We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Meghan Curtis. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Meghan below.
Meghan, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today Is there a heartwarming story from your career that you look back on?
Although Project V.E.T.S. is a small non-profit based in Boulder, CO, we work internationally for animals in need, and it’s always nice to hear when your work is making a difference. Sometimes though, those stories take me by surprise!
One of the best stories from my career is a phone conversation I had with a veterinary technician from a City Zoo in Wisconsin. The technician relayed that while on a trip to southern Africa, he was in the field talking and working with other animal welfare professionals and Project V.E.T.S.’s efforts to provide free veterinary supplies and equipment came up…. In the bush, in southern Africa, unrelated individuals discussed Project V.E.T.S. and how we positively impact animals and people in their communities. The fact that people were sharing stories about Project V.E.T.S. – in this setting – blew me away! Although, I already knew our impact in numbers, the mental picture of community members and professionals from various animal welfare organizations bonding over the supplies they received from Project V.E.T.S. was incredible. It can be difficult for many non-profit organizations, especially those in remote and rural locations, to access needed medical and veterinary items and the affirmation of Project V.E.T.S.’s importance for animal welfare organizations was a testament to how we can all make a difference if we work together.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
As Executive Director of Project V.E.T.S., I have the unique opportunity to bring together veterinary and pet professionals in the U.S., animal welfare professionals all over the world, animal lovers and advocates as well as environmental and sustainability advocates – all for the benefit of our precious planet and animals in need. It’s an incredible honor and one I feel privileged to be part of. I worked in the for-profit sector for many years before taking an extended trip to Africa for wildlife conservation volunteer work – that trip changed my focus. Upon my return to the States, I transitioned to work in the non-profit community and eventually made my way to Project V.E.T.S., an organization perfectly aligned with my passions for animal welfare, conservation and environmental stewardship.
Project V.E.T.S. is one of the few organizations in the world that collects veterinary equipment, technology, and supplies, and distributes those items to 110+ animal welfare partners in 38 countries around the world. We save up to 6 tons of usable, lifesaving items from going to landfills each year. Items such as needles, syringes, microscopes, laboratory supplies, surgical equipment, etc. are desperately needed by those working on the frontlines of animal welfare and conservation. Project V.E.T.S.’s animal welfare partners use these shipments of veterinary items to serve and save animals of all kinds – from dogs and cats to elephants, chimpanzees and pangolins to donkeys and dairy cows. Project V.E.T.S. recognizes that, through One Health initiatives, the health of humans, animals, and ecosystems are all interconnected. Together, we are healing the planet, one animal at a time.
The demand for Project V.E.T.S.’s services is high – especially with the current environmental crisis. Project V.E.T.S. makes it easy for human hospitals, animal hospitals, medical supply companies, and other donors to upcycle supplies and equipment that they would otherwise throw away, while also sending shipments of these needed items to partners in the U.S. and around the world – significantly reducing their operating costs. Some of the organizations Project V.E.T.S.’s works with are located in rural regions of developing countries, and these partners would be unable to purchase the items Project V.E.T.S. sends in their communities or even in their country. Our partners reduce the transmission of rabies and other zoonotic diseases, spay and neuter cats and dogs, treat donkeys, horses, and farm animals that some communities need for their livelihoods, and conserve wildlife and their habitats.
As we saw during COVID-19, that was likely started through a zoonotic disease, if animals are not healthy, then people and our planet cannot be healthy. Our partners may just stop the next pandemic by treating an infected animal. Their work is important and necessary for many reasons. Through Project V.E.T.S.’s extensive network of animal and environmental advocates, it’s our privilege to provide desperately needed veterinary items to our partners – and to the animals they treat.
Putting training and knowledge aside, what else do you think really matters in terms of succeeding in your field?
Networking!! Success in any field, including the non-profit sector, is reliant on networking and the relationships created through those opportunities. A willingness to tell your story and relay a clear, concise vision with donors, partners, clients and neighbors is critical to continued success. Creating respectful and genuine relationships, and continually expressing how collaborations have made a difference builds confidence, strong affinities and the desire to be involved with your organization. These relationships can open doors that you didn’t know were there and enrich your organization in so many ways.
Do you think you’d choose a different profession or specialty if you were starting now?
Having worked in both the non-profit and for-profit sectors, I would absolutely choose to work in the non-profit sector – and with Project V.E.T.S. specifically – again if given the choice. The fundamentals of working for a non-profit are very similar to a for-profit organization – with the added benefit of knowing that you are truly making a difference. Non-profit work can be messy and difficult – that is true for all work. Non-profit work can also be rewarding, fulfilling, affirming and selfless. It reminds us to think of our communities and what’s important to us at every turn. Not to mention, some of the best people I know work in the non-profit sector. There are so many special people in all aspects of life – for me though, those in the non-profit sector are my tribe.
Working for a non-profit that directly aligns with my passions for animal welfare and environmental sustainability has been an incredible gift and one that I’m grateful for every day. I would absolutely choose the same profession, if given the choice again.
- Website: www.projectvets.org
- Instagram: @projectvets
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectV.E.T.S.2009/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/15276117
- Twitter: @projectvets
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4nYNSegButwPGkz_8zBabw