Tammy Ven Dange was welcomed as the CEO of the RSPCA ACT today, a huge job that she is excited to get started in. As an animal lover, I was keen to spend a few minutes chatting with Tammy on her first day ‘on the job’ to find out what makes her tick.
Born in the United States, Tammy’s first brush with working with animals came when she was just 14 years old, when she started working for the Ruidoso Animal Clinic in a tiny ski town in eastern New Mexico.
“While on paper it sounded like a glamorous job, you would have already guessed that I spent the next three years mostly cleaning cages and feeding the animals,” says Tammy. “This role taught me about the true meaning of hard work and dedication without much recognition. What I learned most was the joy of working with animals!”
Tammy moved to Canberra in 2006, and says it instantly felt like she had come home. When asked what it is exactly that makes it feel like home, she is hard-pressed to name just one aspect. “It’s the people, the lifestyle, the nature we live so close to, the good coffee you can get just about everywhere and the really smart and interesting people that you can have a conversation with – whether it’s the barista or the person behind you in the line.”
Since falling in love with our city, Tammy has become an Australian citizen and cemented her place as a Canberran as she fulfils the role of President the Ice Dragon’s Paddle Club. We can definitely claim her as our own now!
I take my hat off to any woman who takes on a role as a CEO of an organisation, especially one as large and with such an important task as the RSPCA. We would all recognise that not enough to be an animal lover or a good people manager to fill this intense position; in these days of funding issues, changing laws and legislation, the need for leadership – both within an organisation and externally to continue its work – is crucial.
While the RSPCA has such a strong mission, Tammy initially envisages her role and that of the ACT office to continue to do the things that they do so well: preventing cruelty to animals, ensuring the humane treatment of animals, educating and engaging the community, and the operation of facilities for the care and protection of animals. As time goes by, Tammy plans to employ her skills as a strategist to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of the organisation which will enable them to continue to perform their best. She looks forward to learning about RSPCA ACT’s challenges, hearing from the experts and speaking with key stakeholders in government and the community.
Tammy’s qualifications and experience for the position are long; a Bachelors Degree in Business from Northern Arizona University and an MBA from Cornell University, New York. She has worked for NASA, been an US Air Force officer, spent 15 months as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, owned three companies, helped found two not-for-profits, been on the board for five other not-for-profit organisations and held the position of President for two of those organisations….Phew! Not to mention, she’s friendly, personable and kind to animals. I think the RSPCA may have picked a winner!
Tammy is enjoying discovering the delights that Kingston has to offer as she recently moved to the inner south area. While it was tough for her to name just one favourite restaurant, she did say Ottoman Cuisine always makes for a great night out with friends.
When she isn’t busy learning a new job, exploring the local dining scene, or dragon boating, Tammy spends time with her cat, Nasa. Found under a trailer as a tiny kitten nearly 13 years ago when Tammy worked at NASA, the aptly named feline is a bit of a shy kitty, so I don’t think we can expect her to be making an appearance at this year’s Million Paws Walk!
Martina is a wife, stepmother, daughter, sister, friend and serious bibliophile. She struggles with late night dilemmas such as whether to wait to get to the shop to buy a hard copy book to share with everyone, or to download the e-book and start reading straight away. Martina has many wonderful qualities, however patience is not one of them and the e-book usually wins. Her perfect world would be one where every child is read to every day and no one ever utters the terrible words 'I don't like reading'.View all Martina Taliano posts.