The New Year, is quite simply, my favourite of time of year.
We get a fresh start, a new beginning, an entire year before us to work towards our goals and dreams. How exciting is that!? This year is particularly special to me because I am returning from a maternity leave which is leaving me refreshed and recommitted to my personal and professional values.
I believe strongly in the power of having a dream and sharing it with the world. It is for this reason that I have set three resolutions for myself at the beginning of 2020. I related them to the core values of the GTHS as these values align with my personal principals.
Teamwork is without a doubt, a strong value of mine and the foundation of our work at the GTHS. And it is for good reason as our history was founded from the teamwork as donors, volunteers, board members and industry leaders that came together behind a shared vision. Today, despite our relentless growth and evolution, our dependence on teamwork and collaboration is still very much essential to our ability to carry out our mission.
I believe that the teams that pull together when the going gets tough are the ones that are rooted in compassion and empathy. If we take care of each other as a team, we will be unstoppable in our ability to care for those that need us the most. To me, caring for each other means having trust in each other, engaging in open and regular communication and creating a safe place to share ideas and concerns. As Simon Sinek says, ‘A team is not a group of people that works together, a team is a group of people that trust each other.’
For 2020, I resolve to lead with empathy and compassion by ensuring that our dedicated team members, have the support they need to work towards our mission.
“Trust is earned in the smallest of moments. It is earned not through heroic deeds, or even highly visible actions, but through paying attention, listening, and gestures of genuine care and connection.” – Brene Brown
Listening and connecting is an essential part of strong leadership. In order to find the best solutions that drive innovation, we need to open to feedback and struggles both internal and external to our work. In 2019 we launched our Pet Retention program because we listened to pet owners in our community and knew that in many situations there had to be an alternative to pet surrender. Our emergency medical and emergency boarding services were born from this program and it has since impacted the lives of dozens of pets and people in their time of need.
In our busy lives, active listening can be very challenging. For 2020, I will make this one of my resolutions and will intentionally listen to our partners, our community and our incredible team members. I know that long-term solutions take time and strategy, but by listening and responding, we can ensure that once our goal has been reached, it is truly reflective of the people and pets that we serve. In short, my door will be open!
The GTHS has never been in a better position to provide compassionate services to pets and people in our community. Due to emerging trends in the sector in 2019, we redefined our mission to position ourselves as leaders of a new frontier in animal welfare. This shift pivoted us from reactive to proactive, from shelter based to community facing and ultimately, facilitated a long-term solution to pet overpopulation and animal welfare challenges in the south Georgian Bay region. With these now established services, we strive to be responsible and do everything in our power to positively impact the people and pets that need us.
In 2019, I had the opportunity to work in one of our mobile spay/neuter clinics. My experience that weekend was one of my fondest memories of the past year as I was able to meet with so many community members and their beloved pets. It was profoundly inspirational to see just how many people in this community love their pets and would simply do anything for them. I heard stories of pets that had been found as strays and welcomed into loving homes, stories of loneliness and isolation that were alleviated by their pet companion and pet owners that when forced, would prioritize food for their pet over nutrition for themselves. That weekend, as is any time that I get the opportunity to get out of the office, reaffirmed my commitment to providing access to compassionate services to pets and people.
Having big dreams takes vision, perseverance, collaboration and most importantly, an ability to bounce back from failure. They require to us to keep working at them, one step at a time. 2020 is bound to have highs and lows, successes and failures, but I know that if we stay true to our values and culture that our steps will lead us in the right direction. Together, we are truly making a difference.
Wishing you all a very happy and healthy 2020.