This week we were saddened to say farewell to our friend Carol Laughner who is retiring from MHS and Animals Welfare, after 10-years of service.
You will all know Carol by now, so no real introduction is necessary. She joined Monadnock Humane Society in February, 2012 and has for the past ten years been an integral part of our marketing and development department. Carol will be missed by us all and we wish her nothing but happiness, good health and success in the next chapter for her.
Depending on who you ask, ten years is a lifetime (over 52 in dog years) and we thought it would be fun to reminisce with Carol about moments that stood out to her. We asked her to share some of her memories with us through a series of questions. Here is her thoughtful response. Thanks for allowing us to share these memories with you, Carol!
Q: Were there any notable events over the years that you remember fondly?
A: I will always hold dear the memories of working with the Walk for Animals committees. Their hard work and dedication made The Walk one of the most popular fundraising events in the Monadnock Region. It wasn’t just about the hard work, though. It was the fun we had in the months of planning ahead of the event right up to the day of set up and then dismantle. It was a joy to work with everyone on The Walk!
And, there were moments that touched my heart and made me realize how important the work of MHS is. Here is one of many of those moments (this was early in my time at MHS):
I was walking out into the shelter from the admin offices, and a gentleman was waiting in the hallway. I said hello and asked if I could help with anything. He said that someone was bringing his cat into the visiting room so he could spend some time with her. As it turns out, he was a veteran who had fallen on hard times, and was living in his van. MHS cared for his cat while he searched for a place to live. He began to cry, saying that she was the only friend he had, and that it meant so much that we were caring for her during this difficult time in his life. At that moment, I knew this was an organization that was making a meaningful difference. (the gentleman did find an apartment, and was reunited with his cat, and MHS started the Animal Safety Net program to help more people in difficult circumstances who needed assistance).
Q: What does it mean to you, having worked in animal sheltering, in the Monadnock Region for 10+ years?
A: When I began working at MHS 10 years ago, I was so excited about helping animals find homes. After working there for a few months, it became clear to me that finding homes for the animals was part of our work. It was also helping the *people* who love them. And, watching the staff work tirelessly to do that – whether it was giving them resources and advice, providing training and behavioral management for their dog, giving pet owners a safe and comfortable place for their precious pets to stay and play while they were gone, providing affordable clinics, keeping the facility running smoothly, or working with volunteers who also wanted to help. The magic spark of love between people and their pets – that was the greatest inspiration to me in my work, and knowing that the MHS mission embraced that completely was what meant the most to me. MHS will continue to grow, and I can’t wait to see how things evolve!
Q: What will you miss the most about working with MHS?
A: I will miss the camaraderie with my teammates (they always were there to help me in the work I did, and also offering help with my own pets), the volunteers (who gave so much of their time and care so deeply about MHS), and the board of directors (who lead the organization thoughtfully and with passion). I will miss working with the media, sponsor and vendor contacts who helped get the word out about the great work MHS does and always gave their support. I will miss working with our executive director, Kathy, who has *always* been there for me and offered so much wisdom and support, and has believed in and valued my opinions and perspective.
Q: What is next for you?
A: My heart is leading me in the direction of service. I also plan to spend more time with my family and friends (especially my new granddaughter) and to enjoy the changing of seasons and all the joy that comes with each one. And, maybe I’ll get back to my art…
Now for a few words from team members.
Emily Kerylow, MHS Director of Operations tells us that Carol has always impressed her with her positive attitude. She always has a nice thing to say about everyone and always looks at each situation in a positive light. She remains calm and steady, even when dealing with tough situations. Emily continues on to say, “I will miss working with her”!
Kerri O’Brian, MHS HR and Volunteer Coordinator shared that working with Carol for 8 1/2 years was amazing. Her strong leadership has always been an inspiration to others to be better leaders. Carol always had a way to make everyone feel like a valued part of the team, their ideas, and voice always mattered to her. Kerri describes Carol’s work style as classy, calm, and collaborative. Even when working together at the Walk for Animals, during a heat wave in June, Carol kept that poise. In Kerri’s time working with Carol, she poured herself into MHS. From the beautiful artwork she created, her retelling of stories about animals, and detail-oriented way.
Kerri goes on to share that Carol played a large part in bringing awareness to the small animals at MHS. “When I was the Small Animal Lead, a long time ago, they only had a “small” voice. Carol gave them a LARGE voice. She would tell me, Don’t worry Kerri, I made sure a bunny was going on the Walk design this year.“ Every year after that Carol ensured all the animals of MHS were represented.
And lastly, Kathy Collinsworth, MHS Executive Director tells us that when she came in as the new ED, 6 years ago, Carol was so inviting to, and supportive of, her. She continues that “Carol’s dedication to the organization is unwavering and her talents clearly helped drive our success. She always advocated for our investment in a new, more innovative website and rebranding, and she saw it through before officially retiring – positioning MHS for a much more interactive experience with our community. Carol’s upbeat and optimistic energy will be greatly missed.”
Again, thank you for truly stepping up to the plate, Carol, and for being the change the animals in our community need the most.