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Speaker Bios

Monday, April 19:  1:00-3:00 P.M. EST

James Evans, CARE, CEO

James is a multi-awarding winning creative strategist and leader with 25+ years of experience developing relationships between organizations and their constituents. His expertise has been utilized across a diverse group of brands, both non for profit, and for profit. Specific brand experience includes: Timberland, Disney, The Mills Corporation, NAACP, Baltimore Health Department, Maryland Health Department, Kennedy Krieger Institute, CVS Caremark’s Project Health, Safe Streets Baltimore and many other brands.

James and his team have initiated several programs, including the ground breaking Gulf Spay/Neuter Campaign and HSUS’ Pets for Life, which helped reshape animal welfare, while simultaneously advocating for more diversity and inclusion throughout the field.

He has also played an integral part in AWO organization’s projects, including HSUS’ Adopters Welcome, Outdoor Cats Research, Stop Puppy Mills and Spayathon, as well as Best Friends Animal Society’s Outreach Action Team, Maddie’s Fund, and SPCA of Texas’ Let’s Fix This Campaign.

April 19, 1:05 P.M. - 2:10 P.M. EST

Listening and Learning from Voices of Color


Sarah Bexell, Erin Flynn, Julia Senecal & Maggie Lantzy

The Institute for Human-Animal Connection at the University of Denver

The Institute for Human-Animal Connection intentionally elevates the value of the living world and the interrelationship and health of people, other animals and the environment. This is accomplished through natural and social science-informed education, applied knowledge, research and advocacy, with an ethical regard for all species.

April 19, 2:15 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. EST

The State of Humane Education in U.S. Schools 2018-2019: The Start of a Humane Education Research Agenda


Wednesday, April 21: 1:00-3:00 P.M. EST

Kathryn Owen, Kathryn Owen Consulting 

I have worked as an educator & evaluator in the field of informal learning for nearly 20 years. Over the past few years, I have focused my efforts on helping identify best practices in fostering children's empathy for animals, and developing tools to measure the success of these efforts. I currently work as an evaluation consultant, serving a wide range of organizations - from zoos, aquariums and children's museums to humane education programs at animal sanctuaries. I am deeply committed to evaluation capacity building, and serve as an advisor to the University of Washington's Museology program, training graduate students to conduct evaluation in informal learning environments.

April 21, 1:05 P.M. - 1:50 P.M. EST

Measuring Children's Empathy Toward Animals: User-Friendly Approaches


Kim Ferris-Church, MS Ed.; CHES, Lollypop Farm

Kim Ferris-Church is a Certified Humane Education Specialist with over fifteen years of experience working in educational services for nonprofits. As the Humane Education Manager for Lollypop Farm, Kim develops curriculum for workshops, camps, events, and activities that engage people in learning about compassion for animals. She is the author of the first ever curriculum on building a humane education camp program, an online course offered through the Academy of Prosocial Learning. She formerly served on the board of directors for the Association of Professional Humane Educators and helped publish the newest edition of the APHE Camp Manual.

April 21, 2:00 P.M. - 2:50 P.M. EST

It's All Fun and Games Until Someone Gets Hurt: A camp Director's Guide to Planning for Camp Safety and Risk Management

April 21, 2:00 P.M. - 2:50 P.M. EST

Kim Ferris-Church, MS Ed.; CHES, Lollypop Farm

Friday, April 23:  1:00-3:00 P.M. EST

Ashley Stanley, Wayside Waifs 

Ashley Stanley is the Humane Education Manager at Wayside Waifs, a No-Kill Animal Shelter in Kansas City, Missouri and has been with the organization for 4 years overseeing the development and implementation of Humane Education programming that reaches over 11,000 students each year, including the No More Bullying! curriculum, an innovative approach to ending the cycle of violence towards people and animals. Ashley is a Certified Humane Education Specialist, is the current Association of Animal Welfare OnPOINT leader for the Humane Education Resource Group and has presented at national conferences on the benefits of using Humane Education to enhance character development. Prior to coming to Wayside Waifs, Ashley spent several years with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, Youth Development Services as a Site Supervisor, Camp Director and Program Director. Ashley holds her Bachelors’ degree in Management and Human Relations from MidAmerica Nazarene College and has worked in the field of youth development for 14 years. Ashley has a strong passion for helping students and adults feel empowered to make positive changes for both the people and animals in their community.

April 23, 1:00 P.M. - 1:50 P.M.  EST

No More bullying Violence Prevention through Humane Education 


Maddie Krasno, M.A. Humane Education, Farm Sanctuary

Farm Sanctuary was founded in 1986 to combat the abuses of factory farming, advocate for institutional reforms, and encourage a new awareness and understanding of farm animals.  Farm Sanctuary's humane education program educates thousands of students each year through classroom presentations, inspires student action through the organization's Youth Leadership Council, and empowers teachers with standards-aligning curriculum on farm animals and issues of our food system.  

April 23, 2:30 P.M. - 3:00 P.M. EST

Cultivating Compassion through Farm Sanctuary's Arts-Based Curriculum 



Monday, April 26:  1:00-3:00 P.M. EST

Mike Arms, Helen Woodward Animal Center 

Michael Arms is a pioneer in the animal welfare industry. He is recognized worldwide as the creator of both the International Pet Adopt-a-thon and Home 4 the Holidays adoption campaigns, as well as the Remember Me Thursday adoption awareness campaign.  Mike is credited in the last 40 years with saving the lives of millions of orphan animals. 

A life altering experience while at the ASPCA in the late sixties defined Mike and has benefited orphan animals to this day.  After handing in his resignation and with only six days left, Mike had to fill in on a call for a dog hit by a car. Upon his arrival he saw a dog that had been hit with such force that his back was broken. Three men came out of a nearby doorway and told Mike that he wasn’t taking the dog anywhere:  they were taking bets on how long it was going to live.  Mike bent to lift the injured puppy into the ambulance anyway, so the men attacked Mike with a bottle, a baseball bat and a knife. The little dog that should not have been able to move crawled to Mike’s side to lick him to consciousness. It was a true epiphany for Arms who asked God:  “Let me live, and I promise you, I will do everything in my lifetime to protect them.”  Mike has remained true to his word since then. 

Following his position with the ASPCA, and 20 years at North Shore Animal League, Mike worked as an adoptions consultant on a national and international scale until he accepted the position of President of Helen Woodward Animal Center (the “Center”) in 1999. 

Under Mike’s guidance, the Center’s programs began to grow and evolve.  The Adoptions team quickly doubled, then tripled the number of pet adoptions each month, and have continually grown, reaching record-breaking numbers in the past few years.  The Education program has set records for the number of youngsters that are receiving humane education, rising from fewer than 4,000 to over 15,000 per year. The Business of Saving Lives workshops, created by Mike and taught by the Center’s team leaders, teach participants more effective ways to find families for orphan pets, as well as how to raise money to support their dreams, including the use of public relations and social media to brand their businesses.  Overall, these workshops and conferences teach the successful running of a non-profit organization using business principles to enhance the lives of more pets and people. More than 600 organizations from over 40 states and 20 countries have been represented at these workshops since 2002, attended by over 1,800 people.  Over 14,000 people have attended speaking engagements by Mike worldwide whether at a conference, a corporate event, an organization assessment or as the keynote presenter.  The Home 4 the Holidays campaign now includes over 4,100 organization participants in over 23 countries who have jointly adopted out over 12 million pets since 1999. 

Most recently, Mike created the extremely moving Remember Me Thursday global awareness campaign, which encourages individuals to light a candle (literally or virtually), and help promote awareness by sharing our message in their network on the fourth Thursday of September, every year, and to “opt to adopt,” with the hope of reducing the millions of orphan pets euthanized each year. Grass roots programs and events sprung up around the world, in countries such as: Japan, Puerto Rico, Australia, the United Kingdom, Spain and many more. In 2015, the third annual campaign resulted in 253 million social media impressions, over 13,000 tweets and trended on both Facebook and Instagram across over 100 countries! 

Mike Arms. Just one more reason why Helen Woodward Animal Center is known around the globe as, “The Animal Center of the Future!”

April 26, 1:05 P.M. - 1:50 P.M.  EST

The Business of Saving Lives


Barbara McLean, Barbara McLean Consulting

Barbara has successfully led a number of organizations through change in her role as an Executive Director and as a board member.  She has experienced firsthand what works and what doesn't. With a background in Leadership and Organizational Behavior, Barbara pulls the research and data and applies it to real life examples of managing successfully through change.  Trained as an adult educator, Barbara is also an experienced and engaging speaker and workshop facilitator. 

April 26, 2:05 P.M. - 2:50 P.M. EST

Turn and Face the Strange, Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes: How to Manage and Communicate Through Change at Your Shelter


Wednesday, April 28:  1:00-3:00 P.M. EST

Kristina Hulvershorn, Peace Learning Center 

Kristina Hulvershorn, Director of Restorative and Humane Programs at Peace Learning Center and Indianapolis Program Manager for HEART, has been a teacher in Indianapolis Public Schools and Chicago Public Schools, specializing in the emotional and behavioral lives of students.  She earned a B.A. in both General and Special Education as well as a Master’s degree in Humane Education from the Institute for Humane Education.  She has also worked as an administrator in Chicago Public Schools and brings a passion for social emotional learning, social justice, and school climate as addressed through peace education and restorative practices.  She is also the founder of ‘be the change’, an exhibition housed at Peace Learning Center designed to inspire compassion for animals, our environment, and humans.  She is also the co-director of Climate Camp and the author of Secret of the Troublemakers (secretofthetroublemakers.com). 

April 28, 1:05 P.M. - 1:50 P.M.  EST

Increasing the Efficacy of Humane Education Through Equity and Restorative Practices.  


Lesley Winton, Fostering Compassion

Lesley Winton initially studied Legal Studies and Legal Accounting and worked in this field for 15 years. She then left to pursue her passion for animal welfare and addressing the links between animal abuse, child abuse and domestic violence. She has 30 years experience working in the Voluntary Sector in Scotland in both a professional and volunteer capacity and has set up two charities in relation to animal welfare and child welfare. Driven by the desire to develop an humane education project for vulnerable children led to the creation of Fostering Compassion, bringing together abused and neglected children with rescued animals in an effort to reverse the negative cycle of abuse. Lesley also has a very keen interest in raising awareness of the pain of pet bereavement and the strength of the human-animal bond.

Lesley has Diplomas in Legal Studies and Legal Accounting, a Diploma in Life Coaching, and in 2014 completed an online Edinburgh University Course on the Clinical Psychology of Children and Young People. In 2020 she completed Diplomas in Native American Studies and Pet Bereavement Counselling. She is currently studying a Diploma in Positive Psychology. She is also a keen writer, publishing her first book in September 2013 highlighting the importance of the human-animal bond. Lesley won the Ceva Animal Welfare Award for Charity Professional of the Year in 2017. Her Charity, Fostering Compassion won the 2020 Edinburgh Prestige Award for Humane Education Project of the Year.

April 28, 2:05 P.M. - 2:50 P.M. EST

Connecting Neglected Children with Rescued Animals to Help Reverse the Cycle of Abuse and Foster Compassion


Friday, April 30:  1:00-3:00 P.M. EST

Sergio Avila, Sierra Club 

Sergio Avila now works for the national Sierra Club in the Outdoor Activities Team. His focus is to support staff and volunteers in New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and Utah, with the mission to connect all people with the natural world and with the Sierra Club, by maintaining and enhancing diversified, superior, volunteer-run outdoor activities that support the Sierra Club’s conservation mission.

For over twenty years, Sergio has worked on local and regional conservation efforts along the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, as a conservation scientist, wildlife researcher and facilitator of bi-national conservation projects. He has led collaborative efforts on connectivity for wildlife, habitat restoration, public education and interpretation in the U.S. southwest and northwest Mexico. Sergio has traveled extensively across all Mexican states and western United States.

Sergio Avila’s varied experience includes living with the indigenous Tarahumara of the Sierra Madre, which transformed his vision of environmental stewardship and conservation focus. For over ten years, Avila tracked and studied borderland jaguars and ocelots in Sonora and Arizona. Two live encounters with jaguars in the mountains of Sonora have been life-changing experiences that shaped Sergio’s personal and professional life. More recently he led efforts to protect monarch butterflies promoting pollinator gardens in Arizona, and connecting efforts with a new monarch-monitoring network in northwest Mexico.

Sergio enjoys trail running, gardening, bird and butterfly watching, and looking for wildlife tracks and sign. He lives in Tucson with his wife Jenny, their three cats Lupe, Carlos, and Pancho, and Toby, the desert tortoise.

April 30, 1:00 P.M. - 1:50 P.M. EST

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Outdoor Recreation, Environmental Education and Conservation: The Experiences and Lessons of a Brown Scientist


Dr. Linda Harper, Compassionate Heart Specialist 

Linda has been a clinical psychologist in the Chicagoland area for 36 years and calls herself "a compassionate heart specialist."  She is a workshop leader and  frequent speaker at animal welfare conferences throughout the country. She specializes in working with heart-driven individuals and organizations dedicated to improving the lives of animals and the people who give to them.   She facilitates the Pet Loss Support Group for the Chicago Veterinary Medical Association. As founder and past director of Blessed Bonds, a foster-based program that helps pets stay with their families in crisis, she has firsthand experience with the challenges of following your passion to make a difference in the lives of people and animals.  Linda is the author of 4 books, including Give to Your Heart's Content...without Giving yourself Away and The Power of Joy in Giving to Animals.

April 30, 02:05 P.M. - 02:45 P.M. EST

REfresh Your Compassionate Heart: Take Care of You and Your Team to Make a Difference In the World

2021 Virtual Conference Renew, Restore & Reset

April 19- 30, 2021

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