We like getting to know the people behind the non-profit organisations that we partner with. Today, Heather Muller, the Executive General Manager of the Society for Animals in Distress (SAID), tells us more about running a non-profit organisation.
In 10 words or fewer, what is the idea behind SAID?
A veterinary care provider that esteems education and responsible relationship.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received (in the context of a Non-Profit Organisation)?
Doing repairs on an old unreliable model is costly and generally futile. Re-inventing the wheel results in paralysis. Opportunities and provision must be cherished and always leave you deeply humbled. All your plans must be honourable, transparent and have a gracious element of flexibility.
“The world is changed by our actions and not by our opinion.” – Paulo Coelho
What advice would you give those wanting to work for, or start, a Non-Profit Organisation?
Passion for a cause, powered by a visionary intellect that will have an extended impact, will result in success.
What, in your mind, has been SAID’s biggest success?
Developing an educated culture of responsibility and investment through sustainable practices, service excellence and empowerment opportunities.
What have you / your organisation learnt from mistakes that may have been made?
Unlike the word “free”, responsibility is synonymous with the word “welfare”. Despite serving indigent people, a free handout without responsibility undermines the principles of respect and the value of the recipient.
In what way would you like the SAID to impact South Africa?
Our goal is to ultimately develop a highly sustainable business model that will benchmark the necessary progress of the welfare sector.
Have you met any people or heard any stories that have inspired you to do the work that you do? If so, please tell us a little more.
Biblically, every person is purposely designed, this is a teaching that I believe in and it inspires me daily. I am honoured to lead a team of people who were born to serve animals, we may never acquire mega prosperity in monetary terms but you will never meet any person wealthier than we are.
“Chase your passion not your pension” – Denis Waitley
Why did you decide to do the work that you do?
My earliest childhood recollections are of volunteering at the Booysens SPCA, Johannesburg and coming home to discuss what I had experienced each day. My parents were the sounding board of my many ideas and albeit glamorous solutions to troublesome encounters. It was only in later years, at the ripe old age of 40, and whilst toiling at creating my pension, my passion was recognised through my actions, what a gift!