top of page

Animal Advocate Profile: Brooke Haggerty | Executive Director at Faunalytics

Updated: Sep 5, 2023

This profile is part of the "Animal Advocate Stories" Series. Brooke is the executive director at Faunalytics, a nonprofit organisation conducting research and sharing knowledge to help advocates help animals effectively.

A headshot of Brooke Haggerty with a turquoise t-shirt with the words in white: "animals & advocacy & research & data & saving lives.

Can you share a bit about yourself, what you're passionate about, and what drives you in your work for animal advocacy?

My passion and what drives me is (somewhat) easily summed up by the Emerson quote, "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."

I think this drives me in every aspect of my life, both in my personal relationships and certainly professionally. The main goal of my advocacy is to make animals' lives better (ideally much, much more than just one animal), but as part of Faunalytics, what drives me now is supporting animal advocates.

I always knew I wanted to be doing everything I possibly could for animals in my career, but prior to Faunalytics hadn't thought as much about how to support other people who share this passion.

Now, whether it's through our research, or via honest, raw conversations uplifting other leaders, I feel so grateful to be in this unique position in the movement. We're all working toward the same end goal, and anything I can do to make others' work easier, I will.

Outside of work, my priorities are my cat Bertha, my nephew Calvin, reading everything I can and traveling when I'm lucky enough to.

Could you describe your journey in animal advocacy and how you're able to make a meaningful impact in your life and career?

It wasn't until college that I went veg and got involved with the advocacy scene here in San Diego. I was looking for a job while in school, and applied to work at a thrift store that benefited an animal charity; however, they ended up hiring me to work on one of their campaigns! It was a turning point for me, because I thought I was going to go into editing/publishing after I graduated. So I gained experience with a lot of grassroots work, leafleting, protesting, political outreach, and humane education, as well as the new experiences of representing our cause to the public, police, and media.

But as I neared graduation I couldn't afford to stay with that organization, and ended up being hired as an events coordinator by another nonprofit focused on companion animals. I finished grad school, and over the next several years I moved from events to programs management to the executive director role.

And yet, it eventually weighed on me that I wasn't making a big enough difference. So I made the decision to leave my stable job to be a part of California's Prop 12 campaign. Having been a part of Prop 2 back in 2008, and knowing the significance of Prop 12, I knew I had to do my part. So I spent several months helping with volunteer recruitment, signature gathering, and GOTV efforts. Making that career switch was one of the best decisions I made, because it not only allowed me to support Prop 12, but it eventually led me to Faunalytics, where I started the day after election day.

My masters is in human behavior, and finding Faunalytics was a dream come true. I was hired on as an operations manager then stepped into the leadership role in January of 2020, and can honestly say it's a dream job. Each year our research and resources inform over 400,000 animal advocates, and knowing the immense ripple effect of our work is helping the movement succeed every day, it's the most meaningful thing I could ever hope for.

What does your day-to-day life look like in your role?

Faunalytics is small but growing. We're a team of ten right now, so my work involves a combination of high level strategy, fundraising, operations, and programs support. Most days are filled with a combination of meetings and projects that relate to any one or more of those areas.

When I'm not working on fundraising or financial projects, or signing off on the next incredible Faunalytics study, for example, I'm very involved in several groups within the movement, including leadership and capacity building cohorts that meet regularly.

Always learning. Always brainstorming how to do more, how to do even better. Each day is different, but each day is focused on growing Faunaltyics' network to better support our work to build the knowledge and capacity of our movement.

What initially inspired you to dedicate your time to animal advocacy? What keeps you motivated to continue?

I grew up surrounded by animals and carried a deep empathy for all living beings throughout my childhood. As I grew up and left my small hometown, I learned more about, and in some cases witnessed directly, all the suffering we're often shielded from as children or as a society at large.

There's a quote, I'm not sure if it's Jim Greenbaum's or if he's quoting someone, that goes "being a bystander to suffering is not an option." And that's what keeps me motivated.

These days I'm generally able to keep graphic imagery of animal suffering out of my every day work, but I see the data (e.g. Faunalytics' Global Slaughter Statistics resources), and that knowledge is always there. I no longer feel the need to "bear witness" because I know that suffering exists, and likely will until the day I die. So until that day, I'm going to give it my all.

Are there any specific skills or areas of expertise that you find particularly valuable in your role?

I'd say emotional intelligence is probably the skill I need the most frequently as a leader. I haven't vetted it but Science of People has some resources on this.

Public speaking is also an important skill not only in my role but I think in many positions. The vegan Toastmasters group might be a good resources on this one.

In terms of areas of expertise, I've often felt like leaders (at least those of us who don't run the really big orgs) are the ultimate generalists. We've often gained experience in multiple positions or in multiple organizations, so having a broad arsenal of knowledge has been very valuable to me.

Can you share some of the key challenges you've encountered in your animal advocacy work, and how have you overcome them?

In terms of challenges, I'll focus on my role specifically vs my advocacy. Leadership is an immensely rewarding but extremely challenging position to be in, which is why I think so many folks have left their positions recently or are on the cusp of burnout.

The needs of an organization and its individual team members can often conflict, there are several stakeholders that you answer to, the buck stops with you, and it can just be a lot for one person.

I've overcome this by building a community that I can turn to for support. I meet regularly with a group of fellow executive directors in the movement to discuss challenges we're facing, and whether it's concrete advice that's given or just an ear to listen, this group has been a game changer for me. I think/hope others (not just leaders!) have or will consider building networks like this that they can lean on. Because we need every animal advocate we can get.

Based on your own journey, what suggestions or advice would you give to individuals considering a career in animal advocacy or those seeking similar roles?

For those considering a career in animal advocacy, I'd say that you won't regret it. It'll be hard, trying work, but it'll be indescribably rewarding. The victories for the animals and the community you'll find will change your life.

From a practical standpoint, anything you can do to build relevant experience into your resume, the better. And definitely check out some of AAC's courses! For those seeking leadership roles, keep learning, keeping pushing yourself (but take care of yourself!), find a mentor, build a support network, and have patience. I don't necessarily think leaders are "born" vs "made," but I do think that people will see the potential leader in you. So don't hide that if that's what you want.

Is there anything else that you would like to tell others who are thinking about starting a career in animal advocacy?

I've spoken a lot already on the idea of supporting others, so I'd just like to share that if there is anything Faunalytics can do to support your advocacy, please reach out! We're here to help make you and/or your organization as successful as possible, and we genuinely want to get to know our fellow advocates. Stop by our Office Hours and say hello!

Would you like to get in touch with Itziar to learn more about their role and journey? Connect on LinkedIn.


bottom of page