Sessions & Speakers


Keynotes & general sessions


Being Human: Self-Care During a Time of Relentless Crises
Wednesday, November 15
9:30–10:30 am

It has been a brutal few years. The people and animals we serve continue to face increasing challenges. Many organizations strive to do their best with limited resources. Everyone is exhausted and at max capacity as we struggle with multiple pandemics and our own personal crises. Burnout is a constant risk, which is why it is vital we take a moment to acknowledge how far we’ve come, remember the differences we make in the world, and reimagine a better normal as we move forward. This presentation, filled with humor and pictures of baby animals, will leave you motivated and energized.

Session Sponsored by Maddie's Fund

Vu Le (“voo lay”) writes the NonprofitAF blog. He is the former executive director of RVC, a nonprofit in Seattle that promotes social justice by supporting leaders of color, strengthening organizations led by communities of color, and fostering collaboration between diverse communities.


Where Animal Rights and Social Justice Intersect
Thursday, November 16
9:15–10:15 am

Animal rights and animal care are heavily embedded by dominant culture views and are increasingly impacted by economic disparities. We will explore what those differences look like, and how those who love animals should understand how privilege and class shape expectations around how that love should look.

Karen Diver is the Senior Advisor to the President for Native Americans at the University of Minnesota. She previously held positions at the University of Arizona and the College of St. Scholastica. She served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Native American Affairs at the White House from 2015-2017, and was Chairwoman of the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa from 2007-2015. She has a Bachelor’s in economics from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


Futurecast: A Collaborative Exercise in Forward Thinking
Thursday, November 16
3:45–4:45 pm

The future is unknowable, but it’s incredibly malleable. Let’s elevate our focus beyond today’s worries and constraints and recognize how the world (and our communities) may soon be different as a result of technology, demographics, environment, and other factors–and work together to illuminate the responsibilities and opportunities that arise from those expectations. Takeaways include:

  • The indispensable value of your organization’s Vision Statement
  • Five ways your world will soon be profoundly different
  • What you most need to learn or adjust today to prepare for the future

Matt Lehrman is co-founder and managing director of Social Prosperity Partners, an Arizona-based consulting firm dedicated to the proposition that “Where people work together courageously, their potential is unlimited.” As a facilitator, Matt’s passion and expertise is facilitating the strategic deliberations of governance councils, boards of directors, and management teams, while helping them achieve consensus among their diverse constituencies. As a national speaker, Matt inspires and instructs civic and nonprofit organization leaders on topics of civility and community engagement.


Decoding the Thought Process Behind Choices through Behavioral Economics
Friday, November 17
9–10 am

This session offers a captivating exploration of the intersection between behavior and economic decision-making. Delve into the fascinating world of how people make choices, respond to incentives, and engage in various behaviors based on economic principles. This interdisciplinary approach combines insights from veterinary medicine, psychology, and economics to shed light on the complexities of decision-making processes.

Gain a deeper understanding of how factors such as cost, benefit, risk, and reward influence choices. Case studies will highlight the practical applications of behavioral economics in sheltering, from optimizing animal adoption strategies to better relationships with staff. Attendees will engage in interactive exercises and thought-provoking discussions that encourage critical thinking and the application of behavioral economics concepts to animal welfare scenarios.

Dr. Nellie Goetz is an Associate Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona’s College of Veterinary Medicine where she teaches in the second year Anesthesia and Surgery courses and runs an elective Community Cat Management Course. She received her DVM from The Ohio State in 2005 and her Master of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2017.

Dr. Cristie Kamiya graduated from Colorado State University with a Master of Business Administration degree in 1999 and earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University in 2005. She has worked as a shelter veterinarian in Colorado and Arizona. She is the Chief of Shelter Medicine at Humane Society Silicon Valley.

Michael Robbins is a senior executive with more than 12 years of distinguished accomplishments in both the corporate and nonprofit environments. Michael serves as the Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for the Atlanta Humane Society. Immediately prior, Mike spent 10 years with the Michigan Humane Society.


PANEL: Solutions to Access to Care Challenges
Friday, November 17
11:30 am–12:30 pm

Access to veterinary care and the worsening shortage of veterinarians are huge, complex problems negatively impacting animal welfare in major ways. As with other major challenges, solutions will have to be broad-ranging and creative. Hear from a panel of industry experts who will share thoughts on various facets of a solution and share your questions and thoughts as well. Possible solutions to be discussed include:

  • How the new mid-level practitioner (veterinary physicians assistant) position could positively impact the work of animal welfare organizations
  • How the creative use of veterinary telemedicine could help clear log jams shelters are experiencing
  • Nonsurgical sterilization research and product developments–where they stand, and when and how they might be ready for use by animal welfare organizations
  • Strategies in high-quality, high-volume spay and neuter to include large-scale sterilization events to address back-logs

Joyce Briggs has served as ACC&D’s President since 2006. During this time she has helped substantially advance interest in, work toward, and support for creating non-surgical sterilants for progressive population control of cats and dogs.

Dr. Julie Levy is a professor of Shelter Medicine at the University of Florida. She founded Operation Catnip, a nonprofit university-based community cat TNR program that has spayed, neutered, and vaccinated more than 80,000 cats. She co-founded the Shelter Medicine Program with Dr. Cynda Crawford, the Million Cat Challenge with Dr. Kate Hurley, and helped launch Maddie’s Million Pet Challenge.

Dr. Cherice Roth a Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine graduate, is the Chief Veterinary Officer of the Digital Health Platform for Mars Veterinary Health and is known for her work in standardizing high-quality veterinary telemedicine at scale. Dr. Roth is a children’s book author and a practicing relief ER veterinarian.

Apryl Steele, DVM is the President and CEO of the Dumb Friends League. After practicing veterinary medicine for 18 years, she had the honor of joining the League in 2014 to advocate for animals who are vulnerable due to homelessness, mistreatment, or their owner’s financial situation. She is currently a board member for The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and is the chair-elect. Apryl is a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator (CAWA).