2025. Whether you’re working toward no-kill in upstate New York, southern Oregon or somewhere in between, you’ll have access to the leadership and resources of Best Friends.

Of course, we already have superstars on board, such as Holly Sizemore, Judah Battista, Marc Peralta, Arlyn Bradshaw, Elizabeth Jensen, Ledy VanKavage, Peter Wolf and Elizabeth Oreck, along with their staff, who constitute a super-group in their own right.

I’m really only scratching the surface. Julie Castle, who heads up our marketing, communications and development division, was employee number 17 at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary back in the mid-1990s. She went on to lead the programs of No More Homeless Pets in Utah and led the charge in getting our NKLA initiative started.

Our digital and IT teams are also rescue wonks, and anyone who has visited the Sanctuary in Utah has firsthand experience with the talent and dedication of our animal care staff. Everyone is a part of this effort — from our Sanctuary ambassadors to the maintenance team and the staff who prepare the meals at our Sanctuary café.

All of this extraordinary talent works under the leadership of one of our co-founders and lead architect of our campaigns, CEO Gregory Castle.

When I say that Best Friends is on a mission to end the killing in shelters, I am not speaking in platitudes or expressing vague intentions or alluding to a collection of good works. I am referring to a mobilization to lead collaborative work all across the country and continue to enlist proven leaders to save the lives of our animal friends. This is the promise and commitment of Best Friends Animal Society.

Together, we will Save Them All.
Francis Battista, Co-founder, Best Friends Animal Society Francis Battista
Co-founder
Best Friends Animal Society