Strategic Workforces

How to Thrive: Invest in Your Staff Every Day

November 19, 2024

10:30 am - 11:30 am |

Would you like your organization to nurture a positive environment that will reduce burnout, boost staff satisfaction, and increase retention? Learn from four shelters who are successfully investing in their staff everyday through culture-changing initiatives which:


  • Achieve work-life balance
  • Infuse joy into the workplace
  • Use internal communications, starting at onboarding, to convey clear expectations
  • Provide creative continuing education options for little money
  • Reduce bias with strategic, equitable hiring practices
  • Offer impactful coaching strategies, including mentoring


Walk away from this panel discussion with ideas for enhanced employee engagement and initiatives for positive cultural shifts that will make your staff thrive.


Approved for one point in Category 1.B -Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification.


Christina Avila, PhD
Animal Control Supervisor, City of Perris

Dr. Christina Avila has twenty-three years of experience in the animal welfare field, including veterinary, shelter, and animal control settings as an officer and supervisor. Dr. Avila recently received a doctorate in business administration from Walden University. Her dissertation was on strategies to retain newly hired veterinarians. 

Kristi Brooks

Director of Operations, Cat Adoption Team

Kristi Brooks is the director of operations for Cat Adoption Team (CAT). Kristi got her start in animal welfare in 2002 as a foster volunteer at CAT. She became the organization’s first paid kitten foster coordinator three years later. During her tenure at CAT, Kristi has helped develop the foster program into a nationally recognized model, Fostering 4 Rock Stars (F4RS).

Kim Brown, CAWA

COO, APA Missouri

Kim Brown is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) and has been working in animal welfare for 14 years. She volunteered as a foster for 6 years prior to working in the field and continues to foster. Kim has a MA in Nonprofit Administration and a BA in Human Resource Management. She also spent eight years in the US Army Reserves as a Combat Medic.


Leah Craig Chumbley

Executive Director, Brother Wolf Animal Rescue

Leah Craig Chumbley has worked in the nonprofit sector since 2009, driven by a desire to decrease suffering and increase joy in the world. Her many years of animal welfare experience include positions in fundraising, marketing, communications, events, administration and leadership. Leah Craig holds a degree in Communications with minors in Animal Science and Nonprofit Studies.