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Jun-06-2014 17:44printcomments

Willamette Humane Society Names New Executive Director

The Willamette Humane Society serves over 6,000 dogs and cats each year.

Willamette Humane Society is delighted to announce to our community that BJ Andersen has accepted the position of executive director. Photo Courtesy: WHS

(SALEM, Ore. ) - Willamette Humane Society is delighted to announce to our community that BJ Andersen has accepted the position of executive director.

As a nine-year employee of Willamette Humane Society, Andersen has a deep commitment to the organization and its mission of providing compassionate services to pets and people. She has thrived in multiple operational positions at the shelter, including Adoption Lead, Kennel Manager, and most recently as Volunteer Manager.

Andersen is known for her skills as a deep listener, a speaker, an innovator, a collaborative problem-solver, and a leader. In conflict resolution, Andersen excels at her ability to find common ground between seemingly opposing points of view, and embraces non-judgmental work relationships.

Dr. Jacqueline Harter, Shelter Veterinarian and member of the Executive Director Search Committee, said of Andersen "I've known BJ her entire tenure at WHS, and seen her professional development, passion, and enthusiasm grow with every year. I'm delighted to work with her in her new capacity."

As Kennel Manager, Andersen oversaw the implementation of key programs such as Open Paw, a volunteer and dog training program which increased the save rate of dogs in the shelter and decreased their length of stay. She also oversaw the creation of the WHS Behavior & Training Program, and brought the first Certified Professional Dog Trainer in the area, Annie Ingersoll, to the shelter as a staff member.

Under Andersen's leadership as Volunteer Manager, the volunteer force at WHS increased from 737 to 858 annual contributors, working the combined hours equivalent of 31 full-time employees. The scope of their work also increased to offer improved dog training, kennel socialization, and enrichment for the animals of the shelter.

Andersen is a woman of many talents with a deep love for animals, people, ecology, philosophy, and writing. Her resume is lengthy and diverse. Prior to WHS, she worked as an assistant site manager at YWCA Camp Westwind, a mentor and leader with Americorps Northwest Service Academy, a receptionist and librarian at Marylhurst University, a founding administrator and educator at KMC-Saraha Buddhist Center, a catering and special events entrepreneur, and had humble beginnings as a stable attendant for the San Francisco Mounted Police.

BJ Andersen resides with her spouse, Teresa McKenzie, and mother, Nancy Andersen in Scio, OR, where they maintain a small farm caring for rescued horses, goats, chickens- and of course- dogs and cats.

Andersen's vision for WHS is to focus on saving more animals in our community. Of this focus, she said "every year we get better, we save a higher percentage of the animals coming to our shelter. I strongly believe we can do better, we can be great! We can reach beyond our organization and achieve a consistent 90% save-rate for both dogs and cats through our partnerships, our teamwork, and our collaboration with our community."

Andersen's breadth of experience and knowledge of shelter operations gives her an advantage to accomplish this shared vision of Willamette Humane Society, its supporters, and our humane community at large.

Willamette Humane Society was founded in 1965 by local civic leaders to serve Marion and Polk counties.

WHS provides pet adoption services, shelters surrendered or homeless cats and dogs, teaches responsible pet care, behavior and training -- and reduces pet over-population through its low-cost Spay and Neuter Clinic.

WHS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on donor support and fees to accomplish its mission. It is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors and includes a 35 FTE member staff, and 800+ volunteers who serve over 6,000 dogs and cats each year.

Source: Willamette Valley Humane Society

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