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Find the Why with Apryl

We want to ignite your curiosity about people, issues facing the animal-welfare community and any and everything about the Dumb Friends League. Along the way, we’d like you to get to know League and our president and CEO Dr. Apryl Steele.

The first question most people ask when you meet is “What do you do?” This question has become the new “How are you?” We can do better than that, right? Let’s move beyond the small talk and find the Why with Apryl. Your questions can be as fun or as serious as you like—no topic too big, no problem too small. If you’re wondering about something, chances are someone else is also! Send your questions to tales@ddfl.org, and get Apryl’s take on your musings. We can’t guarantee every question will be answered, and those that are may be featured in one of our publications or on social media. Don’t worry, we won’t share any information beyond your first name!

What are you waiting for? Let’s Find the Why with Apryl!

Who is Dr. Apryl Steele?

When you think about an organization’s president and CEO, what are some adjectives that come to mind? Chances are you expect that person to be intelligent and have a vision of where the organization is going, and you’d be right. But, to be truly successful in the role, there are so many other characteristics to embody other than having the ability to run the show. To be a true leader, you must earn respect and inspire everyone in the organization – and “everyone” includes employees, volunteers, board of directors, donors, people in the community, basically, anyone who comes into contact with the organization. Let’s learn more about Apryl and see what she brings to the League in her role.

Apryl became the League’s president and CEO in February 2018 after spending more than three years transitioning into the role, following an extensive succession plan. The ins and outs of the League’s dynamic leader include being a practicing veterinarian in Denver for 18 years with a thorough knowledge of our community and animal welfare. She is a past president of the Denver Area Veterinary Medical Society, the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and the Animal Assistance Foundation. Currently, Apryl is the president of the American Association of Feline Practitioners, serves in the American Veterinary Medical Association House of Delegates, is a member of Hill’s Shelter Advisory Board and the Cat Friendly Council. She has served on the boards of PetAid Colorado and the Dumb Friends League. Apryl is a veteran of the U.S. Army Veterinary Corps.

The challenges involved in animal welfare, both at the Dumb Friends League and throughout our greater community, are becoming increasingly complex. At the same time, the opportunities for saving more pets’ lives are greater than ever. As the League’s president and CEO, Apryl oversees operations, development, communications, finance and administration for the League and the Colorado Humane Society & S.P.C.A., Inc. She and the team are charged with developing and coordinating strategic innovations and solutions, along with achieving our mission of ending pet homelessness and animal suffering. In addition to her day-to-day responsibilities, Apryl is overseeing a $40 million expansion and renovation project at the Quebec Street Shelter.

Because we know that our job is what we do but isn’t necessarily who we are or how people see us, we asked our staff, donors and board members for their descriptions of Apryl to get a sense of her beyond her title. Those who know Apryl won’t be surprised by the responses, and, hopefully, those who are just getting to know her will get a glimpse into the League’s effective leader who plans on guiding the organization with compassion into the future.

Apryl and her wife Kim share their home with two dogs, Mister and Reba, and three cats, Karou, Rufous and Empress Von Digit. In her free time (how does she have any, we wonder?), Apryl enjoys bicycle riding, puzzles, cooking (and eating, of course!) and reading.

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