After going through two executive directors last year, the Companion Animal Alliance Board of Directors will address what to do with the nonprofit’s top leadership position early this year, says Board Chair Christel Slaughter.
CAA, which opened its new $12.75 million facilities at LSU in November, lost longtime executive director Beth Brewster when she retired last spring. Brewster, who had led the nonprofit since 2013, retired to be closer to family, Slaughter says, and still works with the organization writing grants.
Brewster’s replacement, Desiree Bender, came from Arkansas. Bender, who Slaughter says was recommended to the board for the position, only stayed in the position for six months before resigning around October.
“She had never run a shelter before,” Slaughter says. “You can visit a lot of shelters but it’s not like running them day to day. Beth had put a lot in place as far as procedures and staff, but at one point it became obvious that philosophically, (Bender and the board) weren’t on the same page.”
In the meantime, CAA lead veterinarian Sarah Hicks has taken the reigns as interim executive director. Hicks and Amanda Pumilia, operations manager, have been acting as dual quarterbacks, picking up the extra responsibilities and keeping the organization running, Slaughter says.
Slaughter says the organization has been more concerned with getting the new building up and running and hasn’t yet started planning to fill the position.
“Things have been going very well right now, but I know we need to either address (the vacancy) and formalize (Hicks and Pumilia’s) roles or we are going to start a search for a new director,” Slaughter says. “After the first of the year, the board will have to figure out what to do.”