Creating A Culture of Success: How to Inspire Change in Your Organization

SUNDAY, APRIL 9, 1:45-2:30PM

Adrienne M. McBride, Executive Director, Guelph Humane Society
Lisa Veit, Associate Director, Guelph Humane Society

The awe-inspiring commitment to enhancing the lives of animals among humane society staff is no surprise to anyone working in the animal welfare industry – but, unfortunately, good intentions just aren’t enough to make an organization successful. It takes the right people, with the right attitude, empowered by leadership, and inspired to work for the benefit of the organization.

In early 2015, the Guelph Humane Society set out to inspire change in their shelter and create a corporate culture of success. It was born out of a simple desire to create a place where people wanted to work, not just for the animals, but for the organization as a whole. The process began with a survey of the staff, which revealed the team felt burnt-out, lacked motivation and did not work cohesively. The need for change was obvious. As an organization, we aimed to move towards a positive culture, with each staff member committing to being engaged and accountable in this shift. Our leadership team became the champions of change – committing the passion, time and stamina needed to push this initiative forward. Fast forward to today, not only have staff changed the way they feel about their role within the organization – but we’ve found unintended consequences, as well, such as more and more opportunities for positive interaction with our community.

Three Key Learnings:
1. Participants will learn how the Guelph Humane Society recognized the need to inspire culture change within our organization and ultimately commenced the process of replacing a negative, defeated culture with a positive, activated team. We will review methods for evaluating your current organizational culture including surveys, interviews, operational reviews and the use of external consultants.
2. We will identify steps for setting long-term achievable goals for improving your team’s culture, and identify how GHS measured whether our goals were being achieved over a period of two years. Participants will also learn about the challenges that GHS faced (and continue to face) along the road to a positive corporate culture, such as resistance to change, staff turnover and keeping the momentum going forward.
3. Lastly, we will set up participants with an idea of what to expect once they embark on changing internal culture. We will address the unexpected impact that change can have on an organization, as well as the impact it will have on the animals in your organization’s care and your community as a whole. The presentation will wrap up with a list of free, quick and easy changes any organization can make that will have a big impact on culture.

The Guelph Humane Society has hired a consultant to conduct a further survey of our staff, which is to be completed in October 2016, and will measure the ongoing success of the culture change initiative within the organization. Results of the survey will be available in November 2016, and will be incorporated into the presentation.

This presentation will be directed towards organizational leadership, including staff and board directors, wishing to understand the impact change can have on an organization’s overall success.

Adrienne M. McBride is a lawyer whose passion for animals led her to a career in animal welfare as the Executive Director of the Guelph Humane Society. Her advocacy interests lie in creating policies and partnerships that benefit people and animals alike. She also has a keen understanding of the not-for-profit sector. She studied communications at the University of Guelph-Humber and earned her law degree at the University of Ottawa.

Lisa Veit has worked in many aspects of animal care and welfare and wildlife conservation, with experience in issues affecting companion animals, captive and free-ranging wildlife, and species at risk. Her roles have focused on leadership and program development with animal welfare organizations at the local and provincial level, and Ontario Veterinary College. She has an MSc in Biology and is the Associate Director of the Guelph Humane Society.