The new decade will bring a new executive director to the Connecticut Humane Society, following a nationwide leadership search.
CHS’ Board of Directors has announced that James Bias, most recently the president and chief executive officer of the SPCA of Texas, will take the helm in February at the 138-year-old organization. The search and appointment of Bias comes after CHS Executive Director Gordon Willard announced his retirement in summer 2019.
“I look forward to continuing the great work that’s been occurring at the Connecticut Humane Society, and am excited to work with the leadership, staff and volunteers, and to get to know the community,” Bias said. “Together, we’ll create even more opportunities to give pets the fresh start they deserve, and tackle the unique challenges facing animals in Connecticut today.”
The board is confident that animals in CHS’ care—as well as staff and volunteers at its three locations in Newington, Waterford and Westport and reduced-fee Fox Memorial Clinic—will thrive under the direction of Bias, board President Ellen Sharon said.
“James comes to us with a wealth of animal welfare experience. During his four decades in animal welfare, he has managed multi-site shelters and clinics, overseen construction of new facilities, successfully completed capital campaigns, supported legislative initiatives, and expanded programming related to sheltering, medicine, outreach and education,” Sharon said. “We are excited by the prospect of all that James brings to our organization.”
At the SPCA of Texas, Bias drove the organization to new heights of programmatic and operational growth. His leadership included overseeing two shelters, three animal hospitals and two mobile units, as well as collaborative spay/neuter and wellness initiatives for the public with multiple animal welfare partners.
Prior to that, Bias served as executive director of the Humane Society SPCA of Bexar County in San Antonio, animal services manager for the city of Albuquerque, and executive director for the Humane Society of North Texas in Fort Worth.
Bias is committed to not only providing a fresh start to homeless pets in Connecticut, but also to keeping pets with families who love them—a growing part of CHS’ mission. CHS also prioritizes compassionate, expert medical attention for all pets in its care and those in the care of municipal animal control partners, as well as community outreach and humane education.
Willard will assist with Bias’ arrival and is ensuring lifesaving efforts will continue seamlessly at CHS through the transition. Willard has led CHS for the past 10 years, and started working in animal welfare in 1983.
Numerous programs launched at CHS over the past decade under Willard’s direction, including a free traveling pet wellness clinic for families and pets in need, and humane education with workshops for municipal animal control officers, students and adults. CHS also dramatically scaled up its focus on keeping pets in homes where they’re loved, by providing resources for pet care, veterinary attention and education to families across the state.