10-04-23 The Problem with Messaging: How Our Words Are Holding Us Back

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Animal welfare has a messaging problem. Current messaging can stoke divisions amongst those who work in animal welfare and between us and members of the communities we serve. There is an increasing focus on access to care and programming to support the human-animal bond, but we use words and stories that hold us back. Everyday narratives undermine our efforts to help people and their pets together and contribute to an epidemic of burnout in animal welfare and sheltering.

When we change our messaging, we can tell a different story and shift from harmful narratives and beliefs to those that create connection, collaboration, and, ultimately, better programs. In this session, we explore why messaging challenges are happening, how they shape the realities we experience every day, and what we can do about it. You will hear about SPARC (Supporting People and Animal Relationships for Change) and the program’s messaging principles and practices that can help us do our most impactful work for people and animals. 


  • Alison Fotsch Kleibor, CAWA, President & CEO, Wisconsin Humane Society
  • Brad Shear, CAWA, CEO, Potter League for Animals
  • Hanna Lentz, Co-Founder, Impact by Design (IbD) 

This webinar has been pre-approved for:

  • 1 Certified Animal Welfare Administrator continuing education credit
  • 1 NACA CE
  • 1 CE towards ACO CE requirements per Ch. 829 of the Texas Health and Safety Code by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS)

Alison Fotsch Kliebor, CAWA

President & CEO, Wisconsin Humane Society

Alison Fotsch Kleibor is the President & CEO of the Wisconsin Humane Society (WHS) and has been with the organization since 2007. Prior to stepping into the CEO role, Alison held the position of Executive Vice President, supporting the people & culture, communications, development, and shelter operations functions of the organization.  She has served also as the Vice President of Animal Sheltering, Racine Campus Director, Client Services Manager, and Senior Adoption Counselor. She is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA), a member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement (AAWA), and a board member of Shelter Animals Count (SAC).  

Hanna Lentz

Co-Founder, Impact by Design

Hanna Lentz is a Co-Founder of Impact by Design (IbD) and spent seven years as Managing Director and COO, working closely with animal welfare and sheltering organizations in North America to strengthen their work through planning and program development. During her time at IbD, she was part of the Evolution of Animal Welfare Task Force and helped lead the development of SPARC (Supporting People and Animal Relationships for Change). Her two decades working in animal welfare includes time working at U.S. sanctuaries and animal shelters in Washington, DC, Massachusetts, Michigan, and New York, and working internationally as the Global Program Officer for Companion Animals at IFAW, where she helped facilitate community-centered dog and cat population management programs in Mexico, Bosnia, and Chile. 

Brad Shear, CAWA

Executive Director, Potter League for Animals

Brad Shear is the Chief Executive Officer of the Potter League for Animals in Rhode Island, and is one of three Certified Animal Welfare Administrators (CAWA) in the state. During his tenure, Brad has expanded existing programs and created new partnerships, including acquiring the state's largest spay and neuter clinic and the state's largest full-service non-profit veterinary clinic. In addition to his work at the Potter League, Brad has served as board chair of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, chaired their Best Practices and Emerging Trends Committee, and serves on their Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee. He also serves on the Hill's Pet Nutrition Shelter Advisory Council and the New England Federation of Humane Societies' advisory committee.


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Webinar: The Problem with Messaging
10/04/2023 at 3:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 10/04/2023  |  61 minutes
10/04/2023 at 3:00 PM (EDT)  |  Recorded On: 10/04/2023  |  61 minutes Watch at least 50 minutes of this webinar to unlock the quiz & earn a certificate of completion.
6 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  6/8 points to pass  |  Graded as Pass/Fail
6 Questions  |  Unlimited attempts  |  6/8 points to pass  |  Graded as Pass/Fail Pass this quiz in order to earn your certificate of completion.
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Agree to terms to continue.
Certificate of Completion
1.00 CAWA & NACA CE Credits credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 CAWA & NACA CE Credits credit  |  Certificate available
Texas DSHS Certificate
1.00 TX DSHS credit  |  Certificate available
1.00 TX DSHS credit  |  Certificate available If a participant wants to provide feedback on this course and/or its sponsor, the participant can mail comments to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Training Course Coordinator, Zoonosis Control, MC 1956, P.O. Box 149347, Austin, Texas, 78714-9347 or email them to The.Vet@dshs.texas.gov.
Webinar Slides
Open to download resource.
Open to download resource.