Amy Davila Sanchez
Marketing Manager for Strategic Initiatives
As the marketing manager for strategic initiatives at Best Friends, Amy Davila Sanchez focuses on gathering insights and building strategies and activation plans that support lifesaving for critical populations like community cats and kittens. Amy also leads initiatives that drive increased engagement with multicultural communities and audiences.
Her passion for animals started at a young age while living in Puerto Rico. Her family home was known to neighbors as the house that would take in homeless pets, spay or neuter them, and find homes for them through informal networks of friends and families. She learned to bottle-feed kittens before she learned to ride a bike (and before there was YouTube).
Amy lives with her partner, Spencer, two rescued dachshunds, Guacamole and Madden, and two rescued cats, Filiberto and Oso. When not building strategies to save animals, Amy loves to travel, cook and hike.
Q: Tell us how long you’ve been at Best Friends, where you work and where you live.
A: I’ve been with Best Friends for five and a half years. I live in Salt Lake City, but home is San Juan, Puerto Rico. That’s where I’m originally from, and that’s where the majority of my family lives.
Q: What inspired you to become part of Best Friends’ diversity committee?
A: For me, reaching out to other cultures and learning from people of different backgrounds is something that I love doing. I take great pride in making sure that I’m personally involved with people from different communities. When I left Puerto Rico 10 years ago and moved to Minneapolis, I was all by myself. I had no friends and no family there, and one of the things that really filled the gap was reaching out to other communities.
Minneapolis has a sizable Hmong community. Every week, I would visit the midtown global market, which is kind of the food and culture epicenter for the city, and I would immerse myself in the sights and sounds. In my personal life, I’m very mindful of surrounding myself with the voices and the colors and stories of different people, so having the opportunity to bring this personal passion to my professional life is super exciting to me and something that I want to be a part of.
Q: How do you see Best Friends reaching out to diverse communities in the work that we do?
A: I think step one is about putting real resources into having conversations with them. We need to understand where people are coming from — where they’re at with regard to animal welfare, adoption and fostering. Then, we can leverage those insights and build campaigns and communications that will resonate with those communities.
A lot of emphasis needs to be placed on storytelling and telling the stories of all kinds of people, so that when they come to our platforms, request our services, reach out to partner with us, they can see themselves in our movement and in our organization. It’s a combination of meeting people where they are at, listening to them, learning from them, and putting those stories and learnings into action in an authentic way. The result will be a more inclusive organization and a more inclusive movement.