New director, new vision come to Central Missouri Humane Society

Thursday, May 24, 2012 | 8:40 p.m. CDT; updated 9:23 p.m. CDT, Thursday, May 24, 2012

COLUMBIA — With the appointment of Mary Boatfield as executive director of the Central Missouri Humane Society, expectations are high that the shelter can achieve better public outreach and financial security.

Boatfield is currently moving to Columbia from Nashville, Tenn., where she served as executive director for the Nashville Humane Association f0r the past 12 years.

Chris Koukola, vice president of the Central Missouri Humane Society,  board of directors, said Boatfield was selected out of a nationwide pool of applicants.

"We were looking for a real depth of knowledge in shelter management and animal welfare in general," Koukola said. “That would include good experience in financial management of nonprofit organizations.”

Financial management happens to be at the top of the list for the shelter. It's new vision, recently published on its website, starts with becoming more financially stable, primarily through more aggressive outreach and fundraising efforts.

"She's examined our strategic plan," Koukola said. "She's worked hard to educate herself about CMHS and its finances."

The shelter has been fraught with budgetary strains as far back as 2008, reliant on fundraising events, social media campaigns and scant resources from the city of Columbia to stay afloat.

According to Koukola, Boatfield has excellent experience in public outreach, which she plans to use in a more comprehensive social media campaign.

"Social media had always been a huge part of what we do here," Colin LaVaute, shelter relations coordinator, said. "We're always looking for ways to utilize these tools. We're very excited to see what she brings."

The shelter's long-term goals include reaching out toward animal-oriented businesses. A new social media campaign would be marketed toward MU students.

During her stint with the Nashville Humane Association, Boatfield spearheaded efforts to incorporate students from Vanderbilt University into its adoption program, which resonated heavily with Central Missouri Humane Society's board of directors.

“Her experience with the NHA — from what we heard from the community — was a complete turnaround,” Koukola said.

Supervising editor is Dan Burley

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