Wildlife expert found opportunity in search for career change

Who: Jo-Anne Roman, 56, Davie

Why: Named director of operations at the South Florida Wildlife Center in May. Was senior vice president of operations for the Humane Society of Broward County

Experience: Was with the Humane Society of Broward County for 34 years and during my career I have served as a consultant to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) working with their Animal Services Consultation Program and as a consultant for the World Society for the Protection of Animals in South America teaching animal handling, capture and proper euthanasia techniques.

Community: Member of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators. Through HSUS, I have assisted with its Animal Shelter Services program, which helps local animal care and control agencies to make positive changes for the organization and for the animals in their care. As a first responder following natural disasters, I spent many weeks in Louisiana assisting with animal disaster relief throughout the Gulf Coast region after Hurricane Katrina.

On the job

Why the move:  After 34 years I realized my life needed to change. I was planning on leaving the area when this opportunity presented itself.

Top goal in new position: To assist this organization in any way so it can continue to provide a safe haven for our communities' injured and orphaned wildlife.

Biggest professional challenge: Being able to speak publicly in front of people. I was fortunate to have been sponsored to attend a Dale Carnage speaking course, which helped a lot, as well as wonderful support from co-workers and volunteers who always provided me with confidence whenever I needed it.

Biggest challenge facing the organization: The lack of funding. The center operates the largest wildlife rehabilitation facility and hospital in the country, caring for more than 13,000 animals annually. We are funded primarily through grants and the public we serve.

Biggest challenge facing animal protection groups: The lack of education and tolerance from the public as to how to learn to co-exist with wildlife.

Professional satisfaction: Knowing that I am making a difference for helpless, homeless animals. Also, I consider it a privilege to help teach and coach others ways to make things better.

Mentor: Christopher Agostino, the president and CEO at the Humane Society of Broward County, who taught me the most about management. He is masterful at recognizing that while this is a humane business it's still a business and it needs to be treated as such. He taught me the art of being solution driven whenever I face challenges in the workplace.

Favorite place to do business outside of the office: John Lloyd State Park in Dania Beach. The beach there is my home away from home.

Advice for young people: Finish your education, listen before you speak, stay humble and trust your instincts.

Industry wisdom: The field of animal welfare has taught me many things — some good and some so very sad. However, through it all, these animals need us. The future for all animals, both domestic and wild, depend entirely on us for their protection. 

ckent@tribune.com or 954-356-4662, Google+ and Twitter @mindingyourbiz

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad