Julie Castle

Chief Executive Officer at Best Friends Animal Society

Julie Castle

Julie Castle

Chief Executive Officer at Best Friends Animal Society

Biography

Julie Castle was born and raised in Bountiful, Utah, a descendent of pioneers and entrepreneurs.

Following magna cum laude graduation from Southern Utah University, Julie was headed for the University of Virginia School of Law when she happened to stop by Best Friends Animal Society with some friends while on vacation. The sanctuary, the no-kill ethic and the vision of the founders had a profound effect on her and inspired her to trade away her lawyerly ambitions for a low-paying, six-and-a-half-days-per-week job as employee number 17 at Best Friends.

Julie did whatever job or chore was needed to keep the organization running, including animal care, landscaping, off-site adoptions, answering the phones, taking visitors on sanctuary tours in one of several beat-up old cars and “tabling” in front of grocery stores for donations.

As the organization grew, in 2000, Julie led No More Homeless Pets in Utah, a statewide no-kill coalition led by Best Friends that comprised more than 160 rescue organizations, animal control agencies and veterinarians. During her six-year tenure, Utah achieved a 30 percent reduction in shelter deaths statewide.

While at No More Homeless Pets in Utah, Julie’s innovative approach to new lifesaving programs, along with her marketing and promotional skills, helped change the way animal welfare agencies across the country approached the work of saving animals in shelters. She led the creation of many nationally recognized model programs and business partnerships, such as the Big Fix, a statewide mobile spay/neuter clinic; Furburbia, the country’s first retail-style adoption centers; Strut Your Mutt; the Feral Fix; super adoptions; and multiple advertising campaigns that created a demand for adopting shelter animals (two of which won the advertising industry’s prestigious Addy Award).

In 2007, Julie was tapped to lead Best Friends’ community programs and services division, re-envisioning a Best Friends–led network of shelters and rescue groups into a mission-oriented collaboration now known as the Best Friends Network, which boasts more than 2,400 partner organizations nationwide. Identifying the primary reasons for animals entering shelters, she established Best Friends core initiatives to address three areas of focus: pit bull terriers, community cats (otherwise known as feral cats), and puppy mills and pet stores. In so doing, she led the organizational move to narrow Best Friends’ work into these highly focused and effective channels of activity, including spearheading the development of the organization’s first legislative team. The work stemming from that decision has changed the national landscape in terms of the pet trade, pit bull legislation and community cat programming.

In 2011, Julie was asked to lead Best Friends’ marketing and communications divisions. She streamlined Best Friends’ messaging to a single call-to-action campaign, Save Them All, which has doubled Best Friends Animal Society’s brand awareness. During her tenure, Best Friends earned the Harris Poll Brand of the Year four times.

In 2014, Julie took on leadership of the organization’s fundraising efforts. Under one combined division, the communications, marketing and development teams were able to flourish, with the result that in four years, fundraising grew from $60 million to $132 million, and membership and membership grew by 30 percent.

Over the years, Julie has championed the unique concept of multiple organizations and municipalities joining forces publicly to tackle a shared social problem — to end the killing of dogs and cats in shelters. She organized the design, groundwork and coalition-building for NKLA (No-Kill Los Angeles), a community-focused initiative that brought together the city of Los Angeles and more than 130 organizations to make L.A. a no-kill city. NKLA formally launched in 2012 and has led the city of Los Angeles from a save rate of 58 percent to 86 percent by the end of 2017. As part of that work, Julie initiated a successful bid to operate the city of Los Angeles’ Mission Hills shelter as the Best Friends Lifesaving Center.

In 2016, Julie put a stake in the ground on behalf of Best Friends to take the entire country to no-kill by 2025. The NKLA initiative and the Utah coalition are serving as groundbreaking and sustainable models for Best Friends’ bold, coalition-driven campaign to make the entire country no-kill by the year 2025.

Recognized as a leader and voice of the national no-kill movement, and named by InStyle Magazine to their “Badass 50” list as one of the 50 top women in the country who speak up, show up and get things done, Julie lives with her husband, Gregory, in Utah, where they run marathons and hike in southern Utah’s red rock wilderness. Julie also enjoys restoring historic homes, is an avid gardener and owns a pizza joint in Kanab, Utah.

Overview
Career Highlights

No More Homeless Pets
Best Friends Animal Society

RelSci Relationships

94

Number of Boards

1

Interests

Gardening, Hiking, Marathon Running

Relationships
RelSci Relationships are individuals Julie Castle likely has professional access to. A relationship does not necessarily indicate a personal connection.

Co-Founder at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Co-Founder at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Founder at Best Friends Animal Society

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Chief Mission Officer at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Founder at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Senior Director, National Mission Advancement at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Northeast Regional Director at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Executive Director at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Chief Financial & Administrative Officer at The Nature Conservancy in Washington

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Chief Experience Officer at Best Friends Animal Society

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Paths to Julie Castle
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Julie Castle
Chief Executive Officer at Best Friends Animal Society
Family Members
Spouse

Best Friends Animal Society is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization that operates the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals and provides adoption, spay/neuter and educational programs.

Education
B.S., magna cum laude

From its founding in 1897, Southern Utah University has evolved from a teacher training institution to now becoming Utah’s designated liberal arts and sciences university. SUU has always placed students first by fostering small, personalized classes led by supportive professors who are some of the nation's top scholars in their fields of study. True to the University's academic core vision of becoming a nationally recognized institution of learning, SUU faculty, staff and administrators enable students to honor thought in all its finest forms, achieve excellence in their chosen field, and create positive change in the world. People throughout the state look to the University for major academic specialties, economic and business development opportunities and training, distinguished cultural programs, athletic activities, and regional archives. Some of the nation's most acclaimed national parks and outdoor recreation opportunities surround Cedar City and provide the basis for a distinct educational partnership between the University and the National Park Service. A wider range of metropolitan activities is close at hand however, with Las Vegas, Nevada, just two-and-a-half hours south and Salt Lake City, Utah, just three hours north.

Career History
Chief Executive Officer
Current

Best Friends Animal Society is a 501(c)(3) registered nonprofit organization that operates the nation's largest sanctuary for homeless animals and provides adoption, spay/neuter and educational programs.

Executive Director
Prior
Boards & Committees
Member, National Alumni Board
Prior
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