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Executive Director, Española Humane

Santa Fe/Española, New Mexico


Española Humane
Executive Director
Location: Santa Fe/Española, New Mexico

About Española Humane
Española Humane’s core mission is to improve the lives of animals in underserved communities. We play a unique, valued role in our multi-cultural community and provide a range of services to help pets find and stay in loving homes. As an open-admissions shelter, every animal is welcomed without charge and the spay/neuter clinic is free to animals in the city of Española, Rio Arriba County, and the surrounding pueblos and Indigenous communities. In 2023, Española Humane received over 4,300 animals at the shelter, completed more than 6,800 free spay/neuter surgeries, and provided over 18,000 free vaccinations and microchips. 

Since 1992 Española Humane has developed innovative programs to help animals, and over time the organization has evolved and grown to meet the needs of the greater community. In 2025, Española Humane will have an annual budget of $5M, a dedicated and talented staff of 71 in addition to a highly engaged Board of Directors -- while opening a brand-new Spay/Neuter Clinic with capacity for 15,000 surgeries and space for teaching aspiring surgeons and vet-tech interns. 

For more information, please visit: www.espanolahumane.org

About the Executive Director position
Española Humane seeks an authentic, dynamic, and visionary leader to engage, connect, and build meaningful relationships with the staff, board, neighboring pueblos and Indigenous communities, partners, funders, and animals in the greater Española, Santa Fe, Taos, and neighboring communities. In collaboration with these diverse and committed stakeholders, the new leader will oversee the implementation of strategic initiatives designed to spur an exciting chapter of growth. Over the longer term, the Executive Director will work to expand and extend the strategic vision of the organization. Reporting to the Board of Directors, the Executive Director will manage seven talented and high-performing direct reports:

  • Shelter Director
  • Clinic Director
  • Director of Communications
  • Director of Giving
  • Director of Community Engagement
  • Director of Medicine
  • Controller

The Executive Director will oversee all clinic and shelter operations at the current Española site, which has operated in the community for 32 years. In addition, the new leader will oversee the completion of the new Spay/Neuter Clinic, which will more than double the capacity for medical services and establish a novel training program for aspiring high-volume surgeons and local youth pursuing careers in the veterinary space. 

In cooperation with the talented and tenured development and community engagement team, the Executive Director will also play a critical role in the community, seeking out, building, and cultivating genuine relationships. This person will be curious about and eager to understand a variety of cultures, perspectives, ideas, and lived experiences that shape how and why individuals engage with Española Humane, and bring an openness and sensitivity to the variety of cultures that are a part of the greater Española Humane community. 

The ideal candidate embodies curiosity, cultural awareness, and embraces diverse perspectives, is a strong and inclusive leader with a track record of listening first, motivating, and empowering others, and inspiring donors and key champions. The strongest candidates authentically and adeptly build and sustain trust with key stakeholders while maintaining a close focus on organizational strategy, performance, and operations. 

This is a unique opportunity for an experienced leader to build on a solid foundation of success, sustainability, and growth, and deepen and broaden the impact for which Española Humane is so well known and respected. The new leader will be rooted in animal welfare, creativity, innovation, will thrive cultivating and expanding a generous donor base, and will oversee the next exciting chapter of growth and innovation for this beloved organization.


Strategy and Leadership

  • Lead Española Humane’s strategic direction, collaborating with the Board, staff and key stakeholders to design, implement, and track goals aligned with the organization’s vision, mission, and strategic plan
  • Ensure ongoing organizational excellence, rigorous performance evaluation and consistent high-quality finance, development, communications, and other executive functions
  • Maintain a strong working knowledge of the best practices in animal welfare, shelter, and clinic innovations, operations, and ensure compliance with local, state and national regulations
  • Develop and maintain a transparent working relationship with the Board of Directors and ensure open communication about success and the challenges of financial, programmatic, and operational performance

Team Management

  • Foster the collaborative culture of genuine teamwork and common purpose among all staff
  • Empower, inspire, and hold staff accountable to fulfilling their responsibilities to Española Humane
  • Facilitate collaboration across departments, functions, tenures, and strengthen internal communications to cultivate strong working relationships at every level of the organization
  • Recruit, engage, and retain high-quality staff, and ensure ongoing professional development opportunities
  • Oversee and foster staff wellness and commitment in an environment in which they may witness neglect and emotionally charged scenarios 

Administrative, Operational, and Financial Leadership

  • Ensure Española Humane has the revenue required to grow and innovate
  • Steward finances in collaboration with the finance team and Board’s finance committee; oversee the budgeting processes and ensure clear financial reporting and cash flow
  • Ensure the creation, adherence to, and maintenance of organizational policies and procedures to facilitate effective workflow, decision-making, and communication protocols across the organization
  • Lead and oversee all aspects of operational planning to ensure the organization is equipped to meet goals and weather unexpected challenges
  • Oversee all clinic and shelter operations in two locations and ensure compliance with local and state standards and regulations

Fund Development and Communications

  • Serve as Española Humane’s chief spokesperson, storyteller, and champion in Española, Santa Fe, and other communities
  • With intention and care, identify, develop, and nurture key community relationships to inspire, engage, and retain funders, partners, volunteers, and organizational champions
  • Steward and solicit major gifts on behalf of the organization in collaboration with the Director of Giving
  • Develop an understanding of the organization’s partners, constituencies, and communities and ensure and oversee outreach and communication that is aligned with a variety of cultures, traditions, and expectations


Please know that the Española Humane Search Committee recognizes that not every candidate will bring all the knowledge, skills, and experiences listed below and welcomes candidates with a variety of experience. 

  • Passion, empathy, and a demonstrated commitment to the mission of Española Humane
  • Minimum of ten years of executive leadership experience with a strong track record of building, leading, inspiring, and retaining high-performing teams
  • Experience overseeing essential executive functions including strategy, finance, operations, communications, and fundraising preferably in a non-profit setting
  • Record of authentic, trust-based, and genuine organizational relationships and partnerships
  • Strong, clear, and transparent communication skills with the ability to engage, connect, and inspire a variety of audiences that represent diverse cultures, traditions, lived experiences, and expectations
  • A resourceful, proactive problem solver who can bridge the gap between strategy and execution
  • Spanish language proficiency a plus
  • Experience with and/or understanding of animal welfare preferred but not required


The compensation range for this position is $165K - $175K and includes generous benefits.

To Apply
Española Humane has retained the executive search firm LeaderFit to lead this search. Please submit the following:

  • A cover letter addressing your experience relevant to the considerations above and 
  • A resume
The position will remain open until filled, and the process is designed to have the Search Committee select the new leader in early September with a start date before the end of 2024.

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