Whitney Steele

Name: Whitney Steele

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Age: 33

Title: Director of Volunteers & Events at the Arizona Animal Welfare League

Married/Single: Married

Kids: 1 human kid (Fletcher, 1 year old), 2 fur-kids (4-year-old cat Vladimir Tostada, 4-year-old pit mix Evie Enchilada)

City you live in: Tempe, Ariz.

A typical day in my life includes…

waking up to feed the crew (baby, dog, cat) while I attempt to guzzle a complete cup of tea while they eat. We typically spend way too long watching the CBS morning news before I realize we should have started getting ready 10 minutes earlier. I drop our son, Fletcher, off at daycare while my husband drops our dog, Evie, off at doggie daycare. On the commute to work I always listen to a podcast so I have no idea what a current music hit is right now. When I first get to the shelter, I greet and take care of whatever animal has taken up residency in my office – typically a dog but sometimes a kitten. I get them out for some socialization time, give them fresh water, bedding, etc., and then we all hunker down in my office to truly start the day. Most days go by insanely fast between answering emails and phone calls, chatting a with and helping volunteers, having meetings and prepping for whatever event is next on the list – no two days are the same at AAWL, so I’m always on my toes. Once home (my husband picks up the baby and the dog), I immediately start working on dinner for the family – everyone is extremely hangry by this time. We make a point to always eat together whenever possible and chat about the day. My husband is a criminal defense attorney, so our days are drastically different. We both love our jobs, so it’s fun to recap to each other. After dinner, I give our son a bath and put him to bed while my husband does the dishes – teamwork makes the dream work! Once we have divided and tackled all the chores, we sit down and usually watch some Netflix or Hulu show while giving out fur-kids much-needed one-on-one attention. The one thing I like to have every night is a cup of hot chocolate; it always calms me down from a day of go-go-go and satisfies my sweet tooth perfectly. Then we all climb into bed for the night – and when I see “we” I mean my husband, the dog, the cat and myself. Our cat curls up under the covers next to my husband (her favorite person) and our dog (who is not small) has to sleep under the covers at my feet and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

I was born…

in Walnut Creek, Calif. I miss the Bay Area everyday but would never move back. I’ve grown to love AZ for completely different reasons and feel lucky to have lived in both locations.

My favorite thing about Arizona…

are the great day trips that can be taken. There are so many wonderful places you can go in a day that vary in landscape.

I’m listening to…

I mostly listen to podcasts now. I’m really enjoying My Favorite Murder and Armchair Expert.

My family…

is loud. They are insanely loud, opinionated, stubborn and honest, and I wouldn’t trade them in for anyone in the world. You have to have thick skin to be around my family but they will also protect you through thick and thin. I’ve surrounded myself with a small group of best friends that share the same attributes, so I always feel prepared for anything with my friends and family by my side.

If I could have dinner with anyone, it would be…

I thought really long about this question – way too long to be honest. In the end, I decided that if I could have dinner with anyone it would be my grandpa on my father’s side. He died when I was very young so I don’t remember him but my entire life I have heard such amazing stories about what a kind and gentle man he was. I would just like to sit down and listen to him tell stories for a night. I realize I could have picked someone more famous but family is the most important thing to me and getting to know someone who was universally loved and respected in our family would be the best thing I could ask for.

One thing I cannot live without…

are my animals. I don’t know how people live without a dog or cat (or some type of animal). They add so much joy to my life and when they aren’t around it feels like our house isn’t complete.

When I was younger, I wanted to be…

the Florida Gators mascot…seriously. No one from my family has any connection to Florida at all, but I was determined to become their mascot.

I’m inspired by…

my mom, the hardest working woman I know. When I was growing up my mom worked nights and weekends running the power grids for the Bay Area’s rapid transit system. Very few of my friends had working moms and almost zero had moms who worked nights, weekends and holidays. I remember she would come home and go to bed at 3 a.m., just to wake up at 7 a.m. to take us to school and run errands all day – never once complaining. She instilled in me that women can do anything a man can do and that if you want something hard work will help you get there. I should also give some credit to my dad for always being a solo parent on those nights and weekends to two little girls. I’m sure it was not an easy task. 😊

The one person who motivates me is…

myself. That might sound selfish, but you need to be your biggest advocate and motivator because no one will do it for you. If I am at my best, then everyone around me benefits.

If I could change anything in the world, it would be…

that I wish everyone was more empathic. If we walked in everyone’s shoes it could be the path to ending so many problems we face in the world.

The perfect day would be…

spending time with my family, including my family that lives far away. We don’t have to go anywhere or do anything but hang out at the house, BBQ and play cards would make for the perfect day.

My first job was…

in high school. I was a receptionist for a spa – the job perks where great and I learned a lot about providing high-end customer service, working in a professional environment and more. I think having that experience young really helped me form a strong work ethic.

My favorite escape…

reading. I love to read and since having the baby haven’t been able to do it as much. If I get into a book, I can be all night burning through it. My goal for 2019 is to get back into a book a month.

My life…

is hectic and overwhelming at times but doing what I love for a cause I care deeply about is what keeps me going. I haven’t figured out the balance of work and being mom, friend, and partner yet, and that OK. I’m a work in progress.

I’m currently working on…

AAWL’s Volunteer/Staff New Year’s Party! It’s a time when we can spend a night thanking our amazing staff and volunteers for the great work they do year-round for the homeless animals in our care! They deserve so much more than just a party but I’m happy to give them a night of good food, good drinks, and lots of fun to celebrate them. For every life our shelter saves, an army of staff and volunteers can be seen in the background, making every day better for homeless animals.

Always…

treat others as you would want to be treated.

Never…

judge a book by its cover.

Favorite Quote…

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”― Bernard M. Baruch

Biggest Dream…

to be able to have a ranch with all the broken animals. I don’t want to run a rescue; I see how hard that is. I just want enough property and money to adopt the broken ones who need a place to live out their lives.

My Pet Peeve(s)…

noises. I have something called Misophonia which means I am highly sensitive to sounds like breathing, chewing, etc. Hearing those noises literally drives me insane. I feel very fortunate to have a husband who understands and doesn’t get offended when I yell at him for breathing too loud. 😊



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