Why She’s Top 40: She is leading a 108-year-old organization into the future and ensuring that animals in Edmonton get chances to find their forever homes.
If you could change one thing about Edmonton, what would it be? “Edmontonians love their pets and we could all do more to promote and embrace Edmonton as a pet-friendly city. In our community, we are advancing animal welfare, and I envision Edmonton as becoming the humane education capital of Canada where we build empathy in our community and beyond.”
With university degrees in business and communications, Miranda Jordan-Smith could have her pick of just about any job she wants. But combine those degrees with a lifelong love of animals, and her current position as chief executive officer of the Edmonton Humane Society is a perfect fit.
“It was important to me to work for an organization where my personal and professional values align to the mission and the values of the organization,” she says in her office, a barking dog audible on the other side of the window as it heads out for some exercise. “That’s not to say I couldn’t work in private industry or anything. I just need that value congruence.
“At parties, people say, ‘What do you do?’ And I say, ‘I save animals’ lives. What do you do?'”
With two dogs, two cats, two young daughters and a husband under her roof, the temptation to bring home any pet that comes through the doors is mitigated. But it’s still rewarding to see an animal find its forever home.
“I see the impact every day. Every time we rehome one animal, it’s such a success. You can see the tangible results daily.”
While she was attending university, Jordan-Smith and her husband volunteered at the old EHS facility on 66th Street, bathing puppies and cleaning kennels. She began working with the society as director of operations in October 2013, and took over as acting CEO in February 2014. She was officially appointed CEO in July 2014.
Jordan-Smith recently got the EHS involved in the Million Cat Challenge, which aims to save the lives of 1 million shelter cats over the next five years by replacing euthanasia with more humane and effective strategies. Edmonton was the first shelter in western Canada to take up the challenge.
She has also worked hard to set a new vision for the EHS to go along with its new facility, which opened in 2009. She wants to take a more proactive approach, educating prospective owners on pet treatment and care so that animals don’t end up back in the society’s hands.
“The thing that distinguishes ‘humane’ from ‘human’ is the E that’s added, and the E, for me, stands for empathy,” she says.
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