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IAM734- Executive Director Connects Dog Owners and Advocates

Podcast Interview with Amber Duggan

Amber Duggan is the Executive Director of We the Dogs Inc., which is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that was formed by five women from the DC area. We the Dogs have teams in Washington DC and New York City, and their mission is to connect dog owners and advocates so that they can work together to raise donations for animal rescue organizations in the community.

  • CEO Hack: Sharing my mission and connecting with other entrepreneurs
  • CEO Nugget: Surround yourself with people who share your passion
  • CEO Defined: Getting done what needs to be done and being part of a team to achieve goals

Website: https://www.wethedogsdc.org/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/wethedogsdc


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Transcription

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[00:00:02.20] – Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I AM CEO Podcast.

[00:00:29.80] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I AM CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Amber Duggan of We The Dogs Inc. Amber, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:39.79] – Amber Duggan

Thank you so much for having me.

[00:00:41.60] – Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on the show. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Amber so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. Amber is the executive director of We the Dogs Inc., which is a nonprofit 05:01 c three organization that was formed by five women from the DC area. We the Dogs have a team in Washington has teams in Washington, DC, and New York City and their mission is to connect dog owners and advocates so that they can work together to raise donations for animal rescue organizations in the community. Amber, are you ready to speak to the I AM CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:14.90] – Amber Duggan

Absolutely.

[00:01:16.09] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to kinda rewind the clock a little bit, and hear a little bit more about how you all got started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? We'll let you get started with your organization.

[00:01:26.09] – Amber Duggan

Yeah. Absolutely. So I'm I never expected to be doing this, and I will say this is my side hustle if you will. It's a nonprofit, and now it's a 05:01 c three. But back when we started this, we never envisioned it would become what it is today. Actually, really kinda started, I guess, back in January two thousand seventeen is really when the idea kinda took place. I at that time in DC and everywhere else, I guess, there was a lot of division and things going on, which now in June sounds funny to say because there's still stuff going on sadly. Right. But we wanted to do something at that time since it was more political nature to bring people together. And I had an Instagram for my dog. I'm not gonna lie.

I know it's a little quirky but it was something I set up because I don't wanna flood Facebook pictures of my dog. People back home like to see what's going on and to keep in touch, but it also really led to networking with an amazing group of people who work with animal rescue organizations. And so at that time, I posted something on Instagram asking if anyone felt like doing something to help out animal rescue organizations, and so many people stepped up. And it ended up being a corps at that time of seven women that really helped plan our first event, which we called the Bipartisan March.

We hadn't even thought of We the Dogs yet. And we ended up planning it in just about six weeks. None of us had experience doing anything like that, and we raised ten thousand dollars for the humane rescue alliance, which was fantastic. And then, a few of the girls had moved and one had a baby, actually. So the five that remained, we ended up saying, let's do this again. Let's create a 05:01 c three and keep working with the community and just support rescue organizations in a way that they can't do themselves. So it's been an incredible experience.

[00:03:09.00] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Sounds like it. And I think, you know, as you spoke to when you're telling your story, I think so many times, you know, if you have an interest or even a desire, sometimes when you just kinda go through it and do it yourself, not only do you get to, you know, you know, support a cause or an organization or something you're interested in, but then you start to find that other people are interested in as well too, and then it starts to become a lot bigger than sometimes we can see in the beginning.

[00:03:36.90] – Amber Duggan

Yeah. Absolutely. I would never have if somebody had told me three years ago, that you're gonna be doing your full-time job but also running a five zero and z three on the side, I wouldn't have believed him, but it's been so rewarding. One of the girls on our team often refers to this as a passion project, and it is because we don't know what we're doing. I mean, we've learned a lot now. Mhmm. But we had to learn from the ground up. We really had to work with the community. We found people that were great at website design. We found someone who was an accountant to help with, you know, the financial side of things. I mean, it's just been incredible to see what people can do when they work together and share a common goal. So, I mean, that's been inspiring. It's a lot of work, but it's inspiring to see what you can do when people work together.

[00:04:17.39] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think a lot of times when you have that kinda common goal as you spoke to, it provides that opportunity to bring people together, but, of course, be able to kinda hit the, I guess, metric or goal or whatever it looks like as far as success and that we have in organizations or businesses or however we're trying to, fulfill our passions and our and our goals.

[00:04:38.89] – Amber Duggan

It's really true. And I mean, there are so many different ways you could quantify success. I mean, our group alone is raised. And, again, this is a part-time. We do this in our, I guess if all spare time. I don't know how much spare time I have anymore, but we do it in our spare time, and we've raised fifty-six thousand dollars for rescue organizations in DC and the New York area. But, I mean, money isn't everything. It's also the time that people just don't have to dedicate. I mean, one of the things we noticed, and one of the reasons I do this is a lot of rescue organizations have very traditional fundraising methods.

Many of them don't know how to use social media, and there's such a power that social media can provide today to reach a broader audience. And so that's what we bring to them. They don't have to do the work. We come to them and say, you have to spend no time. We're gonna raise a do a fundraiser on your behalf. It's virtual, and you just get to have the donations. I mean, that's that kind of time can't be quantified for the rest of organizations. And so that's been great to see that people are willing to spend their time to do that as well.

[00:05:36.10] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think it speaks as well too to the expertise too because I think so many times, especially in organizations, you can become very overextended in trying to do all of the things. But I think when you're able to have that, that to get that phone call or that partnership that you spoke to, it helps out so much because they're able to do their work, I think, so much better because they know that, you know, you are able to kinda help out with that fundraising aspect.

[00:06:00.80] – Amber Duggan

Right.

[00:06:01.89] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. I know we touched on a little bit. Could you take us through exactly how you work with the organizations and teams that you have? How do you, serve the clients whom you work with?

[00:06:12.80] – Amber Duggan 

Absolutely. So it's kind of a unique way that we built this. The reason I started the We the Dogs concept in the first place is that through my dog's Instagram, I was getting a lot of offers from hotels, dog-friendly companies, food, pet supplies, you name it. We were getting it and asking us to influence quote, unquote by posting pictures. They'd either give you products, free stays at hotels, or pay you, and I thought this was crazy. I mean, there are so many rescue organizations that could benefit from this, and you're doing the same thing. So our model is essentially doing two things, sporting animal rescue organizations through donations, fundraisers, and things like that, but also really sharing and connecting with the dog-friendly places and activities in our community.

So to do that, one of the unique things about our organizations, we have dog-friendly ins or dog Instagrams, for both New York and DC. So we've got We the Dogs DC and We the Dogs NYC. Every day, we select a new dog and their owner to take over the account and just share a day in their dog's life, their favorite places, activities, everything. So, I mean, you're getting to see the personal life of dogs in your community, kind of figuring out new places and activities to go to. And as they share their lives and as more people sign on to take over, our network and our connection with the audience builds So then when we host fundraising events, either in person or virtually, we already have that built-in audience of people who really do care about the cause and care about animal rescue organization.

And so it just gives us a way to connect with people that maybe wouldn't normally see that particular rescue. We pick a new rescue organization every single time we do a fundraiser. So it could be a very small one that has never had any exposure to the community, but it could also be a larger one that really can get their message out there to an audience that they haven't had connections with before. So it just provides a whole new basis for sharing the mission of rescue organizations that they didn't have previously. And it's fun. You get to seek your dog pictures. People love it.

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[00:08:08.50] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Who doesn't love that? And I think I love the aspect of being able to kind of see the, you know, a day in the dog's life because I feel like you can feel that connection, but I think there's even more and I don't know if you find this a different level or higher level of connection when you have the opportunity to actually share from the vantage point of your dog's life or how those things are going. It seems like it makes that connection even deeper and stronger as well.

[00:08:32.70] – Amber Duggan

It really does. I mean, we all if you love animal rescue, we love it. It's true. But even, I unfollow some of them because I can't handle the Sarah McLachlan-style sad pictures. It's it's too hard to watch sometimes. I'd want to support them, but

[00:08:46.39] – Gresham Harkless

Right.

[00:08:46.70] – Amber Duggan

It's hard to see the constant donation seeking over and over and over without becoming desensitized to it in a way. This kind of provides a platform that still gets a message across, still achieves that fundraising goal, but also is fun. You get to see the fun side of what happens after a dog, you know, finds her forever home. And, of course, our accounts are for any dog. We love all dogs, so it's not just exclusively rescue dogs that we share. But it rescue doesn't end the day the dog finds their forever home. I mean, you gotta know as a pet owner what kind of food to feed them, you know, vet care. What happens in this emergency, where do I go to eat with my dog, or where do I go on vacation? All of that really is important to the entire community as a whole.

[00:09:27.79] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think, it sounds to me like you kinda get that story aspect, and as somebody who has rescued a dog, and I think that it's so important to kinda sometimes I put myself in the perspective of, like, what if I didn't rescue her, and what that would look like. So I think really understanding and getting that kind of full picture of this is exactly what, you know, what has happened as far as rescuing, but even kinda like the, I don't know if I wanna say benefits, but the impact of that as well too is definitely something, it's great to see that you all are able to capture.

[00:09:59.60] – Amber Duggan

Yes. That's it. Absolutely true. The impact is, like, everything. What type of dog do you have, by the way?

[00:10:04.00] – Gresham Harkless

She's a shepherd lab mix. So I actually rescued her from a family friend. Yes.

[00:10:08.39] – Amber Duggan

That's awesome. Good mix.

[00:10:10.29] – Gresham Harkless

Yes. Absolutely. Super smart, and I tell you that. So, I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for you personally or your organization, but what do you feel kinda sets you apart in McGenie?

[00:10:22.39] – Amber Duggan

I think what sets us apart just is the broad range of organizations we help. It's also a little different because we're all volunteers and we're doing this on the side. We get the cool part about volunteering for the dogs is that get so much control over the process. You really get to be flexible in what you focus on. I mean, there was a lot of stuff going on recently with the wildfires in Australia. And, I mean, that's not local to us, of course, but I was really impacted by that. I wanted to do something to help. So we were able to have, a photographer do an Australia-themed photo shoot to help raise money for organizations over there. So, I mean, you're able to have that flexibility to see a cause that's important to you and to be able to do something about it because you have an audience. I mean, that's why I personally love volunteering and doing what we do. It is rewarding to just be able to see something, to be able to actually do something about it. It sounds simple, but it is powerful to have that platform.

[00:11:21.00] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:11:32.10] – Amber Duggan

I think what really has helped us and, of course, mine might be different than most people's businesses, but because we're primarily social media based, what is really what we really need is companies that we can connect with that can offer us large donations or prizes for donations or to raise money as a fundraiser. We recently got some autograph guitars from a country station in Nashville, and things like that. Those help us raise funds, but, I mean, that's not my primary job. I wouldn't have ever normally known how to obtain stuff like that. So what has really helped me is just kind of being using social media to that advantage. I've found that emailing people, cold emails, don't really work.

It's hard to explain your mission if they can't see it, but what I like to do is DM companies directly. If they're a huge company, I look over that company and the people that that company is following. So this could work for anybody outside of, you know, dog-focused groups, but look at the company that you're trying to reach out to, who they're following. Look at those people, see if they have any things in common, you know, and maybe you'll be able to find an employee, reach out to them personally, kinda share your mission through a DM a little bit.

It works. And, I mean, people are able to see, you know, exactly what you're doing that way, and then hopefully, you can connect further and do something that's great for that business, share their message, because it does help them to get their, you know, products and everything out there as well. But it also serves a much greater cause if you can use that to raise money for the rest of your organizations.

[00:12:51.10] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell your younger self if you were to hop into a time machine.

[00:13:02.00] – Amber Duggan

I'm gonna keep this exclusively focused on the nonprofit because it's what we're talking about today. But what I would say is to surround yourself with people who share your passion. There are people that just wanna be part of a movement, and have a lot of great ideas, but they don't put the work in after the idea to make it happen. It's gonna be a lot more successful if the people around you share your passion and your drive and also wanna put the time into making that happen. Anyone else really doesn't matter. You can have people around you all the time who are making negative comments or anything else, but if they haven't put in the work to get the ideas across, it really shouldn't matter. Focus on the goal line, the people around you that are working on the same goals.

[00:13:44.29] – Gresham Harkless

I definitely appreciate that. So I wanted to ask you now my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping to have different quote-unquote CEOs on the show. So Amber, what does being a quote-unquote CEO mean to you?

[00:13:56.20] – Amber Duggan

I know this is kinda weird, but I don't think of myself as a CEO in a weird way. Again, this is my side project, my passion project. So to me, it means just actually achieving the mission. I mean, I don't think of myself as a CEO because I just make sure things get done. I don't mind if I'm the one spending twenty hours a day doing it. I mean, as long as we're getting done what needs to be done and being willing to be part of that team. You're you're not just leading the team. You're being part of that team and making sure that you achieve what you set up to achieve together. I mean, that to me is everything. I think if you're focused on that, you're gonna become the CEO. You want to because you're so driven that it's just gonna happen naturally. But if you're focused on being the CEO and leading as opposed to actually being part of the team and making sure things happen, I can see incredible conflict coming from that. It just doesn't really further, you know, what you set out to achieve.

[00:14:49.10] – Gresham Harkless

Amber, truly appreciate your time and all the awesome things that you're doing. So what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they can get a hold of you and find out everything you and your team are working on.

[00:15:03.10] – Amber Duggan

Yeah. Definitely. The one major thing I'd say is we're always looking for new pups and owners to take over our Instagrams per day. You can easily sign up to do that if you're in New York City and DC. We're also taking suggestions from other cities if you are interested in launching a We The Dogs in your city. And you can do that at hold the handle dot com, and that's h o l d the handle, h a n d l e dot com. And so you can send it there. You can also find us and just send us a DM on Instagram. We the Dogs d c and We the Dogs NYC.

[00:15:32.79] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Amber. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well too so that everybody can follow up with you and enjoy the joy of, showing their dog's life, in a day. So truly appreciate your time and all the awesome things you're doing again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:15:47.89] – Amber Duggan

It was great. Thank you so much.

[00:15:49.79] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

Title: Transcript - Thu, 18 Apr 2024 10:50:17 GMT

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Date: Thu, 18 Apr 2024 10:50:17 GMT, Duration: [00:16:25.75]

[00:00:02.20] - Intro

Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, start ups, and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gresham Harkness values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is the I am CEO CEO podcast.

[00:00:29.80] - Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast, and I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Amber Duggan of We The Dogs Inc. Amber, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:00:39.79] - Amber Duggan

Thank you so much for having me.

[00:00:41.60] - Gresham Harkless

No problem. Super excited to have you on the show. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Amber so you can hear about all the awesome things that she's doing. And Amber is the executive director of We the Dogs Inc, which is a nonprofit 05:01 c three organization that that was formed by five women from the DC area. We the Dogs has a team in Washington has teams in Washington, DC and New York City, and their mission is to connect dog owners and advocates so that they can work together to raise donations for animal rescue organizations in the community. Amber, are you ready to speak to the IMCO community?

[00:01:14.90] - Amber Duggan

Absolutely.

[00:01:16.09] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it. So to kick everything off, I wanted to kinda rewind the clock a little bit, hear a little bit more on how you all got started. Could you take us through what I call your CEO story? We'll let you get started with your organization.

[00:01:26.09] - Amber Duggan

Yeah. Absolutely. So I'm I never expected to be doing this, and I will say this is my side hustle, if you will. It's a nonprofit, and now it's a 05:01 c three. But back when we started this, we never envisioned it would become what it is today. Actually, really kinda started, I guess, back in January two thousand seventeen is really when the idea kinda took place. I at that time in DC and everywhere else, I guess, there's a lot of division and things going on, which now in June sounds funny to say because there's still stuff going on sadly. Right. But we wanted to do something at that time since it was more political nature to bring people together. And I had an Instagram for my dog. I'm not gonna lie. I know it's a little quirky.

[00:02:09.50] - Gresham Harkless

But

[00:02:09.59] - Amber Duggan

it was something I set up because I don't wanna flood Facebook pictures of my dog. And people back home like to see what's going on and to keep it in touch, but it also really led to networking within an amazing group of people that work with animal rescue organizations.

[00:02:24.09] - Gresham Harkless

And so

[00:02:24.19] - Amber Duggan

so at that time, I posted something on Instagram asking if anyone felt like doing something to help out animal rescue organizations, and so many people stepped up. And it ended up being a corps at that time of seven women that really helped plan our first event, which we called the Bipartisan March. We hadn't even thought of We the Dogs yet. And we ended up planning it in just about six weeks. None of us had experience doing anything like that, and we raised ten thousand dollars for the humane rescue alliance, which was fantastic. And then, a few of the girls had moved and one had a baby, actually. So the five that remained, we ended up saying, let's do this again. Let's create a 05:01 c three and keep working with the community and just support rescue organizations in a way that they can't do themselves. So it it's been an incredible experience.

[00:03:09.00] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Sounds like it. And I think, you know, as you spoke to, you know, when you're telling your story, I think so many times, you know, if you have a, interest or even a desire, sometimes when you just kinda go through it, and do it yourself, not only do you get to, you know, you know, support a cause or an organization or something you're interested in, but then you start to find that other people are interested in as well too, and then it starts to become a lot bigger than sometimes we can see in the beginning.

[00:03:36.90] - Amber Duggan

Yeah. Absolutely. I would never if somebody had told me three years ago, you're gonna be doing your full time job but also running a five zero and z three on the side, I wouldn't have believed him, but it's been so rewarding. One of the girls on our team often refers to this as a passion project, and it really is because we don't know what we're doing. I mean, we've learned a lot now. Mhmm. But we really had to learn from the ground up. We really had to work with the community. We found people that were great at website design. We found someone who was an accountant to help with, you know, the financial side of things. I mean, it's just been incredible to see what people can do when they work together and share a common goal. So, I mean, that's been inspiring. It's a lot of work, but it's inspiring to see what you could do when people work together.

[00:04:17.39] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think a lot of times, you know, when you have that kinda common goal as you spoke to, it it it provides that opportunity to bring people together, but, of course, be able to to kinda hit the hit the, I guess, metric or goal or whatever it looks like as far as success and that we have in organizations or businesses or however we're trying to, fulfill our our passions and our and our goals.

[00:04:38.89] - Amber Duggan

It's really true. And I mean, there's so many different ways you could quantify success. I mean, our group alone is raised. And, again, this is a part time. We do this in our, I guess, if all spare time. I don't know how much spare time I have anymore, but we do it in our spare time, and we've raised fifty six thousand dollars for rescue organizations in DC and New York area. But, I mean, money isn't everything. It's the also the time that people just don't have to dedicate. I mean, one of the things we noticed and one of the reasons I do this is a lot of rescue organizations have very traditional fundraising methods. Many of them don't know how to use social media, and there's such a power that social media can provide today to reach a broader audience. And so that's what we bring to them. They don't have to do the work. We come to them and say, you have to spend no time. We're gonna raise a do a fundraiser on your behalf. It's virtual, and you just get to have the donations. I mean, that's that kind of time can't be quantified for the rest of organizations. And so that's really, really been great to see that people are willing to spend their time to do that as well.

[00:05:36.10] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And I think it speaks as well too to the expertise too because I think so many times, especially in organizations, you can become very overextended in trying to do all of the things. But I think when you're able to to have that, that to get that phone call or that partnership that you you spoke to, it helps out so much because they're able to do their work, I think, so much better because they know that, you know, you are able to kinda help out with that fundraising aspect.

[00:06:00.80] - Amber Duggan

Right.

[00:06:01.89] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to drill down a little bit deeper. I know we we touched on a little bit. Could you take us through exactly how you work with the organizations and and teams that you have? How do you, serve the clients that you work

[00:06:12.80] - Amber Duggan

with? Absolutely. So it's kind of a unique way that we built this. The reason I started the We the Dogs concept in the first place is that through my dog's Instagram, I was getting a lot of offers from hotels, dog friendly companies, food, pet supplies, you name it. We were getting it and asking us to influence quote, unquote by posting pictures. They'd either give you products, free stays at hotels, or pay you, and I thought this is is crazy. I mean, there are so many rescue organizations that could benefit from this, and you're doing the same thing. So our model is essentially doing two things, sporting animal rescue organizations through donations, fundraisers, things like that, but also really sharing and connecting with the dog friendly places and activities in our community. So to do that, we one of the unique things about our organizations, we have the dog friendly ins or the dog Instagrams, for both New York and DC. So we've got We the Dogs DC and We the Dogs NYC. And every day, we select a new dog and their owner to take over the account and just share a day in their dog's life, their favorite places, activities, everything. So, I mean, you're getting to see the personal life of dogs in your community, kind of figuring out new places and activities to go to. And as they share their lives and as more people sign on to take over, our network and our connection with the audience builds So then when we host fundraising events, either in person or virtually, we already have that built in audience of people who really do care about the cause and care about animal rescue organization. And so it just gives us a way to connect with people that maybe wouldn't normally see that particular rescue. We pick a new rescue organization every single time we do a fundraiser. So it could be a very small one that has never had any exposure with the community, but it could also be a larger one that really can get their message out there to an audience that they haven't had connections with before. So it it really just provides a whole new basis for sharing mission of rescue organizations that they didn't have previously. And it's fun. You get to seek your dog pictures. People love it.

[00:08:08.50] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. Who doesn't love that? And I think it it it I love the aspect of being able to kind of see the, you know, a day in the dog's life, because I I feel like, obviously, you can feel that connection, but I think there's even more and I don't know if you find this a different level or higher level of connection when you have the opportunity to actually share from your vantage point of your dog's life or or how those things are going. It it it seems like it makes that connection even deeper and stronger as well.

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[00:08:32.70] - Amber Duggan

It really does. I mean, we all if you love animal rescue, we love it. It's true. But even myself, I I unfollow some of them because I can't handle the Sarah McLachlan style sad pictures. It's it's too hard to watch sometimes. I'd want to support them, but

[00:08:46.39] - Gresham Harkless

Right.

[00:08:46.70] - Amber Duggan

It's hard to see the constant donation seeking over and over and over without becoming desensitized to it in a way. This kind of provides a platform that still gets a message across, still achieves that fundraising goal, but also is fun. You get to see the fun side of what happens after a dog, you know, finds her forever home. And, of course, our accounts are for any dog. We love all dogs, so it's not just exclusively rescue dogs that we share. But it rescue doesn't end the day the dog finds their forever home. I mean, you gotta know as a pet owner what kind of food to feed them, you know, vet care. What happens in this emergency, where do I go to eat with my dog, or where do I go on vacation. All of that really is important to the entire community as a whole.

[00:09:27.79] - Gresham Harkless

Yeah. Absolutely. And and I think, it it sounds to me like you kinda get that story aspect and as somebody who has rescued a dog, and and I think that it's so important to kinda sometimes I put myself in the perspective of, like, what if I didn't rescue her, and what that would look like. So I think really understanding and getting that kind of full picture of this is exactly what, you know, what has happened as far as rescuing, but even kinda like the, I don't know if I wanna say benefits, but the impact of that as well too is definitely something, it's great to see that you all are able to capture.

[00:09:59.60] - Amber Duggan

Yes. That's it. Absolutely true. The impact is, like, everything. What type of dog do you have, by the way?

[00:10:04.00] - Gresham Harkless

She's a shepherd lab mix. So I actually rescued her from family friend. Yes.

[00:10:08.39] - Amber Duggan

That's awesome. Yeah.

[00:10:09.39] - Intro

Good mix.

[00:10:10.29] - Gresham Harkless

Yes. Absolutely. Super smart, and I tell you that. So, I wanted to ask you now for what I call your secret sauce, and this could be for you personally or your organization, but what do you feel kinda sets you apart in McGenie?

[00:10:22.39] - Amber Duggan

I think what sets us apart just is the broad range of organizations we help. It's also a little different because we're all volunteers and we're doing this on the side. We get the cool part about to me about volunteering for the dogs is that it you get so much control over the process. You really get to be flexible in what you focus on. I mean, there was a lot of stuff going on recently with the wildfires in Australia. And, I mean, that's not local to us, of course, but I was really impacted by that. I wanted to do something to help. So we were able to have, a photographer do Australia themed photo shoot to help raise money for organizations over there. So, I mean, you're able to have that flexibility to see a cause that's important to you and to be able to actually do something about it because you have an audience. I mean, that's why I personally love volunteering and doing what we do. It it really is rewarding to just be able to see something, to be able to actually do something about it. It it sounds simple, but it it really is powerful to have that platform.

[00:11:21.00] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an app, a book, or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?

[00:11:32.10] - Amber Duggan

I think what really has helped us and, of course, mine might be different than most people's businesses, but because we're primarily social media based, what is really what we really need is companies that we can connect with that can offer us large donations or prizes for donations or to raise money as a fundraiser. We recently got some autograph guitars from a country station in Nashville, things like that. Those help us raise funds, but, I mean, that's not my primary job. I wouldn't have ever normally known how to obtain stuff like that. So what has really helped me is just kind of being using social media to that advantage. I've found that emailing people, cold emails, don't really work. It's hard to explain your mission if they can't see it, but I what I like to do is DM companies directly. If they're a huge company, I look over that comp the people that that company is following. So this could work for anybody outside of, you know, dog focused groups, but look at the company that you're trying to reach out to, who they're following. Look at those people, see if they have any things in common, you know, and maybe you'll be able to find an employee, reach out to them personally, kinda share your mission through a DM a little bit. It works. And, I mean, people are able to see, you know, exactly what you're doing that way, and then hopefully, you can connect further and do something that's great for that business, share their message, because it does help them to get their, you know, products and everything out there as well. But it also serves a much greater cause if you can use that to raise money for rest of your organizations.

[00:12:51.10] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So now I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO nugget. So this could be a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell your younger self if you were to hop into a time machine.

[00:13:02.00] - Amber Duggan

It I'm gonna keep this exclusively focused on the nonprofit because it's what we're talking about today. But what I would really say is to surround yourself with people that share your passion. There are people that just wanna be part of a movement, but and have a lot of great ideas, but they don't really put the work in after the idea to make it happen. It's gonna be a lot more successful if the people around you share your passion and your drive and also wanna put the time into making that happen. Anyone else really doesn't matter. You can have people around you all the time that are saying negative comments or anything else, but if they haven't put in the work to getting the ideas across, it really shouldn't matter. Focus on the goal line, the people around you that are working on the same goals.

[00:13:44.29] - Gresham Harkless

I definitely appreciate that. So I wanted to ask you now for my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping to have different quote unquote CEOs on the show. So Amber, what does being a quote unquote CEO mean to you?

[00:13:56.20] - Amber Duggan

I know this is kinda weird, but I don't think of myself as a CEO in a weird way. Again, this is my side project, my passion project. So to me, it means just actually achieving the mission. I mean, I don't think of myself as a CEO because I just make sure things get done. I don't mind if I'm the one spending twenty hours a day to do it. I mean, as long as we're getting done what needs to be done and being willing to be part of that team. You're you're not just leading the team. You're being part of that team and making sure that you achieve what you set up to achieve together. I mean, that to me is everything. I think if you're focused on that, you're gonna become the CEO. You want to because you're so driven that it's just gonna happen naturally. But if you're focused on being the CEO and leading as opposed to actually being part of the team and making sure things happen, I I can see incredible conflict coming from that. It it just doesn't really further, you know, what you set out to achieve.

[00:14:49.10] - Gresham Harkless

Amber, truly appreciate your time and all the awesome things that you're doing. So what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional you can let our readers and listeners know, and, of course, how best they get a can get a hold of you and find out everything you and your team are working on.

[00:15:03.10] - Amber Duggan

Yeah. Definitely. The one major thing I'd say is we're always looking for new pups and owners to take over our Instagrams per day. You can easily sign up to do that if you're in New York City and DC. We're also taking suggestions of other cities if you are interested in launching a We The Dogs in your city. And you can do that at hold the handle dot com, and that's h o l d the handle, h a n d l e dot com. And so you can send it there. You can also find us and just send us a DM on Instagram. We the dogs d c and We the dogs NYC.

[00:15:32.79] - Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Thank you so much again, Amber. We will have the links and information in the show notes as well too so that everybody can follow-up with you and enjoy the the joy of, showing their dog's life, in a day. So truly appreciate your time and all the awesome things you're doing again, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of

[00:15:47.39] - Intro

the day.

[00:15:47.89] - Amber Duggan

It was great. Thank you so much.

[00:15:49.79] - Intro

Thank you for listening to the I am CEO podcast powered by Blue sixteen Media. Tune in next time and visit us at I am CEO dot c o. I am CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, and everywhere you listen to podcasts. Subscribe and leave us a five star rating. Grab CEO gear at w w w dot CEO gear dot co. This has been the I am CEO podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.

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Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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