New Leadership and New Programs: Sean Hawkins to Launch Communities that Care Initiative

Santa Maria Valley Humane Society, one of the oldest animal welfare organizations serving the Central Coast, announced today that Sean Hawkins, former Director of Strategic Partnerships for American Humane Association in Washington, DC and former Vice President of Philanthropy for Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando in Florida, has accepted the Executive Director position for the 35-year-old California institution.  The selection of Sean Hawkins as the Executive Director of the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society concludes the 14-month national search to fill the vital position.

“The leadership changes at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society take place at a critical time in the organization’s development as the institution is entering a new era of providing services to the animals and the people of Santa Maria and surrounding communities,” said Doug Rich, President of the organization’s Board of Directors.  “It is our hope that new leadership at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society will help to elevate the status the status of dogs and cats in the communities we serve and advocate for improved animal welfare and well-being.”  After humble beginnings in make-shift buildings, the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society continues to settle into its 22,000 square foot state-of-the-art animal shelter and veterinary medical facilities, located at 1687 West Stowell Road, Santa Maria, California 93458, that opened in 2014. 

“I am thrilled to lead a new era of caring, compassion and hope for the animals and people of California’s Central Coast at the Santa Maria Valley Humane Society,” said Sean Hawkins, the organization’s new Executive Director. Hawkins announced launching a new “Communities that Care” initiative as part of his stepping into the leadership role with the organization. “We are going to promote animal welfare and well-being by working outside the walls of our facilities to engage the entire community with the responsibility of caring for dogs and cats,” Hawkins says.  “Our goal is to involve the citizens of the communities we serve in the important work of saving more animals lives.”  

Expanded volunteer opportunities, community-based adoption events, increasing access to veterinary care, spaying or neutering community cats and animal training and behavior services are just some of the expanded or new programs that will be launched this year, according to Hawkins.  “Our two goals are to keep animals who have homes safe and in those homes, and when animals do become homeless, we want to work to either avoid them entering the shelter system or adopt them into new homes as quickly as possible,” says Hawkins.  

“The energy and vision of the new leadership team to inspire us to a new level of engagement for animal welfare is indeed exciting for us,” added Rich.  “Even though we have helped animals for over three decades in and around the Santa Maria Valley, the team we have assembled will rally our partners as allies in the cause of animal protection and truly elevate the status of dogs and cats in our homes and communities.”