Looking for an Exciting Opportunity with a Growing Animal Welfare Organization? 

Executive Director of the Lawrence Humane Society

The Lawrence Humane Society is seeking a dynamic, enthusiastic professional to become our next Executive Director (ED). This ED position is an outstanding opportunity to join a progressive animal welfare organization that is recognized as a leading animal shelter across the region. The ED will oversee all aspects of the organization which is committed to placing 100% of adoptable pets into new homes by offering robust medical and behavior programs aimed at providing homeless animals the resources needed to be happy, healthy, and ultimately secure them forever families.

In late 2018, we completed a successful $7.5 million capital campaign for the construction of a new shelter space, which was enthusiastically supported by private donations, sponsorships, businesses, the city of Lawrence and Douglas County. After months of anticipation, our new 20,000 sq. ft. facility opened in June, 2019 generating significant excitement and pride within the community. The shelter’s spacious, bright and open design allows for improved operational efficiencies and provides a safe, healthy environment for dogs and cats with a welcoming space for individuals and groups to engage with the animals. The new shelter is allowing us to expand our impact in the community in a variety of ways including but not limited to:

  • Designated meeting space for volunteer orientations and foster training; staff training; field trips; humane education classes; community meeting space and beyond;
  • Scientifically proven spacing methods designed to encourage quicker adoptions, allowing us to find forever homes for more dogs and cats;
  • Play rooms for families and pets to get to know each other so the perfect matches can be found;
  • A state-of-the-art veterinary clinic that meets the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) standards, quadrupling the space of the old clinic to provide the best medical care possible to animals served;
  • And, while we already have a robust volunteer base, our new home will expand volunteer program even more.

The ED reports to the chair of our Board of Directors. Direct reports to the ED include: Chief Veterinarian; Director of Development & Communications; and Director of Operations, with a total staff of 30. The ED will be the face of the Lawrence Humane Society, meeting with representatives of other animal welfare organizations on a local, regional, state and national basis; elected officials and their representatives in communities served; community partner organizations; volunteers; other friends of the LHS; local veterinarians; members of the media; and the public at large.

Major Duties and Responsibilities (include but are not limited to):

  • Implements the mission and direction of the organization in conjunction with the Board of Directors;
  • Plans, organizes and directs programs that carry out the organization’s policies, mission and goals as established by the Board of Directors;
  • Directs the operational procedures of the Lawrence Humane Society;
  • Creates and coordinates annual and long-term fund development plans in conjunction with the Board and Director of Development and Communications;
  • Proactively participates in the development process including donor stewardship and directly soliciting donors;
  • Prepares an annual budget in conjunction with the Finance Committee;
  • Operates the organization within the limits of the total approved budget;
  • Informs the Board of the monthly status of the organization’s financial position;
  • Oversees the handling, treatment and welfare of all the animals admitted to the care of the Lawrence Humane Society;
  • Manages the recruiting, hiring, development, employment, evaluation and discharge of all employees;
  • Controls and monitors all purchases and manages other fiscal and property resources as directed and authorized by the Board;
  • Serves as liaison between the Board and the public, and between the Board and other agencies or organizations;
  • Raises any contentious or controversial external contacts to the Board;
  • Establishes/maintains relationships with government agencies, referral sources and other shelter organizations establishing proper transfer procedures for animals entrusted to the care of the Lawrence Humane Society;
  • Manages the maintenance of facilities, grounds and equipment;
  • Negotiates contracts and other business matters for approval by the Board;
  • Prepares reports and other records as required by the Board;
  • Performs other tasks and duties as may be assigned from time to time by the Board.


  • Minimum five to ten years progressively responsible experience, including minimum of two years management experience, working as the top executive within a progressive animal welfare environment such as an animal shelter, humane society, animal rights, wildlife rehabilitation center or related organization; experience as a “#2” or other senior-level executive at a larger like-enterprise as noted above. Alternative experience could include senior-level executive within a complex, nonprofit organization with a mission of service to the community.
  • A proven track record of success in creative fund development (annual, membership,  planned giving) along with Board interaction and experience leading large numbers of volunteers.
  • A sincere and demonstrated interest in and knowledge of the philosophy of animal welfare is expected through career choice or personal volunteerism.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

  • Executive leadership/management acumen (dynamic leader with a vision; demonstrated background of managing and developing staff; inclusive while providing necessary direction);
  • Fundraising (experience with multiple funding activities for nonprofits including annual funds, capital campaigns, grant writing, planned giving; personal experience successfully soliciting individual and corporate donors);
  • Shelter operations (demonstrated knowledge of animal intake, evaluation, kenneling, adoption, customer service, end of life situations);
  • Community partnerships (has built effective relationships in communities served; experience building coalitions with partner organizations, public officials, advocacy groups and the public at large to actively promote the organization’s mission, programs and services);
  • Budget management (fiscally astute; demonstrated ability to develop revenue sources and control expenditures so as to preserve financial stability; experience with interpretation, forecast and management of financial statements);
  • Board relationships (significant involvement with Board recruitment and development, governance issues; has led and inspired Board Committee members in their organizational functions);
  • Volunteer organization experience (appreciates the value of voluntary operational structure; proven ability to motivate and utilize volunteers);
  • Planning (proven track record of successfully developing/executing operational and strategic plans; able to envision “the big picture” and lead an organization toward the future);
  • Traditional/social media and public relations (experience as spokesperson with media to effectively articulate mission, goals, objectives and policy positions through all forms of media);
  • Established contacts (has developed and maintained regional and national connections with other shelter/humane organization/nonprofit thought leaders);
  • Facility management (demonstrated knowledge of building and facility management);
  • Government relations/advocacy (has interacted with local, state and regional elected and appointed representatives and government organizations).

If you or another outstanding executive you know meets these requirements and would be interested in evaluating this dynamic opportunity, please contact Waverly Partners, the executive search firm retained by the Lawrence Humane Society on this search.

Email: LawrenceHumaneSociety@Waverly-Partners.com