Meet a CAWA: Jeana Roth
Earning your Certified Animal Welfare Administrator credential can help you advance within the animal welfare profession. Being a CAWA is also game-changing for the animals in your care. Just ask Jeana Roth, Executive Director at Five Acres Animal Shelter, who incorporates knowledge gained from the CAWA program into her organization’s philosophy and strategy.
Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA) Since: September 2022
The Association: Please tell us a little about your organization, and a victory, large or small, you recently celebrated.
Jeana Roth: Five Acres Animal Shelter is a lifesaving shelter located in St. Charles, Missouri. We shelter and care for nearly 2,000 cats and dogs annually. We are big on collaboration, and work with shelters and rescues across the state of Missouri to welcome pets from overcrowded communities to our organization. We’re currently looking ahead, planning ways to expand community programming and safety net resources to make a difference for both pets and people.
We just held our first large-scale auction event, our Golden Paw Gala, celebrating 50 years of our organization helping homeless pets. It was a great success, with tremendous community support.
The Association: When did you first decide to take the exam, and why?
Jeana Roth: I started my career in animal welfare in 2012 as a volunteer coordinator for Maine’s largest open-intake shelter, the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland. I knew almost immediately that sheltering was the sector for me. I was eager and hungry to learn as much as I could, and progressed through various positions. Once I became a director, I knew my next professional goal was an executive directorship. Becoming a CAWA was an important designation I wanted to earn to demonstrate my competency in this field.
The Association: How did you prepare for the CAWA exam?
Jeana Roth: I utilized the many resources and guides provided and made a (very) large binder of study materials. I took the practice quiz to understand my strengths and weaknesses and focused on the areas where I needed more thorough research.
The Association: Walk us through exam day. How did you feel before, during and after?
Jeana Roth: I was definitely nervous, but I felt prepared and ready. I did close my eyes when those results appeared on the screen though! It was a relief to see I passed, and I was very proud of myself for trusting my gut and going for it.
The Association: What is one example of how you have applied the knowledge gained from the CAWA program in your role at Five Acres Animal Shelter?
Jeana Roth: My guiding philosophy in animal welfare is What is in the best interest of the animal? My team and I have conversations every day about the animals in our care, their individual needs, and how we can best support them. The CAWA program is a strong foundation to help make decisions with confidence.
The Association: How has becoming a CAWA impacted your career?
Jeana Roth: It certainly helped me move into my current role as Executive Director. More than that, I feel more confident knowing that my 11 years in this field have provided me the hands-on lessons and skills needed to be a leader. I hope to be able to mentor others who want to advance professionally in animal welfare.
The Association: What’s your one piece of practical advice for those considering the CAWA program?
Jeana Roth: Don’t doubt yourself and your knowledge. This is such a hands-on sector, we learn and experience new obstacles and lessons daily. Our daily work – through successes and challenges – is what creates strong leaders in this field.
The Association: What is your favorite one-sentence leadership tip?
Jeana Roth: Work smarter, not harder.
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