Speaker Profile


Jennifer Gardner
Program Manager, Disaster Response & Risk Reduction
IFAW - International Fund for Animal Welfare

[:en]Jennifer has always been drawn to animals since a young age. Growing up with a mother who refused to go into pet shops and a father who was an avid hunter, Jennifer witnessed how humans empathized with animals and admired them. But at the same time, how we looked past that compassion to use them for personal gain, and in some cases, to exploit them. While it was encouraged that she study to become a veterinarian, she always felt like there was a different career path out there where she could have an impact on improving animal welfare.

After college, Jennifer volunteered for the Washington Humane Society walking dogs and quickly realized that there was a whole different field of animal welfare careers she could explore. Jennifer later moved into the Humane Law Enforcement Department to investigate animal cruelty cases and work with pet owners to improve their relationship with their pets. Working with the court system, crossing paths with other agencies whose cases intersected with animal owners, and interacting with a variety of people who shared their lives with animals, she knew she was in the right field.

Since then, Jennifer has gathered experience along the way through deployments to disasters, like the eruption of two volcanoes in Indonesia, an earthquake in Nepal, and hurricane responses throughout North America. She has worked alongside animal rescue organizations, governments and the military, and has seen the lengths people go through to protect animals in the wake of disasters. Jennifer has been moved to return to areas, long after the disaster is over, to work with those communities by sharing ideas and creating plans to reduce the negative impacts disasters have on animals and the people who care for them.

Education: B.A. Environmental Policy, American University, Washington, D.C. USA.[:]