The Association Blog

News, ideas & inspiration from industry leaders


Word on the Street with Aiko Okamoto, SPHR

June 19, 2024, The Association

Deep thoughts, good advice and tough talk on hot topics

Welcome to the latest installment of our new column featuring brief, power-packed statements, suggestions and sentiments from your colleagues in the animal welfare profession. Members, we’ll be posting questions on various topics in our online communities, and we look forward to sharing your wise words here.

Last week at The Solutions Summit, The Association’s Katherine Shenar asked a panel of HR experts, “What makes your organization’s employees committed to your mission and your culture?” Your colleagues in the profession didn’t disappoint. Here’s a great idea shared by Aiko Okamoto, Humane Society of Charlotte’s Chief Administrative Officer, for ensuring that your employees are thriving not only in the workplace, but at home and in their communities.

This year we did a survey and asked the staff, “What life skills do you want to learn?” We have a really young team, and they wanted to know how to buy a house—how to finance a home and plan a budget for that. We teamed up with a local credit union and had them come out to give a one-hour workshop for interested staff.  

In hosting classes like these, we want to show employees that we’re committed not just to the development of their work skills, but of their life skills. How can we help them manage in the world better? It’s been received so well that we’re continuing to do this kind of thing once a quarter. We’re aiming to foster an environment that says, “We care about you, not just about your work.”

– Aiko Okamoto, SPHR, Chief Administrative Officer, Humane Society of Charlotte

Learn More

For more ideas like this one, we’ve got the recording of last week’ panel, Staying Strong—3 Strategies for Employee Retention, ready for your listening pleasure through December 31. Members of The Association and Summit registrants can log-in and enjoy free access; others can register for the recordings here.

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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