SPCA Florida Announces New Leadership and New Vision

LAKELAND, Fla., Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SPCA Florida, leading the state in advancing animal health care and well-being, announced today that Sean Hawkins, former Director of Strategic Partnerships for American Humane Association, has accepted the new Chief Executive Officer position for the 33 year-old institution.

"The opening of the state-of-the-art McClurg Animal Medical Center in September on the SPCA Florida campus and the forward-thinking leadership of the SPCA Florida Board of Directors were key in the decision to accept CEO role at this time," said Hawkins, a Florida native.

Hawkins, who pioneered the concept of mobile spay and neuter clinics for Cleveland Amory's The Fund for Animals in New York and created and executive produced the nationally televised Hero Dog Awards, broadcast on Hallmark Channel on November 8, said he is ready for his next challenge.

SPCA Florida is positioned to forever change the traditional role of animal shelters by working outside "brick and mortar" walls to engage entire communities with the responsibility of caring for animals.

"We will accomplish this through expanding spay/neuter services for dogs and cats, including advancing non-surgical sterilization, increasing foster home programs, creating community cat programs and making animal training accessible to address behavioral issues, we will help keep animals from ever becoming homeless," he said. "By providing affordable -- and sometimes free -- veterinary care for sick and injured animals and promoting programs that recognize and enhance the human-animal bond, such as creating 'Bark Parks' and 'Cat Cafes,' we can do more to keep animals who have loving homes in those homes."

Liz Piotrowski, SPCA Florida's board president, adds, "Sean's energy and vision for happy, healthy animals and building humane communities is indeed contagious, and the compelling reason we have engaged him as the leader for the institution."

Donna Stiteler also joined the leadership of the SPCA Florida as the institution's Director of Philanthropy and Community Outreach. According to Stiteler, "Sean's vision of building humane communities is so perfectly aligned with my personal goal to advance animal welfare in Florida; I cannot imagine a more exciting time to be a part of this very proud organization."

Stiteler's 25 years of global NGO experience includes community organizing and fundraising for actor and philanthropist Paul Newman's Hole in the Wall Gang Camps, which provides holistic life-changing experiences for terminally and chronically-ill children. Stiteler's animal welfare experience includes leadership roles with the Humane Society of Manatee County and SPCA Tampa Bay, where she led one of the largest pet walks in the United States and created InsPAWration, a highly successful marketing program based on compelling rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming stories. She aims to position SPCA Florida as the "learning lab for the nation" by packaging these programs to help other agencies.

SPCA Florida was organized in Lakeland, Florida, in 1979 by Mary Stephens, Evelyn Meierkord and Jennifer Lugenbeel, who realized the enormous need for an animal welfare organization in their community. Today, establishment of world-class veterinary medical services at the McClurg Animal Medical Center and expansion of creative adoption programs -- with new, visionary leadership -- position the institution as a leader in the state and a model for other animal welfare organizations across the nation.

About SPCA Florida

Founded in 1979, SPCA Florida is a leading non-profit animal welfare advocate. SPCA Florida is on track to serve 50,000 patients through the McClurg Animal Medical Center and provide direct care to more than 6,000 animals in Polk County this year through the Animal Adoption Center. Ani-Meals, which provides food and medical treatment for animals whose guardians are low-income, and the Guardian Angel Program, which provides medical treatment to animals in need, serve hundreds more animals. SPCA Florida's full-service McClurg Animal Medical Center provides affordable veterinary care including examinations, vaccinations, dental cleanings, and treatment for illness or injury, including life-saving surgery, seven days a week. SPCA Florida helps animas and the people who love them. Find out more or support us by visiting www.spcaflorida.org.

Jessica Lawson
Manager of Media Relations
SPCA Florida
O: (863) 646-7722 ext. 105
C: (386) 986-8093