Finding the Purr-fect Personnel
Short-handed Staff, Specialized Needs
Tree House Humane Society is not your run-of-the-mill animal shelter. With regular events like kitty acroyoga, cat walk pub crawls and cardio kickboxing with kittens, you could say the organization thinks outside the sandbox. Tree House has a unique focus on the care and placement of cats with special physical and emotional needs – animals outside the mainstream of adoptable pets. So perhaps it’s not surprising that, when the need arose to grow its staff, the organization was looking for individuals who also might be considered outside the mainstream. With no full-time in-house HR specialist, however, Tree House needed a partner with the right skills, relationships and insight to conduct its specialized search.
Combining Rigorous Screening with Deft Insight
To launch its search for a director of development and a marketing manager, Raissa Allaire, executive director, immediately turned to Kris. In her previous role as COO for the Center for Economic Progress, Raissa had worked with Kris on several projects, including search coordination, organizational restructuring and compensation setting. Thanks to that partnership, Raissa knew that Kris would provide valuable guidance on the best way to proceed with Tree House’s search.
“Kris is more than a consultant,” Raissa says. “She’s a wonderful advisor and thought partner.”
Kris understood that Tree House was not looking for typical hires, but for individuals with the right skills to deliver on the organization’s core value of innovation. She conducted a rigorous process of sourcing and screening applicants, creating a quality pool of non-traditional candidates for Raissa and her team to consider. When the team was divided on one of the candidates, Kris worked with them to ultimately help them find the perfect fit.
“She won’t stop at the resume,” Raissa says. “She goes beyond the technical skills to ensure there’s a fit every time.”
Enhancing the Lives of Animals and the Community
The past few years have been a time of enormous change and growth for Tree House. The organization recently moved into a modern new shelter facility in West Rogers Park; opened a cat café; and refreshed its brand with a new mission statement, logo and forthcoming website. Next year, it plans to open a wellness center that will provide veterinary services to the public. All of this takes leadership, strategic planning and a collaborative team effort. Both the director of development and the marketing manager at Tree House have been integral to achieving these goals, thanks to Kris and Tree House’s combined efforts.