AAWL Director of Veterinary Services Career Opportunity

Do you have operations experience leading diverse, cross-departmental teams in high-volume veterinary practice or animal shelter?

Do you thrive building new, innovative shelter medicine programs that have real impact on the health outcomes of animals?

Are you passionate about re-envisioning the role of animal shelters to expand community support for affordable, accessible veterinary care that keeps animals in their homes?

If you answered "yes" to these questions, we would like for you to join the Arizona Animal Welfare League in Phoenix, Arizona as our Director of Veterinary Services!

AAWL – Who We Are

Founded in 1971, the Arizona Animal Welfare League is the largest and oldest no-kill shelter in the state of Arizona. We started as a small sanctuary for homeless animals and have grown over the past 50 years to become a statewide animal welfare organization providing a full range of community services from adoptions and behavioral assessments to humane education and low-cost veterinary services

With an annual combined budget of approximately $5.8 million, AAWL is a private, shelter (w/o any government contracts) devoted to providing excellent care, protection, and loving compassion for the life of the animals entrusted to us. To achieve our mission, we manage adoption, behavior, foster, medical and volunteer programs. Our staff includes 53 full-time staff members and 27 part-time employees. We pride ourselves in leveraging the time and talents of volunteers (over 450+ volunteers and 250+ fosters) who commit to assisting with all aspects of shelter operations.

As part of our strategic initiatives over the next five years, we are investing in growing our medical capacity to help increase the number of homeless animals we put up for adoption. We also are implementing new community veterinary programs targeting under-served communities near the shelter. Our long-term goals are to keep pet families together and provide affordable, accessible veterinary care to pets and people in need to decrease the number of animals who enter the shelter system altogether. To read more about our 2002 accomplishments visit: links.aawl.org/IR2022. To read more about our strategic priorities visit: links.aawl.org/strategicplan.

Position Overview

The Director of Veterinary Services oversees all veterinary operations, including strategic planning, personnel, veterinary procedures, budgeting, and finance. The position reports to the President/CEO and directly supervises both medical and non-medical personnel, including two staff veterinarians (vacant) and a Practice Manager. The Director of Veterinary Services also will be responsible for recruiting, cultivating, developing and managing the relief team of veterinarians that deliver veterinary services to animals in our shelter and community. This individual will have a focus on building new shelter medicine and access to veterinary care programs and growing the team to establish model shelter/community veterinary practices.


Oversee medical team responsible for handling both case management and high-volume surgeries to ensure we’re delivering high quality veterinary care for shelter animals and owned animals seen in our shelter and public clinics and those animals placed into foster.

Collaborate with our team of veterinarians and other senior management team members to regularly calculate capacity for care and develop and/or update veterinary protocols that align with shelter best practices and AAWL’s mission, visions and goals.

Oversee the hiring, recruitment, cultivation and training of staff/relief veterinarians and make recommendations on veterinary staffing levels to ensure capacity for care;

Oversee regulatory compliance i.e., local, county, state, federal, OSHA, DEA, etc.

Build a high performing team comprised of relief veterinarians, medical managers and veterinary technicians and other support staff. Spearhead team building, employee relations, communications, performance management, and goal setting. Coach managers to develop leadership and execution skills. Forecast hiring plans and drive hiring decisions for the team.

Drive overall budget management for the medical department, including optimizing inventory for both the shelter and community clinic, reviewing monthly financial reports, and making recommendations to increase revenue or serve more pets in need, and manage staffing/overtime costs to align with annual budget plans, etc.

Partner with the senior leadership team to develop annual plans and establish metrics that assess whether Medical Departmental strategies are advancing AAWL’s strategic goals;

Identify ways to engage other veterinarians in training and mentoring of new veterinary staff and expand access to training of vet techs to improve cross-departmental collaboration and increase skillset of veterinary services staff in their current roles and future career paths.

Develop and maintain relationships with external veterinarians, veterinary clinic partners and vendors to create and nurture partnerships with AAWL.

Participate in weekly meetings with management team/medical team;

Provide management and Board of Directors with recommendations and information regarding medical services on a regular basis;

Collaborate with the President/CEO to deliver grant-related deliverables focused on access to veterinary care programs, including tracking grant deliverables and reviewing interim/final grant reports with management team and contract grant writer.

Identify and execute on strategy for leveraging Medical Department volunteers in partnership with the Volunteer Department.


Demonstrated interest in animal welfare issues and commitment to AAWL’s mission.

Five (5) years of professional experience overseeing a veterinary practice or shelter veterinary clinic with a history of progressive leadership preferred. Experience in a non-veterinary hospital setting or other expert service delivery organization also considered.

Minimum of three (3) years of successful people and operational management experience working in a highly collaborative environment with cross-functional management teams.

Veterinary Degree (DVM, VMD, or overseas equivalent) or MBA or other relevant graduate-level business/management degrees preferred. Combination of relevant education and experience also considered.

Ability to operate at a strategic and tactical level with a demonstrated ability to drive results and drive process change.

Effective problem-solving, process improvement, and decision-making abilities. Ability to drive change management and build an organizational culture with resilient teams.

Willingness and ability to quickly adapt and adjust to the changing needs of the organization and community. Excellent verbal and written communication skills to a diverse range of audiences and settings.

Strong work ethic and the ability to interact effectively with staff, volunteers, and community members from divergent geographical and socioeconomic backgrounds.


AAWL offers compensation that is commensurate with experience and competitive with non-profit and animal welfare salaries for both veterinarians and/or medical professionals with operations experience. Benefits include 100% employer-paid medical insurance, employer-paid premiums for life insurance, generous paid vacation/sick time off, 12 paid holidays per year and an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) that includes that includes counseling visits, in-person/virtual capability, personal coaching sessions, and wellness app.

To Apply for This Position

Please submit a cover letter, resume, three professional references, including their email, phone and relationship, to: anavidad@aawl.org. reference “Director of Veterinary Services” in your email. No phone calls or walk-ins. Please reference where you found this notice in your cover letter. Thank you.