The Weekly Vista
Cullins eager for ‘23 with BVAS
Nancy Cullins’ inaugural year as executive director of the Bella Vista Animal Shelter is in the books and now she’s eager to take on what she believes will be yet another busy 12-month stretch for the shelter.
Cullins was recognized for her one-year anniversary at the annual Animal Shelter Board of Directors meeting held Wednesday, Jan. 18, at the board room of the Bella Vista Country Club.
“First and foremost I want to thank the amazing board that hired me and trusted me for this position in 2022,” Cullins said following the meeting. “The nonprofit sector was not an area that I had a lot of experience with and my board believed strongly that I could be an executive director, even when I had my doubts.”
She said that 2022 was all about “learning the ropes” of her new job, adding, “I wanted to do everything, experience each event and attend every function.” She added, “By the year’s end I was exhausted, but I learned a lot.”
Calling 2023 a “growth year” for the shelter, Cullins said, “BVAS is working on capital improvements to the buildings, reducing some drainage issues and rebuilding fences — literally and figuratively.”
A big step for the organization was the hiring of Jennifer Henning as the volunteer coordinator for the shelter.
“We are blessed to have so many volunteers wanting to contribute to the animal shelter,” said Cullins. “This year is my year to engage these volunteers in a meaningful way and let all of us thrive from the experience. I have a volunteer coordinator now to help organize our teams and several ‘thank you’ note writers to ensure timely delivery of acknowledgments.”
Other steps have been taken to boost the way the shelter communicates with the public.
“Based on feedback, communication was an area that we needed to improve,” Cullins said. “The bellavista-animalshelter. org webpage has been rebuilt and can actually be a useful tool of communication now. Volunteer, adoption and board member applications are all available. Our adoptable animals are automated to updated on all platforms instantly. We want to make the navigation the easy part of adopting.”
New members were elected to the board during the Jan. 18 meeting. Cullins said while she will miss working with the outgoing members, she’s excited to see what progress will be made by the new board.
“Last year was a hard year on many businesses and families and our board members felt that weight,” she said. “We had four resignations before our elections, not because they don’t love working with the Bella Vista Animal Shelter, but rather because life got in the way of their philanthropy. I want to thank Bruce Portillo, Geri Pampalone, Karen Deal, Liz Lottmann and our amazing treasurer and Charity Garage Sale & Golf Tournament Chair Anita Werts for all the support. I will miss working closely with her, and all of us at the shelter want to thank her for serving the board and for her continued advocacy for the animals of Bella Vista.”
Cullins continued, “With the vacancies we had, I advertised in a number of different areas for board applications and we were pleased with the number of candidates who stepped forward. I wanted to encourage diversity and dynamic enthusiasm for our mission. Our new board will bring that in spades. I look forward to hearing the new ideas, enlisting best practices and learning from their varied experiences. I’m an advocate for change, and I look forward to everything the next two years will bring.”
The new board (and officer positions selected during the executive session portion of the meeting) consists of:
• President Curt Stoops (one year remaining on two-year term)
• Vice President Jeremy Velten (two-year term)
• Treasurer Tanya Mobley (two-year term)
• Secretary Jacquie Brown-Allen (one year remaining on two-year term)
• Tania Yegge (two-year term)
• Sherry Morris (alternate board member, two-year term)
• Vicki Bronson (alternate board member, two-year term)
“I would like to thank the board members that had to leave us during the year,” said Stoops. “Your love of the shelter and service to the community is appreciated by all. And I would like to offer congratulations and say ‘thank you’ to the new board members elected this year. Interestingly, we had five applicants for five vacant seats so everyone has the opportunity to serve. I look forward to working with the new board to assure financial viability of BVAS, our number one responsibility as a nonprofit Board of Directors.”