Foundation  Programs

IAABC Foundation Listening Sessions

An action-based movement of change.
Before we know what to do, we need to learn what is needed.

The IAABC Foundation’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion program is a movement intended to create real, positive change in the animal behavior and training field.

The purpose of this initiative is to create meaningful, lasting opportunities for all who wish to work in animal training and behavior, and to ensure a safe and healthy environment within the community as a whole.

In order to do that, we first have to learn what people need, what’s working for them now, what isn’t working, how we are succeeding, and how we can do better. To learn, we have to listen.

The IAABC Foundation Listening Sessions are small gatherings, virtual or in -person, in which attendees are offered a safe space to reflect, share, speak openly, ask for support, and express how they believe the animal training industry can move forward in inclusion, connection, and equity efforts.

How Do IAABC Foundation Listening Sessions Work?

Trained facilitators get together with a group of any size that would like to participate. The group can be made up of friends, or brought together by you or a facilitator through work or community ties.

The sessions last about two hours. Participants are offered a chance to share their thoughts and experiences as well as their suggestions for next steps as we create a better, safer community overall.

Notes are taken during the session. Everyone at a session is identified, but all responses are anonymized and kept confidential once the session is over.

Participants can then reach out to the team at any time with further thoughts, or fill out an anonymous Typeform with any additional comments or ideas they wish to share. Those, too, are anonymous.

How Do I Join A Listening Session As A Participant? 

We have a rolling sign-up on this page, or you may contact any listed facilitator.

Or you can fill out this form with your thoughts before, after, or instead of joining a group:

How Do I Become A Facilitator?

Becoming a Facilitator requires a deep commitment to openness, a willingness to be vulnerable and responsive to individual sensitivities, and several hours of training. Please contact Darris.Cooper at iaabcfoundation.org if you’re interested in joining the team.

What Happens Next?

The Listening Sessions are our first step in learning where best to focus our energy and resources as we move forward. The information we gain from these sessions will allow us to apply for grants, create programs, and find new ways to provide access to marginalized communities and people facing barriers to a robust and safe career in animal training and behavior. The information we gain will be shared with any other organization requesting it – it is through collaboration that the most opportunities will often arise, and the greatest change will come about.