For this podcast, we had the pleasure of interviewing Laura Follis who was the director of communication and partnerships for PAWS (Progressive Animal Welfare Society). This is always an exciting time of year for PAWS, because of their annual PAWSwalk charity challenge. This year, PAWS will be running their challenge on ifUiWill. Be sure to join. For
Since we have recorded this episode, Laura has announced her retirement from PAWS, but we feel lucky to have had the opportunity to record with Laura before she headed off to the next chapter in her life. every mile walked, Bone-a-fide dog ranch will donate $1 to PAWS, up to $25,000! You can also go to PAWS yourself and donate to an amazing charity!
Like many people who end up working for charities, Laura had no plan to work for a non-profit when she started her career. She majored in journalism in college, and started her career working for IBM before transitioning to large agencies, which had always been her intention.
She and her husband decided to move to the Pacific Northwest having heard it was a great place to live. There she started her own business and her passion for purpose-built organizations blossomed. She and her husband got involved with the Big Brother organization as a “Big Couple.” That experience had a big impact on Laura and she decided to go back to school at the University of Washington to get a certificate in digital media.
Laura has always been a crazy animal lover and that passion brought her to PAWS. While most people know that PAWS is a place you can go to adopt a pet, some might not know that they find homes for animals from all over the country and even the world! PAWS also now has a wildlife center where they care for over 200 species from a tiny hummingbird, to bears, and even seals.
Laura talks about her passion for connecting people and creating messages that resonate with people. At PAWS, everything they due revolves their core purpose: “We help animals go home,” whether that home is as part of your family or back to the wild.
One of my favorite parts of this discussion is when I learned that in order to ensure their bear cubs do not become over acclimated to human interaction, someone actually has to put on a bear suit before going in to feed them. The only thing funnier than the picture that conjured in my head is the actual picture that Laura sent. I couldn’t stop laughing.
We discussed lots of different topics with Laura including Covid, partnerships, creative ways of raising money (i.e. launching a challenges). WE also discussed their amazing volunteer community, and the new challenges climate change is creating.
Thanks you so much for your time and wisdom, Laura. You will be missed.