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Kurt Fenstermacher: Leadership tips for new execs, managers

Guest: Kurt Fenstermacher is currently Deputy Director of the Environmental Services Department for the city of El Paso. He also created a new El Paso Department of Animal Services, which has an open-admission shelter with annual admissions of more than 25,000 animals where he was interim director for two years. He is also a Certified Animal Welfare Administrator with the Association for Animal Welfare Advancement and currently a teaching assistant with University of the Pacific’s Animal Shelter Management Certificate Program. 

Main question: What advice do you have for new animal welfare leaders and managers? 


  • Follow the five practices of exemplary leadership laid out in the book “The Leadership Challenge":

    • Model the way – set an example with your own actions 

    • Inspire a shared vision toward fulfilling your organization’s mission and goals.

    • Challenge the process to find ways to improve your organization.

    • Enable others to act 

    • And encourage the heart – celebrate your team’s successes. 

  • For one week, track how you use your time. Often how we think we are using time is not how we are actually using it. Developing time management skills are essential for leaders and managers.

  • Share your mission and goals regularly and widely such as at the bottom of meeting agendas and posted around your facility.

  • If you're a new leader, don’t expect to know everything. Ask for help.

  • Revisit the five Leadership Challenge practices to make sure you've, say, been celebrating achievements and modeling high standards of work behavior, etc. 



Kurt Fenstermacher with dogs.jpg


Recorded March 9, 2021

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