The Association Blog

News, ideas & inspiration from industry leaders


Member Spotlight: Get to Know Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons

April 20, 2024, The Association

Catch Calgary Humane’s PR Director next month at the Summit for Animals. Here’s a sneak preview.

Name & Title: Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons, Director, Public Relations, Calgary Humane Society
Member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement since:  2023

The Association: Describe yourself in three words.
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: Empowered, Ambitious, Innovative.

The Association: Describe Calgary Humane in three words.
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: Community, Safe Space, Impact.

The Association: What does a typical day look like for Calgary Humane’s Director of Public Relations?
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: I start every workday with making a cup of peppermint tea in the staff kitchen, and use this as an opportunity to pay a visit along the way to a few of our resident animals. There are often volunteers or staff who I wouldn’t normally see otherwise, and I like making these micro-connections. I have the privilege of leading a very talented group of managers, and often spend time coaching and mentoring others in the various areas of Community Outreach.

My focus is largely on how I can influence the community through various forms of media and experiences, and I thrive on this opportunity. Connecting with local businesses, supporters, media partners, planning events, creating collateral, and uniting the team to build collaboration are all woven into my daily tasks. Ultimately, I find it my responsibility to ensure Calgary Humane Society’s influence and image remain consistent and positive, and help to build animal welfare advocates in our community. 

The Association: What’re some things, industry-related or not, you’ve learned along the way?
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: Know your mentors and trust their wisdom. Find someone who believes in you and be this person for someone else. We rise by lifting others!

Surround yourself with smart people; community is power. Remember when something is frustrating or difficult, that means your zone of potential is growing. Be willing to adapt, reflect and look inwards, and when you are wrong, say you are wrong. And lastly, listen to the new generation. We have a lot to learn from them.

The Association: We hear you’re going to be at the Summit for Animals, talking about storytelling for animal shelters. Can you share one quick tip as a sneak preview?
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: Showing vulnerability in your communications helps to build trust in your audience.

The Association: Share your favorite storytelling success at Calgary Humane.
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: We’re currently dealing with issues in the community that our organization tackled in ‘80s, population control. As disheartening as this is, it has given us an opportunity to provide education on spay/neuter and my favorite topic – responsible pet sourcing. From intake to adoption, my team and I have leveraged the increase in puppy population to our advantage and have layered this complex issue into all our communications and public events. I’m proud that Calgary Humane Society is leading the conversation within Southern Alberta, and I measure our success through the response of the public.

The Association: Last book read or last movie you saw?
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: I am passionate about women who inspire other women, and believe that behind every great woman are more great women. Late last year I finished reading I Bificus by Canadian artist Bif Naked. I found her story very encouraging, and a good reminder of how bold and courageous women can tackle fear and turn it into success. There is an inspiring podcast, The Great Canadian Woman, hosted by Sarah Swain, each episode featuring a strong female guest speaker who is an expert in her field and making waves to create change and encourage uncomfortable yet important conversations.

The Association: One final question. You can invite 5 people from all of history to dinner.  Who’s at the table, and what are you eating?
Anna-Lee Fitzsimmons: 
The Famous Five:

  • Henrietta Edwards
  • Nellie McClung
  • Louise McKinney
  • Emily Murphy
  • Irene Parlby

Enjoying a feast of pasta like you’ve never seen!

About The Association
The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement is a cohort of leaders on a mission to champion, advance, and unify the animal welfare profession.

Leave a Reply