RALEIGH — Kim Janzen is hoping to bring her love of animals and the people who care for them to her new job as executive director of the SPCA of Wake County.
Janzen worked for a decade as head of the Kansas Humane Society before coming to Raleigh earlier this month. She has plans to boost the agency’s bottom line and make sure its facilities are up to par, but is also concerned about making sure the people she manages are happy.
“I love the mission of helping animals, and I love the mission of helping the people who help animals,” she said.
The people who last in the sometimes heartbreaking field of animal welfare are those who have a sense of compassion and resiliency, said Janzen, 47. It’s her job to make sure they can tap into those strengths and get the job done.
The Wake SPCA is a nonprofit, no-kill animal welfare organization with an adoption center, educational programs, and spay and neuter programs. Janzen replaces Hope Hancock, who headed the SPCA from 2006 until early this year. Mondy Lamb served as interim director until Janzen started early this month.
Janzen grew up just outside Wichita, Kan., and attended Wichita State University. After graduation, she went to work for a marketing company but detoured into nonprofit management after she volunteered with a group that helped HIV/AIDS patients and realized nonprofits would be a good fit.
Later, while she was working at a center for children with special needs and volunteering with the Humane Society, the executive director position at the Human Society opened up. Once again, she knew it was time to make the leap to a new field.
During her time there, the Humane Society and the city’s animal control branch forged a public-private partnership that allowed them to co-locate on a campus and streamline the services they offered. Janzen spearheaded the $10.2 million capital campaign the Humane Society held to complete the project. She also increased adoptions and revenue while there.
When it comes to working with the Wake County Animal Center, Janzen said she anticipates strengthening the connections between the two organizations by first deciding exactly how they intend to work together.
“I think it has to start with a conversation about what the ideal looks like,” she said.
Janzen said that one of her first priorities is to ensure the SPCA’s financial footing is as sure as the creativity and enthusiasm she’s seen at the SPCA since arriving in Raleigh. The organization has an annual budget of $2.5 million.
“The piece of the puzzle that we’re missing is a strong financial foundation,” she said.
Janzen said she is interested in looking at how to maximize the SPCA’s operational revenue through areas such as the group’s retail store. In the long term, Janzen said she would look at ways to merge the SPCA’s holding center and adoption center, which are in different locations. That’s the kind of change that could come in about five years.
For now though, Janzen said she’s pleased to have landed in a community that has shown strong support for the SPCA. Just a day before learning of the job opening, she had mentioned to colleagues that she would like to live in North Carolina, a place where she had often vacationed.
“It was totally meant to be,” she said.