Nine reasons the Best Friends National Conference rocks

Some of the top reasons to attend the Best Friends National Conference: Expert speakers, networking opportunities, and more.
By Denise LeBeau

The Best Friends National Conference brings people together like these two animal loving womenThe Best Friends National Conference brings people together every year for three days of inspiration, information and a good dose of fun. Happening July 16-19 this year in Atlanta, the conference will emphasize remembering — remembering the great work that’s been done and how far animal welfare has come, remembering to take care of ourselves and each other, and remembering to look toward the future with excitement in your heart and cutting-edge tools at your fingertips. Because that’s what it will take to Save Them All — together.

“We’re sharing amazing content this year, but it’s the inspiration that attendees feel from joining us that sets our conference apart,” says Cathie Myers, senior national events specialist at Best Friends. “A lot of the feedback we get includes thanking us for making people feel connected to the animal welfare movement, each other, and even more connected to the animals themselves.”

Reasons to attend the Best Friends National Conference

If you’re still on the fence about whether to attend the Best Friends National Conference, here are nine reasons to go for it:

  1. Get your chance to ask the experts. The Best Friends Share Space inside the Exhibit Hall will be designed expressly to encourage more in-depth conversations on animal welfare's hottest topics, beyond conference presentations. Experts from Best Friends and other key animal welfare leaders will be on hand to answer your questions.

  1. Do some community service. Author and cat behavior expert Pam Johnson-Bennett and Best Friends animal care director Michelle Besmehn Weaver will host a toy-making workshop for local shelter pets. Toys built by attendees will be donated to Atlanta-area shelters (DeKalb County Animal Shelter and Fulton County Animal Shelter) to make dogs’ and cats’ lives happier. And the skills learned will be great for attendees to bring home and share to make fun, inexpensive pet toys out of recycled materials.

  1. Move up in animal welfare. The new leadership track offers tools to become a leader in the animal welfare movement or hone your existing skills. The speakers, including some of Best Friends’ own senior leadership team, such as CEO Gregory Castle, have decades of combined experience in the lifesaving arena.

  1. Remember (or learn about) how a disaster changed animal welfare forever. A special exhibit called Remembering Katrina will leave a lasting impression of courage and inspiration. Out of the devastation came the PETS Act, which ensures that before, during and after a disaster, pets in affected areas are helped.

  1. Get inspired to challenge the old school. Keynote speaker Asha Curran, director of the Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y, will be challenging the norms regarding the way things have always been done.

  1. Learn how to give in a way that replenishes the soul. Dr. Linda Harper and Best Friends co-founder Faith Maloney will present their very popular session “Hearts Larger Than Hands: Creating Balance in Your Life to Save More Animals.”

  1. Rich Avanzino at the Best Friends National ConferenceLearn from a legend. Rich Avanzino is often called the father of the no-kill movement. He’ll soon be retiring as president of Maddie’s Fund, but not before he joins us for a special session at the conference that will feature a Q&A.

  1. Better than the Oscars. Presented by Jackson Galaxy, the Network Partner Achievement Awards ceremony will honor Best Friends No More Homeless Pets Network partners who are creating sustainable lifesaving programs in their own communities.

  1. Create friendships for life. There’s a sense of community throughout the conference, with time and special events planned just for mixing and mingling with others who care about animals as much as you do.

Get involved

Join us at the Best Friends National Conference.

Photos by Sarah Ause-Kichas