Animal Friends of the Valleys announces new leadership

WILDOMAR – Animal Friends of the Valleys announced new leadership for two positions. Neil Trent was chosen as the new executive director, and Beth Soltysiak is the new director of donor development.

Trent has an outstanding history with over 30 years of experience in animal welfare. He began his career in London with the British Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in the law enforcement division and subsequently as a training officer for RSPCA in Australia.

He served as regional director at the World Society for the Protection of Animals and as the executive director at Humane Society International, the international arm of the Humane Society of the United States.

Trent has traveled to numerous countries in the developing world, implementing and promoting animal welfare programs. He was instrumental in implementing anti-animal cruelty legislation in Taiwan, developing humane animal control programs. He moved onto drafting the first ever animal protection law which was finally adopted by the Taiwanese government.

Trent collaborated with the Jane Goodall Institute on anti-bush meat programs in Africa. Primates, mostly chimps and bonobos, are hunted, and their meat is consumed by communities. International logging companies open up tracts of virgin jungle allowing hunters to access these animals. The institute and Trent both worked on this animal welfare concern, and they both presented at an international conference in Madrid, Spain. Goodall was the keynote speaker, and Trent presented on humane education programs.

He recently presented at the sixth annual China symposium on companion animals. The symposium was jointly hosted by Animals Asia Foundation, who founder Jill Robinson rescues Asiatic black bears and moon bears from Chinese traditional medicinal market, and the Humane Society International. His presentation was on developing an adoption culture and programs.

Trent has run animal shelters in California, Colorado and most recently at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia. While at in Virginia, he developed numerous programs and services including a trap-neuter-release program, in-house veterinary services, enrichment for shelter animals, increased “bully-breed” adoptions, a 96 percent positive outcome rate for shelter animals and expanded volunteer and foster programs. He has been awarded numerous awards for his work at the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia. Trent is a Leadership Arlington alumnus and has served two terms on the National Board of the Society of Animal Welfare Administrators. He currently serves on the board of the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies and is the chair of the Governance Committee. Most recently, Trent was the recipient of the prestigious Humane Society International Outstanding Animal Protection Award.

Soltysiak has been in the sales and marketing field for over 25 years. She started as advertising sales manager at the Chicago Tribune after obtaining her communications degree from the University of Kansas.

She has lived in the Temecula Valley for over 30 years with her husband Rich Soltysiak, raising their four grown children, Amy, Alison, Tim and Andrew.

Soltysiak began working in Temecula with the first Economic Development Corporation. She has a passion for the Valley and has always been active in Temecula and the surrounding cities.

Soltysiak has worked with the Temecula Chamber of Commerce, The Californian newspaper and as director of development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest County. She was able to raise significant funds for the Boys and Girls Club through the support of charity-minded businesses in the Valley. She also has worked with various nonprofits in the city as an independent contractor.

She specializes in raising money and organizing large charity events. Her sales and marketing background, along with her love of the Valley, has been instrumental and a contributing factor to her successful career.

Soltysiak has executed capital campaigns, large annual events and smaller benefits. Her event and organizational skills along with an entrepreneurial spirit makes her a fundraising professional. She is also part of local Rotary clubs, Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Temecula chambers of commerce and other civic groups. She has a heart for giving back to the communities she serves.

Soltysiak will be working with the community to obtain the needed sponsorships to help Animal Friends of the Valleys become the leading community nonprofit shelter, providing a safe haven for all animals and quality and affordable care. Through community education and involvement, she will help the shelter in its goal to end pet overpopulation and to find a loving home for every adoptable pet in the shelter.

Animals Friends of the Valleys is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that offers animals for adoptions and provides animal services to the cities of Lake Elsinore, Canyon Lake, Wildomar, Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula and southwest Riverside County.

2 Responses to "Animal Friends of the Valleys announces new leadership"

  1. Salmon Ella   July 7, 2017 at 8:43 am

    Congratulations on your excellent choice in hiring Neil Trent. He did amazing work with the AWLA, and brought their live release numbers way up from the dismal lows from the previous administration. We will certainly miss him in Arlington.

  2. Debbie Kernes   August 27, 2017 at 2:10 pm

    I now know that A F V is in better hands now.
    I do believe and pray that this shelter will adopt more animals now that it under new leadership.


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