“Ten with the Team” will be a recurring post spotlighting Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA) staffers answering 10 questions to help you get to know them better. The first “Ten with the Team” is Julie Edwards, HSNEGA Executive Director. Julie joined HSNEGA in February 2010 as the Director of Development & Marketing, and officially assumed the ED role in November 2014.
1. Tell us briefly about your current position.
My role as Executive Director focuses on overseeing policies and procedures to deliver responsible, effective animal welfare services to the regional community and implementing long-term strategies to ensure HSNEGA’s success and viability. While I love the impact I am able to make through my work, I admit working for a non-profit, and in particular an animal welfare organization, can be consuming. Non-profit staff often wear multiple hats and, because of the nature of the animal welfare field, the work is 24/7/365.
2. What do you love most about your work?
Channeling my passion for animal welfare into making my corner of the world a healthier and happier place for unwanted, abandoned and suffering companion animals. Some days, the magnitude of the issues in animal welfare can feel overwhelming, but I try to focus on the smaller picture of helping one animal at a time.
- What accomplishment during your tenure makes you the most proud?
During my first year, I started a new fundraising event—Art with Heart—which, in five years, has grown from $8,000 to $65,000 in gross revenue. I especially love that this event allows me to channel my love of art into helping at-need animals.
- What is your most memorable story involving HSNEGA?
During my first few months, we took in a puppy which became very sick. Our director at the time, Rick Aiken, took the puppy home every night to nurse her and would care for her during the day at the office. Sadly, the puppy took a turn for the worse and Rick had to make the decision to humanely euthanize her. I remember him standing in his office, cradling her body in his arms. Here was this man who has been in this field for 20+ years and his heart could still be broken. The memory still moves me to tears and is a good reminder that this work is a balance of your head and your heart.
5. If you were to tell one person “Thank You!” for helping you become the person you are today, who would that be?
My manager at my first job was definitely a role model for me. She was a strong, decisive woman who helped me grow professionally and taught me how to successfully interact within all levels of the staff and customers.
6. What motto(s) do you live by?
Treat others with respect and work hard. It may sound trite, but kindness and a good work ethic can take you far.
- What inspires you?
Results. When I see my efforts result in a successful outcome for a pet or person in need, it encourages me to work harder.
8. What would you be doing if you were not in animal welfare?
Working with food. I am a “home chef”… I love to try new recipes, attend cooking classes, and am an avid cookbook “collector.” Cooking good food for someone you care about and having them enjoy it is one of the ultimate expressions of love.
9. How do you recharge?
Honestly, it’s hard for me to unplug from work, but a good nap is always a good thing!
10. What super power would you like to have?
The ability to travel anywhere in seconds. I hate driving and traffic!