Get to know the Director of Operations at HeARTs Speak, Caitlin Quinn in this week's Founding Member Spotlight interview.
Director of Operations
Poughkeepsie, New York
Tell us a little about you and your history in animal welfare.
I’m from Poughkeepsie, NY and am currently the Director of Operations for HeARTs Speak, a nonprofit working to make quality marketing and adoption promotion easier for shelters and rescues. I joined HeARTs Speak in 2015 and previously, was the assistant director at Animal Farm Foundation for 6 years, where I worked most closely on shelter policies like removing breed labels, eliminating barriers to adoption, and the impact of language in our field. During that time, I also worked for my local shelter, the Dutchess County SPCA in areas of operations + policy, adoption counseling, and marketing/communications.
What's an accomplishment that you are most proud of in your career?
I’m most proud of the 2017 launch of HeARTs Speak’s EDU program, an e-learning platform that houses countless free marketing tools, templates, videos and tutorials with the goal of providing skill-building and continuing education for the animal welfare field. We also had a huge moment this year when we were finalists in the Innovation Showdown at HSUS Animal Care Expo —though we didn’t win, we walked away with great advice, renewed excitement, and lots of connections with shelters and rescues who are excited about turnkey adoption marketing solutions!
Can you tell us more about the HeARTs Speak's EDU Program?
HeARTs Speak’s EDU program (which, thanks to Maddie’s we were able to launch on our site last year!) is an e-learning platform that aims to make shelter marketing and pet promotion easier, no matter the user’s skill level or role in animal sheltering. Using a multimedia approach that includes downloadable guides, video tutorials, templates, and creative designs, EDU is a one-stop platform for any organization in need of inspiration and turn-key tools to increase their creative workforce and save lives through more effective promotion. All the resources in EDU’s growing library are free and accessible here: https://www.heartsspeak.org/edu/
Name something related to animal welfare that you are super passionate about and want others to learn?
I’m super passionate about the places where policy intersects with communication. We often think of terms like “marketing” as either too big or too luxurious to be a lifesaving necessity, especially given the many priorities we have in our work! However, when we consider communications from the perspective of its ability to reinforce our policies and provide a feedback mechanism for our community, I think we start to see the magic happen. When we start to look at marketing as a mechanism for reducing length of stay, increasing adoptions and starting to change the way that our community sees our organizations, I think we see how truly lifesaving these efforts can be.
Tell us something about yourself people might be surprised to learn
Folks might be surprised to learn that before joining the field of animal welfare, I was a toll collector! It was an incredible job for meeting a wide array of people and learning the ins-and-outs of customer service (in a fast-paced situation!). It sounds crazy, but was one of the most valuable jobs I ever had!
Who is your "animal welfare crush?"
Ah! So many professional crushes on innovative and hard-working folks in the animal welfare field but in particular I look up to Aimee Sadler and all the folks at Dogs Playing for Life. Like HeARTs Speak, their team provides direct service to the organizations in our field, and work to provide training and skill-building through partnership. There’s great intersection between how we enrich the lives of animals in our care, what we learn about them while they are with us, and the how then share this part of our mission with the public through good marketing. And the key to all of this: Collaboration!
Thanks for the interview, Caitlin! Be sure to follow @Caitlin Quinn here on the forum and ask her any questions/comments below.