Meet the PetRescue team
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
The largest part of my role is to oversee all things tech at PetRescue. It’s a big job, given that we run the most trafficked charity website in Australia that served around 100 million pages to 4 million unique visitors in 2017. I also work closely with Vix to manage our small (and amazing!) team, helping everyone work to the best of their ability, whilst having a fun time doing so.
Year-on-year, we see around 25% growth in traffic to the PetRescue website. That’s cool from a tech-nerd point of view. But what it really means is that there’s an ever-increasing number of potential adopters viewing the pets listed for adoption, giving our members even more opportunities to rehome the pets in their care. The introduction of our Matchmakers project in 2017/18 will make the process of enquiring about a pet easier for potential adopters and our members, and I’m particularly proud of the work that’s gone into this project so far.
Co-Founder & Joint CEO
What I love most about my role at PetRescue is that it’s all about connecting people with rescue pets. My days are dedicated to finding new ways to spread the word about just how great rescue pets are - working collaboratively with our major partners, our rescue members and our media contacts.
And through these joint endeavours with our partners, I’ve been working to expand the list of PetRescue member benefits to support rescue too, including the launch of the PetRescue, PetStock & MarsPetcare Food Donation Program. It was worth the massive effort behind the scenes to see this program deliver over $3 million worth of free premium pet food to over 275 rescue groups in its first eight months of operation.
As an investor, mentor and entrepreneur who’s been working with startup tech companies in Perth for over 10 years, I’ve watched PetRescue’s progress with great interest. And now, in addition to my work as a venture capital and angel investor, Chair of Spacecubed and Director at iCetana, and Agworld, I’m proud to be the third member of the PetRescue Board of Directors, alongside Vix and JB. I bring my expertise to assist PetRescue in building their team, accelerating growth, achieving milestones and securing funding to support their world-leading innovative tech solutions to save thousands of pets across Australia every year.
Project & Partnerships Manager - Rescue
Responsibility for homeless pets in the community ultimately lies with local government. However, with less than 10% of councils listing pets for adoption on PetRescue, my mission is to offer support to councils across Australia to give every pet an online presence.
Progress with local government is moving at a glacial pace, making PetRescue's Safe & Sound Pounds program a long-term commitment for me. But while I'm putting in the hard yards there, I'm also loving my role managing our innovative Workplace Pet Foster Care program - bringing some stress-busting happiness into offices and tapping into a unique source of foster care support for rescue groups.
Communications Manager - Rescue
I started as a vollie writer for PetRescue’s Adopt a Dog pages, then took on the role of co-ordinating a huge rescue presence at the 2012 Dog Lovers Show in Melbourne.Now, I’m responsible for managing almost all of our Rescue Group and Shelter Support services, including all communications and helpdesk enquiries.
Perhaps the biggest and most exciting challenge I faced recently, was to create a whole new suite of PetRescue member communications to raise awareness of and improve access to the full suite of free benefits our members are able to access for the pets in their care. It’s a work in progress, but we’re already seeing a marked increase in the number of requests for assistance, including free flights, food donations, pet promos and insurance.
Fundraising & Brand Manager
Before I even put my eyes in every morning, I ask myself, “What am I doing today to help more Australians discover the joy of pet adoption? What am I doing to make PetRescue’s supporters feel valued? What am I doing to show our supporters, adopters and advocates the positive impact they make on the lives of homeless pets?”
That pretty much sums up the three main responsibilities in my role at PetRescue. The recent achievement I’m most proud of is developing our Pet Adoption Promotion programs to offer free paid ads and boosted posts on Facebook to homeless pets in need of an extra helping hand. This new benefit was introduced with the launch of The Adoptables campaign in June 2016 (promoting senior and special needs pets) and has been continued into 2017 with more than 65% of boosted/featured pets adopted within six weeks. It’s a great result for pets that would otherwise struggle to get noticed and we’re working on ways to improve the success rate.
Digital Marketing Project Manager
I spent my first two years at PetRescue as Digital Marketing Coordinator, delivering the full suite of Pet Adoption Promotion programs, including web development projects, shelter listing integration, Pets On Social, Helpdesk support and the ‘Meow’s the Time’ $25 cat adoption campaign. Now, I juggle “mummy duties” with project managing a handful of these programs, including the PetRescue & PETstock Calendar and the PetRescue Instagram page.
Digital Marketing Co-ordinator
In my support role at PetRescue HQ, I love the fact that my experience as a ‘designer x photographer x marketer x creative tech nerd’ helps pets all over Australia find their forever homes. I provide Pet Adoption Support, making sure keen adopters can always access their PetRescue account, and are receiving their requested Pet Alert emails. I also provide IT support to our rescue group members. It’s really nice when I can help someone have a ‘light-bulb moment’ with a simple fix.
Since achieving international success with several cat-related Tumblr blogs featured on Buzzfeed, Mashable, Huffington Post and The Daily Mail, I’ve been applying these skills to several successful pet promotion campaigns for PetRescue too. #TogetherFurever (promoting bonded pairs), and the “I’m on special” adult cat adoption campaign are my recent creations.
Finance & Licensing Manager
I love utilising the skills and expertise honed in the corporate world to make a difference with PetRescue. I assist our amazing supporters with any donations, grants, fundraising, bequests or general donor enquiries that may arise. Additionally, I also manage our fundraising licensing, insurances and assist our rescue members in setting up affordable business insurance.
Having recently gone through the adoption process with the introduction of Milo the rescue dog to our family, it re-affirms my focus that we make a massive positive impact to people’s lives. I’m so excited that we can now offer an insurance solution with our partners, Woolworths. Protection is something I rate highly and believe all animal owners can benefit!
Front End Web Developer
I was originally hired to do a redesign of the PetRescue website, and was stoked to have found a job in my field that fits my other passions. When I go to work, I know I’m doing something truly worthwhile - making positive change for thousands of homeless pets.
My main responsibility is taking care of the website - Australia’s largest database of rescue pets - ensuring it’s user friendly and working on new features and improvements to make adopting a pet through PetRescue even easier.
Back End Web Developer
I love programming Ruby, as it’s an expressive language with an extensive, community-built, solid tool-set and a well-practised testing culture. This allows me to help the PetRescue team build highly-customised features from the ground up, in a timely fashion and, most importantly, ensure they won’t break with future releases. It’s these highly-customised features that, I’m proud to say, make the PetRescue website the world’s best free online pet adoption platform. Perhaps the most exciting part of my role so far has been bringing the next phases of the innovative Matchmakers project to fruition.
Helpdesk Support Team Leader
I originally started at PetRescue in 2015 as an online relationship support volunteer, assisting the team in answering some of the hundreds of enquiries that come in via the free helpdesk every month. Now I help to manage that growing team of vital vollies, while continuing my work in connecting potential adopters with their local rescue groups, shelters and pounds.
I found my cat Ripley via the PetRescue website about six years ago, and knowing how much joy she brings me, I cherish the opportunity to help others find their special someone. I love the thought they too will get to enjoy the same goofy welcome home that I do at the end of every day!
And special thanks to our vital vollies: Tristan Mercer (Rescue Member Application Mananger), Shutter Paws (Pet Photographers), Ruth Gourley (PR - Shine Communications), Sloane Orger (copywriting and editing), Akshi Singh (Pet Product Donation Support), and our amazing Online Relationship Support Team - Laurel Richardson, Pete Sheringham, Nicole Tham, Akanksha Sinha, Mog van Golstein Brouwers and Steve Ostojic.
Banner image courtesy of K9Kate for PetRescue
Photo of Michael and Milo: Michelle Sherwin