Holmes sees the big picture at the GBHS

Published 4:39 pm Monday, May 6, 2013

By BETH CHAPMAN / Community Columnist

As director of development for the Greater Birmingham Humane Society, Helena’s Kelli Holmes sees the big picture.

Kelli Holmes is the Birmingham Humane Society's director of development. (contributed)

Kelli Holmes is the Birmingham Humane Society’s director of development. (contributed)

The GBHS is a nonprofit organization that accepts more than 8,500 surrendered pets each year. Holmes points out that it is not an animal control agency and only takes in owner-surrendered pets. Its mission is to promote the humane treatment of animals and people through education, advocacy and services. The GBHS receives no federal, state or United Way funding and relies solely on the generosity of corporations, foundations and individuals.

As a leader, Holmes says being able to think of every scenario that can happen so you can prepare for all outcomes is important.

“It is being able to identify talent in others and use their strengths to balance out your own weaknesses,” she said, adding that it is important to understand how to effectively communicate so that everyone moves toward a common goal.

Holmes tells young leaders they are going to make mistakes that feel huge but that is all part of the learning process – growing into the person you want to become.

“The right choices are not always the most comfortable to make, but if you can look in the mirror and be all right with making it, nothing else should matter,” she said.

Holmes’ mother gave her a caring, nurturing heart and her father a persistent drive to always stand in front and be proud of who she was. However, it was a high school teacher, Kathy Bearden, who taught Holmes to think about the big picture and always ask questions.

A new friend greatly inspires Holmes too – Drew Ann Long, a wife, mother of three and an engineer has given up her entire life to leave a legacy for her disabled child. Holmes believes people are put in our lives or a special reason so she tries to learn from everyone she meets.

Holmes serves as board chair for the Greater Shelby County Chamber Ambassadors and attends Church of the Highlands with husband, Daniel, and their daughter, Addison.