M. Christie Smith, CAWA, has announced that she will be retiring from her position as Executive Director of the Potter League for Animals in December 2016. During her nearly 35-year tenure, Smith’s tireless dedication and expertise have built the Potter League’s strong reputation as a trusted community resource in animal welfare.
“I love the Potter League,” said Smith. “I love it for the staff and volunteers who every day put their hearts on the line to help animals and their people. I love it for the residents of our community who care deeply and join us to educate and protect. I love how Enriching Lives has become our mantra.”
The Potter League for Animals was founded in 1929 under the name, “Newport County League for Animals” in order to take charge of abandoned, sick, lame, overworked or cruelly treated animals. The three founders, Virginia Potter, Mary van Beuren and Emma Norman were women of timeless vision. The League’s first shelter opened in 1931 on Harrington Street in Newport and when Virginia Potter died in 1958, she left a bequest upon the condition that the League be renamed in honor of her late husband, Robert Potter.
Smith’s vision was instrumental in the design and construction of the Potter League’s current and remarkable facility, the first animal shelter in the country and the first building in Rhode Island to be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold-certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Her participation in local, state and national associations has facilitated the Potter League’s continued development and utilization of best practices in the humane treatment of all animals entrusted to its care.
“I’ve been privileged to work closely with many deeply ethical and effective people in Newport County, around Rhode Island, and across the nation who share my commitment to animals,” said Smith. “Today, the Potter League thrives and is ready to continue to lead change. I’m proud that we are reaching out to help pet parents and caregivers to ensure that all animals have access to basic veterinary care, and that human families learn to meet animals’ complicated emotional and physical needs. I’m proud of the Potter League’s national reach that enables the newest and best practices in animal welfare to be brought back to Rhode Island. And I’m proud that we have accomplished all of this without ever losing sight of our dreams while always knowing there is still more work to do!”
“It is because of Christie’s efforts that our organization is well-loved and highly respected by so many in the community and beyond,” said Mary Edwards, president of the Board of Directors. “She will be dearly missed. Filling her shoes will not be an easy task but the Potter League is well-positioned for continued growth and success with a solid foundation, committed staff and volunteers, and the many friends and donors who generously give their time, talent and treasure to ensure the well-being of the thousands of animals who come to the Potter League each year.”