Development Strategist, National Shelter Outreach
Patricia (Trish) Tolbert joined the Best Friends national shelter outreach team in 2018 as a Development Strategist, participating in shelter assessments, training academies, national conferences, and Best Friends’ rapidly growing embed and mentorship programs. Trish was “that kid who brought home all the stray and injured animals,” so it’s not surprising that her professional and personal life has been focused on furry and feathered friends. Trish has served as the Executive Director of the Memphis Zoological Society, Associate Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Philanthropy Learning Center, and coach, consultant or trainer to client organizations as varied as the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, World Wildlife, Catholic Charities, Special Olympics International, the University of Massachusetts and (Australian) Trust for Nature. While most of her career has been spent raising funds (or helping others learn how), Trish has also served on the grant-making side of the desk. She has led discussion groups, training task forces, and mentoring initiatives across state and international borders. Trish earned her M.A. from the University of Manchester in the United Kingdom and her B.A. at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee, graduating as co-valedictorian. She holds certificates in nonprofit management and documentary arts from Duke University affiliates and lives near Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with her zoo vet tech husband and multiple community cats.