Public safety and helping professions are typically struggling with a surplus in workload while operating on a shortage of resources. Collaboration often serves as the secret ingredient that allows these agencies to still be able to be effective in the communities they serve. This webinar delves into the value of fostering strong relationships particularly for animal welfare organizations to enhance reach and impact.
Back on the Justice Clearinghouse to lead the discussion is Jennifer Toussaint from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington where she’s been serving for over 11 years and where she’s Chief since 2016. During her tenure, she’s expanded the animal control department’s outreach efforts to enable high owner-pet retention in her community and founded the Wildlife Resource Center.
Points she covered in her presentation include:
- How collaboration sparks limitless possibilities yet requires strategic advocacy to improve functions and outcomes.
- A rundown of the entities that animal welfare can build relationships with to augment their services.
- Approaches to initiate collaborations and verbiage to employ to facilitate these.
- Personalized introductions that incorporate a compliment or appreciation, a specific ask, and an offer in return.
- Insightful experiences and activities that your agency may offer as part of the outreach.
- Sustaining momentum through follow-ups and public acknowledgments ensuring to avoid long gaps in communication that reset progress.
- Offering presentations and training to potential partners that highlight intersectionality and demonstrate genuine interest in their work to build trust.
- Leveraging roundtables and task forces to build a collaborative spirit, identify trends and emerging topics, facilitate dialog and problem-solving, and empower other potential partners.
- The value of strategic external partnerships and how these should align with strategic goals and values, offer mutual benefits for involved entities, and address the issues and needs of the agency and the community it serves.
- Key external partners to collaborate with, the exchange of services that can transpire with these partners, and examples of how these worked for ALWA.
- Strategies to facilitate, maintain, and improve partnerships by thinking outside the box and focusing on serving the people.
- The challenges that come with collaborating with other animal welfare entities and the importance of extending empathy and understanding when navigating these challenges.
- Tips to repairing collaborations by setting aside past differences, owning one’s contributions to misunderstandings, and fostering open communication.
- How crucial managing internal relationships is and considerations when it comes to peer relationships.
- The importance of courageous conversations where vulnerability and openness can resolve tensions and foster collaborative improvement.
- Doing “walk and talks” to generate endorphins, ease tensions, and improve relationships through authentic engagement.
- The importance of prioritizing strategic internal relationships before extending efforts externally.
- How authenticity is central to creating and repairing relationships.
Topics raised during the Q&A are about:
- Graciously ending unbeneficial partnerships.
- Resolving issues with a partner that damaged others’ reputations.
- Encouraging quieter team members’ participation in meetings.
- Integrating takeaways from walk and talk sessions.
- Overcoming long-standing inter-agency tension or rivalries.
- Implementing formal wellness programs aside from walks and talks to support employees.
- “Very informative webinar! I really enjoyed everything.”
- “Great webinar, made me think differently.”
- “It was very informative and informational. I liked that it was tailored to everyone’s needs.”
- “How to own mistakes your agency may have made.”
- “The most valuable thing I learned from this webinar is that everyone is trying their best.”
This webinar has been certified by the National Animal Care & Control Association and is approved for 1 Continuing Education Unit. Please refer to your NACA membership portal for current CEU submission process. Current NACA Members who attend the live presentation or watch the recording will be able to download a jointly issued attendance certificate that includes the National Animal Care & Control Association logo. Visit the NACA training page for a complete list of future trainings.