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Member Spotlight: Get to Know Kathy Duncan

February 14, 2023, The Association

Settle in for a spirited conversation with Humane Canada’s Director of National Programs. We cover everything from Janis Joplin and high tea to access to veterinary care and whale watching.

Name & Title:  Kathy Duncan, Director, National Programs at Humane Canada
Member of The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement since:  2010 (? I think?)

The Association: Describe yourself in three words. 
Kathy Duncan: Collaborative, Passionate, Inquisitive

The Association: Describe Humane Canada in three words.  
Kathy Duncan: Progressive, Collaborative, Strategic

The Association: Tell us about one small victory you had this week—personally or professionally.  
Kathy Duncan: I’ve had great support from our CEO and the team here in working to limit the number of meetings I attend each week.  This week was a big win, as most of Tuesday and Thursday were open to doing more focused work.  As the CEO says, “You need to get off the dance floor and onto the balcony more.” This week I got to do that, and it felt great!

The Association: We’ve been checking out the line-up for Humane Canada’s 2023 Summit for Animals, and it’s…incredible! What sessions do you think members of The Association will be particularly interested in, and why?  
Kathy Duncan: I am probably biased as I was privileged to be part of the programming committee, along with a crack group of volunteers from across Canada – so I would say all of the sessions! But seriously, the ones I am most interested in range through both the Training Day and Conference sessions. That includes Animal Welfare, Ethics and Practice – How Can We Address Global Challenges with Dr. Heather Bacon, and Alison Cuffley’s session on One Health, Two-Eyed Seeing, and Animal Welfare Policies. Oh, and the plenary session on the Journey to Ban Cosmetic Animal Testing in Canada. 

Probably the session I am most looking forward to is the opening plenary with Dr. Liz Walker of The RSPCA – Driving a Future for Animal Welfare through National Collaboration.  I think all of the sessions across the board provide for a good cross section of topics, all the way from best practices in shelter medicine and enforcement to international topics that are top-of-mind for all of us in the sector.

The Association: Any recommendations for places to go and things to do for folks who might want to extend their trip? 
Kathy Duncan: I have never been to Vancouver Island myself, but based on what I’ve heard, there is so much to do across the island that you won’t be disappointed no matter what you choose – from whale watching tours to hiking through some beautiful landscapes. If your pleasure is more urban, check out what is on offer in Victoria. A trip up the island to either Nanaimo or Tofino is definitely on my list!

The Association: What’s the last movie you saw or book you read? 
Kathy Duncan: The last book I read was Freezing Order by Bill Browder, after reading his first book, Red Notice.  I heard him interviewed shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and was taken by his account of the loss of his colleague in Russia, who was killed while being held in a Russian jail on trumped-up charges.  I also recently read a book by Jody Wilson-Raybould, called Indian in the Cabinet.  Wilson-Raybould is an Indigenous woman who was courted by our current Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, to join the Liberal party. When they won power, she was appointed as Canada’s first Indigenous minister of Justice and Attorney General. Ultimately, she resigned from not only those positions, but from the Liberal Cabinet and party in an effort to uphold her personal morals, ethics and values. An incredible political memoir by one of the most inspiring women in our country.

The Association: Please share a hidden (or not-so-hidden) talent. 
Kathy Duncan: I love networking and collaborating!  Definitely that falls in the not-so-hidden section.

The Association: From your perspective, what are top 3 most important trends or topics in animal welfare right now? 
Kathy Duncan: I would have to say One Health/One Welfare, which in my mind really leads into Keeping Families Together and Access to Veterinary Care.

The Association: You can invite 5 people from all of history to dinner. Who’s at the table, and what are you eating? 
Kathy Duncan: Hmmmm – that is a tough one. I am a huge music buff, so..

  • Janis Joplin for sure. 
  • Ruth Bader Ginsberg, what an incredible woman!!
  • Viola Desmond, a Canadian woman of color who now graces our $10 bill.  She was a businesswoman in Nova Scotia who was jailed, convicted and fined for refusing to leave the whites-only area of a movie theatre in 1946.  Her case helped to start the modern civil rights movement here in Canada.
  • Agnes Macphail was the first woman elected to the House of Commons in Canada, and she was also a founding member of the Elizabeth Fry Society and lobbied for penal reform.  She was later elected to the Province of Ontario’s Legislature, where she initiated Ontario’s first equal pay legislation in 1951.
  • And last, but certainly not least, Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author who created Anne of Green Gables.

And what would be served? Well with those esteemed women around the table I feel as though, even though you suggested dinner, we would likely be doing High Tea.

The Association: What’s your favorite one-sentence leadership tip?
Kathy Duncan: “You manage things; you lead people.” – Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper

Learn More

Meet a CAWA: Victoria Cowper
How I Got Here: Stephanie Kendrick
Member Spotlight: Get to Know Lily Yap, MBA
Humane Canada’s 2023 Summit for Animals

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.

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