PAWS Hires New Executive Director

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Tracey Williams is the new Executive Director of the Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS). Tracey has led local nonprofits and community organizations for the past 20 years. She was Executive Director of Embrace Florida Kids and Fresh Start for Children & Families; Community Development and Human Resource Manager for The Arc of the Emerald Coast; President/CEO of the Navarre Beach Area Chamber of Commerce; Executive Director of the Navarre Area Board of Realtors, and co-founded the Navarre Press. She also served 13 years in the U.S. Air Force.
“PAWS is ecstatic to be bringing someone on board with her leadership background,” said PAWS Board President Michelle Curry. “Events of 2020 have given the board a chance to re-evaluate our strategic direction,” Curry added. “With the growing population of the county, demands for animal services have also grown.”

Tracey’s focus is on increasing awareness and community support for PAWS. “Regardless of the industry, my success has been running the business aspects of nonprofits. While I can and certainly will learn the animal control aspects of the job, I am impressed with the board’s foresight to hire both an Executive Director and Animal Operations Director. The responsibilities and plans for growth are just too much for a singular position.”

Her first experience with PAWS was nearly 30 years ago, when she volunteered while stationed at Hurlburt Field. “I was taking a college course that required community service, and the PAWs facility was just outside the base gate” Williams said. “Those volunteer experiences propelled me into a career of working with vulnerable populations: people with disabilities, kids in foster care, homeless children and families, and now animals.