Community Engagement Supervisor
In her role as community engagement supervisor, Christine Quesada says she has the privilege of leading the Los Angeles volunteer and internship program, cultivating relationships with fellow animal lovers who want to make a difference. She lives in Los Angeles with her dog, Lucy, who she adopted from Best Friends one week after starting with the organization.
Q: When we first started talking about DEI as an organization, what inspired you to say, “I want to do more”?
A: I’ve volunteered and worked in animal welfare for most of my adult life and I started to notice that there wasn’t a lot of diversity in the field. I am a first-generation Cuban American, and I know firsthand how much people in my community love and care about animals. My family and neighbors were always rescuing animals off the street and taking care of community cats, but for some reason I wasn’t seeing anyone from my community working alongside me in the animal welfare field. I was curious about this and wanted to learn why and how to change it.
Q: How do you see Best Friends really infusing this change into the work that we do?
A: We first need to educate ourselves. It’s important to learn as much as possible from animal rescuers and community members who are on the ground doing the work in their communities. What are the challenges they are facing and how can we help? One small but impactful action would be creating content in multiple languages and using technology to communicate with community members in multiple languages.
I have noticed that we struggle to communicate with Spanish-speaking adopters and volunteers because we have a lack of Spanish-speaking staff. There are great apps that we can use to help translate in real time and make it easier to communicate with all the members of our communities.