Published : Tuesday, June 4, 2019 | 10:00 AM
The Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA’s new leader, Dia DuVernet, is not the first person to head west and open a new life chapter, but it’s doubtful many of her predecessors came with so clear a purpose.
The new president and chief executive officer describes herself as “a lover of all living things.”
By training, DuVernet is a clinical worker. She moved from a prior career in child welfare to one in animal welfare. “So compassion and care have always been at the heart of my career, whether it was people or animals,” she stated.
DuVernet was drawn to the fact the Pasadena Humane Society and SPCA was founded on service to children and animals.
“Child welfare actually grew out of the animal welfare movement, so in its early days it did both,” she explained. “And then other organizations sprung up to take the child welfare piece and Pasadena Humane stuck with the animal welfare piece.”
The new president and CEO of the venerable Pasadena institution hails from Virginia Beach, Va., where she held the same two titles at the Virginia Beach SPCA.
DuVernet’s son is off to college and so moving to Pasadena seemed like the right thing to do.
“I was approached for the job,” she explained. “The Pasadena Humane Society has a fabulous reputation. It’s one of the premier animal welfare organizations in the country. And so it’s just a great opportunity and a great time in my life to be able to make a move. We’re about to be empty-nesters and so we’re going to move across the country.”
DuVernet said she was attracted to the organization by the breadth of services that it provides. She was impressed with the fact that, in addition to finding homes for companion animals, Pasadena Humane Society also does wildlife rehabilitation.
“It is one of only a few animal welfare organizations that does both: humane education programs for children and compassion programs for folks who are struggling,” said DuVernet. “It’s just a wonderful, wonderful place.”
She was also enticed by the fact her new place of work has a new medical director. “I’m excited to see what the future will hold for the veterinary clinic there,” said DuVernet.
The first order of business at her new post, she stated, will be the launch of a new strategic planning process.
“At that point you can set some goals for the future in collaboration with the board staff and stakeholder input from the community as well,” she explained.
DuVernet’s hiring follows a 30-year period of steady leadership and expansion under Steve McNall, and the considerably shorter term (two years) of Julie Bank, whose reasons for departure remain a secret of either her own, or the Humane League’s, keeping.
The group has been working under the leadership of vice president of administration Ruthie Hughes, while it wound it way through the recruiting process.