Building An Effective Team: RIGHT people, RIGHT role!

Room: St Laurent 8

Carrie Fritz, Executive Director, Calgary Humane Society

Being a leader of an animal welfare organization and assigned the task of rebuilding a leadership team capable of managing others effectively; building up morale and engagement; and making the many difficult decisions required to accomplish this task, can be an arduous undertaking and poses some unique challenges not experienced in other sectors.

There are amazingly dedicated, passionate individuals drawn to this incredibly rewarding, yet sometimes difficult work.  However they are often lacking the leadership skills required to:

  • Navigate a team through some of the complexities this sector faces in their day to day work
  • Cultivate a resilient team capable of managing this physical and emotional work successfully
  • Keep their team motivated and engaged in order to retain the skills developed and maintain the talent of the team (often doing so with a very limited budget)

It is never easy finding the right person for a role and, unfortunately, not-for-profit organizations will often promote from within to give existing staff the opportunity to advance their career due to the time already committed to the organization. These individuals are not always prepared to take on specific challenges.  So how do you identify the leaders on your team and get the right person into the right role, the first time? 

Rebuilding a team can be incredibly challenging, sometimes leaving the current leaders frustrated and demoralized. However, when it is done, and done successfully, the reward of having an effective and engaged management team (all the way from your Supervisors to your Senior Leaders), capable of leading your organization through the many pitfalls of animal welfare, is incredible.


  1. Successfully recruit the right person into the right role. Whether you identify the leader currently on your team and mentor them through the process of moving from a peer to a supervisor or you acquire an external candidate from outside the organization, finding the right fit and immersing them into your culture can sometimes feel like rolling the dice!
  2. Suggestions on setting your leader up for success. Once you have the right person in the right role, how do you keep them there? They need to establish credibility quickly and get “buy in” from existing team members. We will offer suggestions on how you keep the team engaged and enthusiastic about their position – even if they were one of the individuals who were not successful in getting the promotion.   
  3. Ways to manage the difficult conversation with people who need to move on to their next opportunity. When leaders change, the reality is, so does some of the team. How do you implement a successful exit strategy so people self-identify that they need to transition to a new role or organization, you retain the knowledge they have acquired and you part ways on a positive note.

Carrie Fritz is the Executive Director of the Calgary Humane Society, a position she has held since 2014 when she was promoted from the position of Controller. Carrie is a CGA-CPA, who attended the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University, obtaining her accounting designation in 1996. She worked at a public accounting firm focusing on audit, assurance and business advisory services before making the leap from public practice to the not-for-profit sector, and finally landing at Calgary Humane Society, in 2007. This was the perfect role for Carrie; one where she could bring her lifelong love of animals, along with her extensive not-for-profit experience, to an animal welfare organization she already had a long relationship with in a community she had grown up in. Since taking on the role of Executive Director, Carrie has focused on reshaping the culture to one that embodies an open, inclusive and supportive environment to aid in the Society’s mission of helping as many animals as we can.  She has worked to build a highly professional, highly-skilled team, capable of successfully supporting staff, volunteers and other key stakeholders through a period of transition and organizational change in order to better meet the needs of the animals in our care and the community we serve. Carrie lives just south of Calgary where she shares her home with her daughter, her three dogs (Daisy, Lacey and Buddy) as well as her two rescue rabbits (Winter and Autumn).